Me Vs. The R Word

Yesterday was my first running event of the season. Notice how I don’t use the R word. The reason for that is that I am actually not the least bit competitive.

I’ve always enjoyed participating in various sports and activities but have always crumbled under the slightest bit of pressure to compete. I’ll give you some examples from my childhood…

Trampolining

Loved it! I couldn’t get enough of the training. I practiced my routines til I could do them in my sleep.

The day of the competition arrived and gone was the energetic, confident Me, and in her place was a tearful, shaking mess who could barely climb up onto the trampoline let alone complete my routine. I sobbed the whole way home.

The next day at training I completed my routine perfectly – much to the great annoyance of my coach.

The Flute

(Geek Alert!!)

Playing the flute came naturally to me and I really enjoyed practicing and playing with the school orchestra.

One teacher insisted that if I wanted to continue playing, I had to do the grades. Cue more shaking and tears. I don’t think I managed to get more than 5 notes out of the flute come assessment day and even those were wrong ones. I sobbed the whole way home again.

The next day in my lesson, I breezed through the scales – much to the great annoyance of my teacher.

 

I could go on with examples, but I think you see the pattern emerging here. Too much pressure to perform on the day = failure & tears.

Maybe it comes down to the fact that I know that I will never be the best and that actually, I’m not that bothered about it.

I tend to be middle of the road in most things I do. I  start off pretty well, picking up the basic skills with ease, but then it comes to a certain point and I just stop progressing. I was a member of many teams and clubs – swimming, netball, drama,  athletics and of course trampolining. But I was never the star player.

I am Jack of all trades and Master of none.

Luckily for me, I am also a firm believer that it’s the taking part that counts.

So back to my point, yesterday’s running event.

Several weeks back, Gym Buddy asked me if I wanted to join her and another guy she knows on an organised 10k run in our local town. I of course agreed.

Gym buddy and I began training together. The guy, who is a member of a running club, did not train with us. For some reason, Gym Buddy was under the impression that the The Guy was about the same pace as us. One week before the event, Gym Buddy and The Guy went for a run together and very quickly found out that that wasn’t the case. We shall now rename The Guy  as Slow Man. (Sorry, Slow Man!)

Nevertheless, we promised to stay together. Since I wasn’t expecting a world record, winners medal or even a PB  – I wasn’t bothered  in the slightest about taking it slowly. Instead, Gym Buddy and I were planning to use it as a workout, a bit of fun and a good start to the season.

With that in mind, we hit the gym for a 40 minute upper body circuit before we met Slow Man to head towards the start line. The weather was perfect, seriously perfect. Bright sunshine, around 18 degrees, with a delightful breeze. The route took us through the country side down lanes, tow paths and bridleways. We saw fields, ponies and even a Llama would you believe it. Gym buddy and I chatted and laughed the whole way (whilst Slow Man puffed a few paces behind us). It was probably the most enjoyable run I have even been on. We made up for the slow pace by adding in some  sprints, then jogging back to join Slow Man.

We reached the finish line after 1 hour 11mins (about 20 minutes slower than our usual pace) but it didn’t matter a bit. We had a fantastic time and felt like winners. So much so that Gym Buddy and I have already signed up for our next event, a 10mile run at the beginning of June.

Slow man on the other hand probably never wants to do another event with such hyperactive and noisy companions. Perhaps we did overdo the Lucozade a little…

 

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Me Vs. Hills

I admit it, I plan my running routes to avoid hills.

All well and good if the upcoming race you are training for avoids hills too…

Alas, mine doesn’t. In fact, there is a pretty mammoth hill to climb to get to the finish line. Bummer!

It’s not like I totally avoid hills altogether – actually I’d go as far as to say that I enjoy doing Tabata hill sprints on the treadmill (is that weird?!). Deep down though, I know that it isn’t enough. Don’t get me wrong, Tabata hill sprints make for an extremely sweaty workout and I will definitely continue to do them. But it’s just not the same as having to climb a ‘never ending’ hill in the middle of a 10k race.

With only 10 days til Race Day, this morning Gym Buddy and I figured it might be a good idea to pull our heads out of the sand and drag ourselves up some hills.

The changing of clocks has made the mornings dark again so getting up has been a struggle. To make matters worse, it is still bitterly cold and windy out. Had I had sensed even the teeniest tiniest droplet of rain, I think I would have been back under the duvet in a flash!

With our brains still in bed (it was 06:50AM !) we couldn’t come up with a decent 10k route which incorporated some hills, so instead we did a couple of loops around a shorter route. The main hill is a particularly long and nasty one. The sort where the peak seems to be an ever moving target, like trying to find the end of a rainbow. The gradient eases but never seems to level off entirely. And worst of all, when you do finally get to the top it doesn’t offer the relief of an instant downhill.

We conquered it twice despite a bit of resistance from my usually patient left knee. However, I can’t exactly say that we had as much fun as usual. Instead of constant chatter and laughter along the way, all I could hear was some poor soul gasping for breath…Oh, that was me.

Chocolate & Raspberry Porridge

Chocolate & Raspberry Porridge

When I arrived home , my skin was stinging an attractive shade of red from the cold. So I warmed up with a tasty bowl of Chocolate & Raspberry porridge. Note to self, next time – add more chocolate!

Enough moaning, it’s time to man up. Next week the aim is to complete 3 loops.

Runners out there – do hills ever get any easier?

Me Vs. Post Workout Hunger

My appetite after running is incredible.

Take this morning for instance.

Before leaving the house, I drank a pint of water and ate one of the homemade Hot Cross Buns I had made the night before (another post to come on those!) I knew as I was eating it that it was a bit of a mistake and that I should only eat half, but I don’t really do the whole ‘save half for later’ thing – I salute those who can manage this, but I am more of a ‘have one now…and then have another one later too’  kind of girl. That my friends is why I will never be a skinny minny.

Anyway, I then ran 6.5 miles as scheduled with Gym Buddy. It was a windy run again (no, still not that sort of wind, even after the hot cross bun) which made it tough, but the sun was shining so we kept our chins up.

On returning from my run, I then had my real breakfast which was a banana, oats, yoghurt and berries (the hot cross bun was more of an accidental breakfast, so doesn’t count alright?) and some more water. Pretty substantial right? A good blend of carbs, protein and fruit – just what my body needs post run.

By 10:00AM, despite 2 cups of coffee, my stomach was rumbling! What is that all about??

Fortunately for my belly, one kind soul at the office had brought in some homemade Tiffin. Which as it happens, tastes suspiciously like Rocky Road. Anyone know the difference?! Either way, it was yummy.

So belly was satisfied for a little longer. But it came at a price. Before 10:30AM I had almost certainly consumed more calories than I burnt running this morning.

There’s still a lot of hours left in the day to eat my way through!

I’m not suggesting for a second that I would have been better off staying in bed this morning and therefore having a slightly smaller appetite. I’d rather gain all the fantastic health benefits of exercise and eat like a horse any day.

I just can’t help but think it’s all a little bit unfair that my appetite seems to totally overestimate my calorific needs! I’ve been exercising regularly now for nearly 12 months, you’d think my body would have realised that I am definitely NOT going to let it starve.

So come on appetite, relax, chill out, I will continue to feed you cake – I promise!