Thursday, 4 October 2012

What’s a runner without any races?

For me, my busiest racing period ever was the 8 months from September 2011 to May 2012. During that time I ran:

17 Sep 2011 – Dublin Half Marathon
13 Nov 2011 – Poppy Half Marathon (Bexhill)
20 Nov 2011 - Old Deer Park 10K (Richmond)
07 Jan 2012 - Southern California Half Marathon(Irvine)
19 Feb 2012 – Brighton Half Marathon
04 Mar 2012 - Regent's Park 10K
24 Mar 2012 - Maxifuel Half Marathon (Dorney Lake, Windsor)
27 May 2012 - Edinburgh - 4:49:28 (PB)

Part of the reason for this was my obsession with running a sub-2 half. The other reason was because I enjoyed it! Races were no longer scary events that I knew nothing about. The whole race day routine became normal—I knew how to prepare and what was going to happen. Easy!

While I’m very proud of all the races I did during that time, @brazilliangunner pointed out that one of the reasons why I might not have cracked that 2 hour mark was because I was racing too much, and that I should focus on a few big races a year. TBH at the time I was doing a lot of running and enjoying the races too much to think about it. But now as I struggle to find time for my training, it feels like the right thing to do.

Last week, I signed up for the Brighton Half Marathon. There have been some serious organizational issues every time I’ve run it (Conegate, anyone?), but it’s my home race and what could be easier than hopping over to the start line a few miles away?

I had originally planned to focus on 2-3 big events next year, one being a marathon. But after I didn’t get into London I decided that I would just wait for now, and see how things were going after the Brighton Half. Besides, at the moment just getting through a half marathon training plan will feel like an accomplishment.

For the first time in a long time I will have only 1 race on my calendar. It feels strange and kind of lazy, but for me it’s the right thing. I will be able to focus on getting that balance between running and work, and I hope I find it in the end.

So what’s a runner without any races?

A runner who is trying to find her running self again!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Yes, I’ve been scared to run!

I love why have I been so scared to do it?

Since starting a new job in March, my tweeting, blogging, and running have been sporadic to say the least. I went from running 40 miles a week to not running for weeks at a time. I was able to squeeze in enough training to run my first marathon in May, do an open water swim in June, and then eeked through a sprint triathlon in August. But I was so slow on the bike that I was one of the last people on the course! 

I thought the sprint tri would reinvigorate my training, especially with the London Triathlon coming up, but it didn’t. Post-tri I did well for about a week, but then crazy work hours and travel got in the way once again. After struggling so much on the bike in Seaford and not being able to get any more training in....I reluctantly withdrew from the London Tri. Well....I was reluctant, but very relieved. 

Once I withdrew from the London Tri, I should have just run for fun whenever I had the time. Randomly during the week when I could and on weekends, definitely. No pressure, right? But instead I avoided it. Partly because I knew that I was out of shape. But mostly because I was scared. 

Yes, scared to run.

Scared to start clawing back some of my fitness only to have to lose it again when things got crazy at work. Scared to feel the stress of not being able to train when I had a race coming up (even though I had no races planned). Scared to feel like I was running for the first time ever.

Typical work stress and trying to fit my running around work had turned something I loved into something I dreaded. Suddenly I was scared....I just didn’t want to do it. 

Irrational and stoopid, I know. And an all-around poor excuse. I see so many of you with such an amazing commitment to getting it done. Day after day, getting up hours before sunrise, going on runs at the office, running at night after dinner! How do you guys do it?!

So the bottom line of all this fear and whinging is I haven’t been very good at fitting running around work, despite my efforts to become a dedicated member of the 6am club before I ended my career break. I don’t think it’s going to get any easier, but I finally hit the point where the stress of not running finally outweighed the stress of finding time to run. (Okay, the fact that I couldn’t get one of my skirts over my butt the other day was probably another contributing factor).

I have finally accepted that any running was good running, even if it was ‘only’ 2ish miles. No longer will I worry about fitting time in for 4 miles or 6 miles or 8 miles, and then giving up because there wasn’t enough time. I will now be happy with anything, even if I’m just running around the block. Or up and down the hall in my flat!

I ran for the first time in 5 weeks this morning. I struggled as I plodded along, nearly hyperventilating. And while I felt scared before I took the first few steps, I have to admit that it felt like being with an old friend by the time I got to the end of the road.

One day down, and my goal is to just get out there every day this week.

No more fear. I hope.....

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Review: South Coast Triathlon, Seaford - 18 August 2012

Yesterday, I did my very first triathlon--the South Coast Tri in Seaford. I wanted to do a sprint triathlon in preparation for London and this race seemed ideal: a good one for beginners and just a short drive away from Brighton.

One of my biggest worries about my first tri was the weather. I'm a very inexperienced and fearful cyclist, so the last thing I wanted to deal with was cycling on wet roads. Luckily, it turned out to be a beautifully sunny day! Almost too sunny...

The sprint tri had a very civilized start time of 11:45, but since it was my first and I didn't know what to expect, we left the house at 9:00 to leave plenty of time. By the time we arrived at 9:30 some of the other races were in full swing, and I could see cyclists and runners out on the course. No wait to register, just collected my race packet and had my number written on the side of my arm and leg. I also picked up my goodie back which included a bottle of Gatorade.

After running to the loo (I'd been hydrating to prepare for the heat) I headed into the transition area. With other races in progress, it was busy and crowded with bikes and lots of kit. I finally found a spot to rack my bike and lay out my stuff. Lots more to think about and prepare for compared to my usual running races, but pretty soon it was time to get into my wetsuit and head over to the swim start.