I had a lot on today, so I decided I was going to get up and go do the session in the local park first thing. The previous day had been exceptionally hot (for the uk) this morning it was decidedly cooler and overcast. Perfect running conditions.
I was confident I could do the first 8 minutes, the second 8 minutes not so much. I’d know after the first 8 minute run how deep I’d have dug and only then really understand.
Turns out 8 minutes at my pace roughly translates into twice round the park, which was decidedly empty apart from a couple of dog walkers, one lady walking for exercise and an old boy having a smoke on one of the benches. Well at least I had one audience member for this mornings performance.
I got to the half way mark fairly easily (given the previous 5 minute runs), just kept a steady pace and kept plodding away at it and in no time at all Laura was saying it was the last 60 seconds. I’m starting to have mixed feelings about these final minute announcements. One part of me thinks yeah I can hold on for 60 seconds and the other half seems to take it as a cue to start slacking off on form. I’m starting to think it’s not wholly because of fatigue.
Recovery time was about 90 seconds, my feet where aching as always but on the whole I didn’t feel that bad. The 5 minute recovery period was more than I needed, even my feet had even stopped aching.
The first half of the second 8 minute run was fairly easy, legs were heavier than the first run but my form was under control. When Laura gave the half way call, I knew I was going to make it but I also knew it was going to get tough.
Sure enough the last 90 seconds and I’m really starting to feel it, my breathing is starting to get messy, followed inevitably by my old friend rising nausea. I’m starting to dig in and it’s not fun. There’s no doubt I’m going to finish, I’m not going to fail so close to the end and ruin all the good work, but the last 30 seconds was decidedly unpleasant. Not helped by the fact I’m trying to push myself by not slowing down, in the hope it’ll count in the next session.
Laura finally chirps in after what seems like an age and I slip back into a post-run stagger. Took me about 3 minutes to recover after this trip back into hell. As always, there’s no celebration, no mental pat on the back my mind is already starting to figure out what today’s performance means for the next session. The big 2 – 0!
It still seems like a step too far. I’ve climbed the foothills and it’s taken 5 weeks to get here but that 20 minute target sits there like Everest, towering above everything I’ve achieved to date. I tell myself that it’s only 4 more minute’s than today’s run and try to to ignore the annoying voice pointing out the fact it took a halfway 5 minute walk to achieve that.
Part of me knows the truth, I’ve got at best 15 mins (and probably less) if I perfectly pace myself, but that last 5 minutes (or more) is going to be somewhere I don’t think I’ve been before, and experience tells me it’s probably not going to be fun. We’ll find out on Friday one way or another. Note to self start slow! The only positive thought is if I can do 20 minutes then I can definitely do 30 minutes, so the rest of the program should get easier.
Today’s playlist is curtesy of Peter Gabriel who’s back catalogue seems to have finally turned up on Amazon’s music service. Over the years the number of albums I’ve had that weren’t available on digital services has slowly dwindled, after the Beatles, PG had been the last artist, so it’s been a while. Anyway picked my favourites and shoved them into an hour long playlist about to get the “running” re-interpretation:
Was the featured track for most of the first run. I love this track, more for it’s frenetic tribal drumming, it’s a great pace maker, of course that doesn’t stop the lyrics being twisted:
The land here is strong
Strong beneath my feet
It feeds on the blood
It feeds on the heat
For strong read unyielding, I’m doing a rare run on tarmac, I’m pretty sure I’m leaving bloody foot prints on the asphalt.
I’m showered with the dust
The spirit enters into me
And I submit to trust
Self-conscious and uncertain, err check and check. Dust, well it was the hottest day of the year so far yesterday, for my purposes I’m running through a desert. I submit to trust, yup I’m trusting that Laura isn’t going to kill me.
This kicked in about 2 minutes into the last 8 minute run and my brain picked up on every word of potential encouragement:
Let your spirit stay unbroken, may you not be deterred
Hold on, you have gambled with your own life
You face the night alone
They do not see the road to freedom
That you build with flesh and bone
Pete is right on message and with perfect timing and it’s a message that doesn’t need translation. Given my age and fitness levels he’s not far off about gambling with my life.
You want to resist them, you do your best
They take you to your limits, they take you beyond
For all that they are doing there’s no way to respond
Hold on, hold on
The “them” in this context is the clamouring of thoughts that want me to quit. I’m certainly beyond my limits by this point, my stomach is making that very clear and the only response is to hold on, I don’t need to respond – keep a steady pace. Stay on target.
Though you may disappear, you’re not forgotten here
And I will say to you, I will do what I can do
You may disappear, you’re not forgotten here
And I will say you you, I will do what I can do
And I will do what I can do
I will do what I can do
I can guarantee you there’ll be one old man smoking on a bench who won’t forget what he saw here today, it’ll be a subject of amusement down the pub for sure. But, I will do what I can do, which is finish this bloody run.
So onwards and upwards, it’s time to get the climbing gear out, there’s a mountain that needs climbing.
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