Older, wiser, drunker – it’s the birthday post

I have made the transition from one decade to another – ladies and gentlemen, I am now in my thirties.

I’ve got to say that I’ve had a splendid birthday (and still got 2 hours of it left) and have had lots of lovely pressies (but more of that in a tick).

Monday was racketball day, very much fun but it’s made me realise that I don’t respond well to being asked to do any kind of exercise drill – run up and down a squash court bouncing a ball on a racquet? Well yes I will, but this is the sort of thing that I became an adult to avoid, so if you don’t mind I’ll just go back to hitting squash balls at my husband in a highly competitive fashion. Thanks. Oh, and if I want to be called a girl, I would go back to primary school and then I might be cajoled into doing shuttle runs as well. And yes I know it’s fun and a bit of a giggle, but please stop telling me that. In short, the session was run by a very enthusiastic chap with very good intentions (encouraging women [note ‘women’] to try a new sport) that I support wholeheartedly – it just tapped into the part of my being that hated PE and  feeling like a fat crap kid.

Tuesday was group run night, which was a session in and around the park (conjuring up lots of flashbacks to a. lurking around the park on the swings and b. traumatic cross country in giant pants). Wednesday was yoga (lots of strong leg work and I suspect that warrior poses are going to be the core of our 8 week session – go quads!). Thursday was supposed to be a run, but I finished work for 4 days and had that Friday feeling (and a pile of ironing), so I did nothing.

Friday was supposed to be my long run day. I woke up feeling more tired than when I went to bed and grumpier than a bear with an empty picnic basket. Having set a target of 8am to go out, I eventually went out at the end of Desert Island Discs at 9.45. If I’d have trusted my judgement, I would have run straight up to my mum’s (about 5 and a bit miles) rather than try and extend my running time (I’d only done 1 other run this week, it was already too warm and I didn’t take water). As it was, I stuck to my plan and ran a very winding way to mum’s (we were setting up for a birthday bash there the next night), up a very long, slight hill and then down to the canal. I just about managed an hour and then wanted to give up. So I did. But was still 3 miles away from my destination with no way of getting anywhere else. I was stupidly dehydrated (I don’t seem to learn) and found myself plodding up the canal thinking “I could drink canal water couldn’t I. No, it’s dirty, think of the rats and the weil’s disease. But it’s so wet and cold and I’m so thirsty”. I walked a bit, started to try and run, did a minute, whimpered slightly, walked some more and then pulled myself together and managed another 20 or so minutes. And then had to walk again. Then decided that if I was going to run-walk, I might as well run at a decent speed and did a bit of an interval stylee for the last mile. As my friend very kindly pointed out, this was the last run of my twenties (thanks love) and as a momentous one, it was a bit a shit. But I’m not that bothered – it’s just made me realise that if I’m serious about upping my mileage I need to a. take things more seriously and b. listen to my body.

At this moment of time, I’m full of a cold and gently infused with some lovely real ales, so obviously I need to work on point a. a bit more.

My birthday pressie list has been very interesting and is scarily revealing about how my head works. On the one hand, A Piece of Cake and Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache (which at least contains veg). On the other hand a lovely running top (much more figure hugging than I would ever choose for myself and will go ever so well with the Ronhill capri pants I won in a raffle), What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, the promise of a new pair of trainers AND….. My very own Garmin. Yes folks, I’m a Serious Runner With A Garmin, see me roar. This will solve many things that I have been whingeing about recently (husband suffers me swearing as I plot my route on walkjogrun, complaining that I can’t pace myself and fretting that I’m over or underestimating my mileage – I suspect that his motivation wasn’t entirely selfless when he chose it) so prepare yourselves for being bored senseless as I figure out what it does.

Oh, and apparently this means that I have to do the half that I’ve been threatening to do.

Eat my goal!

Well last week’s lesson was “if you’re chuffed with what you’ve done, blog quickly before you have chance to devalue it and turn it into a negative”. Putting that lesson into practice, I’m quite pleased with yesterday’s run – upping my time from 1hr 20 to 1hr 30, which translated into 7.8ish miles. Once again it was a bit on the undulating side – I’m learning that that there’s no escaping hills round here, it’s not quite Wales, but we have plenty of mini valleys.


One new idea I have adopted/adapted was from Runners World (I buy it occasionally to feel like I’m a real runner…) – 101 Best Tips Ever in the August issue.

Number 33, from Joe Beer (author of Need to Know Triathlon)

‘Set “failure”, “adequate”, “success” and “dream” goals for all your races. This means you have an exact benchmark with which to rate your efforts rather than how you got on compared with someone else – or worse still, lowering a goal after a race to ensure you succeeded’.

Now, there’s not much chance of the latter; I’m much more likely to be disappointed that I didn’t achieve a goal that I didn’t actually set before I went out (didn’t go far/fast/long enough, even though I did the time/distance that I intended to).

So for me, setting these graded goals means that I can try to move away from my ‘all or nothing’ thinking – my success goal yesterday had 2 built in recovery walks of 30 seconds (see above to see if you can guess where they were). I was thinking about some arcane knowledge I picked up somewhere along the way which says that you should try to increase your distance by 10% each week. Technically this would have taken me up to 1hr 28, which I felt was perfectly acceptable, so even with my minute’s walk I ran for 1hr 29. And then added an extra minute at the end to round things up…

PS. Graceless plodding aside, I’m continuing in my spirit of Juneathon to try something new tomorrow. Anyone for racketball?