Just a run to the library

Today I wanted to get out for a run when I got home, but I also had 2 library books to return. So, thinks me, why not run to the library, return the books and then run home again. I found the books to return and located a rucksack to put them in. It was possibly a rather large backpack for the size of the books it had to contain, but I decided I didn’t want to run holding a bag in one hand. I’ve not tried running with a backpack before , but thought it had to be worth a go. It was gone 5 by the time I got out, so I went for the full night time running gear – bright outfit and head torch. The torch did decide to work this time, so I could at least see where I was going – even if I had to wait for streetlights to see the Garmin – I never can remember which button turns the backlight on! Just the long way into town, which is downhill all the way. I was not far from the centre of town when the 10 minutes was up, but I decided that as I would have a longer break than just 1 minute (I know the library self service is quick, but it’s not usually that quick – and certainly isn’t when one of the titles refuses to scan and needs to be taken to the desk to be checked back in) I’d run all the way to the library. 13 minutes running, albeit gravity assisted, makes this the longest run stint since I started back again.

I found that 3 books I’d had reservations on were ready to collect, so I now have Sarah Waters’ “Fingersmith” on CD (for listening to in the car), Hannah Kent’s “Burial Rites” and Horace Walpole’s “Castle of Otranto” to entertain me for a bit. The last of these is an edition published in the 1930s and has some relics of past library systems inside. I do love older books, they have so much atmosphere about them, and that’s before you get to read the story they contain. These were stowed in the rucksack, and I headed back home.

There are advantages to living on top of a hill. If the river that flows through town should ever flood, I know that most of the shire will be under water before we are. We get the best of the sun being at the top of the hill. The downside is that it means I have to run home back up hill. urrgh. I made it 7 minutes before I hit the steep section and allowed myself a minute walk. I did then get going again and run home, but I certainly need to get some hills back in the legs – they’re just too much like hard work at present.

Practically, combining the library and the run made sense, but it wasn’t a comfortable experience. Running while wearing a backpack felt really weird. I don’t know if that is related to the fact that the bag was mostly empty, so the books bounced about inside it; or if I move my upper body too much, and the bag is bounding about on my shoulders. I felt I wanted to tighten it further, but it wouldn’t go. I don;t know if a smaller bag would give less sensation of movement, or if having the straps across the body, rather than round the arms, might make it feel more secure. Either way, I’m not sure I want to try that on a regular basis, it was just very very odd. Just 2.15 miles run, but it was a mid week run and I’ve not been getting them in as often as I’d like. Need to keep the discipline up and make the time to run.

Fitting them in

Winter is always the most difficult time to fit in runs during the week. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark and the attraction of getting home and staying in the warm over getting out for a run can be massive. That and the fact that the husband has limited faith in my ability to stay upright and not go arse over tit in a pot hole – he does know me rather well…

Then you add December’s complications of Christmas on the horizon and the prevalence of Christmas parties and it becomes even easier to not run. After running on Saturday, I had a party Saturday night (which spilled into Sunday morning) and so that was no running on Sunday. Monday is a late work day, so that was out. Tuesday was a monthly 8 bell practice, and it’s just a bit too tight for time to fit in a run between getting home nearly 6 and being out the door by 7:30, including having eaten. Wednesday we had our work do, heading into Cambridge to a pub for a meal after work. Some people elected to have a pub crawl on the way to the meal, but I was driving and there’s nothing more dull than drinking soft drinks all night. So having passed on the pub crawl, I found myself with some time on my hands. Ah ha! run time!

It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, I had packed a bag with all that was necessary (well, almost all, that will come later) for both a run and an evening out. So trainers and lycra rubbed up against heels, velvet and blingy earrings. Best not get those two outfits muddled up! About 5 I did a quick change from work attire into the lycra, attracting several comments from the office asking me if that was what I was planning on wearing! I’d even remembered to pack my head torch so that I could see where I was going in the dark.

And so I set off.

Seems my head torch was having a hissy fit. Either there’s a loose connection, or it’s complaining about not having been used in nearly 3 years, because even with new batteries, I couldn’t get the thing to turn on. I’d decided against the country park in the dark, even with the torch the possibility to get horribly lost and falling in the lake struck me as far to high to consider that a worthwhile option. I really ought to make it here once I’m back up to speed, this is the location of one of a ring of 4 parkruns that surround me. Two simple loops of the town it was. The only thing I hadn’t considered was the bridge. This is a large pedestrian and cycle bridge that crosses a dual carriageway. It seems to cross the dual carrigeway at an unreasonable height and allow excessive headroom to the vehicles below. I’ve waked over this bridge many times, but trying to start a run by running up it was really hard going. Running up it the best part of 30 minutes later was, if anything, even worse.

I didn’t go very far, just over 2 miles, and it didn’t take all that long at 28 minutes. But it was psychologically good to have fitted a run in mid week. Otherwise it is far too easy at this time of year to run once a week – in daylight at the weekend – and that does no-one any good.

Once back at work, I took advantage of the shower facilities to make myself clean and respectable before heading into the city for the dinner. At this point I discovered a flaw in my planning; having remembered shower gel I’d forgotten to include a towel. oops. I tried to wipe myself mostly dry with the lyrca (although wicking clothes don’t tend to act as very good towels) and the t-shirt I’d worn during the day, but I still felt a bit damp in places by the end. Amazing how difficult it is to get to the middle of your own back… Plenty of talc was applied and that sort of finished the job. Party clothes went on and the second transformation of the day was completed. Dinner was really good; Salmon for starter, with a very tasty sauce; the venison for main course was beautiful and the slab of potato dauphinoise was simply lush. Dessert was chocolate terrine and it was very dense, almost too heavy. The coffee (to make sure I was awake for the drive home) was not too badly stewed and sally satnav duly took me home.

The fact that I’d been for a run excited some comment at dinner. Some people were mildly envious that I’d made the time to go, others were more shocked that I’d changed, run and changed again in the time it had taken them to change once and make it to the venue. I didn’t think it was that extraordinary, just required a little planning and will power to get out the door – as it always does at this time of year. Next week it should all be easier as we’re off for the entire 2 weeks, meaning I should be able to run during the day and there are then no excuses for not going out multiple times in a week.

How easy it is to lapse

This week has demonstrated to me exactly how easy it would be for me to lapse as a runner again. All the while I wasn’t actively running, I still thought of myself as a runner, albeit an inactive one. Having dragged my lardy arse out and rediscovered the pleasure of running, I hit my first hurdle. This was a dual pronged approach by the gods of mischief; part one comprised a sore calf, as incurred in a run last week. Part 2 was the weather and my wimpiness in the face of inclement weather. My last run was Wednesday, when the sore ankle/calf developed. It had stiffened up into a general aching calf by the end of the day and so I decided to rest it a week, before running again.

Wednesday came and went without venturing out. I have little willpower in the face of strong wind and rain, add that to the fact it was pretty much dark when I got home and the comfort of my sofa won hands down. Thursday I was just too late from work to even consider a run. Friday I was working from home, so could have gone out for a plod at any point really, but it was windy again and I was feeling cold and headachy, so stayed in the study with my radiator. On neither day was it that bad – I’ve certainly run in worse weather than that. There was no excuse for the failure to get out the door, it was simply a lack of willpower.

Saturday I finally ran out of excuses, it had been raining and while it was overcast, it wasn’t actually raining. It was breezy, but it wasn’t blowing anything as hard as it was earlier in the week. It was chilly, but it wasn’t frosty, as it had been earlier in the week. After a trip into town to do the shopping and head to the library to swop some books I finally found out the running kit and headed out the door. Couldn’t find my beany hat – it’s probably mixed up with the undies in the laundry basket – so it was baseball cap and long sleeved shirt and out the door.

And it was going pretty well for a time. Was debating whether to try the 10 minute run intervals that I’d started last time out, or dip back to 7 minute intervals. As it felt pretty good at 7 minutes, I went out for the 10 minutes. After 16 minutes, I got to the pylon. Not wanting to make this too long or over stress anything, I turned there, rather than heading to the next turning location. I started thinking about how to arrange at least one running session during the week, going for a run at lunchtime (either at work, or when working from home are both options) and I started toying with the idea of joining a club again- although I’d like to be running a bit further before i go along to a club – I’d hate to think I’m slowing them up.

And then the gods of mischief decided to throw the dice again. I was on my way back, having just started the third run interval, when I got that same stabbing pain in my right calf. Same place, same presentation – couldn’t find a stretch, hurt when weight was transferring to the toes. Buggeration. It wasn’t quite as stabby as the previous experience, such that I was able to run back, although I did add a few walk breaks into what should have been the last 10 minute run section. Even with that delay, the run turned out to have a pretty good average pace, being under 13 minutes for a mile. I’ve only beaten than 3 or 4 times since I started back again, so I’m clearly making progress – if I can just hold together for the entirety of a run.

So another run that was much like a curate’s egg. I spent the afternoon looking a physio websites, and may well be making a call on Monday morning to see if I can’t get this sorted out. Thanks to the gods of mischief for another hurdle in the path to being a runner again. ūüė¶

Why is this blog post is like a bus…

… because you wait for ages, then 3 (runs)¬†come along at once.

Ok, Not that funny, I’ll get my coat. But before I leave, I do have 3 runs to report. What with life and work getting in the way, I’ve run more than written this week.

Tuesday’s club night. And it was hills. urgh. I appreciate that these sessions¬†are part of¬†the reason why¬†I’ve been able to run up my nightmare hill, but I can’t say that my heart leaps when I see “Hill work” on the training schedule. It was a bit miserable out, slightly drizzly, but not actually very cold. Long sleeves weather, but not multiple layers. We started sprinting down the hill & recovering up. hmm. The words “recover” and “up”¬†don’t go together well. Then¬†sprint up & recover down. The¬†conjunction of¬†“sprint” and “up” isn’t a good one either. And so it went on. No, I didn’t enjoy it.¬†Made worse by one of the coaches who (fortunately) only occasionally¬†coaches¬†our group. ¬†I suspect he was a PE teacher in a past life, I’m not sure if it’s what he says, or the way he says it, but I get terrible flash backs to school PE sessions. Something about him really gets my goat. I end up remembering exactly why¬†I hated all organised sport and I long to give him an almighty thwacking. I realise that’s bad of me but he gets right up my nose!

Forgot to take Garmin, so have no idea how far we went, or how fast, but it did hurt, so has no doubt done me some good – even if my blood pressure ends up distinctly higher than it ought to be.

I’m trying to get into the habit of 3 runs on consecutive days, in preparation for starting marathon¬†training at the end of this month. So that leads neatly into Wednesday’s run. Just a run, aiming to not be too fast, just to go out and get some miles in the legs. The first week of the plan has 5, 6, 5 as the three mid-week¬†runs, so I¬†went out for 6. Duly accomplished.

Facts & Figures:
Distance – 6.0 miles
Time – 1:10:08
Average pace – 11:42 min/miles

And then, with a certain amount of extra willpower, we come to thursday. I was feeling the previous two day’s runs in the legs by now, so it wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty, but it was done. Forgot Garmin (again), so you’ll have to take my word for 3.75 (ish) miles and 45 minutes.

I will admit that on Friday I was feeling it. But mission accomplished.