Back into double digits!

I’ve mentioned before just how stubborn I am. I don’t like to be beaten (though given I’m a very average runner, it happens an awful lot!). I consider it as a sort of ‘motivation in disguise’, as the minute I feel like someone’s running further or faster or more often than me I want to get out there and do one better!

My lovely Mum recently ordered me 2 new running vests. She got one for herself a little while ago, and thought I might like one. I picked it up today to use at the gym and dude, it’s the comfiest running vest I’ve ever worn. It’s flattering, the colour is awesome, and its the thinnest, lightest material which means that it’s lovely and cool. It’s designed to be loose, and has a drawstring along the bottom hem to pull it in at the hips to stop it from moving around:

top(Granted, it looks far better on the model than me. But I love it anyway!)

I have the beautiful bright purple version, which I wore today, and I also have the equally lovely lilac one. They’re officially my favourite. The only issue I have with them is that when I get sweaty (which, shocker, happens without fail every time I run!) it really shows, as the material goes a lot darker.

On the upside, if you run for long enough, it all goes the same colour again and nobody can tell any more! 😀 Not that this happened to me today .. Ehem ..

So as I mentioned, my friends went and ran the full scheduled 10 miles yesterday morning, despite copious amounts of Mr Darcy and a distinct lack of sleep. They did take walking breaks, and I’m not sure on their overall time, but even so – I was officially slacking. (I just accidentally typed snacking. I’m not gazing wistfully at the Mars bar on my desk. Nope. Not me ..)

I decided this afternoon to sort it out, and do the full ten miles at the gym. I did want to run it outside, but as it was 29 degrees .. Not so much.

Given that most people were being sensible human beings today and enjoying the sunshine by lying in the grass with magazines and cool drinks, the gym was almost deserted (and I outran the three people that used the other treadmills whilst I was there).

I took the treadmill nearest the door, and that – in combination with my lovely loose top – meant that it felt nowhere near as hot and stuffy as usual. I felt absolutely great for the first 7 miles! After this point I decided to just focus on the time I had been running, rather than distance, as it was officially my longest run since I stopped my marathon training back in March, and I wasn’t sure how far I would manage. I ran without a break until about 1h20, and between then and 2h07 – when I eventually stopped for a warm-down walk – I took 3 more short (20-30sec) walking breaks. By 1h30, my calves were feeling quite tight, and my legs were starting to ache. I had forgotten how challenging it is to push on through all of the niggles and aches that long distance running brings.

I got a nice boost at 1h50 though, as I outran the treadmill – it cleared my session and tried to get me to warm down – so I stopped the machine and started fresh. Whilst it’s usually pretty demoralising to see all my hard-earned mileage disappear, today it really helped – I started again at 0:00, and focused on the fact that I only had to run for 20 minutes. I pretended that I had just got on the machine – I tried to kid myself that my legs were fresh, by giving myself a short walking break and a few sips of sports drink – and then I mentally reset, with just that 20-minute goal. Anyone can survive for 20 minutes on the treadmill, right?

In the end, I finished with a sports band total of 11.11 miles (you can guess where that extra 1.11 came from). I was really pleased (and surprised), as I didn’t use a single sports gel – I had a banana half an hour before, and regularly sipped on a 500ml bottle of Lucozade light during the run. I think I had gotten it into my head that I needed gels for anything above a 10k, and really used to let the longer distances intimidate me .. But today went really well. I think it helped that I was on a treadmill, and could ignore the total distance by breaking it down. I’m quite looking forward to experimenting with fuelling this time round, and moving away from the sports gels a little.

Can’t lie, I don’t think I’ll be cycling to work tomorrow.

How was your weekend running? Anyone brave the heat?

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