Running Commentary 007: what keeps me running

Thursday, September 19, 2013


It’s been a while since I wrote about running, considering I go twice a week and am continually analysing my progress. I've had a couple of 10k races and a few training runs which have kept my spirits up and fires burning. Sometimes I get cross when things don't go to plan, you may have picked up by now that I am immensely competitive with others as well as myself and that is what really keeps me going. Personally, I really enjoy pushing myself to the absolute limit to see just how fast I can go. That’s why running retains my enthusiasm, I can grit my teeth and pour my efforts into chipping away at my times.

My Garmin Forerunner is proving to be a great investment, for my inquisitive mind at least, so that I can scrutinise the stats, see where I went faster/slower each time. The heart rate monitor is quite revealing in that I can track my heart rate, which rockets up then plateaus at an alarmingly high rate. The watch itself, with a whopper of a screen, has so many little modes and features that in traditional Sophie fashion I haven't figured out how on earth how to use it. Husband has an identical one too (yes, we're that embarrassing his and hers couple) so he has done a minor meddle in order to set it to beep at each km and to display the current pace, time and distance covered. A sneaky peek at the time has to be taken at kilometre so I can monitor exactly how close to being on track I am and so I can try to calculate what time I'm hoping to see when the next km beep sounds. As I'm so painfully slow with maths it does give me something to focus on for a minute or so which takes my mind off things. Husband and I had been discussing what it is that holds us back on our respective runs and for me I couldn't quite put my finger on it; legs never give up, (thanks boot camp), breathing usually seems under control barring uphills, but yet somehow I get that "I just can't go on faster" feeling. Frustratingly, or not, it turns out I can squeeze that little bit more speed on the final stretch to the end so clearly I'm not as tired as my mind makes out.

On Sunday I watched the triathlon on TV, it was the first one I've ever seen and we only popped it on while we were having a spot of lunch yet I couldn't bear to switch it off and get on with something else. The swimming was epic, as a hopeless swimmer myself I couldn't even imagine diving into that open water, let alone swim that distance at speed. You should also know that I'm the worst bike rider in the adult world; the stabilisers should never have been removed from my wheels. The race etiquette in the cycling section was baffling, I sort of saw why they were working as a pack but at the end of the day it was a race of each individual against the others... Now as a regular 10k runner I know that a bit of a warm up is a good idea but personally I like a few stretches and a light jog but the very idea of a xk swim and a 40k bike ride before setting off is pretty incredible. Massive respect to all triathletes (big up Jenny!) The Brownlee brothers really inspired me with their awesome athleticism; Jonny with his nail-biting scrap to the bitter end with Javier Gomez and especially Alistair with his gutsy hobble to the finish line with that injury.

It’s safe to say that I felt pretty inadequate after watching the Brownlees, me just having that struggle with 10k all on it's own. My mind-set changed for my run that afternoon. I made a solemn pledge to myself that I was going to grit my teeth and keep going, keep pushing, keep momentum. To cut a fairly long and dull story short I went out and beat the hell out of my previous best by 34 seconds. Over the MOON, I was! 48:25 indeed plus I didn't feel all that annihilated and hardly had any stomach cramps. Winner.

So what keeps you pressing on?

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