Workout Soundtrack: Paul Oakenfold’s ‘Goa Mix (CD1)’ & Goldie ‘Timeless’
21.23km 1:34:38 (Shires & Spires, session 10) (Half Marathon PR: 1:33:59)
Lately I’ve been asking myself whether or not my heart is really in running anymore. Regular readers will know that I’ve not really enjoyed a run since January 1st – even my runs in Australia felt laboured and more difficult than they were enjoyable. The answer, sadly, seemed to be taking me away from the roads and trails and into the pool.
Today, that all changed! My heart, and it seems my head, is definitely still in the running game!
I didn’t set an alarm last night but I woke up instinctively this morning to watch the London Marathon – I woke half an hour before the Elite women set off and decided almost immediately to get up, eat a long run breakfast, put on a fresh pot of coffee and start slowly stretching and preparing for a run that would not be happening until about 4 hours later! I planned my morning around the marathon mile markers, as it were. When the leading pack of ladies got to the half way mark I began to get the foam roller going on my calf muscles and glutes and by the time the men had reached half way it was time for a weights and core session – I wish every Sunday was like today. Everything felt just right, and like it was what I was meant to be doing. From the start of the women’s race to the end of the men’s race I drank 1.5 litres of water, ate s0me muesli, a peanut butter and banana sandwich and an orange so I was perfectly fueled for a decent run.
I originally set off with no plan in mind: no pace strategy, no distance, not even a route. I just set off having decided to run how I felt! Well, I felt great. I didn’t even check my watch until 6km had gone by and the next time I checked 13km was coming up! Everything was just running along nicely – there was a gentle tailwind, a clear blue sky, the sun was shining and there were very few pedestrians along my entire route. As I approached 16.5/17km I realised I was on course to take down my very long standing previous half marathon PR of 1:38:05 set way back in June 2012 (I ran 1:36:02 during the Pisa Marathon last year but, for me, that doesn’t count). At this point I decided to pick up my pace and asked my legs and lungs to give me a little more – to my utter surprise they responded accordingly and I ran from 17km to 19km with a grin on my face…from 19km to 21km I was grimacing and really pushing hard and I was absolutely elated when I reached the 21.1km mark to see my record had finally fallen!!
I stopped by my local store as the route thankfully finished just outside and, as I had no money on me I asked the wonderful shopkeep if I could quite possibly take a bottle of water and a lychee juice to replenish my stores! He looked at me as if I’d just come from another planet and then I explained I’d just beaten my HM PR; then he grinned and said “Go ahead”. I promised I’d return later today, appropriately attired and with cash in hand! I guzzled the lychee juice and nearly threw up as it was so sweet and then sipped on the water whilst taking a slow walk towards home – 250ml later and I decided to stretch out my legs again and jog, yes jog, the last 750m to home.
I feel reawakened and like I’ve found my passion again. It really did look as though I might change my focus from running to swimming but, no, that’s not happening – there are still a good few miles left in my legs before I do that! The plan now is to see how I go at the Shires & Spires Ultramarathon on June 1st and from there I think I’ll bring it down a mile or two and focus on 10km and Half Marathon for the rest of the year…with another late in the year marathon thrown in for good measure!
I hope your Sunday long run, and your weekend in general, has been as relaxing and rewarding as my own dear reader! I’m off to read ‘Running with the Kenyans’ as I’ve just plucked it from my bookshelf – quite unbelievably I purchased this in January 2013 and have yet to read it!
Peace & Blessings x