Ballymena Runners 8.2

fullsizerender-29“Never leave a run feeling anything negative about it. With running, you can win every day.”

So says five-time Paralympic gold medallist Noel Thatcher MBE as quoted by Vassos Alexander in his book ‘Don’t Stop Me Now. 26.2 Tales of a Runner’s Obsession’ ….. and that summed up my run today.

I was scheduled to do 24 minutes non-stop as part of the ongoing Ballymena Runners C25K programme. Apologies for repeating myself but, once again, I was full of doubt and worry going out.

To the casual reader that might sound utterly ridiculous. I’ve done a marathon, half-marathons, 10-milers and other long distances so why the hell would I be worried about a 24 minute run?

It’s simple really. A lack of belief in myself and the fear of injury has restricted me to run/walk for the majority of my running career. I was running non-stop this time last year but then it all went to hell in a handcart.

Slowly but surely – thanks to the C25K I’ve been following – I have got my confidence back but there’s still that innate fear of failure before every single run that should I break into a walk my skewed mind will interpret that as a failure of such epic proportions that it’ll send me hurtling back to square one.

But, two runs from the end of the programme, it hasn’t happened yet.

So, back to Messrs. Thatcher and Alexander. Because I was so unsure of myself before today’s run I decided to try something different and listen to some more of the aforementioned audio book.

That passage quoted at the start of this missive came a couple of minutes into my run and, on reflection, inspired me throughout the remainder of the session.

I have found the book a welcome distraction. It’s only the second time I’ve listened to it whilst out running and both times I’ve produced the goods.

I was determined not to let myself down and complete the full run without stopping – and so I did. And what was really pleasing about it was that I covered more ground and went at a faster pace than I did with the group on Tuesday night.

Fair enough, it wasn’t massively better but it’s all about marginal gains, right?

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Ballymena Runners 8.1

fullsizerender-28The end is nigh! We’ve reached week eight of the Ballymena Runners C25K programme and with it the end of the walking breaks.

That’s right, we’re into continuous running now which is quite a huge psychological hurdle if I was to dwell on it for any length of time.

Tonight was a straightforward 24 minute run. Nothing more, nothing less. Just running until time was up.

Guess what? I wasn’t up for it. I felt sick with nerves as per usual. But tonight seemed to be worse because I wasn’t feeling well on top of it.

I’d spent large parts of the day either dozing on the sofa or in bed, I had no energy, my eyes were burning and I was generally lacking in enthusiasm for anything really. I couldn’t get warmed up either, no matter how I tried.

Was it my Diabetes playing up (my levels were bang on the money though) or is it the onset of a cold? I guess the next few days will tell a tale.

But I’ve come this far so I wasn’t going to miss a session now. I went out, feeling extremely quiet and withdrawn, keeping myself very much to myself.

Off we set, and right from the beginning I found it quite difficult going. Not that the pace was any faster than normal but more because I just felt weak.

However, I did the full 24 minutes without stopping even though it was only really in the latter part of the run that I began to settle into it. Happily my left calf, which had been troubling me a bit over the past couple of days, reacted well without any noticeable side effects.

As before, I’ll need to do this once more and then again at parkrun on Saturday ….. assuming I haven’t been rendered immobile by the dreaded lurgy by then!

parkrun 29.10.16

fullsizerender-27As I hinted in my last entry I went to parkrun this morning, only my fifth time doing it.

I love it as a concept but because it’s a 35-40 minute walk away from me I don’t attend it that often. It’s also bloody fast! I regularly check other parkrun results and my local one is always amongst the quickest and that puts me off.

Anyway, I’ve become more confident with my running recently so I attended this morning, using it to do the third of this week’s Ballymena Runners C25K schedule, a 20 minute run.

I knew the other members of the group would be starting at the back of the main body of runners but I thought they’d start at the same time. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. They started around 30 yards back which was fair enough if they weren’t intending to do the full parkrun.

However, I wanted to so when the group leader blew his whistle for everyone to start I set off expecting the rest to come with me …. only they didn’t, so I was left in the unusual position of effectively running in no man’s land – ahead of the C25K group but behind the parkrun tailrunner!

Undeterred, I plugged away on my own and tried to hunt down the tailrunner, getting fairly close in places whilst I could also hear the group coming behind me being encouraged by the leader to try and catch me – and I was buggered if I was going to let them do that!

I kept going until I got to the 20 minute mark which fulfilled my C25K commitment, so I took my two minute walk which, of course, coincided with exactly the place the course photographer had been stationed. Sod’s law!

On I went around the course, quite satisfied that I was setting a good time. I was joined by a couple of club runners who had already completed their morning run but had come back out onto the course so they accompanied me home, encouraging me all the way.

I knew that because I was behind the tailrunner that the official timer would have packed up by the time I got to the finish but, to my delight, he offered to input my time manually based on what it said on my watch …. so my time of 39:07 will go down in the official records.

Although over four minutes slower than my personal best, it did mark my fastest time this year and, crucially, means I’ve finally dipped below 40 minutes, a time that has been frustrating me for quite a while. Psychologically that is a huge thing for me.

A successful  parkrun return ….. dare I go for it next week again?