I’ve been trying to pin point why my run yesterday was so enjoyable, compared to ones earlier in the year, when I finished feeling exhausted and disappointed.
There’s the obvious; I’m fitter and healthier than I was 12 months ago when I nervously joined RV beginners. But it’s more than that.
It was another hot run, but for some reason that didn’t fill me with dread; despite the fact that the memories of Fareham Creek and Lymington are still quite raw. We arrived early, with plenty of time to park and have a relaxing coffee and a banana before the start. Relaxing that is until my buddy pouch did a back flip into the toilet; my buddy pouch containing my brand-new phone and sherbets I’d packed for a quick burst of energy en route! Oh, how we laughed!
As the race approached, we found the 60 minutes-or-over feather. I’d been wearing my Bluetooth headphones since leaving the house, and with 5 minutes to go I started my running playlist. Ah! new phone, Bluetooth not set up. Do I know how to set up? NO! I decided I’d just play through my phone’s speaker; the beauty of being on my own at the back is that there’s no one with me to annoy.
I’d just finished setting up my Garmin and packing everything away, and we started off. As usual, the excitement of the start carried me along; cameras to wave at, people to smile at and thank for their encouragement. But, of course, I was going too fast. The difference is, nowadays I know this; I know that I need to slow it down, and I know by how much I need to slow it down to make the rest of the race manageable.
Nearing the 5K mark, I realised that I could still see a string of competitors in front of me and I was still running. Hills and speed training must be paying off I thought. I lost sight of everyone in front and BEHIND around the 6k mark. I’d been mentally ticking off the kilometres as I ran, so took pleasure from the fact that there were only 4 to go, and a real buzz ran through me at the 7k mark, because I knew that there was just over half a ParkRun to go. By now, we were running downhill, and I could feel the confidence I’d first encountered coming back from lamp post 7 in RV hills training; I won’t die, there’s some left in the tank!
The views on this run were breath taking. I’ve not been into Arundel Castle before, and almost came to a halt when I saw how beautiful the gardens were. If I had not been too scared to get my phone out, for fear of another accident, I may have been tempted to take a photo at this point, sacrificing a minute, maybe even 2.
Out of the castle and back into the grounds I recognised from the start. Nearly there. Not being out of breath meant that I could speed up a little if I liked. Speed training showed just me how fast I could go without dying, so I sped up, just a little.
On the street, someone shouted it wasn’t long to go. Yeah, I knew that; for once I was aware of how far I had run. And all too soon, there it was, the finish line. Plenty in the tank for a sprint finish to the sound of the lovely crowd cheering me in. I collected my medal and spied a bench I could recover on. Recovery was about 5 minutes after which I was up on my feet discussing refreshment requirements ….. mainly CAKE!
What made this run so enjoyable? My new Positive Mental Attitude!
I knew I had the miles in me; I’ve done it before
I knew I could run faster; I have done it at RV speed training
I knew I could get to the top of the hill; RV hill training has shown me I will recover for the next one
And of course, all of the things that “Verity says” provided hints and tips along the way:
Slow it down; I can’t run 10k at my 5k pace
Use your arms; your legs will follow
Believe in yourself
I’m a runner!