Suck it up Princess

Running is hard.  Running is harder than it’s ever been (if you can actually call it running at all) and  I’m really struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel (there’s going to be a light isn’t there…please tell me there’s going to be a light??)

I’ve moved on from the run/walk strategy.  It was good while it lasted, mostly because it took the huge pressure off hitting a pace I was vaguely happy with rather than my foot, but it had to end at some point.  In all honesty I hadn’t planned to end it quite as soon as I did but it was actually snowing in London and my blood is 100% southern so, you know, I get cold and running is quicker than walking.  I didn’t dare look at my watch.

Of course after I had transitioned to continuous running there was no way back, you don’t make progress by taking steps backwards, and so for the last 2 weeks I’ve been shuffling around London trying to remember how to be a runner again.  It was hard and it was scary and it wasn’t particularly enjoyable.  I didn’t know why I was doing it.

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The last two Saturdays I’ve made an appearance at my local Parkrun on Tooting Common.  Running with other people helps me to forget that I’m running and that I’m finding it hard, Parkrun is the perfect place to learn to run again.  It feels kinda safe.

The only problem was trying to run a Parkrun without running as fast as I could, that was another new one on me.  Being much slower than I usually am is difficult to deal with, but I have been enjoying running again and that was the whole point.  You’re ace Parkrun, thank you!

You can’t be at the top of your game all the time, there will always be times when you’re just a little bit rubbish.  But you don’t make progress by hiding away and doing nothing about it, you have to get out the door, suck it up and do it.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’ve also never got as much Strava kudos for so many rubbish runs so THANK YOU for making me feel better about it, it really does help.

I will get faster and I will get back to the top of my game but, for now, I need to suck it up and plod on.  Joy.

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Hey London. I’m Ready!

On Saturday morning I smashed my Parkrun PB, knocking 19 seconds off my previous best and a whopping 1 minute 13 seconds of my PB this year!  My PB now stands at 21:50, it’s the confidence booster I desperately needed AND one of my 2016 goals achieved!

I didn’t do it alone though.  One of the best things about being a Chaser is the support you get from others and I was lucky to have not 1, but 2 Chasers pacing me round Dulwich Park.  I wanted a sub 22, but I didn’t know if I could do it, I really didn’t, and I was a bit worried Rob and Nick would be annoyed if they had gone out of my way to help me and I failed.  A sub 22 always seemed so out of reach.

With some strong words from Gemma beforehand, I set off determined to block out everything around me other than what the guys were telling me, they knew exactly which line to take, I drafted when it was breezy and I kept on their heels.  I always, always set off too fast so it felt surprisingly comfortable until the last half a mile or so…I thought I was slowing down a lot but I didn’t want to look at the pace.  When we hit the last 200m both Rob and Nick were shouting ‘come on, come on’ and I thought I’d missed it, I could barely believe it when I saw the time, it was a comfortable sub 22!

I am absolutely elated with my new PB and hugely grateful to Rob and Nick for helping me achieve it, thank you!

As an aside, I think it’s incredibly sad, and shameful, that Stoke council have voted to charge runners for Little Stoke Parkrun because, apparantly, they need to replace the path (a path that is no doubt used by a whole range of people throughout the week, not just Parkrunners).  In a society where we should be actively encouraging people to eat less and move move, Parkrun has been instrumental in getting a huge number of people off the sofa and into their trainers.  It really has revoluntioned Saturday mornings and this is a massive blow to the Parkrun community who’s ethos has always been about providing free, safe events that are accessible to all.

If you want to support Little Stoke, you can sign the petition here  #LoveParkrun

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Of course, I know that a 5k PB doesn’t mean a marathon PB, but it has made me realise I can achieve things I thought were beyond me, especially with a little help.

It’s the final few days before London and I’ve been testing the carb-depletion diet.  The science behind it is, by spending a few days eating a low carb diet, you deplete your muscles of their glycogen stores so when you begin the carb loading process they can store more glycogen than they could before, and more glycogen in the muscles means more fuel on race day.

I’ve read mixed reviews, and I don’t know if it will make a difference, but some people swear by it and I had nothing to lose by giving it a go, marginal gains and all that.  Honestly, I can’t wait for all the carbs on Thursday though, there’s only so much fish, chicken, avocado, eggs and courgettes you can eat and I’m not really a ‘no-bread sandwich and hold the fries’ kind of girl!

Looking back over my training plans I’ve had some really strong runs, I know I’m in good shape and I know I can do it.  I just have to actually do it.  Plus, if I needed any more motivation, I have a bet with my friend Martin that I can beat him with a 55 minute handicap.  Loser buys the drinks all night.  I don’t want to be the loser.

I’m ready for you London, I’m ready.

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2016: Goals

I don’t really believe in new years resolutions, if you want to change something just do it, you don’t need to wait until the 1st January.  That said, I think it’s important to set goals and challenge yourself.  Sharing goals is a bit scary, whilst it doesn’t necessarily matter if you don’t achieve them, I think it does matter if you don’t give them an honest effort.  So, as we’re about to head into a new year, these are my 2016 goals…

1. Run 3.30 – 3.35 in the London Marathon

Yep, I said it, my Spring marathon goal is a PB, a GFA and a BQ, all the acronyms!  My current PB is 3:47 so I’m looking to knock about 15 minutes off it which I don’t think will come easily.  I know there are a lot of people who think I can’t do this one, but I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and I believe I can do it, you’ve got to at least believe in yourself right?

I want to go to Boston.  It’s Boston or bust.

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2. Do more Parkruns

I don’t run nearly enough Parkruns and that needs to change.  I both love and hate Parkrun, I love pushing myself, I love the atmosphere and I love getting that little text message but I can get a bit worked up about it beforehand.  In 2016 I want to try 5 new Parkruns and run my first sub 22 5k…ermm, I may need a pacer…please?!

This one will be starting bright and early tomorrow with a New Years Day Parkrun double!

Pre-Christmas party Chasers outing to Brockwell

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3. A new 10k PB

This one might be one to focus on later in the year given I can’t even run 5k at my 10k PB pace at the moment!  Still, it was 2011 when I somehow managed to run 45:24 round Poole Park and it’s about time I make a serious effort to duck under 45…given my shocking pacing skills, I may need a pacer for this one too…anyone?!

4. Up the strength & conditioning work

Just over a year ago I took up a weekly yoga class and I’ve really noticed the difference, it definitely helps long run recovery and I’m sure it’s helped on the injury front.  I’m even getting better at it, I can very almost, nearly, sorta do a headstand and everything!

In recent weeks I’ve also been adding a weights session into my routine, I was quite shocked at how strong my legs were in some places and embarrassingly weak in others.  2016 will be the year of yoga, weights and core…as well as all the running of course.  I may need to quit my job…

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5. Stop being so hard on myself

In all honesty, this might be the most difficult for me, especially as I don’t even realise I’m doing it until someone points it out (usually Clare, thanks Clare!)  The problem is, I run in a club where I am one of the slowest runners and it makes it very easy feel inadequate even when I get a PB.  I’m never going to be the best runner but that doesn’t make my achievements less worthy of other peoples, they’re just different.

The last time I remember feeling genuinely elated with a run was at the Frankfurt marathon, next year I’m going to make sure I celebrate the way I celebrated in Frankfurt, be happy when I make progress and stop comparing myself to other people.

So, these are my 2016 goals and every one of them scares me.  Can I do it? Errm, in the spirit of the above I’m going to say a big fat yes!

Happy New Year x

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