The following is a list of my thoughts as I run the last lap of Dulwich parkrun…
- It is really windy
- I am not wearing the right trainers
- My watch is about to run out of batteries
- This guy here has just cut me up
- I can’t run fast when I’m having to weave past all these people
- None of my friends have turned up to help me
- It has been a really hot week and I have been feeling awful
- If I just stay around this same pace, it will be good enough
Dulwich 5km parkrun consists of 3 laps around the park. I have been targeting this run for a month. I did it 5 weeks ago, before I started my Berlin buildup, and I want to see how much I have improved. Also, I did it this time last year, so it will be a good indicator against where I am now vs last year.
We come down to London on Tuesday night to spend time with the family, but it also gives me lots of time to get the drive out of my legs so I’m fully charged up for this Saturday morning. We feel the air heating up as we are driving down from Wales. We have had some pretty hot days this summer in N.Wales. Porthmadog was over 30 degrees 3 days in a row. But London, this week, is just worse. Hotter, more humid, more congested. We can’t sleep at night, and can’t function properly during the day. I completely lose my appetite. My feet are all swollen. My runs just merge into a slow, heavy, haze.
Saturday morning, the heat wave has broken, but I still feel awful. I don’t even want to run. I don’t have enough confidence in my training. I turn up without my On Cloud Flash racing flats, I haven’t even bothered to charge my watch the night before. I have a racing vest but don’t feel like wearing it. My mind has already decided this isn’t going to be my day.
My body actually thinks differently. I drift to the front as soon as we start, the first lap (just over a mile) ticks by pretty easily in 5.02. The next is 5.08, slower, but expected, I have left abit in the tank for a fast last lap. My best time of 15.35 only requires a last lap of 5.25. I should absolutely smash that. Instead of having no mercy and obliterating my pb, I just settle. I try and cut inside a lapped runner, and he unwittingly closes the door, forcing me into an almost complete stop. This is all it takes for my mental chatter to turn completely negative. I end up running my last lap in 5.24, getting a pb by 1 second. My body STILL runs round the course faster than it ever has before (just!), despite my mind doing everything in it’s power to sabotage me.
I cross the finish line and am recovered immediately. I know I haven’t worked hard enough. 15.34 is not a good enough return for 5 weeks work. Especially when I KNOW I could have run 10+ seconds quicker if I committed properly. I have shirked 5 minutes of discomfort, but instead have the rest of the weekend to live with the pain of that missed opportunity. This week’s lesson is:
Run The Mile You Are In
Lesson learnt. And re-learnt. And will doubtless be forgotten…and learnt again.
My brother-in-law, Patrick, also runs a pb that morning, in training for an Autumn marathon. We jog back round the park to pick up Nina, who is running too. We tag along behind her with half a mile to go. I instruct Patrick not to say a word; of encouragement, chatter, casual observation – nothing. Nina can be a little bit temperamental when she runs, the colour of the leaves can piss her off. She is clipping along infront of us, when suddenly she asks me when she should kick. I tell her to go when we get round the corner. She kicks like Usain Bolt, switching straight from 8min miling to 5.50min miling. I am so impressed that I break my own rule to say, ‘Wow Nina, this is 5.50 miling’.
I have blown it. ‘Please Nina, don’t stop now. We can see the finish line’.
So she starts again, this time at 5.20 miling, flying past hoards of runners. Just to complete the wonderful spectacle in her own absolutely inimitable style.
Jim parkruns again on Sunday. It is pissing with rain and windy. He runs 3 minutes quicker than last time. He finishes 35th, an improvement of 65 places (although there are 65 fewer competitors this time), I am even more proud. He is absolutely exhausted after. Hot chocolate, eggs on toast, and sleep in pram.
A really relaxing week on the whole. Lots of naps. Lots of time with the kids.
Non-running related highlight of the week
BBQ and cider with my family on a lazy Saturday afternoon
Best thing on the internet this week:
Pain & Running: Dispelling the “No pain, no gain” bullshit
Fascinating article from Medium, explaining a lot of stuff I have come to learn the hard way.
Here’s Why A Tired Brain Slows You Down
Really interesting article, from Outside Online, which explains why I have so much trouble running fast after I have been to the dentist’s!
Thing I’m digging this week:
Last Chance U: Season 3
Just love this show soooo much. Such a comprehensive insight into the complex lives of these extraordinary athletes. They are gifted with incredible skills, have the world at their feet, and should be super successful stars. But they all have massive issues holding them back; extreme poverty, gang-culture, drugs, lack of education, attention deficit disorder, anger management and family strife to name a few. This show just observes that struggle, between success and failure, and how close they are to both.
|Monday||REST||5tm @ 7min miling|
|pretty tired after 51 mile weekend|
|Tuesday||5 x 1km in 3min (3min rest). 4 miles @ 6min miling. 9 miles total||5tm @ 7min miling|
|session really hard on tired legs. Really happy to finish. Cinema with kids (Incredibles 2). Drive to London|
|It is so hot and I am running so slowly, that I have to switch off watch|
|Thursday||10||6 @ 6min miling|
|Awful day. Tired from no sleep. Can’t escape the heat. Wait till 8.45pm for afternoon run. Greenwich Park closes, but pace a little better|
|Friday||10 @ 7.30min miling||REST|
|Get up earlier, makes a difference|
|Saturday||Dulwich parkrun – 15.34. 15 miles total||4 @ 8min miling|
|BBQ with family, really great time|
|Sunday||15 @ 7min miling||3 @ 9min miling|
|AM run in wind and rain. Then parkrun with jim. PM run with Nina. Drive to Wales. Stuck in traffic 2hrs due to Ride London event|
|TOTAL:||100 miles||tm = treadmill|