It’s been 2 weeks since my last blog and Operation “let’s run everywhere” is in full swing.
The first week we were on holiday in beautiful Dorset. Glorious, hot, picturesque and…hilly. Oh my days….the hills! But I committed to 4 runs and so I completed 4 runs.
The first two runs of the week were with my friend, the Barefoot runner and these were idyllic. We ran, we walked, we chatted, we laughed and we did get a bit lost. But we had nowhere to be at any particular time and so just ambled our way out and back. The hills were horrible however and our speeds were slow, but importantly they were enjoyable. It was very hot and so sweat was a feature and I regretted not packing my hydration vest. I need to remember that in future.
For our second run, all of our daughters (we have 4 between us) and our husbands (who are regular running partners anyway) all went and I couldn’t help but giggle as we set off from our tents, running in a big group (at the beginning anyway!) We had become the families that I used to look at in disbelief as they would set off running whilst on holiday. I mean, what kind of crazy people do that, I used to think? Well…erm…us. We are now those people. I am bemused about this, yet also proud.
The third run of the week was on my own (so instantly less enjoyable) and this was just sprints backwards and forwards down a lane for 30 minutes (including a warm up and cool down). Functional, sweaty but necessary. The final run of the week (yes 4 runs whilst I was on holiday – I am as shocked as you are) was parkrun! Yes, my first parkrun post covid and I am not ashamed to say that I bribed my entire family with a cooked breakfast post run to attend along with me.
As we arrived in the car park on the Saturday morning, I felt that old prickle of excitement that you get at the beginning of a race that had been absent for so long now – yes I know that Parkrun is not a race, before I get lots of angry messages, but it is a large group of people running together and it’s GLORIOUS.
We attended the “new timers” briefing and then we were off. Husband shot off as fast as ever and was quickly followed by eldest daughter (who has signed up for the Bristol 10k, so is in training and she’s fast) and then my youngest daughter went too. I’m so proud of my youngest daughter as she finds running tedious and challenging and so I empathise enormously with her but she keeps showing up and doing her best. She is of course, still faster than me as she runs and I run/walk but we all got round in one piece and in respectable times. I was grinning as I thanked each marshall for their time (I have been a marshall and I always appreciate it when people say this to me and so we must pay it forward). I can also report that the cooked breakfast was magnificent.
So that was the first week and I had completed 4 runs. This is the most I have run in well over a year and a good start. Not all the runs were feeling terrible and although they were painfully slow, I wasn’t hating it. However, I needed to be consistent and so I needed to replicate this in the following week.
But of course, being back at work and life returning to normal would mean that it would be easy to skip some runs, which is not ideal 5 weeks from a half marathon and so I needed a plan. I like running with other people and although I don’t mind running alone sometimes, I have deduced in recent weeks that to get through this training phase, I need company, and so I reached out to my network of running buddies.
I did and do feel anxious about doing this, as running 90/30 is not ideal for everyone, but I decided to be honest with the people I contacted and give them a pass to say no, especially if it didn’t fit in with their training plans. Transparency is key in these situations and I also knew that I would be happy to run with others if the tables were turned.
So last week I ran with Smiler for a short 2 mile burst before she then joined the “This Mum Runs” Wednesday social run afterwards and on Thursday I joined the Seamstress on a lovely lunchtime run between Eastville Park and Snuff Mills. The temperatures at the moment are not great for running and seem to be a constant reminder as to why I decided never to train for a half marathon over the summer again, but the conversation helps so much. Not only because these people are my friends and so it’s lovely to catch up with them, but also because it makes the runs enjoyable, and I need all the help I can get with that!
On Saturday it was “long run day” and so as I have in the past, I decided to utilise parkrun. I met with the lovely Catherine after 5k and we ran/walked the final 8.24k to, and including, parkrun making it 13.24k in total. I don’t mind telling you that afterwards I was shattered. The heat is hard to run in, as well as getting up with a 5 in the hour to ensure that I had eaten enough to cope with the distance, this coupled with the distance, meant that I was wiped out. I’m out of practice and you forget quickly how hard these bigger distances are on the body. I had also completely forgotten about chafing….but a sweaty 13k run will very soon remind you of that. I had sore bits and sudocrem was my friend in the days immediately after.
I met husband and youngest daughter at the end of parkrun (they had run it too) and we went home – Catherine ran home as she is training for a virtal marathon – legend. I was shattered, but for the first time in a long time, I began to believe that I would be able to run the distance.
My running buddy for the Great North Run, the Red Lady, is injured and so cannot run with me on the day itself and so this is daunting, but I am determined to do it. I am not going for a time. The aim is to simply get round in one piece, uninjured.
I was supposed to run yesterday, a recovery run, following my epic Saturday run, but I was too tired and so didn’t. Bt I did go out for a dog walk and leg stretch and this evening, I have done some strength work. Tomorrow I am already booked in for another run with Smiler and this time her lovely Mum which I am looking forward to. I also have 10 miles planned for next Saturday, using Eastville Parkrun again as part of the run.
I running the Great North Run for charity as you know, so if you are able to, please consider sponsoring me.
If everyone who reads this blog sponsored me for £1, I would hit my target and it would mean so much to me. I would be so happy to be able to give back to the charity that helped me when I most needed it.
Here is my Just Giving page details: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/claire-tiley
This week marks 4 weeks to go and my goal is to complete another 4 runs. Wish me luck.