I see so many photo worthy things when I am out running but as I have this stupid rule of not allowing myself to stop (I am the idiot bouncing up and down at traffic lights), I never manage to capture them. Hence the pictures I use on my posts are usually from the communal garden behind our flat or from the street before/after my run. But here is a picture to prove that London is trying to shrug off winter! Saturday and Sunday were (relatively) warm and sunny and oh, how good did that feel! Everybody is high on vitamin D.
As lovely as the sunny and dry weather is, unfortunately it is rarely good news as far as my running goes. I seem to struggle the most when the weather is at it’s best and have done my most amazing runs in either downpours or snow storms. So when I woke up on Saturday morning to the rarely seen fireball in the sky my first reaction was “oh no”. After the two less than perfect runs over the week I really felt like I needed a good one to get my confidence back up. I ate my corn flakes (I know, I know – not the best pre-run food but it works for me), did my push ups and used the toilet. As I went out the door I shouted to my husband not to expect me to be gone for too long, this wasn’t going to be a long run.
I started running and oh, how I hated the first 4 or so kilometers. It takes me ages to warm up (again I am a bad runner – I run myself warm rather than do something to actually warm up first) and get my lungs going. But I did my long loop which winds around North West London towards the park. I got to the park – 6km. “Ok, I think I can do a lap” I thought and went for it. By the time I got to my first exit towards home I thought I will do a bit longer to extend the distance and ran past it – 10km. And I just ran past exits until it was easier to just do another lap around the park. I got back to the first exit – 14.5km – and started running towards home. “Oh, I feel pretty good so I might as well do a bit of extra” I thought and rather than run home I turned towards Kilburn again, running on Hamilton terrace past some of the grandest houses in the area. I went all the way to Kilburn High Road and turned back and by the time got back to the flat I had done 20.12km (in 1:58:34)! It was only that morning that I had been mourning my horrible runs and my inability to get any decent distance since the operation. And here I was, running in the sunshine no less, doing 20km!! I know it is not much to you hardcore marathoners but after the horrible time I have had in the past two weeks of running I was (still am) on cloud 9!
I am sure I would make it a lot easier for myself if I actually learnt to hydrate myself while I run. So far I have done all my runs “dry” – I don’t bring any water with me so I only drink once I get back home. By the time I hit 20km I am already pretty dehydrated, especially when it is warm. I just can’t decide what is the best way to bring the water with me. I HATE the idea of running with a bottle in my hand; I am convinced it will make the arm in question achey and also – I need to blow my nose every 3 minutes so am already carrying a tissue and need to be able to use it. Water belts seemed originally like a good idea but I checked one out at a sportshop recently and it just seems so bulky and heavy. And I am convinced it will give me an uneven gait even if I have small bottles sitting on both hips. Ok – so what about a bladder. Doesn’t that give you a sweaty back and is a pain to clean? HELP folks – have you solved this for yourselves? How?
Also – I need to get over my fear of gels etc. My plan is to try and start building up my distance up to a marathon. Not that I want to run one – I just want to know I could. I cannot do this if I don’t have something on me (so I have been told) on the road. I do like the idea of jelly beans.
I also have a small confession to make… I have been trying very hard to resist turning into a runner who is all about the gadgets but I succumbed to a heart rate sensor. On a bit of a whim I went and bought Polar H7 on Friday. I can use this with the RunMeter iPhone app that I run with – they connect via bluetooth. I just need to learn how to use this data. I know I need to work out my maximum heart rate but this would involve hitting the track and torturing myself with intervals… I know I need to do this sooner or later anyway but frankly I would rather eat dry psyllium husk powder than do that right now. I do know that my average heart hate was 171 bpm on that long run on Saturday, average pace being 5:02 / km (fastest was 5:02). I am slow as a turtle but that’s ok.
Unfortunately what goes up, must come down and when I did my recovery run on Sunday (just a 30 minute, 6.3km jog) I struggled so badly. I was trying to go slow but still my lungs were ragged, I was panting worse than a Saint Bernard (dog) on the beach and my legs had suddenly turned to led. Luckily my head was still high after the other run so I didn’t mind too much.
But I would like to hear from you regarding tips on hydration (for beginners) as well as on-the-run boosters. What, how, when and how often. I think it is time I stopped making things harder for myself that necessary.