It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, and in that time I’ve experienced some real highs in my running, but countered that some rotten lows too.
In fact, the fortnight started on a low point. A few weeks ago I was followed on twitter by the social media presence of the Gee’s aka. Guildford & Godalming Athletic Club. A bit of back and forth online and I had decided that for the first time (since a few sessions with Bexhill when I was younger) I would head to a running club. Sessions on a Tuesday are held at the track in Guildford, and I was advised that this was the best time to come down. Sadly, the Gods conspired against me that Tuesday and although I drove up to Guildford, I was a couple of minutes late and when I got out of the car I could see what looked like 100s of people already running around the track. I couldn’t make out where I needed to be, I was panicked from being late – I got in the car and drove home, despite Lynds’ best efforts to talk me out of it. I was really beat up by the experience, and so annoyed at myself. But I couldn’t obviously see anyone of authority to talk to. Lynds spent the evening convincing me that I’m not as useless as I was feeling and pointed out that even thinking of going to the club shows significant improvement over previous years.
On Wednesday I just had to get straight back on the horse, and I ran home from work. Surprisingly it was quite a good run really. On Thursday the bonus of Lyndseys half day kicked in as I had to run home again. :-)
With a north downs way run planned for Sunday I headed out for a nice easy paced 15 miles. I went up the Downs Link towards Guildford before running back towards home through Wonersh, and Shamley Green. It was an enjoyable run despite the drizzly & mizzly conditions.
Sunday, however, was nigh-on perfect conditions. It was cool but clear and delightful. I met with Graham, Bryan and Kiernan for a 15 mile jaunt along the North Downs Way. Bryan, Graham and I are all doing the NDW50 next May, and Bryan is joining me on the starting line of the NDW100 in August. The run was one of a few we’re hoping to do together as we get to know the route of the North Downs way.
We met at the bottom of Box Hill, and headed across the stepping stones before attacking the long climb up the steps. It was tough on (relatively) fresh legs. And I am nervous about getting to those stairs after running 24 miles!! Halfway through a race is one thing – but that will only be 1/4 of the way through the 100!!!! We carried on at a nice comfortable pace (Graham was weighed down by his Mo’) until we made it Caterham. I was struggling over the last couple of miles; partially through hunger, and partially from a hamstring that was starting to fade alongside a dodgy knee. The hunger problem was solved when we got to Caterham as Bryans wife had cooked up a bunch of delicious snacks! :-)
The running highs continued on Tuesday as I vowed not to be defeated again. I bundled the wife out of work, got changed and rushed to Guildford. I made it to the track with a few moments to spare, went down to the start/finish line and met Marc. The bunch were so friendly and I ran a few warm up laps of the track. There were runners of all ages all over the place!! The session itself that I joined in with was the longer of two options and involved a 10 minute warm up at about marathon pace. Following this we did 6x 1km at about 10k pace (I was going about 30secs /mile faster than my PB pace) with one minute rest. I had an absolute blast! The guys were really friendly – already mentioned the cross country league and the christmas party. I left kicking myself for having not gone sooner, but smiling for having finally had the courage to go.
As usual I ran home Wednesday and Thursday. I even had a personal coaching service on Thursday evening as one of the school buses slowed down as it approached me and the kids all decided to sing the Rocky theme tune to me. It was amusing, but mostly embarrassing.
Finally, this Saturday I started another weekend of long runs. In case you’ve been living in space you might well have noticed that the UK has been a little damp recently, and Saturday was no different. I set out, fully kitted up in my waterproofs etc and headed out for 16 muddy miles. I had a blast as I incorporated 7 interval sets up some stairs at work – a bonus of working on the side of a hill. I got cold, and wet though, and when I finally got home I was chilled right through. I sat in a nice hot bath, and was freezing. Blood was leaving my fingers and I felt rough. I spent the afternoon cosying up on the sofa, and after a rotten nights’ sleep all of Sunday was lost to feeling horrendous and chock full of cold. I was most annoyed because after crappy weather, Sunday morning was beautiful!!
So there you have it, a fortnight of torrid emotions and being so angry and annoyed at myself, and of brilliant runs in glorious weather with new running friends!!