Saturday, 24 January 2015
Training for Rome Marathon (for real this time)
Week 2 of 10: Day 11
57 days to go
70-minute long, slow distance
So that’s a surprising turn of events: I had a nice run this morning.
Never in my life did I think I would say that. People always talk about the great run they had, how much they enjoyed it, how they chatted with their mates and took in the view while they ran. Not me. I struggle through the first 3 km, have a brief honeymoon period of a kay or two where I think I might get the hang of this running lark, and then I start talking myself into making it from one lamppost to the next. And then it’s over and I’ve done my training for another day.
Okay, it’s not that bad. I mean, I don’t hate it. Although I have at times. Like the Landmarks half marathon was pretty damn terrible. And I kind of hated every step of the Growthpoint 10 km in December. And there was that blisteringly hot training run on Tafelberg Road that had me crying into my socks, and the run from Hout Bay over Suikerbossie to Twelve Apostles and back that left me dehydrated and asking strangers what my name is and where I live. Those weren’t pleasant. Not in the least.
So I’ve never really felt easy on a run, where I feel the way I do when walking. My distance walking made me feel strong – powerful, even. I could set a fairly strong pace and feel as if I could walk forever. And I could take in the views, smell the sea air, feel the breeze on my face and the sun on my back and generally enjoy a sense of wellbeing – a sense that the universe is working towards making everything good. Walking was more upright, while running is more hunched over. Walking shook the cares of the world off my back and when I’m running I seem to be lugging a heavy load.
Running highlights my weaknesses – and by highlights I mean in the way that a flashing light on top of an ambulance would. Running shows me up. Right from the outset there is no ambiguity: I have either trained enough, rested enough and eaten well enough, or I have not. Simple.
So I tackle every run with some trepidation. Well, it has evolved from naked fear to trepidation – so there is some improvement, I suppose. And it was with trepidation that I joined the Embark group for the 70-minute run at 6:30 this morning.
And what a beautiful morning it was. Not a breath of wind, clear skies and cool sea air. The sun hadn’t sent its rays over the mountain yet and so conditions were perfect for a comfortable run. I am focusing on keeping it slow. Just keep running, no matter how slow. So a seven-minute per km pace is what we’re aiming for, especially on the long runs.
Running out towards Oudekraal, with the peaks of the Twelve Apostles looming on the one side and the waves of the Atlantic crashing onto the rocks on the other, I felt good. I felt peaceful and grateful and just … good. Like everything was in place – kind of like tetris blocks when they all nest into each other.
Two weeks ago I felt so despondent. I thought I would never regain the fitness I had lost. But I had made up my mind to just get out there, make it to each training session, and just grind it out, one foot before the other. And it’s paid off.
I ran 11 km this morning. I ran at a slow, comfortable pace that allowed me to chat to other runners, take in the view and even smile. I didn’t have to talk myself from lamppost to lamppost. I didn’t hate it. And I even ran it in 1h14, which is better than I had expected to do.
I ran this morning, and I liked it.