But not that brave.

It appears that I used up all of my bravery visiting my new team before I change jobs in 2 and a bit weeks (eek!)  and as a result, I didn’t have enough to spare for going to club night on my own.

To make amends, I went out before work today and it was a gorgeous morning. Sun rising, not too warm, no bear-paw hands and appropriate clothing choice. I also felt as if I was running strongly, unfortunately it turns out that I was running slowly. Oh well.

Ongoing positivity/running your own race

Following on from the wise words given to me on Tuesday, I hauled myself out on Friday evening. The original plan was 30 minutes out, 30 minutes back (the theory being, if I can do that, I can do 10k). As I set off, I thought I might do 20 minutes  each way but as I got to 20 minutes, I thought I might do 25 minutes. As I got to 25 minutes, I thought I might as well go up to 30. So I did.

This ended up as 5.41 miles, with an average pace of 11.06min/mile. Now bearing in mind that’s the pretty much the same pace that I did 4.2 miles on Tuesday and 2.7 miles the week before and I have to say hmmmm. Maybe I’ve been underestimating myself a bit.

Yesterday taught me why I should set off early when it’s sunny, or at least take water so I avoid bear-paw hands. By the time I left the house it was 9.45 and the sun was well and truly shining, which was lovely until the 3rd mile. Having said that, it didn’t put me off doing a route that I’d chosen out of a dangerous combination of bravado and curiosity. The last time I did this route was July last year, when I was going out regularly and gradually increasing my mileage each weekend. It was also pre-birthday Garmin, so I only had a vague idea of how far it was. So today I thought I might as well try it, as no matter what happened at least I’d know how far it actually is.

The route takes you through the next village, down a lovely big hill (just about 3 miles from home), up a slightly smaller hill into the next village, down by Tesco and then throws in some gradually wearing hills to get home. Turns out it’s 7.5 miles exactly. Could I run 7.5 miles exactly? No. I mainly ran (with about 2 minutes walking spread about at the top of hills) for 1 hour 13 minutes, which covered 6.22 miles. The remaining 1.28 miles was mainly walking interspersed with increasingly pitiful running.

It’s a lovely route, I’m just not quite ready for it (which is hardly surprising given my lack of recent effort) however I suspect that with a couple of weeks going out regularly, I could tackle it much more successfully.

The second half of the title is something that I’ve been dwelling on a lot this week. I’m aware that my times and distances would not have many people quaking in their trainers, but they’re my times and distances and I’m sometimes quite proud of them as I’ve had a lifetime of not just not running, but actively avoiding running. I’m also aware that I tend to talk about my running with a bit of a negative spin and I’m a bit bored of doing that (although even now I’m fighting the urge to put inverted commas around the word running). After a while, you start to believe your own hype (even if you’re only joking) and that chips away at your confidence.

Similarly, when someone else tells you about their achievements, it’s often tempting to compare yourself negatively with that. This might just be me, but I think that this is maybe a bit of a female thing. Competitive arse-sizing would be one example (“My bum looks huge in these trousers” “Don’t be daft, if anyone should be complaining it’s me. Mine’s as a big as a bus”. I paraphrase hugely and never should apply for a scriptwriters job producing gritty and realistic dialogue), but it’s the same with running, “A 10k/half/marathon? I could never do that, I’m far too slow/fat/unfit”.  Maybe it’s out of an unconscious desire for the other person to say something positive in return, maybe it’s unspoken jealousy of the other person, maybe it makes us look at our own failings (real or imagined). I don’t know, but it’s annoying me because I do it a lot and I don’t want to any more. I want to run my own race.

Ducks, hens, bunnies

I’ve been holding off posting until I could post somthing positive. Positive and about running.

Following my last entry, I was bouncing with enthusiasm for a nice long(ish) Sunday run on one of my favourite routes along the canal – I was chilled about speed, distance, time, whatever, even taking my camera with me so that I could stop to smell the flowers and snap the sheep in the fields. I set off. I managed a quite literally staggering 2 minutes 45 seconds and couldn’t go any further – my arms and legs felt heavy and it was like running through treacle. I felt absolutely exhausted, but wasn’t going to give in. Ended up with a total of 2.55miles plodding and plod/walking, oh, and a lovely picture of some sleepy ducks.

Sleepy ducks

Sleepy ducks

This was followed by another 30minute morning run on Monday, which was still slow, but this time my hands didn’t swell up like bear paws so I called it a success. Unfortunately, this was followed by a week where I felt totally whacked and reminded me of glandular fever.

Clearly, these are not the positive things that I promised in the first sentence.

I have also been knitting for Easter, creating an army of fuzzy chicks and a pair of egg cosies from a pattern by the awesome Little Cotton Rabbits.





It doesn’t take a genius to workout that I more naturally inclined towards knitting (with its sitting down in the warm) than running (with its moving around outside).

However positive that it is, it’s not positive and about running (as promised in the first sentence).

I had 2 lovely runs on Good Friday and Saturday, followed by a Tuesday night club run. I’ll admit that I’ve been avoiding these a bit recently as the gulf between the plodders at the back (me) and the speedy gonzales at the front (everyone else) seemed to be getting wider and wider. Last night, I was lucky enough to run with one of the coaches who, as well as being the most scarily positive person in the world ever, gave me lots of advice and encouragement. As well as getting me round 4.23miles (the longest I’ve run in over a month), I averaged 11.07 minutes/mile. I know that these stats aren’t exactly world beating, but at the weekend I was chuffed enough with  2.7 miles at 11.06 minutes/mile and I now realise that I could either be going further or faster.

Suddenly, the glass feels half full and I can feel a bit of confidence creeping back. It’s a rather nice feeling.