I got up this morning feeling rotten. There’s been a lot of stress in my professional life and it’s starting to wear me down. We all go through bad patches in our professional lives but, for some reason, knowing that fact doesn’t make things any easier.
Anyway, when my alarm went off this morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed because that would mean I’d have to go to work. So I lay in bed playing logic games on my mobile phone instead. After half an hour, I got up sullenly to do some work because I thought that might make me feel better.
But, before I had a chance to open the work files, I checked Tribesports.com to complete a few 7-day strength challenges I was working on (they are now complete). While I was logged on, I checked the ‘running on Tuesday’ challenges and found a 5 mile Tuesday run challenge.
I clicked ‘take the challenge’, checked Google maps to find an 8km (5 mile) running loop from home, got dressed and went outside. The 8km loop did me good. At first, I felt frustrated with the world and my running reflected this. But, as my head started to clear in the crisp winter air, I started to make decisions that will help me feel like I have some control of my professional life and my running started to improve.
Total: 8km road run
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It was cold and drizzly this morning. It would have been easy to stay in bed and enjoy the warmth of my doona.
But I’ve recently signed up to TribeSports.com (I’m @andrewgills) and I had signed up for both the ‘go for an early morning run’ and the ‘go for a run in the rain’ challenges. So I decided to harden up and get outdoors.
By the time I got my shoes on the rain had eased to a drizzle. I still put on my Goretex jacket to keep me warm and to keep the few remaining cold drops off my body. That worked well until about half an hour into my run when my body warmed up and I had to take the jacket off. Fortunately, I was wearing my trusty drink belt on so I could carry my jacket in the external cargo holder.
I ran slowly – taking my new philosophy that it’s better for me to do long miles slowly than to flog myself. Besides, my running goal for the 2013/14 season is to run a 100km trail run on 3-4 May 2014. So I need to get used to running long and slow – with patience. I also know my body’s limits because I’ve pushed them quite a bit in the past 12 months.
So I cruised along the road, walking up the hills and running the rest of the way. The rain just kept drizzling gently and the streetlights just kept glowing their eerie yellow light. They didn’t care how slowly I was running so neither did I.
Total: An oh so liberatingly slow 15km run
My marathon training program wants me to be running distances of 24+km at this stage of my preparations but I’m nowhere near ready to do that yet. Not that I’m worried – I knew when I signed up for the marathon that I am not going to be breaking any records.
This morning my alarm went off at an ungodly 4:30am. It was dark and cold but the stars were beautiful as I set off down the road.
I didn’t have a distance or destination in mind today. I just wanted to run slowly for about two hours, walking when I needed to. I followed the gravel road out to the new estate near my house. I climbed the fence they’ve put up and continued to follow the road south-west.
The road is so familiar that, despite the darkness, I knew I was passing bushland, dams, wallabies and a miniature pony farm. Onwards I continued past the more horses, houses and paddocks until I reached a good spot to turn around. I’d been running / walking for just under an hour and was feeling better with every passing minute.
As I turned for home, the horizon was starting to glow the familiar colours of dawn. Before long the sun had risen and was warming my skin.
The run wasn’t fast or spectacular; but I enjoyed the time daydreaming about the ultras I want to attempt later this year and the 100km trail run I want to run in 2014. I thought about how I will run them differently to those I’ve done in the past and how, rather than being my goal, the Brisbane Marathon will be a step towards my ultra dreams.
Total: 15km road run
Starlight pricks through the black curtain across the sky. There’s not a sound on the air except my feet patting the bitumen as I run through our neighbourhood. It’s still dark when I hit the gravel road. So dark that I can see the orange glow of the street lights that are a whole kilometre away and over a small hill. I crunch along the gravel at a nice slow pace.
There’s almost no sign of life until after the turnaround point when the kookooburras start to laugh. Suddenly the world starts to come alive. Other birds start to sing. The horizon starts to grow lighter. I see first one, then two and more cars driving down the road.
By the time I am home the sun has climbed higher into the heavens and the day is bright. Despite having lived here all my life, I am always surprised that the transition from day-to-night and night-to-day is completed within 15 minutes.
Total: 11.5km road run
After two weeks off, I returned to my marathon training program this morning.
The run I went on this morning was lovely. I just did a slow 5km. I’m not aiming to break any records or run any PBs at the Brisbane Marathon so my approach to training is quite relaxed.
I enjoyed the run. It felt good to be out sucking in oxygen and watching the morning go from dark to light.
Total: 5km mixed terrain run
I had a busy weekend so didn’t get a chance to get out and do much in the outdoors. I even withdrew from the 200km Audax cycling event I was meant to do on Saturday. Between babysitting my sisters’ kids and starting the first of two assignments that I have due this month, I decided that trying to train would not be sensible. So I stayed indoors (other than a 5km walk with my partner on Saturday) behind my laptop letting my body recover from all the extra running I’ve been doing lately.
This morning I went for an easy 5km trot. It’s amazing how I’m finding 5km to be short now that I’ve started doing some longer runs in my preparation for the Brisbane Marathon. Not that I’ve done anything seriously long yet, but I have mapped out a 19.5km route for Friday morning.
This month I just want to stick to the marathon training schedule, get my assignments done and stay sane. I think that trying to do much more than that would set me up for a miserable time or burn out. Though I do have a very cool weekend coming up with Scout camp on Friday night and Saturday, then the Adventure Race Australia on Sunday. I just better get my assignment done first (I work full-time so it’s going to be a challenge).
Total: 5km road run
I am currently doing most of my running on the road for two reasons.
Firstly, it means I can use Google Maps to create a route of specific distance so I don’t have to use Map My Run to measure the distance. This means I don’t pressure myself about the speed at which I am traveling; I haven’t even been wearing a watch.
Secondly, it means I can wear my minimalist zero-drop shoes without having to worry about rocks jabbing into my feet. After running six times in the past fortnight, I haven’t had any leg pain and the biggest change I’ve made is wearing minimalist shoes. I really want things to stay this way as I prepare for the Brisbane Marathon.
This morning my training run took me past the mansions in the really expensive part of Mt Cotton before I dropped down Seaview Rd to run to the base of Mount Cotton proper. If you don’t focus on the chicken factory, Seaview Road is picture-perfect. It is the kind of place that makes road running a delight.
Total: 11.5km road run
The days are getting shorter as the cooler months start to set in. It’s no longer light when my alarm goes off and soon I will need to use a headlamp for my morning training sessions. But for now, the dawn is just breaking as I walk out the house. I turn around and enjoy the sight of the moon’s sliver in the sky above our house. The sky is split between a deep navy blue that’s being pushed out of the sky by the yellow light of day.
I enjoyed my 5km run. I found myself overstriding at about the 2km mark, which irritated my calves and ITB. While in the past this would have angered or frustrated me, today I slowed down to a walk for about 200m to reset myself before setting off again at a run. When I started to run again, I took smaller quicker lighter steps, rather than trying to push my body to run faster. It felt really good and I was disappointed when I got home at the end of the loop because I could have kept running a bit more.
Total: 5km road run
So far this week, I’ve run more kilometres than I ran in the entire month of April. And five of those kilometres this week formed part of my April mileage.
Tonight I enjoyed my longest run in months: a 16km trot through my local area. I felt surprisingly strong given my recent lack of running training. Once I got through the first 2-3km, I felt like I could run all night. I even had to keep slowing down to force myself not to overstride (which I think aggravates my shins and ITB).
One of the reasons I’ve been running less is because my legs were getting sore while I was running. But this week, when I started my marathon campaign, I switched back to my Merrel Trail Gloves after running in the Adidas Kanadias for a while. I think that did the trick because I the ITB pain I was getting has stopped. I noticed in photos of me wearing the Kanadias that I roll my foot outwards a lot in them; perhaps that’s not happening in the Trail Gloves. The only problem with the Merrels is that I think I need a little more padding under my toes, so I might get a pair of the New Balance Zero-drop Minimus road shoes to wear for my road running. Being zero drop, they should work for me.
Anyway, I had a magnificent 16km trot around the streets of my suburb. I ran down a long road flanked with huge mansions, some with lit-up fountains in their front gardens. Then I crossed over the road to pass the Mt Cotton church before heading out along a farm road in the darkness (I had a head torch) before turning around and running home.
Total: 16km road run