The Scribbler

15 May 2011

Beat and complete

Filed under: bike,Parkrun,run,training — The Scribbler @ 20:01
Tags: ,

I am busy and I am happy. At times life feels like it’s rushing past a little too fast, but I’m pelting along, just about keeping up and enjoying the rush. And yet, there are periods of rest and reflection. Times when I feel the slow tediousness of looking forward to the next sprint.

I feel like I got the training spot on for that first triathlon – already three weeks ago. That I was at the peak of my fitness and enthusiasm. And that I’m managing to hold onto that, with a second triathlon, and a 10k PB.

I’m learning so much from that experience. Resilience mostly I think. And a mental focus that kept me as strong through that 10k as my legs and my heart. I felt it again at parkrun this weekend. A tough ask this Saturday, with legs still stiff from a hard run midweek 10k and a challenging PT workout on Friday.

My intention was to try and stick with the 25 min pacer for as long as possible. And I stuck to the plan even into the sharp wind over the first kilometre, when my breathing came hard, fast and tightly uncomfortable. I was just on pace at 4:59 at the first marker, but the pacer had drawn way ahead.

I let myself ease up a little, but I’m soon caught by Tove, another parkrun regular. And my competitive instinct kicks in. She can draw level, but I’ll make it hard to pass (sorry Tove). I dig in and pick up the pace for a few strides, driving onwards from my back foot.

Back onto the moor through the gate and over the rough path, dodging the circus vehicle parked on the route. I’m feeling good again now. I’ve lost the pacer, but my running feels smooth and I’m stretching out, even over the rough ground.

A few more runners approach my shoulder and every time they come close, I try to find a little more. Sometimes I win. Sometimes they pass me and I try to hold on. The Heaton Harrier I enjoyed a great chase with on my 10k says hello. This time she’s in pink and as she outstrips me, I shout ‘You’re going to beat me again aren’t you?’ But I don’t mind. She’s a good runner and I bet she didn’t do an hours worth of kettlebells and own bodyweight circuits on Friday.

My legs are creaking at the seams as I turn into the tough stretch over the stones, into the wind, out on my own again. My strides have shortened over the rough ground, and this is traditionally where I lose my head and will to go on. Pick your knees up, pick your knees up I say just to keep myself moving forward.

Through the gate and into the last kilometre. The smooth path here is welcome underfoot and I try to pick up a gear. I manage maybe half of one. The runners come at me again. I do not look, but I sense them. I think it’s Tove again as a tall man comes past me. A sixth sense tells me she’s still in the chase.

Sub 25 has gone. Even without looking at my watch I know that and then I see the green shirt of the pacer impossibly distant. But let’s see how good I can make this one. It’s a tough race, there’s no doubt, but I’m finishing strong and there’s not far to go.

The last but one turn and I’m stretching out, gearing up, the wind behind me now. Onto the home straight and thinking I’ll leave it to the last minute for the sprint. And then a voice yells ‘Go on Michelle!’. It’s Jeff – not at his best today, but still encouraging me on. And so I go. Far earlier than I planned. Far earlier than I thought I could.

In the closing straight I catch and overtake two runners and power through the line in 25:22. Not my fastest time on this course, but today I will take that. I’ll take that for the mental focus that got me through the rough ground; for the experience of running on tired legs that made me try to go fast when I could have just taken it easy; for the slightly swimmy feeling at the finish that tells me I’ve gone as hard as I could today. And for a well timed shout of encouragement.

Stats and stuff:
5k 25:21
1. 4:59
2. 5:12
3. 5:01
4. 5:29
5. 4:41

In the afternoon, Emma from Dailyclothesfix took me charity shopping and we picked up some great bargains. A trip worthy of a separate post of its own (when I get round to it).

Today I had a very kind invite from Peter Brooks to join him for a cycle. After a bit of bike fettling with a recalcitrant saddle, were were off over some lovely tracks and cycle ways towards Lanchester. A decidedly gentler pace than most of my rides, we actually decided we could have run at least some of the miles more quickly, but the conversation made them fly by. And I rode a little more of the C2C route!

I think he’d have liked to have gone a bit further, but with a stop at a gate and the beginnings of a slight pull on my left thigh, I thought I was better to head back than to hold him up. A break at an excellent farm shop for hot drinks and warm scones helped fuel me up to enjoy a little more downhill and a quick sprint to finish.

So now I’m nicely shattered. Ready for some good food and good rest. But not before I put my latest training plan into my calendar. My plans for the summer involve a half marathon, another sprint triathlon and a few more races. So my focus is now shifting back to more running and building up some distance.

I’ve also been challenged to go for a sub 50 10k by the end of June. So today I entered the Sunderland 10k in the hope that it will be fast and flat. I don’t want to set myself up for any one race in particular, because I’ll put too much pressure on myself, but I think that’s probably my best shot. We’ll see how I go on the day.

One thing’s for sure, I’m going into the summer races on a wave of success and confidence. I’m learning something from every race, from every training session. And I’m enjoying the inspiration. So many of my running buddies seem to be doing so well – whether that’s taking on a new challenge, beating an old one, or just getting back after injury. Long may it continue. I have already achieved more than I set out to at the beginning of the year. And I am loving it.

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for taking me on the journey – I could feel every step

    Pete

    Like

    Comment by Pete — 15 May 2011 @ 21:47 | Reply


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