Sunday, May 13, 2012

When is a hill not a hill??

When is a hill not a hill!

I have neglected my 'jog blog' of late so I thought today presented a perfect opportunity for an update!

I completed my second competitive 10k run today - a key milestone in my training for the Great North Run.

The run today was in Market Drayton.  A well established race that is well attended by both runners and supporters. 

My prior knowledge of today's course was that it was fairly flat with 2 hills.  A great course for the more professional runner to grab a personal best time.

My prep went well - I have been incorporating hill training into my runs as I know from experience that the Great North Run is one hell of a hilly course, and it would also be useful for the hills in the run today.

So it was with delight that I got to the 3k mark, and in my mind I had run up two hills.  They were very clearly inclines, and as such would be considered a 'hill'.  Excellent - (I naively thought) a nice flat 7k in front of me.

But definition of a hill is clearly not on a par with others'!  There, hiding behind a strategically placed corner, was a hill of mountainous proportions!!!
(Well - perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration - but you get my drift)

So, my head went down and I focused on the road 5ft in front of me - and didn't look up until I got to the top of the hill (from this point on to be known as Mountain 1).

So yes, I had to expect that by default it meant there would be another hill (Mountain 2) lurking somewhere in the remaining course.  And I wasn't wrong!

Regardless of the unexpected extra inclines - it was a good race.  The sunshine ensured the crowds came out to cheer the runners on which always helps to spur me on.

Despite feeling wrecked and conned by the hills, it was a great day.  However, it has made me realise I need to step up the Great North Run training!  The crowds who line the route of the Great North Run are good (fabulous in fact) - but they are not enough to help me drag my sorry butt up and down the unforgiving course.

Let the training continue!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mind over matter

This way - that way

As I embarked on my run latest I knew there would be a choice of routes.  Either a comfortable 5 miler around town..........or an extended version taking me up to 8 miles.

Super smart running shoes

I had on my new bouncy trainers (birthday present from OH) which I was breaking in, and after the first mile or so I could feel my heel pulling a bit.  Now,  I knew this was down to my new trainers giving me proper support, rather than my old worn in & comfy pair which had lost their support some miles ago - but even so, I could feel my 'reason' for choosing the shorter run beginning to creep into my head.

So - at the crucial junction, my training partner said to me: "Which way? Turn left (short route), or carry on (long route)".  My first response was to turn left (my heel was REALLY hurting)..........., but then I thought about how chuffed I would feel if I managed the long route.  So, with my mind firmly shifted onto the longer route we carried 'straight on'. 

Mind over matter

Anyhow - during my run my mind drifted off, as it often does - (it's my coping mechanism to help distract my brain from the miles ahead of me!), and it occurred to me that long distance running is a bit like child birth.  Well, my experience of childbirth at least.  It really is a case of mind over matter.  Bear with me on this.............

1.  It's all about the breathing - focus on your breathing and it takes your mind off the pain
2.  Hills are a bit like contractions - you have to get your head down and focus until you get to the peak, and then the pain subsides and you get a brief respite as you come down the other side

3.  And lastly - once you start, there is no avoiding the hard work you have to put in - but when you get to the end you are well rewarded

Keep on running!