Conference running

I was at the fantastic Association of Law Teachers annual conference from Sunday to yesterday. It was held in Portsmouth this year and I packed my running gear. I enjoyed running along the seafront last year when I went on the site visit for the conference. This time though I didn’t have to run on my own.

Thinking about running with people is a tricky thing. In fact it is quite anxiety inducing. What if they’re loads faster? What if they’re one of those effortless superhuman proper runners? What if they’re really competitive? What if they take it all really seriously? So mostly I just don’t entertain the idea of actually running with anyone other than Kath. However, in a moment of total madness I mentioned to the colleagues coming with me to the conference that I was going to run and they were welcome to join me. Thankfully only one of them said she would and Kat’s running history isn’t that dissimilar to mine and from the conversations we’ve had about running I sort of thought (and hoped) that our comfortable pace would be relatively similar. So actually I wasn’t too worried.

There was also an official conference run scheduled and I briefly wondered if Kat and I should join that but just thinking about it made me feel crappy about running. I was asked several times if I was doing it – I just smiled lots and explained that I didn’t want to hold anyone back or wave as everyone ran off. It was also that bit later which wouldn’t really have left enough time for breakfast and a shower etc afterwards so going earlier with Kat seemed like a far better option.

The first morning we met at 6am. I would have stayed in bed if we hadn’t agreed to meet so that’s the first win of running with someone else. We walked from the hotel to the seafront and then we set off. We settled into a nice run/walk rhythm and jogged and chatted our way to 1.5 miles. The second morning we went slightly later and run/walked 2 miles. I felt comfortable and actually really enjoyed it. Run 2 in particular wasn’t exactly easy – slightly too much white wine at the conference dinner, very little sleep and not exactly great running fuel food the day before was definitely noticeable but it was great to be out and I felt loads better having done it. It was also lovely to have someone to run with who wasn’t faster than me. Sometimes I feel like I hold Kath back even though she always says she enjoys running with me. Running with Kath is great for pushing myself because she can push the pace and pull me along with her. But running with Kat was a different sort of run altogether. Hard to explain really. It wasn’t that it was easy because I was definitely sweaty and puffed at the end but we were probably running closer to my ‘forever pace’ and particularly given recent running form it was lovely to not feel like it was really all just impossible. It was good! Thanks Kat!

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