I came too around 6:30am and my first conscious thought (other than I need a pee, yeah I’m at that age) was I need to run today. Followed by the realisation that the sooner I got it done the less time I’d waste worrying about it, I crawled out of bed, threw on my running gear and headed to the local park. A glorious summer morning, not too warm yet and a slight breeze perfect running conditions.
Walking up to the park, I replayed the last session. I told myself this was going to be bloody hard, it was not going to be fun and I would at least do more than 14 minutes. I mentally broke the run down into 4 x 5 minutes in my mind. The thought of the next 25m run raised its head and I angrily stamped it down, I was here to run today’s run. Not a marathon.
The local park was strangely busy, I had been here a few times now and this was the busiest I’d seen it. So this is where all the fit people are, they are in the park at seven in the morning. There were several runners, wannabes like myself and even a couple of real runners. One lady, who looked like she was part antelope passed me and I was envious of her gliding effortless pace. In spite of her stature, she was running at a truly stunning speed, very close to what I would consider a sprint. I put it out of my mind and got my head down.
The first 10 minutes weren’t going to be too much of a problem I knew that, I focussed in on the moment, just keeping my form and not thinking. I noticed a few of the runners were running a longer path around the park, I hadn’t even spotted, which also had the benefit of being in the shade. That extended the run around the park from about 5 minutes a lap to close to 8, my brain was already doing the math’s to calculate where I had to get to too stop.
I got to the 8-minute mark and was starting to feel it, so I just eased back a bit. Laura chimed in with 60 seconds to go and I tried not to take it as a cue to change anything. Just keep the same pace. At the 10 minute mark, I was ok. I realised at about a minute into the 3-minute walk that my feet weren’t hurting. They usually kill me in these walks, this time however pretty much nothing. Well, that was progress. I was recovered by the 90-second mark and took the remaining 90 seconds to get some deep breaths in and stretch a bit in my walking.
The 10m run starts and all I’m thinking is get to 5 minutes at least that would be better than last time. Constantly trying to keep a slow steady pace and not waste any effort. The 5-minute mark came surprisingly quickly, I had to remind myself I was here to run today not tomorrow and keep putting the 25m run out of my mind.
The last 5 minutes I was under no illusions was going to be tough. My breathing was slowly spiralling out of control and my legs were getting heavy. My brain had calculated the likely finish line and it was far on the other side of the park.
Before coming out for the run I had watched a news bulletin about 12 Thai kids (and their coach) stuck deep in a flooded cave, the story had been running for a few days after the miracle that they had been found. This mornings update was all bad news, a Thai Navy Seal had died delivering oxygen to the slowly suffocating kids buried 4km underground. And here I was on a lovely sunbathed morning, sucking in fresh air thinking I was in hell, f**** me!
I got to to the 8-minute mark and knew I had done it. I also knew the next 2 minutes was going to be unpleasant, my breathing by this point was very much like the noise of a chugging steam train. The last-minute as advertised was not fun but I was still berating myself for thinking “I” was having a tough time. Pussy!
I had finished it. Yes, it was tough but in the BIG scheme of things, it was a walk in the park. I was annoyed again that I had failed it the first time, more annoyed than on the day. A firm reminder that this was very much a mental game with some physical elements.
Of course, I didn’t even get to the gate before the thought of the W6R3 – 25m run was back, I wish I could just somehow celebrate the moment, these small victories. With the exception of the 20m run, my only thought after every run is “right, what’s next”. Actually, it’s probably a good thing because the only time I ever did give myself a pat on the back I managed to convince myself I was Mo Farah.
Here we are again. I’ve read that the brain has an extraordinary ability to find patterns in things. But for some reason in this instance it can’t join up the dots, this is the same mindset at the start of every new run and every time I’ve found a way. Every single time! So why am I sitting here writing this convinced it’s impossible.
Walking back I’d almost convinced myself I should re-run today, you know to build up more stamina, get more metres under my belt. Which is utter nonsense, it is better to try and to fail than not to try at all, I won’t be beaten before I even make the field. So the next run will be W6R3 and we’ll see what is out there, ideally, it will be only me running.
Music-wise today I went with my “running” playlist of inspirational tracks, I’ve commented on all of them before so nothing new here I’m afraid. Although that bloody Flames track by Sia still stands out at the moment for being on message.
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