The Scribbler

8 January 2011

A new resolution

Filed under: Parkrun,run,training — The Scribbler @ 20:12
Tags: ,

I enjoyed my time off between Christmas and the New Year. It was good just to have time to myself and to do things when I wanted to rather than trying to squeeze everything around the work day 9-5. My facebook status updates about training and running got quite few comments, but really it was no different from what I usually fit in during a regular week. I guess the difference was some of my friends and family were just vegging out and enjoying all the indulgences of the festive season.

But for me the time off was a nice taste of freedom. It meant I could do things like go to the gym or the pool in the afternoon and run on the beach without having to shake myself out of bed with the alarm clock. In other words, just relax and enjoy it.

I was feeling astonishingly sociable on my last day off from work, so was really chuffed that Penny could join me for a run out along the coast. It was a bit chilly, and we kept it at a sensible pace, but it was really nice and different to have someone to chat to and it made the miles go so quickly. I have made some lovely friends through running and the Fetch Everyone website.

On Tuesday I blasted out a quick kettlebell circuit after work in my deluxe flood lit home gym (back yard with convenient street lamp). I always start this circuit thinking it’s getting too easy, then regret being so cocky by the end. But it’s a good quick work out and tone up.

Wednesday was a bit frantic at work, so I was chasing my tail and wondering whether to ditch my plan to do a spinning class in the evening. But I made it just in time. Last time I did this session I had to stop a couple of times, it was so hard, so I really wanted to get through it in one piece. Ema the instructor is really good – equal amounts tiny terror and mini motivator.

The bike is the one thing I really need to get into my regular training as I prepare for a triathlon this year. And although I plan to cycle outdoors as much as I can, I figure the spin sessions won’t do me any harm and will probably help me get my bike muscles in shape. It certainly feels that way as, within minutes my quads were protesting as we turned the resistance up to mimic hills and sprints. There’s a very specific, small muscle on the inside of my leg leading to my knee that always lets me know it’s working in a spin session. I suspect I was a bit hard on my legs subjecting them to weights one night then spinning the next, but it was satisfyingly pleasant to feel the achey bits and know I’d done some work.

I was back to super early starts on Thursday morning to fit my PT session in before work. I’ve never minded an early start too much and it’s a great compensation to be able to spend an hour on the beach with Ian putting me through my paces and talking about plans for future races and events.

I know some people would just shudder at the thought of getting up before 6am on a winter morning and heading to the North East coast to run, jump, lift, balance and generally try to exhaust every bit of themselves before a day at work, but I love it. It’s still my favourite thing I do. Always different, always tough, and always leaves me with a smile on my face.

By the time Thursday evening came around though, I was shattered and ready for nothing more demanding than food and bed. And quite honestly, if I could have had a lie in on Friday morning, it would have been gorgeous. But needs must and I had a nice easy day at work with a surprisingly pleasant document to review. My lunchtime pilates class helped stretch out my hamstrings and glutes and reminded me that I haven’t done a lot of core work recently, but it’s another good session with a great teacher.

Have I worn you out yet? There’s still today’s parkrun to come.

Parkrun is great. A free timed 5k event every Saturday organised by volunteers. They’ve really managed to get a real sense of inclusiveness and fun in these events. Of course it helps that I do like running and I always know I’ll see a running buddy or two.

It was very brisk on the Town Moor this morning, with a chill wind head on into the first stretch. It was great to meet up with Jeff, Penny, Dave, and see Karen bouncing in anticipation of her first parkrun.

Good to run alongside my nemesis Penny for a bit, but those long legs soon stretched away from me and my next target became just to keep her in my sights. Run your own race, relax and enjoy it.

For once my legs were cold and didn’t seem to warm up too much even when we turned out of the wind, but I think I picked up the pace a little out along Grandstand Road and I could sense my top running buddy, coach Jeff nearby me, taking it easy today ahead of a cross country appointment. He eventually put his Mr Speedy shorts on as we approached 3k and outstripped me to the finish.

I always struggle a bit between km 3 and 4 of this course. My best runs have been when I’ve really pushed on through this bit, but today, I just kept it going, probably eased back a bit and told myself to relax. At the 4k gate, I felt quite good, my breathing was steady, so I picked up my knees a little and lengthened out my stride.

Penny’s red and yellow top was still visible among the runners ahead, but along the straight I knew she’d pulled away from me too much to catch. So I settled myself in for a decent finish and my now trademark sprint to the line.

I took one runner down the home straight and thought I’d overcooked it, but somehow kept going right to the line. It’s so good to be able to get a sprint out. It feels like proper crazy running and I love the adrenaline rush.

I’ve been talking a lot about plans for races and events in 2011 with my main goal being to relax and enjoy them and try some new things and to ignore time goals to take the pressure off. I think I’ve just added a new challenge to the mix though – to finish every race with a sprint to the line. That sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

I’ll test it out on another longer run tomorrow.

Stats and stuff:
5k in 26.08

mile splits:
1. 08.28
2. 08.25
3. 08.47

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