A mate of mine – the glamazon that is Rebecca – suggested that I join her for the Kingston Breakfast Run which took place today. I’d been talking to her a while back about the fact that I needed a running buddy. I’ve struggled running on my own since I’ve started racking up the miles. Running for 2 + hours is hard work – mentally and physically – and a little distraction goes a long way.
I sussed out the KBR and fortunately / unfortunately (depending on your view point) there were places still available. So I signed up and the pair of us doing the run together became part of Mel’s master marathon plan.
To the uninitiated the KBR is an 8.2 mile course starting from the town centre, then out and back along the Thames footpath. However you can do TWO laps of the course – turning it into a sixteen miler. Awesome huh?
Little known fact: It’s the longest run that I’ve ever done. After Reading I was feeling pretty confident about it and had started to think seriously about times, mile splits blah blah blah. Rebecca unfortunately had to drop out yesterday – knee trauma – so all of a sudden it became a little intimidating. Scary even.
I gave myself a stiff talking to last night. I decided that I’d just go along with the aim of getting round in an *ok* (aka 10 minute mile) time. Easy right?
It always amuses me when you turn up to things like this, the amount of people that look so serious. Rushing here and then, doing the most strenuous looking stretches, plugging in their gadgets and gizmos, glugging away on energy drinks and looking incredibly worried / scared etc. I bumped into a couple of friends – Rob and Dean – at the start so we shot the breeze and took the rise out of the *far too serious* people for a little while before hitting the mean streets of Kingston.
When you run on your own and your head is in a good space it’s great; you feel invincible, your run is similar to the proverbial walk in the park and you feel as if you can keep going forever. Not so much when you’re struggling – your confidence wanes, your body starts to REALLY hurt (way more than normal) and your brain just goes into nuclear meltdown. Well that’s what happens to me anyway.
I always listen to music when I run – it’s a prime source of distraction – however my nano (it’s new and most probably the worst apple purchase I’ve ever made – Mr. Jobs I am NOT a happy bunny) decided it would alternate between skipping tracks, telling me what audio books I’d downloaded recently and generally not doing what it is supposed to do. Very bloody annoying. So I gave up, switched it off and ran au naturel from mile 5 onwards.
At that point the thoughts floating around in my head are along the lines of:
- Can I do this?
- Do I actually want to do this?
- Can I stop now?
- Is that a blister forming on my right foot?
- Where’s the next water station?
You get the picture? And that overwhelming cacophony continued on (and on and on etc.) for another 11 miles.
I decided that sucking it up was the only option. “Dear legs, lungs, feet etc. Shut up with your complaining now please. You’re not getting a rest till we’ve finished. If you could just comply that would be great. Thanking.”
To my merit I got a lick on for the last mile or so and the final scores on the doors looked like this; sixteen miles in 2 hours 37 minutes. Not bad. It’s sub 10 minute mile pace which would give me a marathon time of around 4 hours 20 minutes. However let’s not talk about the marathon right now. It will make me hyperventilate.
The thing to be mindful of here is that we all have bad days. Becks who I ran with last weekend has been having a bit of a mare this week despite being speedy gonzales last week. The trick is not to get consumed by it. Acknowledge it for what it is – a blip – and then simply gird your loins and crack on with the job at hand.
Twenty miles next weekend. God help me. More to the point God help whoever I end up running with….