Everything went according to plan for my post-snowmageddon return to running, with a 35 mile week, 16 mile long run and no injury concerns. What a relief to be able to type that. Note to self, go easy on the ice skating and don’t give in to pester power!
The only disappointment was that snow turned to rain and I got liberally soaked on two of my four outings. But them’s the joys of winter training and I always view running in nasty weather as good prep for any unexpected conditions come race day. Sunshine, as we all know, can never be guaranteed in this country.
Since my weekends nowadays are taken up by having my daughter to stay, I’m having to nail any long runs I want to do in the week – and that usually means before work. On Thursday I was travelling to an appointment in Stourbridge, but didn’t need to leave until 9am. Nice as it would have been to sneak a lie in and a leisurely breakfast, instead I saw an opportunity to push beyond half marathon distance for the first time in a long time.
A 6am start, cold but dry – just how I like it. Audiobook loaded on my iPod and off I went, determined to go easy and stick to my usual marathon pace. It worked just fine for the first nine miles, but then the weather closed in. Sleet at first, followed by heavy rain. And still hovering around freezing.
Grimly I plodded on and, to be fair, it was only two of the last three miles where my pace dropped off target, not helped by some steep hills and, of course, being soaked to the skin. I got home in just under two and a half hours and covered 16.2 miles in that time. I wore a compression sleeve over my thigh and it didn’t complain once (either that, or the cold had numbed any sensation of pain!).
The rest of the week’s efforts involved eight, six and five mile runs – all drama-free and all averaging mid-to-low eight minute miles. It’s given me a nice confidence boost and taking time out for some more serious distance running has also helped distract me from some of the less enjoyable things that are happening out there.
Work is hectic at the moment and the source of a fair bit of stress. And I’m still up and down with regards to home life and adjusting to living on my own.
Some days it’s fine, others it feels wrong and I get lonely. I find that little things make me anxious for no obvious reason – fretting over what to buy in the supermarket, or getting unnecessarily wound up when I get stuck in traffic. Worrying about money or where the next big bill might be coming from. Silly really, but I can only assume it’s all related to the aforementioned changes.
Lacing up definitely helps and, as I’ve said before in posts, enables me to feel good about myself once in a while. From a 5k blast, to a two hour plus long run, I try to put maximum effort into what I’m doing and that, in turn, results in a sense of achievement.
That doesn’t necessarily mean going fast or smashing PBs. It could be successfully running to a target pace, taking on a new route or conquering a new hill. I just crave that sense of personal satisfaction at the end that says….you know what, you gave that your best shot.
So I’ll turn up the dial again next week and see if I can make 16 miles 18 miles. Not because I have to, but simply because I want to. For the love of running.
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