I’ve been trying to write this update for a considerable period of time, close to a month, actually. In my last update, I was open about how my motivation for running has tailed off post-marathon, and whilst I have had some success in reigniting my love of running, my enthusiasm for writing a blog about it, appears now to have somewhat dwindled. I suppose, prior to the marathon, my goal with this blog had become clear; to catalog my training, alongside any learnings, tips and advice I picked up along the way. Now writing this blog feels tougher and a little more…directionless, perhaps at times, even redundant.
The marathon is well and truly behind me now though (perhaps one day I’ll stop banging on about it!) and training for the next one (Brighton 2018) will not commence until the end of the year. But I’m still running, I’m still on a fitness journey, and I’m still learning, how to hopefully become, stronger, fitter and faster. Therefore, in theory at least, I should still have something to say.
Sometimes blogging feels like a chore, and when it does, I’ve started to leave it lately, rather than force something out. My main aim with both running itself and writing this blog, has always been to enjoy myself and to just have fun with it. If I can inspire others through my experiences along the way then that really is the icing on the cake!
Sometimes, however, having the competitive nature the I do, I put too much pressure on myself, which leads to me feeling guilty, meaning both writing and running, start to become less enjoyable. The thing with following the vast numbers of amazing runners and athletes on Instagram that I do, is that we all (or at least the majority of us) tend of have the inclination to draw comparisons. I have always been particularly bad at comparing myself to others, as well as being incredibly hard on myself, always thinking I am not achieving enough (at least I can now admit this!) and when I see, on social media, that so-and-so was up at 5am for another run/fitness class, and so and so completed yet another x-teen mile run this weekend, it can sometimes lead to me feeling deflated and beating myself up for not getting up earlier, completing my runs faster, or exercising more.
(For the record, this is entirely reflective of me and not of them – All the individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting with or chatting with online have been nothing but kind, supportive and inspirational!)
I’ve always felt that you get out of running what you put in to it, and I only ever wanted running, and exercise in general, to be a part of my life, not the whole of it. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not progressing fast enough. But what I really mean by this, is I’m not progressing as quickly as other people I see appear to be! But, of course, their progress will be related to the hours and the effort the put in, the lifestyle they live, and other priorities they have to juggle. With blogging it is similar. I hate putting out a post that in any way feels half-hearted. When I started this blog, I was initially keen to update it once a week, which quickly became once every ten days…once a fortnight…once a month. And now, here I am, once-a-however-often-I-can-be-arsed. And that’s fine. It really is fine. As is the fact that my workouts have decreased since the marathon from 5 days a week to more realistically, 3 or 4. That’s what is working for me right now, and I’m ok with it. Or at least, I’m trying to be. Gradually, I’m learning to chill, and hopefully in time, writing, like running, will once again return to being a pleasure as opposed to a pressure.
My 3rd Runniversary took place on the 31st of May, and as usual coincided with the Vitality 10,000 event. Four years ago, I entered this race for the first time, and when I began training for it at the start of that year, I was unable to run a kilometre. This year, the weather on the day was incredibly humid. I’m terrible in heat at the best of times, and I am definitely a winter runner. I used to deliberately not sign up for any races in July and August each year because I found them too unpleasant. This year however, I am braving a number of the Run-through Chase The Sun 10ks during the summer months, but am definitely not expecting any PBs or particularly epic results!
Anyway, I’ve strayed off topic…the Vitality 10k. Suffice to say, it was humid and I struggled. I came in, far off a PB, at just under 56 minutes. Given the weather, I actually didn’t consider this too shabby. Not to mention it is always great to celebrate my Runniversary with a race through central London, which draws such vast and enthusiastic crowds as this one does year in, year out. It was also fantastic to witness my best friend smash her first ever 10k race at this event, despite her training having been hampered with a hip injury. Nothing really gives me greater pleasure, than knowing I have inspired someone to give running a shot. The fact is, anyone can run 10k. Equally, anyone can run a marathon (medical issues not withstanding). At the end of the day, with running, it doesn’t come to down to what you can and can’t do, it comes down to how much you want to.
A couple of days earlier, as part of the same weekend running festival, I ran my first Mile time trial. My intention was to come in under 7 minutes and at 6.53, I managed to do just that. Not only was I delighted, but I now have a commendable target to aim to beat at the same event next year. A mile was an interesting beast to tackle. Before the race, Rob and I had half jokingly discussed whether you can start off too fast when running this distance – Jokes aside, turns out you definitely can! The second half of my mile was considerably slower than the first, and by the time I crossed the finish line, I could barely draw breath!
In other significant events, I made the crazy decision to persist in running a 10k Run-through race in Brixton on the hottest day of the year! (Definitely spent the entire day at work debating whether or not to pull out.) Actually,vit was the hottest day in June since 1970 something, which really puts it in perspective! This turned out to be the slowest 10k of my life! 3 years into my running career, and a personal worst – hurrah! 1.04. Beating a previous personal worst of 1.03 at London Zoo 10k, which took place 6 days after last September’s 100k trek! Not only was it incredibly bloody hot (understatement!) but there were hills. Two, big, steep, seemingly never-ending hills, and as the course involved laps of Brockwell Park runners had the dubious pleasure of taking on each of these hills…3 times!!! It was pretty horrific, and not even going to lie… I walked the second and third time up both hills. Despite this being my slowest ever time, it is one of my proudest 10k achievements given the severity of the conditions.
Finally, a couple of weekends back, on a scorcher of a day, I tackled my longest run since the marathon. A 16 mile trot down the canal path from West Hampstead to the start of the marathon route in Blackheath. Surprisingly, I did not feel the need to give the course another run around on my arrival at that point! However, it was a great feeling to get another long run under my belt.
And now…I’ve got another 10k planned for tomorrow. Chase the Sun in Clapham Common. Onwards (hopefully more speedily!) and upwards (hopefully less dramatically!). Wish me luck!