Juneathon Day 6: Blimey Charlie!

Garmin, check. Shuffle, check. Clubcard, check. Monday night is big shop night in the Hopefully household and earlier Athons have taught me that the most effective use of time is to run home from Tesco (well I’m hardly going to get up at half five on a Monday morning am I?). I have long since run out of shame when it comes to going to supermarkets in my running kit (at least tonight I was there pre-run so I wasn’t red-faced, sweaty or muddy, which is a blessing for everyone) and I think more people (me included) were distracted by the sight of a woman who appeared to be wearing a pelmet as a skirt.

To get home, I have a choice of two routes. Both are three miles long. One is an undulating bypass between an industrial estate and a housing estate finishing with my old nemesis hill. The other is mainly flat and runs between fields full of sheep. Guess which one I picked? I know, I know, but don’t judge me just yet…

Yesterday on Twitter, JogBlog was extolling the virtues of owning a Garmin to Hels and the conversation turned to the fact that some let you run against a virtual training buddy (JogBlog’s is named Cedric). This lead to some discussion about training plans which reminded me that I should really get on with some proper training if I’m supposed to be running the Folkestone half in September and Cathy suggested I use a virtual partner. Instead, I used my actual partner (the ever reliable Ginge) to kick my arse as we ran along the canal – the result was that I managed to finish with an average pace of 10.03min/mile over 8 miles (the last 2 half mile splits came in at 9.35 and 9.24 – I have no idea how) and I never do that.

Ginge presented me with undeniable evidence that it’s my head that’s holding me back  from improving at the moment – when he told me that he’d deliberately gone a bit faster than normal, I checked my pace, fear set in and I immediately slowed down.

Unfortuately (and fortunately, I’m not an idiot) now that this particular Pandora’s box has been opened, the fact that I can go faster is fluttering out there like a malevolent moth. I can’t really keep slacking by running at my familiar pace, however comforting that is. And so it was with some trepidation that I pressed buttons randomly on my Garmin until I had managed to challenge it to a race at a 9.30min/mile pace all the way home from Tesco. The result?

It was a bit of a drubbing for the Garmin – I beat it with a minute to spare. Ha. Take that as-yet-unamed-GPS-watch-thingy.

Annoyingly, this doesn’t really affect my cornet count and I now have a higher benchmark than I expected. Arse.


And the experiement proved…

That my hypothesis was correct – ran 3 miles before yoga, tom yum soup for tea and then yoga-ed. And managed to stay conscious for the entire relaxation at the end, no snoring, no drifting, no suddenly realising that I’ve not heard a word that the teacher has said since “lie down on your mats”. It was rather splendid.

In fact, I’ve come out of the class feeling completely blissful and chilled out. I feel like I’m smiling from inside for the first time in ages. It’s a wonderful feeling and having it has made me realise how long it is since I’ve felt like that.

The way our yoga class runs is that it’s an 8 week progressive course, but the courses run continuously so a new course starts every 8 weeks or so. New people join, old people drop out, old hands guard their mat territory like feral beasts (that’s just me then?) and we go back to basics again. I think this does us all good; I know that I pick up bad habits and it’s easy to slide into casually skipping through postures without thinking deeply about what you’re doing. This probably applies to more than just yoga and it’s maybe something I need to do a bit more through life in general. Maybe it’s something we all need to do.

In other news, I’ve finally discovered Garmin Connect. Whatever your feelings on Garmins, this appeals to my inner geek and makes far prettier graphs and maps than the training centre. I may even get brave and bore people with my (quite frankly embarassing) run stats, particularly since I’ve realised that I’m very coy about admitting what speed I go at (hint, it rhymes with ‘glow’. Very glow).

In wool news, I went to Whitby and sold a kidney to buy vast amounts of lovely but pricey yarn. So I now have 3 pending projects from the new wool pile, 1 planned from previous escapades, 3 half formed ideas, 1 half baked idea (thanks to a link on Beanz’s blog I now have a pattern for knitted cupcakes. It scares me how much this excites me) and lots of stray balls with no future plans. I must stop buying new wool.

Mixed emotions

I’m wishing that I’d posted this earlier in the week after my Saturday run.

Saturday I decided to do a run that was psychologically ace for me – running in one direction, from my house to my mum’s (about 5 miles) and then a bit more to take my time up to one hour 20. It was psychologically ace because my unsuccessful attempts at running in the past have been from mum’s and I could barely manage two miles run-walking before I would give up. Running past my old one mile marker at 4 miles and then keeping going was a wonderful feeling! Apart from the first 20 minutes (much of which was uphill), and the last 5 minutes I felt really good and enjoyed myself. Highlight of the run were spotting another runner coming towards me, only to realise that he was actually speeding away from Bargain Booze with a litre of vodka in his hand – at 8.30 in the morning. I also enjoyed my randomly selected tunes that seemed to know exactly how I was feeling – 2 minutes to go, feeling like I wanted to give up any second  and what comes on but Jolene. Thank you Dolly.

I ended up running for an hour and 21 minutes, which was about 6.85 miles  – officially the longest that I have ever run. I say run, you know what I mean. I was spectacularly chuffed about it over the weekend. By Monday I had convinced myself that this was nothing to be proud of. On Tuesday I had a late start at work and took advantage with a 40 minute plod around the village. I thought that I was going at a decent pace, but when I checked the route and the time, I was pretty disappointed with myself. Work stress and headache left me feeling miserable yesterday and all of my automatic negative thoughts came rushing out – if I say that the glass wasn’t just half empty, it was half empty because I was hopeless and had spilled it everywhere.

Luckily, I had a better day today and was motivated enough to go to the long run group on my own. Did around 6 miles, probably setting off a bit too quick, but ending up in the middle of the group with quite a big gap ahead and behind of me. The upshot of this was that after we turned at the half way mark, there was no way I could catch up with people ahead of me and would be soon be passed by all the speedy Gonzaleses who were then behind me. I ended up at the back. Watching people become specks in the distance. Feeling like I did so many times in PE. I wasn’t a happy bunny and gave up a bit towards the end because I was so fed up.

All I can say is that I’m glad that didn’t happen yesterday – if it had, my trainers would be in the bin by now. As it is, I’m thinking sod it. If I want to feel rubbish about myself, I can manage perfectly well on my own thank you very much. So it’s me, my wonky knees and Dolly Parton from now on – hour and a half planned for Saturday.

100% success!

Well then! Woo, and indeed yay – at 6 o’clock this morning I was outside, propelling myself forward in a manner not dissimilar to running. And you know what? It was alright.

Years ago I got very into the whole 6.30 gym before work lark, but since then have got myself a proper job and motivating myself to get up and dressed is sometimes tricky enough for me. I did enjoy it mind you and with this in mind, I’m giving it a another go. I’m hoping that it’ll be harder for me to weasel out of than waiting til the end of the day when the lure of the paper and a nice cup of tea is far more tempting.

Good stuff about this morning: seeing the world’s oldest paperboy out delivering in his Rover, being spotted by someone I know, the warm fuzzy glow of smugness that lasted throughout the day, getting home at 5pm and knowing that I could have a guilt free sit down, feeling motivated to do it again.

Rubbish stuff about this morning: waking up before 5.00 worrying that I hadn’t heard my alarm and would oversleep, not being sure if the strange man in the anorak was pointing to his watch in a “oooh you’re out early” kind of way or whether it was more along the lines of “Look at your time! Go faster woman!” (I suspect the former as the other is kind of weird, even for the village), getting a bit stitchy at 2 miles, not having my guilt-free sit down but going to tesco instead.

So that was 3 miles of sweaty loveliness, listening to Matt Costa and home in time for breakfast.

On the cards this week, an after work run with my mate, another early one on Thursday and Sunday morning out either on my lonesome or with work.