My longest run since August 2016 – powered by Walking in Memphis and Eye of the Tiger

I am currently writing the start of this blog post, lay on the floor with my legs up against the wall. Like so…

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And that is because I ran my furthest distance without walking since August 2016. I didn’t run a marathon or half marathon or even 10k like so many people did today, but to me this was huge. 5.16 miles of running and I felt like I could’ve gone further. But I didn’t. I’m still very conscious of my hip pain. It doesn’t hurt when I run, but I get some pain the day after. I need to look after these legs. I also really needed a drink. I hadn’t took one with me as I hadn’t planned on being out running for an hour and my mouth was so dry. I decided to be sensible and not push myself anymore for today.

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I tried to start off slower today so I had enough left to reach 4 miles, as my longest run had been 3.13 miles this year. The route I had chosen I was sure would be roughly 4-5 miles, but I forgot to recall that it included some tough inclines!!

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(You’ll be pleased to know that I’m not lay with my legs up the wall anymore!)

I started my run and felt like I was going “too fast” so checked my Garmin and tried to slow myself down to a comfortable pace. I was running along, singing in my head and feeling good. I’d had risotto for tea last night and porridge for breakfast so I knew that I had enough fuel, it was just whether my head and my body would let me run further than 3.13 miles. I was feeling strong, but I had only just started my run and everyone feels fresh when they start their run. I just hoped this feeling would continue.

I reached a mile just as I was heading down the lanes. I hadn’t run this route for a while and honestly couldn’t remember much about it. I definitely didn’t realise it was quite so uphill. I tried to quicken a little in the second mile, but didn’t want to go too fast and not be able to finish my run. It was rather strange today, it took me almost until the end of my run to meet another runner and they didn’t even say hello. I enjoyed being in my own little world, running along the lanes, in the countryside, just me, the pounding of my feet on the ground (although I do think I am less heavy-footed recently!), my breathing and my music. The first hill I encountered seemed to go on forever, you know those gentle, never-ending inclines that lull you into a false sense of being at the top only to continue when you go around the bend. My thinking when I used to get to a hill was to get up it anyway I could. Now I let my feet take the lead and try to run up them strongly. As I was running up this incline, the song playing was Eye of the Tiger (one of my favourite songs to hear when I run) and no matter how tough this incline was, there was not a single chance I wasn’t going to get to the top whilst that song was playing. Halfway up I had a fleeting thought of “you could turn around here and then you’d be running downhill for a little bit” but I pushed that thought away and started singing along to Eye of the Tiger again.

The sense of relief at reaching the top of the incline was short-lived. I turned the corner and there was yet another uphill bit. I wasn’t sure if I was enjoying my run or whether to just turn back. Uphill has never been my friend. As a girl carrying quite a few extra pounds, running is hard, running uphill is incredibly hard. But I seem to have developed a sheer bloodymindedness and have unearthed a determination like never before. The song changed on my playlist to Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn (not really an obvious choice for a running playlist, but it is one of my all time favourite songs). I sang this song as I was running up the incline and it seemed to give me a boost. I was running uphill, I felt strong and my pace was quicker than the previous 2 miles. If anyone had run past me they may have thought I was a total loon singing along to Walking in Memphis, but it worked and I eventually hit a downhill part (woop woop!). At one point I almost tripped over my own feet (I obviously wasn’t used to running downhill!). I was definitely feeling strong and enjoying my run by now (although trying not to eat any flies that seem to love to fly at your mouth – eww) and felt like I could run forever. I wasn’t going to though – I had to be sensible.

I was heading towards mile 4 and in the distance I could see another incline in front of me. It looked really steep, but it didn’t look like it lasted for too long. I picked up some speed and ran as fast as my little legs would carry me up this hill. I was listening to a song that we sometimes do Step aerobics too and having another sing song (even though I don’t know the right words). Singing seems to help me, it means I breathe properly (this may sound silly but I sometimes find my breathing hard to control when I run), it makes me forget a little about how tough my run is and it makes me smile. I have done one race without music and it was the longest 13.2 miles I have ever known. But having my Aftershokz means I can hear what is happening around me and still have my music.

I got to the top of the incline and another runner ran by, he barely even acknowledged me. I wonder if he was having a tough run? I still wasn’t back to the point where I started running, but could only have around half a mile to go. It was a strange feeling, still feeling strong, still feeling like I had plenty in my legs and knowing that I had almost finished my longest run in months. A big smile broke out onto my face and I felt nothing but proud of this run. I got back to the point where I had started and I hadn’t quite got to 5 miles, so I decided to carry on so I could get to 5 miles. I then looked at my apple watch and saw that I was almost at 60 minutes. So, my brain does funny things and I had to reach 60 minutes and I had to get to 5 miles. So, I kept running and running. My apple watch clicked over 60 minutes as my Garmin hit 5.16 miles. I stopped running and instantly felt like I should’ve done another mile – I could’ve done a 10k. But that was a silly idea. I had already run 2 miles further than I had in my Sunday run last week and I needed to be sensible.

This run is one run I am so so proud of. Inclines, negative splits (unintentional), feeling strong. Long may this continue. This tops of a slightly up and down week where training is concerned.

On Tuesday I was going to go for a run before Kettlercise, but there was no way I could go for a run when my gorgeous nephew was here. I needed cuddles and smiles. Instead I took my nephew on a 30 minute walk around the village in his pushchair. I’m definitely counting that as cross training. I had forgotten how hard it could be pushing a pushchair. I then went to Kettlercise later on – I still haven’t quite got the hang of some of the difficult combinations our instructor has put together so this programme is a big challenge. But I’m not someone to give in! I had an epic fail with my apple watch. I set it to record my kettlercise workout, but somehow managed to stop my workout at 7 minutes.

Wednesday I went for a 2.5 mile run around my village. I did laps around my village, including a tough run up a road which I often tend to avoid because it is an incline that seems to go on forever. In fact I think it is only around 0.34 miles. But those 0.34 miles are hard! I didn’t go to my Pilates class on Wednesday night because I went to a meal with people from work. Is it sad that I really missed my Pilates class?

On Thursday I woke up with a horrible pain in my ankle/foot. My foot and inner ankle felt tender to touch and when I put my foot on the floor I had pain up the side of my lower leg. I literally have no idea what it was but it made walking around at work a struggle and also meant no run on Thursday. BOO!!!

My friend text me at lunchtime on Friday with a single word – CIRCUITS? My reply was simple. DEFINITELY! We have both grown to love circuits – you never quite know what you might be doing and we always have a giggle too. This week we were split into 3 groups – 2 stations had strength exercises and one had a cardio exercise and we moved around each station. I had no idea what I had to do for a few exercises so I just copied everyone else and hoped for the best. We used these weighted tube things which had handles for some exercises (I cannot for the life of me remember what they are called). A few times I looked at my friend with an expression which said what the hell do I do with this. Haha!

This week I have done 2 classes, a 30 minute walk and ran 7.66 miles. Not quite what my plan said, but plans can be adapted and I’m not going to be too hard on myself not getting 3 runs in – I have to look after my body and listen to it. I can’t cope with anymore injuries.

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I hope you have all had good weeks. Are you in training for anything?

Happy running

K 🙂

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