This week has been one of my most satisfying and enjoyable running weeks for a long time. I have loved all the runs I have logged and also produced some very pleasing performances. Away from running, ongoing personal life problems came to a bit of a head, and although I was very tempted just to pretend nothing had been going on in this blog, the emotion these events gave me actually fuelled some of my running. So, whilst not the most joyful thing to be recounting or probably reading, it is relevant.
MONDAY: Body Pump class
TUESDAY: this week’s plan looked a little gentler (if that word can be used during marathon training!) with 6 miles of fartlek today’s interval type run. I wanted to use this week to give my body a bit of a chance to recover and reset, so quite welcomed the break from running sets and reps both physically and mentally. Instead I opted to use the environment around me to add the challenge, throwing in some longer hills I usually tend to avoid during speedwork, then ending with faster 7.40 min/mile splits. I loved the run because I felt free, quite apt as the word fartlek literally means ‘speed play.’
WEDNESDAY: an easy paced 6 miles which seemed joyfully comfortable at around 8 min/mile pace. Even though it was cooler today and I had no evening commitments, I still woke with a 5.30am alarm to run – I now seem to simply be in the habit!
THURSDAY: today’s planned 7 mile progression run had the chance to ruin my week of happy running; it is not my favourite type of training run simply because you have to be so pace orientated. However, during this run my mind and body felt disciplined to succeed and I logged perfect splits - and by perfect I mean not killing myself with the first split being much too fast - of 8.43, 8.20, 8.16, 8.04, 7.58, 7.39, and 7.15 min/mile respectively. Body Pump in the evening.
FRIDAY: Rest Day – changes in my personal life really upset me today. I had been trying to bury the emotion all week, but arriving home Friday night I sat on my sofa and simply cried like a child. It was hard, but what is relevant to running is what brought me out of my sobbing state was the fact it was parkrun tomorrow. I looked at my puffy face and mascara strewn cheeks in the mirror and thought I needed to pull myself together if I wanted to run well in the morning. Running is powerful to my life like that.
SATURDAY: I will admit, waking today I still felt a little emotionally drained and my eyes seemed swollen and sleepy. I felt determined to really believe in myself today though and I wanted to channel some emotion positively. Arriving at Lincoln parkrun, which I have long called my happy place, I felt at home and content instantly; now to see if my legs would agree with me!
Spurred on by enthusiastic marshal and volunteer support, I logged two strong laps, both sub 7 min/mile pace, and knew I just needed to hold on during the last lap and I may meet my aim of going below 21 minutes again. My legs were trying to give up on me, but as a fellow female runner overtook me I resolved to try keep up with her. I remained in her shadow until the final 100 metres when I sprinted as if fresh out the blocks to dip into the funnel first – my time 20:56 (see image). I was gasping for air, hands on my knees in the finish funnel, and turned my head to see my new runner friend in the exact same position. We exchanged a smile as if to say – why do we do this?! – then I extended my hand to her for a handshake, which seems to be the ending to nearly all my parkruns of late. This is why I love parkrun though – most people around me I do not know on the start line, but by the end we are friends.
SUNDAY: again, I woke today with the week’s personal events mulling over and over again in my mind – I was in quite a sombre mood. It was Newark Half Marathon today though, which I had been really looking forward to as a break from logging long slow 20 mile runs, and the race now felt doubly good timing for me. Conditions were grey and rainy, but I was actually pleased with this; it would be my first event not held in 20+ degree heat since before April. I knew I wanted to really race, and I did. I channelled all my emotional pain into physical pain, pushing my body to keep going. I felt strong, in control, maintained positive running form and most importantly loved every single one of the 13.1 miles I completed. I crossed the line in 1:38:23 and as 10th female – not a PB, but it felt like it (see image). Full blog to follow soon.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...