Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cross Country

I don't seem to be writing much on here at the moment. I think it's partly that, two years on, I sometimes feel like I've said most of it before. I'm updating the cooking stuff and the running stuff, but in terms of big earth shattering revelations, maybe most of them have been and gone.

That's not a bad thing, by the way, but I appreciate that staring at the same post endlessly might not be exactly simulating for anyone reading this.

I've had a good weekend. I did a fantastic 15.5 mile run yesterday. That's actually my best long run to date, I think. Most of my runs in the lead up to Berlin involved walk breaks, and yesterday didn't. I even managed to persuade myself to do a route with a killer hill at about 13 miles. Steep and long, just what you want after you've passed the half marathon finish point with another couple of miles to get home. And I managed to run past the house, past the paper shop and round a little extra loop before I stopped for a paper on the way home.

I feel so much better prepared for attempting a marathon than I was last year. Last year despite my lofty ambitions, by the time I'd started marathon training I'd only really run over about 10 miles 3 or 4 times - two half marathons, and a couple of training runs for them. And I'd taken walk breaks in most of those. Now I feel like I've cracked the 10-13 mile mark and I'm far more ready to move onto something longer.

It hit me the other day, it's like weight loss. Even though right at the start I must have had the potential to be 150lb, and I had the tools (on the basis that my basic plan hasn't changed in any fundamental way since then), that didn't mean it would happen overnight. Every pound still had to be lost, and sometimes it took longer than I wanted. The same with marathon running. I know I'm capable of running a marathon, and I had a training plan to get me there, but I just think I needed a bit more time to get my body used to it. So fingers crossed this year's attempt will show the benefit of that persistence.

Even better, my legs didn't really hurt this morning. Is it pineapple juice doing the trick? I've been tipped off that it's good for aching muscles, so I'm giving it a go. The downside of that was that it didn't really give me an excuse to skive off cross country. Yesterday was a glorious running day. Today... wasn't. And the start seemed to be in the windiest, most exposed point of the hill they were making us run up and down. Brilliant. There are times when I wonder exactly why I pay for the privilege of standing in the freezing cold, running up a hill through mud, and not even winning anything for the effort. But if I want to be a fit, running club type person, then running is what I have to do I suppose. And at least I placed in the first four for my club, so it was worth me turning out. Despite the tired legs, and despite my main incentives for doing it being to get me out of the house, and to justify drinking the remnants of a bottle of wine later today.

I was chatting to my trainee the other day about various plans I have (one being some friends who are doing a week long charity walk to Wales - I'm not doing the whole thing but have agreed to do one leg with them - on the proviso that some of them run it with me), and she said she'd love to be fit enough that she could just get up in the morning and decide to do something like that (the leg I'm doing is 18 miles, and will fit nicely into marathon training, which is why I want to run it rather than walking). It's hard work, and it's taken time, but yes, it is fantastic. On a bright winters day I can just throw my running kit on, lace my trainers and head out there. I can run far enough that I can get to somewhere with a bit of scenery, and I have enough confidence in my ability that I don't even take my bus pass any more. If someone suggests a crazy fundraising idea I'm almost always fit enough and light enough (parachuting etc) to do it without a second though. I can run cross country and place for my club.

It took time, and it took mornings standing on exposed hillsides in a vest and lycra, but if that's what I have to do to be the sort of person who can just decide to do things, then it has to be worth it, doesn't it?


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