I have lots to tell you, so please bear with me if I go on a little bit!
We are on the 10th January and I have already clocked up 23.50 miles (my highest ever total for a month is 46.14 miles back in September, so I’m hoping to clock up even more miles than that.
My half marathon training ready for Silverstone is underway and I am making progress in my distances. So it is going in the right direction and I am feeling strong.
Last Sunday was my first long run of my training plan – 6 miles. I have run just over 6 miles a few times before, so this shouldn’t have been too bad (it was never going to be easy – if it was I wouldn’t need to train – but I should have felt ok). It was anything but! It has to have been one of the hardest runs I have ever done. I waited in most of the day waiting for the rain to stop (my dad promised me that by 1.30pm it would be drying up! He wasn’t far out). The rain stopped, but it was still quite dark, so I headed out in my bright yellow top (bright yellow is definitely not my colour! see photo below), my compression tights and my gorgeous red Brooks.
I started my run and noticed that there were lots of puddles around, came up to one puddle, which i thought would be ok to run through, and soon realised it wasn’t. I put one foot and then the other in and the puddle came up to my ankles. My poor Brooks were very soggy and so were my socks. I looked at my watch and I had only covered 0.2 miles of my 6 mile run. I had two choices; head home and not do my long run of the week or carry on in my soggy, wet shoes, which made a squelch squelch sound everytime i put my foot down.
I decided to carry on; the easy option was to go home, but running a half marathon or any race (at least for me) is a challenge, and this run was looking like a challenge right from the start. I kept going and going, squelching along for at least two miles until I either could no longer hear the noise or my shoes had dried a little. I somehow managed to get to 3 miles and thought I couldn’t run anymore. I was so close to tears, I tried to text my friend for some encouragement, but had no signal. I had a few words with myself – I was around 3 miles from home so it was either walk home or run home – and somehow (after telling myself to just keep running) I started to run again. It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty but I did it. It definitely was my biggest test so far – even more so than my 10k race. I had to rely on myself, on remembering the things that people had said on twitter, I couldn’t rely on anyone else getting me around. I ended up with a new 10k PB too – I guess that talking to worked. Although I wasn’t sure whether I should count it having to stop for words with myself and to cross the road numerous times. I also encountered a flooded road (I was trying out a new route) so I had to turn back on myself. I would’ve needed a wet suit and flippers to get through!
I didn’t cry – but I was close. I found a way to keep going. Sometimes running feels good, sometimes it is really hard. But I’m glad of having hard, tough runs, I’m hoping it is making me mentally stronger as well as physically stronger.
It was safe to assume that my poor red Brooks were very very soggy by the time I got home and needed some drying out. It was incredibly lucky that I had ordered some aqua Blue Brooks which were delivered on Tuesday (my red Brooks were still a little damp).
I took the Aqua blue Brooks out of the box and fell instantly in love. The photos don’t do the colour justice. They are bright and such a beautiful colour, and just like my red Brooks, fit like a glove. I took them out on my Wednesday night run of 3.15 miles. I started running when it was still light, but it soon became quite dark and I almost tripped up a few times because the lighting wasn’t the best. It was the first time I had run when it was so dark, and although I almost took myself out a few times, I really enjoyed it. It felt much better than my Sunday run. I had needed to rest after my Sunday run because I have hurt my hip flexor (I think) and when I do too much it makes it hard to even walk up the stairs. My run was followed by Pilates, the first class of the year. I still enjoy it and can honestly say I’m glad the classes have started again – even if we have to do one-arm push ups! Which I still struggle with after all of these months.
I had planned 4 runs for this week, but 4 runs with my sore hip was going to be too much, so I dropped one of my runs and did two short runs and my long run.
I ran 3 miles on Friday after work and enjoyed it so much. It just felt good to be running after a day at work. There is nothing quite like that feeling of running and having time on your own to challenge yourself and think about things and reflect. I definitely do all of these during my runs – in between keeping myself going, saying hello to people and singing random songs to myself. It was another evening run, so I ran along the main road which has more lighting than around my village. My hip felt good after my run…
It was a different story on Saturday morning. I had been planning on going to step, but woke up and my hip felt sore again. Walking up the stairs was a mission, so I had to give step a miss. I was gutted but I knew I was making the right decision if I wanted to be able to do my long run – my longest ever run on Sunday (today).
I woke up this morning, had some porridge (I decided this was probably a better choice than coco pops before my run) although I did add some coco powder and some raisins to it. I was hoping that this would keep me going through my run (I was taking an energy gel with me too). I managed to wriggle myself into my smaller-size compression tights (can you imagine how happy I felt! Still have lots to lose but this was big for me! trying to get them off after my run was a mission though!) and got myself ready for my run. I was feeling really good, really positive. My Garmin took ages to find a gps signal, but eventually it did and off I went. I had set my watch up to use the virtual pacer for 13:10 minute miles, but my legs felt good and I started off a little too quickly. I was hoping this didn’t mean that I would struggle later in my run. The second mile didn’t feel great, but then I always find mile 2 hard. It got better and I kept going, I was really enjoying being outside in the countryside, running down the lanes, even if I did get lots of funny looks from car drivers.
This was a new route – I hadn’t run this one before and hadn’t driven it in my car for years. I’d checked the map beforehand but after 3 miles had a feeling I my be going the wrong way. I decided to just keep going because I was heading in roughly the right direction. It had a fair few uphillish bits which were tough and took a lot out of my legs and at one point I had to speed up to get past a lake-like puddle before a car coming up behind me drove through it and soaked me. I think I may have cried if that had of happened!! I eventually came to a road sign just before mile 4 which made me feel better knowing I hadn’t got myself lost! My sense of direction wasn’t that bad afterall. I had slightly misjudged the distance of my route and coming up to where I had started my run I was 2 miles short. I had a decision to make. Turn right and go home 2 miles short on my long run or turn left run another mile, turn around and run back to finish my 7 mile run. My legs were hurting and achey and I didn’t know if I could run anymore, but I decided to take my energy gel and keep going. I really wanted to get to that 7 mile point. After last week I couldn’t give up.
I started repeating to myself just keep going, one foot in front of the other, you can do it, you are strong and other things too. I had one earphone in and started singing to some songs too. Mile 5 was tough, but I found a little bit more in mile 6 and pushed hard to get to 7 miles. I remember checking my watch and seeing that i was at 6.40 miles and broke into a smile realising that it was already my longest run and I was just over half a mile from 7 miles. My legs hurt a lot, but I kept going and dug deep, physically and mentally.
I had just finished 7 miles. I couldn’t quite believe it! My longest run. and I had run the whole way. The whole 7 miles. It felt incredible, I felt incredible. I was so proud of myself for not giving in.
My aqua blue Brooks did me proud. As I’m sat writing this post my legs feel achey and a bit stiff, so I’m off to stretch a little more and subject myself to the evil foam roller. I just hope I can walk in the morning!
How was your running week? Are you training for anything?
Thank you all for reading and commenting.
I’m raising money for The Matt Hampson Foundation by taking part in 2016 Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon. If you would like to sponsor me visit http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/KimberleyMiles
To find out more about the Matt Hampson Foundation please visit: http://matthampsonfoundation.org/