Saturday, 13 October 2012

Feeling better

I've had a better running week. At the same time I've had an excellent week at college so things are going a bit more smoothly than last week and the depressing hill race debacle.

My knee niggle's been fine, and more importantly, I decided that I just wanted to enjoy running this week, without trying to be faster.  I ran 5 miles on Tuesday, and another 5 on Thursday, when I went up Carlton Hill, which is steadily uphill for 25 minutes, with a variety of gradients. My times weren't disgraceful, and I just felt good about running.

Today was even better - 14 miles from my house to Cramond and back. It was dark when I went out, the sun rose while I ran and it was fully daylight when I got home. That's my favourite sort of run - sunrise run, even on a cloudy day. Hat and gloves required and a pocket full of jelly babies. My routes along the coast are so scenic, even if they're windy. I felt really good today and really enjoyed every step, despite starting off a bit stressed and not even sure how long I was going to aim for.

I've not been very motivated to train recently, and I heard something on the MTA podcast this morning a quote that made me think. The speaker Eric Strand said he was paraphrasing Sir Edmund Hilary when he said "It woudln't be much of an adventure if success was guaranteed." I've never failed to complete a half marathon - unlike training for my first marathon, which was a new and exciting prospect and I had no idea if it was within my capabilities.

I'm not sure what I'll do next week, if I'll do more speedwork - after all the race I'm training for is in 2 weeks. But I'm so happy to be enjoying running again, especially since last week everything seemed so bleak.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

First time for everything (sadly)

I finished yesterday's Dunbar 10 mile Doon Hill Race in 1h 31m. My niggly knee held up just fine throughout the race. Both of these sentences make it sound okay.

Here's the rest of the story. I got lost and added 0.6M to my race. I was last for a significant proportion. I finished 70th out of a field of 81. I walked more times than I care to remember. My legs felt like they had nothing to give. At the end I had a cry and I felt terrible for the rest of the day. One day later and my knee is niggly again.

I've done this race twice before and really enjoyed it. This time the weather was beautiful, sunny but not hot, clear skies being ideal for viewing the lovely scenery from the hills to the sea. I'd rested all week and I was feeling confident. This was my 'tune-up' race before the Jedburgh Half Marathon in 3 weeks time. I've been working on my speed recently. So everything was pointing to a really good race.

I don't know what went so horribly wrong. The start was a little faster than I would have liked, but really I don't think it was so fast that I can blame it for messing up the rest of the race. I took my wrong turn at about mile 3. I found myself running down a field until the track I was on disappeared, and there was nobody to be seen. I knew I was near the back of the runners, but there was just nobody anywhere, so I ran back and eventually found the big dayglow arrow I'd missed. I felt so stupid! I tried so hard not to panic, tried to keep my pace under control, but perhaps I didn't, perhaps I sped up in panic and that's where it all went wrong.

I kept thinking about that marathon winner in the news the other week who took a wrong turn and still did a PB. Probably that didn't help, it probably made me push faster.

When I caught up with the end of the field, I calmed down a bit. There was a really steep hill shortly after and I overtook a handful of runners there. Shortly after I had my first walk - this was only the second race I've EVER taken a walk break in, and I felt so crappy about it. My mantra became "you're a pathetic f***ing loser", over and over in my head. I put on my iPod to get rid of the negativity because I coulnd't get rid of it on my own! But once I've had my first walk break, it's like opening a packet of crisps - once I knew it was open, I couldn't leave it alone. I can't remember how many walk breaks I took in the end. Again and again it felt like my legs had nothing to give at all. Which, after a week off, I really didn't expect.

It was a long and lonely run. I was grateful to the marshals who were friendly and supportive as I passed, but mostly I felt pathetic and apologetic for keeping them there while I was having such a terrible race. When I crossed the finish line I had no pride at all - I felt totally ashamed at my time, which was 10 minutes slower than last year. I sat on the grass and had a cry.

I have "no further comment at this point", as I'm feeling a bit down about running and life in general right now.