Sometimes I surprise myself. I mean, really surprise myself.
Tonight’s run was my ‘long’ run this week, four miles, to complete the first week of my Loch Ness marathon training. It was also the second run of ‘week’ eight of the fast track C25K I’m putting myself through, which meant another 24-minute run, although as usual I intended to carry on to bring myself up to the required marathon training distance. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Anyway, yesterday I made it to the 24 minutes without much difficulty but struggled with consistency and focus for the remainder of the run, and that was only over 5k. Given that precedent there was surely no way tonight would be any different, especially given the longer distance.
But, guess what, it was different and it was so much better!
Knowing I had a longer run ahead of me surely the sensible thing to do would be to pick a ‘friendly’ route. Yet, no, I decided to start almost immediately with a long steady climb followed by a short dip and another steady rise.
I felt fine. I kept my pace at a comfortable level and although I was some 30+ seconds slower than last week over the first mile on the same route I wasn’t particularly worried. I had bigger fish to fry.
The required C25K 24-minutes came but I decided to run on a little bit just to see if I could mentally do it. I made it to 25:37 before the mind games kicked in, so I stopped for a walk break.
However, after no more than sixty seconds, something switched in my head so I decided to go for it and see if I could make it the rest of the way home without stopping, in effect another 24 minutes.
Since carrying on beyond whatever the C25K schedule had instructed me had been an issue previously it was a huge deal for me to shout down the voices in my head that told me I didn’t need to do this, that I could take a break or could take a little walk.
So I made it all the way back home without stopping. The longer I went the easier it was to convince myself to just keep plugging away. I’ll be honest, it was such a relief to have done it but, at the same time, it also felt like such an achievement considering everything I’ve been battling with recently.
I’ve gone further, I’ve been faster but tonight felt like a real breakthrough. The marathon will, in all likelihood, not go ahead but I’m going to keep on at this because the benefits – both physical and mentally – are immeasurable.
Playlist: When Doves Cry (Prince), Love Goes To Building On Fire (Talking Heads), Mother (John Lennon), Swallow My Pride (Ramones), Most of the Time (Bob Dylan), People Have The Power (Patti Smith), I Want To Hold Your Hand (The Beatles), Rescue (Echo & the Bunnymen), Ray of Light (Madonna), Black Skinhead (Kanye West), Daniel (Elton John), The Sounds of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel), Get Lucky (Daft Punk), You Get What You Give (New Radicals), Safe European Home (The Clash)