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.

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