You know that Paula Radcliffe feeling I mentioned in my last post? Yeah, well, I lost it oh, maybe one minute in, on my second parkrun.
It`s been so long since I`ve run competitively, I realise I`ve got a mountain to climb. Last year I did a run a month. Looking back, I think maybe I overdid it. Which is why the foot ligament injuries and the back ache have been slower to heal. And why I got two chest infections in one year. Gotta love hindsight.
Luckily, I`ve managed to keep my running fitness up to a certain level. But it`s not enough for running a half marathon and not enough for running the marathon in October. I followed the Hal Higdon marathon plan right up until last week but thinking through what I`d learnt from my first parkrun and weighing up how slowly my feet are healing, I`ve decided to pull the plug on marathon participation this year.
I need more speed. January 2012 I ran five miles in forty five minutes. No, not wonderful. But better than what I did as last weeks parkrun-almost ten minutes miles and a shorter run. And I`d got faster over 2012. Right up until the marathon. In fact, if my feet hadn`t crashed at the twelve mile point in the marathon I would have been on track to do it in four hours thirty minutes.I don`t want to run my second marathon slower than my first one.
So instead of doing Hal Higdon`s plan last week, I changed to emphasize speed. My long slow run became a shorter faster one. Luckily, I`d kicked with more interval training from the begining of August so that speed isn`t a complete shock to my system now and on Tuesday I had great fun doing a three mile route as fast as I could. Any time I`d stop-which was very frequently-I made myself walk back until I was ready to run quickly again. That way, I covered more ground and motivated myself to keep running. And it was fun. Boy, the fun matters.
In the back of my head, I`d parkrun PB. Really I should be able to have a few PBs at the begining. I know they won`t be as easy to find after that but I`m learning the route and learning parkrun tactics now and as these elements kick into place I should have a better idea about how to pace myself.
Yesterday, for instance, I took off fairly fast(for me!). I could easily I`ve got stuck in behind some crawlers. Gotta love the crawlers though. There`s such a mixed bag in there.
There was one older guy who looked like he`d slept in a tee-shirt and then pulled on a pair of shorts that were lying on the floor. Only to discover that they were actually his son`s shorts. Certainly, there were a size too small for him. Of course I only assumed all that, as I passed him out. Then there was a girl with “I`m Active” inscribed in cloth letters on her arse. Only there wasn`t a single element of her anatomy that suggested she was in the least bit active, except, perhaps the fact that she was waddling her way through the run. And a guy with halitosis. Whew! I heard him first. He was wheezing badly. It wasn`t until I passed him that I caught the halitosis problem. Oh man. I couldn`t run fast enough.
But that became the problem. I couldn`t run fast enough.
My Garmin is resisting all attempts at resuscitation so I`m stuck with Runkeeper for now. Post run analysis on that shows that my run averaged out at 9 min 04 second miles. Which is grand for me. But what it also shows is that, by the last mile, I`d slowed down to a whopping 9 min 26 secs per mile. Ooohh, lazy old me!
The crap that was going through my head at that last mile was unbelievable. Only, I plainly believed it. My Inner Saboteur kept punching me with every negative statement in her book
“This run is too long”
“You want to stop” “You`re not getting any better you know”
“All the time you put into running and this is the best you can do”
“You should stick to something you`re good at. Plainly, it`s not running”
Man in Shorts passed me out. The I`m Active Woman passed me out. Even Halitosis wheezed past. Plainly, I was an even bigger crawler than I`d taken them for.
But my body actually felt fine. Slightly achy feet and back but nothing serious. Is this just all laziness then?
With the finish in sight, I did my usual burst. Nothing exciting. Just a little extra kick. I almost even caught up with I`m Active but I only got close enough to have a re read of her arse before I lined up for position and place tracking.
I felt like I`d had a hopeless run, but when I whipped out Runkeeper, read the stats and then the splits, I could see that I`m almost back at the nine minute mile level and would have been, if that last mile hadn`t kicked in with all that headstuff negativity. And, if I could actually keep up the decent pace of the first two miles.
Ok then, lessons learned for next week:
Get Garmin fixed.
Put in the earphones to block out Inner Saboteur.
Keep up the training plan
Check out the route before the race to find my optimal point for kickstarting my race finish
Don`t snigger at the crawlers