I completed a couple more runs and they were at my usual level of about 45 minutes. I went about my normal routine, but on one outing, the My Tracks app got stuck halfway round. I know I completed the distance but it told me otherwise.
Far from being annoyed, it was an excellent way to break the cycle and I suddenly started thinking about what I was doing. After stressing out so much last time, it occurred to me (plus Steven said so) that I was being far too hard on myself. This was only ever meant to be a crazy hobby. I didn’t even start running to get fit, it was just something to get me out of the house, to be a bit of a challenge, and because, surprisingly, it was fun.
I looked back at some of my earlier posts, and remembered having to stop on that first day mid-run. I had gone for about 45 seconds, and felt sick. I was in a park, trying to stay out of the way behind some tall trees, and I remember thinking that if I died then and there, no one would find me for ages. And the first people to find me would probably be teenagers clutching cider bottles.
It’s not hard to see that I’ve come a long way. 45 seconds is nothing, I’m now running for 45 minutes. Okay, that’s not fast, and a lot of people can do the same distance in 20 minutes. Okay, I may be a mess when I get home, with a big ol’ red face and shaky knees. But that’s fine, because who says I have to be otherwise?
So, I started wondering where I’d gone off course, where the pressure had come from, and I came up with two things.
- I’ve been thinking of this upcoming race as an actual race. Like I really am Paula Radcliffe and have something to prove. I sat down and thought about what my realistic goals are for the race (I will share them with you nearer the time), and I managed to untie all those knots I’d managed to get worked up into. It is what it is, and I hope I do well. That’s all.
- When I was working through the Couch 2 5K process, there were specific goals to reach each day - running for that amount of time, walking for that amount of time, repeat if incomplete. Now I’ve graduated, I’ve sort of gone out willy-nilly each day, just hoping that somewhere along the way, I’m getting faster. And I’m not. So again, I sat down and made myself some time-related goals. No pressure, but something to work towards in the final run-up to the race.
With these new goals in mind, I scrapped everything I had been doing and went out last night, and look what happened! (I’ve included a previous run for reference.)
T minus 18 days
- Total distance - 5.00km
- Total moving time - 45:29
- Average moving speed - 6.60km/h
T minus 11 days
- Total distance - 5.01km
- Total moving time - 40:24
- Average moving speed - 7.45km/h
Completely different kind of run. I had to stop many, many times. The total time was more like 52 minutes, with all the stopping. But I know I can do 5K without stopping, so I wasn’t bothered about that.
I want to go out again this evening. The enthusiasm has returned. I just wish I’d figured this out earlier, because did you notice? There’s only 10 days to go!!
So, after all of that, it seems a bit cheeky to ask you to sponsor me. Lots of lovely people have already, but there’s always room for more. Even if it’s only a small amount, every little helps.
I’ve set the donation page to close at the end of October, so you can still donate after the race has happened. That might be a better idea, actually, because then you’ll know I’ve actually done it and not exploded in a ball of running-related angst.