27th March 2021 – 190 Days to go

Distance2.33 mi
Duration 00:34:07
Pace14:38 min/mi

Sitting down to write this post I have to wonder where the last 42 days have gone? In some ways, it feels like I blinked and missed it, but deep down I know that most of it was lost to procrastination. There have been a few genuine reasons for not running: the knee injury after the fall last time out, having my first dose of the vaccine, and a pre-existing shoulder injury thats’ causing me a lot of pain but I have no real excuse.

Setting off today and knowing that this training plan to get me back up to 5k meant I only had 25 minutes of training to do, I couldn’t help but think back and compare it to when I first started running. Back then, every run was an achievement. Every distance I increased was exciting, every step I took was another step towards my goal.

As a lapsed runner I feel that there’s much more of a mental challenge ahead of me to get back into a routine. Now I know that I used to be able to do this, but right now I can’t. I also realize that I have to do almost thirteen times today’s distance come October. I’ve done that distance twice, once in London and once around Ullswater so why am I finding it so hard to just do once round the lake and back?

I’m sure that many people will identify with the apathy that seems to have overtaken me during the lockdown, I’ve certainly wasted a lot of time watching Netflix and eating junk that’s for sure. I’m just grateful that I have a job that gets me out of the house five days a week or I think I’d have been even more out of it than I am.

I remember when I used to buy new running kit and I couldn’t wait to take it out of the packet, get it on and get out there and test it out. I’ve had my new kit for over a month and only just worn it this morning. Fairs, fair, it’s nice kit although I found the leggings sitting too low despite the fact they’re supposed to be high-waisted, but on the plus side, they didn’t fall down and embarrass me mid route. That’s something to be grateful for.

I think I’ve almost got my head in the right place, but I know it’s not quite there yet. I suspect that this time around I will find the mental aspect of the marathon training much more challenging than last time around. I’m definitely asking myself why I signed up for this and questioning my ability over marathon distance when right now I can’t even run a 5k. My brother asked me why I was doing this if I don’t enjoy running? It’s a bloody good question. I enjoy finishing and the shower at the end of it, and I like proving to myself that I can do more than I think I’m capable of. Is that really a good enough reason? I’m not a quitter, that’s probably more the truth of it.

The official training plan starts in May and will supposedly take me from 5k to marathon distance in time for London in October. I just need to get to 5k by May. It’s certainly doable if I stop self-sabotaging. It’s eight years since I ran regularly, over those years I can probably count on both hands the number of 5k or 10k runs I’ve done. That’s quite shocking really. I work in an office at a desk, some days I barely scrape 2000 steps. I need to do something to be more active, to help lose some of the weight I’ve gained over the last few years, and to just help myself feel healthier.

I know that running is as much mental as physical. I know that I am my own worst enemy. I also know that I am a stubborn old girl and that if push comes to shove I can walk 26 miles. The next few months it’s up to me to overcome all of that and to put my best foot forward.

So hopefully, you’ll see more frequent run posts on this blog and the more I run, the easier it will get. We’ll see!

13th February 2021 – 232 Days to go

Distance2.19 mi
Duration 00:36:39
Pace16:44 min/mi

Day one of the Runkeeper 5k training plan, today was a mix of a walk for three minutes and then run for one minute accompanied by a commentary from a rather too perky female on my app. She gives you countdowns to when the next session starts which was quite helpful, and does tell you if your pace on the run needs to be upped. At the halfway point she started giving me handy tips on how to place my feet, hold my shoulders and arms as well as how to breathe. I’d never considered how my feet hit the ground before, but she said to land midfoot and I actually took the time to think about how I was doing it and believe I had it right, I’m not hitting the ground with my toes or heel at least.

Today’s route, knowing that it wasn’t going to be a long one, was down to the lake and once around then head back. Not too bad to be honest aside from some tricky icy patches, zero-degree temperature and a fall on the way back that left me with a badly skinned knee, as well as a fair bit of embarrassment. Not the best way to start off but at least I finished!

It feels strange starting from zero again, but having had so many injuries in the past from overdoing it I can see the wisdom in taking the time to do it properly. Knowing I managed London Marathon with an average pace of 12:30, which I’d like to repeat, the 16:44 pace today means that there’s a long way to go, not just in terms of distance.

Monday February 8th, 2021

The first thing I should point out is that I haven’t run since New Years Day 2018, and that was nothing more than a doddering 5k around the lake.

Nothing to brag about, but I’d decided that after a rough time in my personal life in 2017 it was time to pick myself up and dust myself off and get back out there again. It was less of a New Years’ resolution and more of a kick-up the arse. I’d barely run since taking part in London Marathon in 2013 and even then I was lucky to scrape a finish in some charity 10ks. 2018 was going to be my year. Little did I know that less than two months later I’d be saying goodbye to my Mum forever. In just over six weeks my world changed, and not for the better.

In July 2018 I took part in the Macmillan Cancer Mighty Hike around Ullswater in memory of my Mum. Surprisingly I’d been sober when I signed up for it, 26 miles around a stunning lake, how hard could it be. To this day it’s still the toughest challenge I’ve tackled. To put it in context walking London Marathon took me just over six and a half hours thanks to an injury I’d picked up in training. Walking the Mighty Hike took just over eleven and a half in blistering 30 degree heat.

You’d think that having these two less than successful marathon events behind me I would have learned my lesson, but no. Every year between 2013 and 2020 I entered the London marathon ballot only to face rejection.

This lunchtime I opened my inbox to find an email from London Marathon advising me to click on the link for my ballot result. Imagine my shock to have been granted a place. I remember receiving then news back in latte September 2012 that I’d got a ballot place in the 2013 marathon and thinking everyone would tell me I was mad, I hadn’t been running long enough, I wasn’t running far enough,  but they didn’t. They just accepted that I could do it. Apparently that’s what they all think this year as well. Bugger me, I wasn’t expecting that.

I’m sure I read somewhere that this years marathon will be run half and half, that’s to say half the runners in London on the day and the other half running virtually. That puts a different spin on it, making my ballot place even more limited and special. Last time I was probably back down to 5k status and had less time to train, this time I’m definitely at couch status! Let’s be honest with the current lockdown and Netflix I’m lucky if I manage 200 steps on a Saturday.

Still, I’ve booked an apartment in London (they know how to charge marathon weekend don’t they – ouch!) and signed up for Runners World magazine for six months and I reckon all I can do is give it a shot. I’ll be 52 in May, I may be overweight and unfit but who knows when another opportunity like this will come up, and if this pandemic has shown us anything it’s that life is too short. We need to take every opportunity to make memories, embrace challenges and live.

Eight years after the first marathon my life has changed massively, training for this marathon will be a totally different experience. Ill be training through summer, and I’ll have to find a new route as I no longer live in the village. That could be interesting- I think it may end up being four times round the river instead – at least when the flooding and mud have eased off that is. I now work full time so fitting in training sessions is going to require more creativity. Oh, and I now have procrastinating down to a fine art. I think there are going to be some interesting times ahead.

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