Diary of an aspiring Half Marathon Runner - week 6

My targets for this week:
1. Run at least twice.
2. Try & cover at least 11 miles combined.
3. Longer run target = 8 miles.

So I’m back after two weeks break due to a friend’s wedding up t’North followed by a week in Vegas – I’m just going to be upfront & admit right now that I did zero training whilst away. 

Zip. Nada. 

I can’t even try & claim that I did some swimming as the closest I got to this was sitting at the edge of the pool, in the shade, dangling my feet in whilst engrossed in a book!  I did clock up 3 miles walking one day, but considering it took over 3 hours I don’t really think this counts as it was an extremely casual dawdle at best whilst I meandered around the air-conditioned shopping malls of Vegas! But at least I’m feeling relaxed & rejuvenated & ready to grab that bull by the horns, look it well & truly in the eye and say – I will do this, just you try & stop me!

I had a couple of days to get over the jetlag before heading out for the first (shorter) mid-week run. However willing my mind may have been, the rest of my body must have missed that memo & it started protesting pretty much right away!  The calves were the first to grumble after only half a mile, and they kept it up for a good couple of miles before they finally realised I was blatantly ignoring them & they could either behave or go on strike – thankfully they decided to behave!  Breathing was also harder than usual – it was like I’d temporarily forgotten how to breathe and run at the same time & it seemed to take me forever to get it under control & in sync with my stride.  But once the calves had warmed up & I was breathing properly it got a lot easier.  It helped me enormously to know that we had options regarding overall distance too.  Knowing I’d been away & might still be tired/jetlagged, Carrie had broken the route up into sections with the aim being “we’ll run to here and then see how you feel and then we can go this way for shorter or that way for longer”.  It really worked and at each point I assessed how I was feeling & we pressed on. I’m pleased to say we managed a little over 5 miles which was further than I expected!

To say I was looking forward to the Saturday run is an understatement – despite having a lovely time away, I had missed running and the camaraderie & chat/gossip that it brings and I was looking forward to seeing my SLJ buddies and falling back into the old routine!  It was an away run today with SLJ from Godden Green, but as we needed to get some extra miles in, we started early at Hollybush & ran out to join the main group at Godden Green.  It really was a beautiful day – the sun was shining, it was warm (but we had a nice shady run through the woods) & I was in great company – it really couldn’t have gotten much better!  The run itself felt really good too – for once I was automatically selecting the longer loops (rather than having that battle with myself in my head first before doing them reluctantly) and I didn’t seem to be trailing at the back of the pack for once – I also found I didn’t always need the breaks when we regrouped, and actually sometimes I was feeling a little impatient to set off again! By the time we got back to Hollybush we’d done our 8 miles and I felt pretty good!  I was tired, but I didn’t feel about ready to collapse like I had on the previous 8-miler. Thanks to a post-run bath with epsom salts I didn’t ache or feel stiff afterwards either so I’m taking this as a good sign for the weeks ahead as we start to increase our distance.
Later that evening the three of us noticed that we’d picked up an identical “badge of honour”! We must have been accosted by the same pesky thorn/bramble bush en-route that morning!