Another busy, busy week – slightly more breathing space on the work front but a lot more going on on the social front! One full week left and then it is Christmas … and I am counting down the days – December is creeping by very, very slowly.
On another front – I am slightly concerned. I hope I am just thinking this because I am really excited about my six week holiday coming up. But. Generally I love my job. I really do. I think I am ridiculously lucky to have a job I enjoy, fantastic colleagues, and it is something that pays well. I don’t even usually mind the long hours because (1) I chose the job, (2) the pay is good because we never work the 9-5s and (3) I really enjoy it. I got bored when I did work a 9-5. The evenings were soooo long and in the winter there is not a huge amount to do unless you want to spend money. I went to the gym a lot. But recently I have been feeling a little as if I am struggling to keep my head above water, counting down the days to this break after Christmas. I guess we will just have to see what happens when I get back in February!
Anyway – onto the running.
Run 1 – the interval run
I got this one out of the way nice and early at Monday lunch, after a 9am call with a client. Stuck to the one minute on, one minute off, using the metronome, but increased the speeds. Next week I am moving to proper intervals. I think I am ready for some speed now….
Run 2 – the long run
This was wonderful. James has been away at a conference this week which makes getting up in the morning a hell of a lot easier as I can leave all the lights on, have the radio on, bring a coffee to bed … without someone fast asleep and warm and cosy beside me! So on Thursday morning I set my alarm for 6am, an hour earlier than normal, had a banana, some coffee and some water (learning my lessons from last week!) and left the house into the pitch black at 6.30am. I had 8 miles to do and so I took a slightly longer route to work, involving running up to the Thames and then running along the Thames a little, before crossing over at London Bridge and running along into Canary Wharf.
Run 3 – the tempo run
I did not want to go to Park Run on Saturday morning. I went out for dinner with a friend who has been having a slightly hard time of it at work and ended up staying out with her longer than I had planned. I was well-behaved on the drinking front, but just wasn’t in bed when I had wanted to. So I just felt exhausted on Saturday morning. I had a banana and a coffee in bed as I caught up on the news, and toyed with the idea of not going. Quite quickly my plan to run to and from Park Run disappeared as the time slipped by and I was still in bed. Finally, around 8.35am, I dragged myself out and got dressed and on my bike to head down to Brockwell Park.
It was the 5th anniversary so we had a big prize giving at the start at which I stood shivering in my shorts and thinking how much I did not want to be there, did not want to run, did not want to push myself. Even the thought of just slowly jogging up those three hills seemed too much. We started running, and as I was slightly nearer the back than usual I wasn’t able to run at my comfortable pace until I got round a few people at the beginning. I ran along, still not enjoying myself and wishing I was still in bed.
Up the first hill, all I wanted was to stop and walk. Then I got overtaken by a 5 year old girl … her dad was behind me, pushing her little sister in a buggy, and the girl was obviously annoyed that her dad couldn’t run up the hill as fast as she could! So I obviously couldn’t stop running then. A bit later up the hill, I wanted to stop again … but at this time got overtaken by a bear.
By the time all these distractions had gone past, we were on the way down the hill! Then my running app, Strava, spoke to me, telling me I had gone through the 2km mark in 10 minutes 23…. I quickly did some maths and figured that I was on course for at least a PB and a sub-25minute 5km wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility….. So I kept going, feeling pretty good and pushing myself until I hit the next hill… then I wanted to walk again. And again. And again. I want to walk more in each 5km Park Run than I did in the whole of Barcelona marathon. Long story short – I didn’t walk, although I did slow down a little bit, constantly mentally fighting with myself as to how much I wanted to stop, but how much I also would hate myself if I missed out on a PB by giving up. 5kms are mentally difficult.
I finally crossed the line, stumbled my way through the finish funnel, took my token and collapsed onto the mud, heart pounding, the world spinning …. but with a brand new PB! My fastest ever 5km in 25:18, and over a minute faster than last week’s run, which had been my 2015 PB! A great, high note to finish on for my last Park Run of 2015.
Only one day of cycling to and from work due to other commitments (and general tiredness!) Two yoga classes. Lots of little 20 minute breaks spent strength training to work on the strength of my left leg and general core strength. An hour or so spent climbing on Sunday (leaving me with aching shoulders today!) – 8 and a half hours in total.
Best marathon eat
A new category! Stolen from Twins in Trainers who have stopped blogging for the moment, sadly. But so much fun stuff went on this week that I needed a few extra categories 🙂 The best marathon eat was lunch with my mum on Saturday, at Picture Restaurant. This restaurant is just a few moments walk north of Oxford Street and we popped in for an early lunch before going to the theatre.
We had four small plates to share between us and everything was delicious – from butternut squash with aubergines, quinoa and yoghurt, to aged beef with sweet potato, and lamb with parsnip, and finally an incredible light, delicious chocolate mousse. The restaurant was light and airy, the service was fantastic, and we treated ourselves to a proscecco and elderflower cocktail. It was great!
So many options this week! From dinner on Tuesday night with three of my oldest friends – I have been friends with one of them in particular for almost 17 years now – to seeing Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty on Thursday night with one of those friends. Matthew Bourne’s ballets are all brilliant, modern twists on ballet, such as his Swan Lake with male swans, or his take on Lord of the Flies which I saw last year. The dancing in Sleeping Beauty was absolutely brilliant, and the choreography even made it funny. Such a great night.
Then on Saturday, after my park run PB and a wonderful lunch, mum and I went to see the musical Cats. I have seen this 5 times .. the first time when I was just 9 years old!
And I still enjoy it just as much as I did back then. The dancing is out of this world, the songs are ridiculously catchy, the costumes are beautiful. I was welling up watching the entire cast dance, there is just so much energy. Something that had slightly too much energy were the two small boys sat in front of me. They had absolutely no interest in the musical at all, kept asking very loudly “can we go home now?”, standing up on their chairs, talking, waving their hands in the air … I have absolutely no idea why on earth their parents took them, and I really think they should have taken them home in the interval. The kids weren’t enjoying it and it was affecting the enjoyment of everybody else around them. Very, very annoying!
This week’s inspiration comes from the Trail Runner Nation podcast and an episode from a few weeks ago – an interview with Gia Madole. In the last two years, Gia has taken part in and won two 200 mile races. Yup, that’s no extra zero – TWO HUNDRED MILES. Oh, and that’s running, not cycling! Oh, and she only ran her first 5km in 2012. She decided to run 200 miles after racing 50 miles and thinking “I can run 50 miles, I can run 200“. And in answer to a question about how she trained, Gia answered “well, I ran a lot“. She was so ridiculously upbeat, positive and happy about her love of running and how much fun it was to be out there on the trails, even for 72 hours plus without rest. Real inspiration that there are no limits, that there is no point saying “ooo I could never run a marathon” because you “just” run 5kms (as the above, run 3, shows .. there is no such thing as “just” running a 5km!) Ultra runners are brilliant inspiration for marathon training as they put all of our long runs really into perspective!