Better, much better

IMG_3571To quote The Amanda Show, tonight’s run was “Better, MUUUCCCHHH Better”.

After the hames that was Tuesday night’s effort I went out this evening under not inconsiderable trepidation. What if it was bad again? Will it knock me back? Will I take another break and feel like I’m back to square one again? You know the drill.

In the end I needn’t have worried. Sticking to the C25K Week 2 schedule and deciding to run 5k again I knocked over two minutes off Tuesday’s time and, in fact, set my fastest time since I started recording using my Garmin.

The first km was under eight minutes again, the following three under nine minutes with the last kilometre back under eight and, actually, faster than the first. That shows promising progress. Next week the plan changes again, longer running splits so hopefully my times will continue to improve.

IMG_3572There was no point in the run where I felt I struggled and I didn’t clomp. Granted I didn’t force things but I worked on my breathing – four in, four out – and that seemed to work and make things much smoother.

I also wore a new piece of kit, knee length compression socks which have an anti-blister device built in. Hopefully they’ll do the trick of my white socks and compression sleeves combined which will mean less faffing about. They felt pretty good.

I’m up to 19 miles for the month. All good advice says you should aim to increase distance by 10% per week/month/whatever so seeing as I did 21 in June that’ll mean I’ll need to clock up around 4 miles to bring me up to 23 for July. I’ll give that a go on Sunday.

Now that I know I’ve got a marathon place again I’ve found my focus changing, everything is geared towards that now.

“I could go to London” (again!)

Asthma 2016Actually, there’s no ‘could’ about it, I am going to London again.

Yesterday I got a call followed by an email from Asthma UK offering me a charity place in next year’s London Marathon. Bloody brilliant!

It wasn’t quite the “running around like a mad thing crossed with a headless chicken on speed” feeling that I had last year when I got my ballot place but it still had me grinning like a Cheshire Cat and still filled me full of excitement.

After all the drama in the build-up and then the day itself of the 2016 VLM I’ve always felt I had unfinished business with this race – and now I’m going to get my chance.

Hopefully, second time around and with the experience of having done it all before, I’ll avoid the well intentioned but innocent mistakes I made first time out.

Plus I’ve got a fundraising target to hit this time – £1800 – which is a bit daunting but I’m full of ideas and I’ve got nine months or more to hit it.

But forget all that for now ….. I’m doing the London Marathon again! Woo-hoo!!!!!!

Well, that was a bit rubbish – or was it?

IMG_3541Another training run tonight – 5km – and my slowest time over the distance for quite a while.

On the face of it that would suggest a crap run. I’ll not deny it, it wasn’t great at times but there can be positives to be taken from it.

After a stressful evening trying to get Michelle onto the right train back to Hastings from London, not the easiest job in the world when what she sees on the station boards contradicts what I’m seeing online – but we managed it.

Next task was to book her flights home, stupidily expensive given the short timescale and frustrating when the prices went up in front of my very eyes – but again I managed to get something sorted at a price that didn’t totally cripple me.

With all that behind me I decided to go out for my run, to burn off some of that stress and to stick to my schedule, more or less.

Getting ready, I decided to wear my compression sleeves to help my calves. It was a real struggle getting them on and they felt really tight, tighter than I remember but I put that down to the increased fluid in my legs recently.

It was raining, fairly heavily, but that didn’t put me off. It encouraged me, in fact, because I thought I would have the playing fields to myself and could just do a few laps and come back home.

But, oh no, that couldn’t do, could it? For some inexplicable reason there were three young lads out in the middle of the fields playing golf. GOLF!!!!! I mean, come on, really? Golf? In the pouring rain?

Yes, yes, I know – I was also out in the rain, in shorts and a t-shirt but that’s different, so shoosh.

Now, normally if there’s people in the fields but no dogs I’d carry on and run around the pitches anyway but I didn’t fancy trying to dodge golf balls all evening.

Anyway, so I set off on the run, heading towards the industrial estate from the opposite direction (ie: not via the dual carriageway) and I decided to go as hard and fast as I could.

In the end, I was three seconds faster over the first 1000 metres than I was on Sunday but, more pleasing, I actually saw my top pace increase to 7.5mph compared to 6.3 last time out.

Unfortunately that ‘speed’ came back to bite me on the arse for the rest of the run and I really felt it, my legs quickly became tired and heavy (I wonder what effect the compression sleeves had?) and felt as if I was clomping rather than running. The C25K program only pencilled in a 20-min session but since I was combining distance with the schedule I knew I had to push on for the full three miles.

Everyone of the remaining km splits were considerably slower than they had been, except for the last one so perhaps that was a sign my legs were recovering after the fast start.

It’s all a learning curve and I’m not particularly annoyed about the total time. We all get ‘bad’ runs from time to time, after all, and we will continue to get them.

Running for people who think they can't