The Scribbler

17 January 2010

First 10k of the year

Filed under: run,training — The Scribbler @ 17:49
Tags: ,

Christmas, family, snow, ice, wind, rain, having a cold…there are lots of reasons why I haven’t done a long run for a while. In fact, I just checked my training log and my last run over 5 miles was on 12 December.

So it’s kind of been hanging over me until today when I got out there and did it. And it was a great day for a run, sun shining, not too windy – even the threatened ice failed to appear out at the coast on my regular route.

I settled into the familiar pattern. Go off quick and start questioning what’s possible, how far I’ll go, what’s a valid excuse for cutting it short. And then relax and slow down a little and find my feet and my breath and my rhythm and stop thinking so much.

Not sure whether to push on or hold it here, where it feels relatively comfortable, mechanical even. I start reversing my old mantra – never mind the time, just run the distance. And slowly, slowly the landmarks are ticked off.

I know every incline, every camber of the pavement, every rough patch of this route. And today I take all of the harder options; all the little inclines, the rough bit of tarmac I’m cautious of stumbling over, the short run across soggy grass.

The halfway point approaches and I’m flagging. And somewhere quietly in my mind, I say to myself, ‘you could take a 30 second walk, just get your head together for the return leg’.

I spot a marker and determine to run to it. It’s past the halfway point, so I know the return leg will be shorter, and I’ve already run further than I have for a long time. Playing mindgames with myself, the temptation of a breather is forgotten as I turn into the sun.

And once I’m through that little wibble, I start to relax again and stretch out. Take advantage of the flat sections and push on. And now I start thinking, ‘What would be good? What would you be pleased with?’

Because I’ve got enough experience to know that I won’t automatically be back where I was last time I ran a 10k race. It’s not like the early days, where every run I was pushing to be faster, further than the last and tying myself in knots if I didn’t succeed, never mind the weather, never mind what other training I’d done that week.

There’s a point on my route at which I always think, ‘It’s just running home from here’. Which is illogical as it’s way past the point at which I turn and reverse my route. But it’s a good psychological boost. It’s the same point that I marked the very first time I ran this distance. The point at which I knew I could do it.

And the runners are out today, enjoying the sunshine, smiling as they pass. I wave at my friend Kathryn at the start of my run and wonder how far she’ll get today. There’s a tangible sense of release, of relief, of freedom in the air. It’s a new year, a new start, new goals, new opportunities. And today I’m out there with them again. It feels good.

I push on a bit more towards the end, not wanting to be a slave to my Garmin, but to give this run a good honest challenge. I haven’t got the legs for a sprint finish, but I fix my eyes on a lamp post and tell myself to run there at interval pace. My legs are heavy and won’t move as quickly as I want them to. My breath comes in catches, which always frightens me. But I make it and the glorious Garmin biddly boop signifies the end of my run.

Stats:
10k in 54.39
1. 5.01
2. 5.28
3. 5.25
4. 5.29
5. 5.42
6. 5.24
7. 5.34
8. 5.28
9. 5.34
10.5.22

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