Gone with the Wind

And not a Rhett in sight! Today saw Britain facing some very windy weather but it was so, so lovely out there today. Beautiful blue skies, bright sunshine – who could resist a wee run out? Certainly not me!

I’d not run since Wednesday and was aching to get outside. Early darkness has really curtailed my outdoor evening running and really the only option I have is to run on the treadmill if I’m going to run at all. When I saw the sunshine this morning I knew that I had to get out there!

I chose to run down towards the shore as it’s a quiet road and fairly flat, although none of my running here can be classed as “flat”! As I’m on my last run of my half training programme, I was offered a run of anything between 6 and 8 miles. With the weather conditions in mind I opted for just 6 miles (just she says, a few months back I’d have been saying that a little differently.)

I started with a gentle slope out of the village, followed immediately by a reasonable climb. As I ran down the other side of the hill I was already thinking about the run back up it at the end! The route took me along the main road for about half a mile or so and down a very dilapidated road leading to the shore and the farms along it. My idea was to do an out and back run, turning at 3 miles. I hadn’t eaten before I set off, although I did take Lucozade with me to drink and discovered two VeggieBears in my drink pocket. Ya dancer! My legs were a wee bit wobbly to begin with, but I think I just needed to get into my stride as per usual.

As I ran along the Moss Road I realised I was hitting an average 10 min/mile pace. I’ve made a point of only checking my pace on my walk breaks as I was starting to become a bit compulsive about it. Luckily I can stop myself; my self-control is stronger than my compulsion.  And then I realised that I had the wind on my back. As I turned to check how strong the wind was, knowing that the turn around was fast approaching, I was hit by a wall of wind! My lovely 10 min/mile pace was mince – there was no way I could maintain that against the wind blowing into my face. I was disappointed; breaking the 60 minute 10k is not impossible, just not possible today.

Right enough, on the turn around, I struggled. It was hard enough walking against the wind, running into it was like running through treacle. I did the best I could and just kept telling myself that the more I ran the quicker I’d get to the corner and under a little bit of shelter. 5k came in 31:23.

Regardless of the shelter of the trees to my left the wind was funnelling down the road, still hitting me in the face. As I checked my time I had a Garmin moment and managed to restart my watch. Luckily I had started at the no limits sign at the end of the village and turned on exactly 3 miles, so I knew that once I reached the speed sign I’d done my 6 miles. Job done.

Turning back onto the main road I was again facing the wind. Ruthwell Church was emptying and so I was waved at by some well-jollied up parishioners as I headed towards the final hill. The hill was tough, but I kept talking myself up it “Come on, come on, you can do it, come on.” A cyclist gave me more encouragement as she free-wheeled down the hill (I’ve found that the camaraderie between other “athletes”, be they runners or cyclists, is fabulous; very few just ignore you, most say hello or wave or shout an encouragement. I guess we’re all part of that club.) All I could think was I wonder if she’ll be cycling back up it and was she thinking God, that’s hard – that woman is really struggling against the wind! Truth is I wasn’t really struggling against the wind. I was in determined mode and desperate to reach the hilltop. 

When I did I crossed the road and used the footpath, ignoring the bell signalling my walk break as I could not only see the end in sight, but I was also running downhill. Why walk?

I went through the finish gate in 66 minutes and 24 seconds, not bad for a 10k on a very windy day. And, having experienced a fantastic massage this evening, I am now enjoying my glass of cabernet sauvignon and watching the F1 Grand Prix (don’t tell me the result, it’s recorded!)

So, what next? That’s my half training complete. I can run a reasonable 13.1 miles and I am in the process of signing up for the Great North Run 2012, which I will properly train up for. In the meantime I’d like to get my 5k consistently under 30 minutes and my 10k under 60. And also get this belly under control!! Not a big ask then!

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