When the bad turns good

I took a few days off work this week. I haven’t had any days off since July, and then it was only a couple so I really felt like I needed these, but then I start thinking that I have to really make the most of them, to the point that I actually feel quite anxious about ‘wasting’ them – is this just me?

Monday morning I’d planned to go for a run – a long run when I don’t usually have chance seemed a good idea to me. Then I couldn’t decide where to run – a different route sounded good (as I had the chance!), but I couldn’t decide where. I hate being indecisive like this, and it really isn’t me but seems to be happening sometimes. I finally decided on a loop not far from home so I wasn’t driving much and could park at the point nearest home. Jumped in the car and off I went. Things were finally looking a bit more positive (despite the drizzle) when I got to where I wanted to park and realised that the road I was planning on running down was shut for roadworks.

For those that live / run only in towns and cities, when rural roads are shut, that tends to mean for pedestrians too. There are no footpaths to go on. I did stop and speak to the nearest workman but he confirmed – totally shut.

Now I don’t know about you, but I hate having plans upset like this. It had taken me long enough to make a decision and now I needed to make another one! I headed down the road with a vague idea of where I was going with lots of different options going round in my head. Stopped to check maps on my phone to try and find a route (what did people do before smart phones!), drove a bit further, parked in a village.

Tried to ring my husband to tell him of my change of route – Vodafone tells me ‘not registered on network’…. Turn phone off, restart. Still tells me ‘not registered on network’. Try a text. Husband rings back so text must have worked! Try not to cry whilst giving revised route, which I didn’t know the distance of.

Get off phone, cry, rub eye and pop out contact lens (arrggghhh!!! no glasses / spare lenses with me). Luckily catch contact lens, shove back in eye, tell myself to pull myself together for crying out loud.

Get out of car, don waterproof waistcoat thing and gloves, set garmin, start walking to warm up (and calm down). Finally start running. Only about an hour after I had planned too.

Now by this point you’ll have gathered that it wasn’t a particularly good morning and I really felt like I needed this run but was now worrying that I wasn’t going to be able to settle into it. I also needed a wee.

Turn off main road, find gateway, head into field and about to pull down shorts…. Phone rings! Pause, answer phone. Husband has very kindly mapped the route to tell me how long it is (7.7 miles). Off phone, finally have wee. Feel much better to start running again!

I was too hot very quickly. Shouldn’t have bothered with the waterproof. Couldn’t be bothered to take it off. Ran the first mile and glanced at the garmin as it bleeped – oops, a bit quick, need to slow down really. Second mile beeps – I’ve got quicker not slower! Again, thought I’d better slow down, but just running to feel really.

I soon realised that the route I’d chosen was taking me on much of the route of the Hornsea Third Marathon, so was more familiar to me than I was expecting. This isn’t far from home, but it is on roads you never go on unless you are specifically making an effort to do so. Husband had pointed out when he rang that I could jump onto the old railway line for a short section which gave me a break from the road (and makes me want to work out more routes taking parts of this track).  At this point I did stop to remove the waterproof – and wished I’d done so much sooner! On the whole of the route I didn’t see any other pedestrians / dog walkers / runners and very few cars. Mainly running past fields and woods out in the countryside. Just what I needed.

By mile six I knew that I was running at a pace much better than I had planned and made the decision to try and stick with it for the rest of the run. It was around this point that it started to take a bit more effort to keep it up, but I still felt comfortable. I’d also decided that I was going to carry on to 8 miles if at all possible.

Here are the splits:

Garmin Splits

Absolutely chuffed to bits!! I haven’t run that fast over that kind of distance for a long long time and the fact that I’ve managed negative splits and finished strongly gives me hope that a bit of form is coming back.

So on this run it worked. I started feeling upset, stressed, anxious. I finished feeling far more capable to cope with whatever was to come.

Today I needed to run, on my own, to be me, surrounded by nature.

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