I am not quite sure when or how it happened but I think my running has clicked into place again. My leg isn’t hurting anymore and it has been weeks since I have taken pre-run Neurofen in the fear of not being able to get through a run without it. This is where you can imagine me doing a little nerdy dance to celebrate.
My current weekly routine includes two runs (one hill run of about +/- 12km and one 21km run) and two trips to the gym of about 1h 40mins each (leg work mainly). The funny thing is that I think I am a little bit addicted to the exercise – I will be in the shower after sweating buckets at the gym or on the road, thinking that I wish I could go and do it again… I think I need a shrink.
I am working my ass off and having fun whilst doing it. Unfortunately I find it very hard to quantify the gains from all the exercise as I don’t keep track of my weight or body measurements. Sure – you can tell that when a certain hill killed you before it doesn’t anymore but how do you PROVE that? And no matter how much you try tell yourself a certain pair of jeans fits better tahn it did before it is still all subjective. About year and a half ago I had to write down some running goals for a coach. One of the things I wrote down was that I wanted to run faster/stronger than my (occasionally running) husband. I was fed up with the fact that he could just lace up and do 10-15km run easily without having to run regularly. The man just has this weird basic fitness or maybe he is just stubborn. He would always be the stronger runner, even though I would be running 3-5 times a week and he might do 3-5 runs a month.
So when during the 4-day Easter break over last weekend we had a chance to go out for a run together I was expecting the same scenario to play out. Especially as I had done 21km run and two gym sessions the three days prior. I suggested that we do an easy 12km run up the big hill to Hampstead and back. My husband loves hills and according to his own admission finds them easy.
We left the 14 year old in charge of the 5 year old (always scary) and went on our way. My legs were pretty tired and stiff and I had to keep trying to slow my husband’s pace down. I knew the big hill was going to be tough so I didn’t want him to burn us out. The hill starts at around the 4km mark and it goes on and on for what feels like forever. I felt surprisingly good and just kept an easy pace. Just before I got to the top I looked back to find my husband trailing behind and looking somewhat peaky. Ok, I thought, we are nearly at the top and then we’ll be running down this hill; he’ll be fine. Except the distance between him and me kept growing. I was having an excellent run and recovered from the hill quickly. I felt like Skippy. A very annoying and cocky version of Skippy. Husband however looked like something from the Night of the Living Dead. He kept telling me that he was ok (and not having a heart attack) and that I should just go. I may have been a tad annoying, basically running circles around him. So I decided to just leave him to it and keep going.
My pace was faster than it has been for ages and I was able to keep it up for the way home. It was one of those magical runs where you surprise yourself and think – hell, I am kicking ass here!
I took away two things from that run:
1. There is a reason why I run alone; I make a crap running partner
2. All the blood, sweat and tears are not for nothing. All the hard work does pay off. I need to remember this the next time I am lacking in motivation.