Ten Marathons Later…

My blog writing these days seems to be confined to those done on long car journeys. Here I am again, travelling back from Birmingham, iPad on my lap trying to recall what exciting running tales I have. This is more of an apology than an explanation, i.e. forgive me if it all goes awry.

Since retuning from our Lake District holiday my hubbie has decided that he would like to run more often and the lighter nights are allowing this. However his renewed interest in running has knocked my training programme into a cocked hat; how do I satisfy his enthusiasm and my need to improve? Basically I’ve decided that I can’t do both and if that means that my training programmes have to take a bit longer so that I can go running with the man I love, then so be it. Jack (remember my friend Jack) would say that I wasn’t committed, but he’d be wrong. I am a committed runner, committed to my marriage. That’s doubly committed in my book!

On Monday we ran a slow, but faster than last time, 2.5 miles. Just a there and back run in the cold sunshine. The sun was shining, but there was a cold wind blowing.

On Tuesday I decided that some speed intervals were required and so had Jeff Galloway. He drawled that today we will be doing some race pace intervals and, as the weather wasn’t good, I opted for the treadmill. I had put Jeff and his Easy 10k away, but now that the evenings are stretching out I have more time for longer runs and so out he’s come again. It’s nice having that structure. One of the other reasons why I’d stopped using the app was because it was pushing me too hard and I was becoming despondent. Scratch that. I was pushing myself too hard, as usual. I’d got my heart set on subbing 60 minutes for my 10k, from a 65 minute PB. Rather than aim for 59 minutes I was aiming for 55, attempting to knock 10 minutes off my time and I was near killing myself in the process! I am now wearing my sensible hat, have readjusted the app and it’s now set for 10 minute miles. With any luck one mile will be 9 minutes long! The difference, as I told my husband afterwards as we soaked in the hot tub (who needs ice baths?) was that I could easily manage the race pace sprints in the middle of the run, instead of struggling to finish them and sometimes even stopping to walk during them.

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With that under my belt I arrived at school on Wednesday to discover that the Olympic Torch Relay fundraiser that I thought was the following week wasn’t. A quick duck home to collect my gear and I was running laps of the grass playing field with primary school children. 7 laps equalled a mile so whatever I did had to be in multiples of 7. It was hard enough remembering how many laps I’d done of the running track the other week without having wee voices asking “How many laps have you done Mrs Hollis?” Running on grass is not my favourite,no matter how forgiving it is on the knees. It is a strength zapper. I wasn’t timing myself, but I did 5 miles in about 45 minutes. The school as a whole, with two other adult long lappers and some walking parents, achieved a total of over 270 miles, the equivalent of 10 marathons far surpassing their target of 5 marathons, one for every ring of the Olympic emblem. Their achievement can be seen on the official Olympic countdown site.

Some of the children hadn’t realised that I really did run; they looked at me with semi-scorn beforehand, not wanting to believe it. Afterwards some of them were incredulous that I’d run 35 laps. Some congratulated me with a pat on the back! Actually I was secretly pretty pleased with myself too. I’d arranged to run alongside a seasoned runner, a friend who is SO encouraging of my efforts that I was delighted to run with him. George has been a runner for as long as I’ve known him. It’s a standing joke that George wears some garish get ups and runs with headband and sunglasses regardless of the weather. He gives every race his all and can be heard puffing tothe finish line before he is seen, much to the concern of his wife! Before the holiday I’d joked with Linda, his wife, that we should coordinate headbands only to be presented with a special headband on Wednesday morning! George is my anti-Jack pill. George was ‘fresh’ from the Rock and Roll Half in Edinburgh the weekend before but that didn’t seem to slow his pace. He had a steady pace and I kept up with him for most of the way, stopping only for a swig of juice and two short walks. I ended up just one lap behind him and as he is a 50 minute 10ker that was good enough for me.

Since then I’ve not run. I will do at the weekend, but last night I travelled with my family to attend a funeral today and tonight we’re travelling home. Life gets in the way and it’s ok, my running is a pleasure and I will treat it as such.

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