A month has now passed since Friday 13th March, when the impact of the Coronavirus really started to make itself known on my everyday life. On this day my workplace closed down its normal functioning and my Spring marathon was postponed; I can still remember walking home that day feeling like a massive part of my life had been taken away from me. Little did I know what else was to come. Now the impact of said virus is being felt with such impact in everyone’s lives, and in particular the postponement of a running race feels a lot less significant.
Lockdown does not get easier for me, but I am continuing to find better ways to cope with it. This week I have been helping a number of vulnerable and isolated people with shopping; I am volunteering my time through Run Your Marks Community Champs, a scheme my friend is coordinating to mobilise local runners, and we have also created a Community Response Team within the charity where I work. Shopping often takes up to two hours for one trip with the queues both outside and inside supermarkets; it is surreal really, but already I am coming to expect that ‘nipping’ to Tesco for someone will take up my whole morning. Not that it really matters, it helps me to get out of my own space for a while and being able to reach out to someone who is struggling makes my day feel a lot more worthwhile.
Although I am adapting to the ‘new normal’ there is a part of me that also does not want this all to become too normal – I miss my ‘old life!’ Technology is great, and I continue to keep in touch with people via messages and have ‘Zoom’ calls through work and with friends and family, but it is not the same as being able to spend time with people you care about and doing things you love together. It really brightened up my day this week when a couple of friends dropped some Easter treats at my door and I was able to talk (from a distance!) to friendly faces for what felt like the first time in weeks, I do miss that the most whilst being on my own.
Being able to get out and run this week has felt even better in the improved weather we have been experiencing; warmth is still a bit of a shock to the system, but again I adapt – changes in life is something we all have to get used to, especially at the moment!
MONDAY: home exercise classes – even jumping around my living room is feeling a little less random now!
TUESDAY: my body felt sore and weary from yesterday’s classes, which were quite leg heavy. Perhaps the joyful thing about not being in training for anything is that there was no plan telling me I needed to try and run some intervals etc., and instead I headed out for a steady loop, which ended up being 6.6 miles. The first two miles were ploddy, but then it suddenly seemed like my body woke up and I found myself running more like 8 min/mile pace toward the end.
WEDNESDAY: this week we were able to announce some hopefully brighter news in the running world – the next stage of the Lincoln City Half Marathon route. I have been working on this event with colleagues at my work for over a year now, and it is due to be held in September. We are hoping we still stand a good chance of bringing it to Lincoln and feel that both runners and the city itself will actually embrace something celebratory like this even more by this point – more information about the event and the route can be found here. However, in order to release this news, we needed some accompanying photos – which we did not have. ‘No worries’ I said, and laced up my trainers and headed out to run some of the route and take selfies with key landmarks. This run therefore was not about anything other than photos, and I enjoyed an interesting new challenge! I still logged 10k in distance – although it was very stop start!
THURSDAY: after a couple of days of easier running I felt ready for some speed today and headed down to the river path near me for some intervals. I like shorter reps, so chose to do a 5 mile session featuring 8 x 400m reps. I just loved it; a warm morning meant for running in vest and shorts, and whizzing along a completely empty cycle path in the sunshine I felt free. My enjoyment probably reflects the paces I hit during the efforts, which were all well under 7 min/mile.
FRIDAY: Rest Day – still one of the hardest parts of Lockdown is resisting the urge to run all the time, especially with the prospect of a four-day weekend looming.
SATURDAY: on another gorgeous day I headed out for another attempt at ‘not Lincoln parkrun’. I really went for it this week and pushed myself hard but was a little disappointed to run a time well off my usual parkrun range. I think I find it tough to almost race on my own and on random streets, I need the buzz of being around others, the support they give me etc.
SUNDAY: I loved today’s long run and it was my best for a while. It was very warm again, but I prepared well and took water with me, which is such a mental boost. I planned a half marathon route and set off nice and steadily, knowing I needed not to overdo things in the relative heat. My legs just slotted into a natural rhythm the whole way round, and my pacing was spot on without me even thinking about it, keeping in the 8.20 min/mile region. I was thinking about other things though as I ran. One was the sheer number of other runners I saw out (all adhering to guidelines, running solo, and giving other walkers lots of space). There must have been over 20, when it is quite common for me to only see a couple of others on a Sunday morning. It made me think that I hope these people are finding some comfort from running in this time and realising its therapeutic power. I also ran past the hospital and I could not help but feel a little emotional as I thought about what it must be like inside. Slightly more light hearted, I could feel the sun burning my shoulders and thought I definitely should have put sun cream on! Whilst I also dreamt amount the Easter chocolate I was going to enjoy later at home.
I seem to be running between 30-35 miles a week at the moment; this feels ok and like what I need. Will things change in the weeks ahead in terms of how/if we are allowed to run… maybe, so for now I embrace it and face the prospect of adapting to more change if and when it comes.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...