Daytime running and bouncy castles

This week’s blog will be written in a couple of parts.

Today is Monday and since I last updated my blog I have shared it for the first time with family and friends. It’s now “out there” and everybody knows that I am running.

Your response to this has been overwhelming. I have been extremely moved and I’m so happy and lucky that I have such lovely friends and family. It’s been amazing. I have had lots of encouragement, positive comments and some very helpful tips as well – thank you for these. I’ve also had an invite to a “tough mudder” race later in the year (which ends with a travellator – which I imagine to be something you might see on Total Wipeout) and I’ll admit that I am sorely tempted.

But now that you all know, I suddenly feeling under quite a lot of pressure. I’ve signed up for the 10k in May and I’m panicking slightly. What if I can’t do this? Can I actually get to the point to be able to run 10k in another 4 months? Will you all be disappointed if I have to walk a little bit?

It hasn’t helped my confidence that the last 2 runs I have done haven’t been great and I feel like I’m not improving. This is one of the things that I am finding out about running. Everyone that runs, says “don’t worry we all have bad runs, draw a line and move on. You still went” but the last two have been rubbish.

On Saturday, I went up to the Downs with Sporty Daughter. It was a last minute plan, due to the fact that Younger Daughter had a party in Brentry and it suddenly dawned on me that by the time I had driven home from dropping her off, I would have to turn around to go and pick her up again, so to squeeze a run in would be a good use of time.

Upon arriving at the Downs, two things occurred to me. The first was the realisation that I had only had a glass of water and one cup of tea since I had got up in the morning and I was thirsty. (It was 3.30pm when we arrived). Rule number 1 of running is always to have lots of water to hand – and I didn’t.

The second was that it was freezing. Really, really cold. Sporty Daughter and I were woefully underdressed for the temperature and Daughter immediately started complaining. I had to think fast and said although it was cold we would run fast and would soon be warm. This meant that I went off much quicker than I would have done normally, which coupled with the fact that I was de-hydrated, made for a horrid and very difficult 4k. We used the app (although she ran on ahead and looped back to me to keep moving and warm) and I struggled. I also (and unusually for me) felt very self-conscious when I was running alongside the road with my wobbly bottom on full view for all the cars and their passengers. In fact, I was feeling so self-conscious that I didn’t even want to run on the path by the side of the road at all, so we ran on the grass. This wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it was very wet and muddy and my feet and socks got wet. We won’t even talk about the state of Daughter’s trainers. What is it with children and puddles? Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for.

I was desperate not to let Daughter down but by the time we were round the loop I was nearly in tears and I felt sick. I was very glad to get in the car and leave.  I had already planned to go for a run the next day to earn my Sunday Lunch, as was becoming tradition, and I was sure that the next day and next run would be better.

Unfortunately, this was not to be. On the Saturday evening we were invited to the farewell party of some very good friends as they embark on a new adventure on a different continent. I’m going to miss them and so I’m not sure whether it was the sadness that they were leaving, gin and tonic, Jagermeister like German shots, general sense of dehydration, not having had enough to eat or the half an hour I spent in the Bouncy Castle Disco Dome bouncing along to Taylor Swift and Relight my Fire by Take That (best song ever FACT), but on Sunday morning, I couldn’t even keep water down and a run was definitely not on the cards.

This meant that the next day I could run was on Monday.

I have plotted a loop from my office that is 4.6k. I know that last week I said I need the app, but the reality is that if I run for 60 minutes, at the speed that I run, I won’t have completed the 10k. So I have decided that I need to start completing distances – even if it takes me a long time, at least I’ll know I can do it.

So I’m going to start trying to run 4.5-5k distances, knowing that I will still have to walk some, but at some point (hopefully within 6-8 weeks) I will be able to run 5k without stopping.

I decided to go at lunchtime today as I’ve been a bit nervous running on the way home in the dark. I run my own business and today it was just me and Husband in the office (not that I think Hockey Sister would object anyway) so I decided that I would risk a bit of afternoon sweat!

Again, however, it was awful. My first kilometre split was 6.34 minutes and I was ruined. I had no idea I was going so fast, but the upshot of it was that I had to walk more of the rest of the loop than I have done previously. I am feeling quite disheartened. I did run/walk but probably only in 2 minute/30 second splits and I was completely shattered.  I can’t get the pacing right at all.

I have looked at my “Sunday Run of Glory” (which is what I’m calling it now, in case it really is the best that I ever manage) that I completed with Sister 3 just a week or so ago when I ran for 19 minutes in one go. When I check the timings though, this run had 10.30 and 11 minute kilometre splits and we sped up in the middle. Starting off with a 6 minute something second split may very well kill me and certainly isn’t going to get me to the point where I am able to run 5k in one go. Unfortunately though, I have no idea how to practically do anything about this. But I’ll do the loop again on Wednesday and see what happens.

One positive from the run however (and we should always try and find a positive in any situation), was that I ran/walked 4.6k in 39 minutes and actually it isn’t that far. Perhaps I should give a park run a go, even if I know I will have to walk a bit. Something to ponder.

Today (Wednesday) was a different day however, and I am pleased to report I’m feeling much less despondant and much more positive.

Firstly I have lost more weight and I am able to wear jeans that I bought last year in Florida “to slim into”. This is a brilliant feeling and makes me happy.

Secondly, I went out for a run at lunchtime today and it was much better. I am back to using the app (I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure….!) but as the app is only 31 minutes’ long, at the end I kept going until I had completed 5.4k. I managed 8 minute and 12 minute runs (with 3 minutes’ walk in between each) for 45 minutes and then walked the rest until I reached 5k. I was out for nearly an hour, fitbit buzzed and it felt good. I was much slower of course but I kept going. I may have to reconcile myself with the fact that I’m unlikely to break Paula Radcliffe’s record anytime soon and just concentrate on getting my minutes of consecutive running up, but progress is progress I suppose.

The other thing that I have found, is that although the run on Monday was awful, I still prefer running in the day to running on my own in the dark (I’m a bit of a wimp).  If I can complete next week according to the app (which is 20 and 25 minutes in one go – eek) then I’m going to ask to go out with Sister 3 again and try and push my times forward. If anyone else (that I know personally) would like to go out with me for a run (and importantly is happy with c10 minute per kilometre times) then do please let me know as I would love a bit of company, slow company, but company all the same.

Slow and steady – apparently – wins the race. Frankly this is laughable, but slow and steady will hopefully allow me to finish the race. At the moment, this is what I am aiming for.