One Big Fat Run

The last weekend of the month means it’s One Big Fat Run (#OBFR) time. #OBFR is a monthly virtual 5k. You can read more about it via the link above or search for it on Facebook. Anyway, the plan was to do 6 x 800 metres with 3 minute walk breaks in-between as my #OBFR – it would amount to nearly 5k of running and would overall be more in terms of distance – but close enough. Alternatively, if we also managed to get out for a 45  run on Sunday, I’d use that. We set off on Saturday, walked down to the canal and set off for the first 800 metres. All fine. Then we walked for 3 minutes, turned round a little earlier than we really wanted so as not to get tangled up with a group of dog walkers, set off running for the second 800 metres. All fine for the first 500 metres. Then I felt a little niggle along my left shin. Then, with maybe 150 metres to go, a sharp pain across my left shin and simultaneously a twinge just below my butt on the right. It brought me to a halt.

I was so upset and pissed off. Just when the running was actually going quite well I was going to be injured. I had a little panic and strop and walked home grumpily. There was no pain when walking and no pain when I ran my hand across my shin – so maybe it was ok after all. I did a few stretches on Saturday and had a busy day in the garden. I then did almost nothing at all on Sunday other than a walk to the sheep. I felt a bit crappy for not getting my #OBFR done at the weekend but I slept lots so maybe I just needed a rest.

Today we went out at lunchtime to run a 45 minute loop. We did our sheep loop the ‘wrong’ way round. We set off and it was fine, no pain and feeling relatively comfortable. I managed to run downhill slowly without too much of a panic and settled in along the canal. Mile 1 was fine. We had agreed before that we would walk up the golf course from the car park but that still meant I had to get up to the car park! I started struggling from probably about a mile and a half in. I don’t think I was struggling physically, I think it was all in my head and I couldn’t make my legs go faster or even keep at the pace I was at. I was still breathing fine and my legs were a little heavy but ok but my brain wouldn’t work. As we crossed the canal bridge and started the shortish sharpish hill to the car park I thought I’d never make it but gave myself a bit of a talking to, gritted my teeth and pushed. I got to the top and then we walked.

At this point everything sort of hurt but not really. I didn’t really want to walk up the golf course, I most certainly didn’t want to have to start running again when I got to the top. But to the top I did eventually get and run I did. Slowly. I knew I was physically fine. I wasn’t finding it physically hard – I knew this because I was breathing fine and my legs felt ok and yet my brain was telling me that it was far too hard and I couldn’t do it and I needed to walk. I didn’t walk, not yet. We made it past the sheep and up the little slope when Kath called a walk break. I’d just surrendered here and did as I was told. I didn’t want to think or make decisions. I was quite happy to run when told and walk when told. Kath took us towards home with 1minute/1minute run/walk intervals. As we hit the bottom of Ilkley Road something clicked in my brain and I decided I wanted to run home from there – up the slope, all the way, just because I can. At times for those last few minutes it felt like I was going backwards. Any slower and I would have been rooted to the spot. I was screaming at myself (in my head, not out loud, I don’t think) to just stop and walk and then screaming back that I didn’t bloody well want to walk.

So with head down and terrible running form I pushed up the last little bit of the hill and turned the corner into our road. I looked up, straightened my back and kept putting one foot in front of the other and just as the watch beeped for 45 minutes I stepped onto our drive. 3.23miles, one of my slowest 45 minutes ever but done.

This run was not about being physically able to run a certain time or distance – I am perfectly capable of running 45 minutes or 5km. This run was all about the mental. Running is mostly about learning to take your mind with a pinch of salt and not believing everything it tells you. I am far more likely to be convinced by the negative messages about not being able to do it than I am by the positives. When I am not in a good frame of mind and when I have self-doubt I need to really focus on doing the opposite of mind over matter because it’s my mind that needs pushing on and/or ignoring. I proved to myself that I can do that today by running up Ilkley Road when before that, really, I’d given up. I’m proud of that because not so long ago I would have given up on the golf course and just walked home. Now I just need to find a way to get to that point sooner. I need to think about what changed mentally when I turned into Ilkley Road. What made me decide that I wanted to and decide that I can? What made me lose it on the golf course? Up to that point I’d struggled but managed to keep pushing. What could I have done there to make the walk a positive (it was planned in anyway) and then keep running after without having to drop into intervals? Why can’t it just be simple – you know like run a certain distance regularly = distance becomes easy…

Still #OBFR is a fabulous thing. Without it I may have come up with all sorts of excuses to not run at all today and it gives me a monthly 5k marker which gives me the opportunity to reflect on all things running and most of all it reminds me that there are lots of others at various stages of their own running journeys and we’re not in this on our own.

Hills, More hills, 4 miles and another hill

It has been pretty good running bank holiday weekend. It needed to be because we didn’t get out during the week. It was a crappy week. I was on strike for a couple of days and on the second strike day I started really struggling and I didn’t really get much better on Friday. Hiding on the sofa was absolutely fine by me.

However, on Saturday we got our butts out and started catching up to get back on plan. The first run we hadn’t done was a 45 minute hill run. So, I pulled my trainers on and followed Kath out the door, to the end of the road, longingly looked left and then turned right. We walked the first stretch and then started running. We didn’t set the intervals for some reason so made it up as we went along. The hills were tough, really tough but I kept going even though on some of them I only managed 20 second runs. We didn’t get to the top but that wasn’t the aim anyway. We ran almost all the way back down and it felt pretty good to have done it but I can’t say I enjoyed that one!

Sunday morning we went to Bolton Abbey and ran our loop again. We were a bit faster than the week before which is always nice but then we didn’t stop for pictures this time! I managed all the hills apart from the one towards the end which I never manage but I ran a bit of it, then walked a bit and then ran the last bit to the top. One step closer to conquering the bugger! It was a beautiful run and we saw lots of birds including a pied flycatcher. This run also served as my May One Big Fat Run which if you haven’t heard about it is a virtual monthly 5km run ‘hosted’ by Too Fat to Run?.

Today we were going to run in the morning but we needed to our sheep ready to take some to market and vaccinate the lambs. So we decided we’d postpone the run until this afternoon. We didn’t have to do too much running around with the sheep but it’s always a funny feeling taking them to market. We took 6, keeping 2 of last year’s lambs for breeding. We had lunch when we got back and pottered around a bit and then set off about 2 hours after eating

I think it was a little too soon after food for me, I felt a bit sickly for the first couple of intervals. We were due to do 4 miles with a 1 minute surge every 10 or so minutes. We set off from home, went downhill and then hit the canal. We were running 2.5 minutes and walking one. We did the first surge not long after we got onto the canal. I struggled because I somehow couldn’t get my head round speeding up a little and then maintaining that speed. Instead I kept getting faster and faster. So when the second surge was due I deliberately fell in behind Kath and that worked much better. We did the surges in the middle of our 2.5 minute runs and I think it’s a really good way to learn how to recover a little by just slowing down rather than stopping to walk. The surges weren’t fast – just a little speedier than we were going anyway but it seems quite effective. Neither us can now remember whether we did 3 or 4.

I liked going along the canal. We saw ducklings, swans, a few geese, dogs, cyclists, runners, sparrows, blackbirds and a cat or two. We finished our 4 miles with an average pace of 11.57 and it was a bit exciting to go under 12. That’s probably the first time since Dopey that we’ve gone under 12 – I don’t think we did between Dopey and London. Although I found it hard, I enjoyed doing the surges – it felt like we were actually training, like we had some sort of purpose rather than just plodding along. We finished our 4 miles with just a little walk left on the canal and then had to walk back up the hill. I wasn’t really looking forward to that hill. We went straight up using a footpath which is the shortest but also the steepest way to our house. My calf muscles were protesting a bit and my back was niggly by the time we got to the top but actually overall I found walking up there after the run easier than I sometimes do after a day at work.

All in all, a good long weekend of running. Now I just have to get my head round going back to work tomorrow!


Sunday Slog and October One Big Fat Run

We did our 45 minute run today – it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t really that hard either. It was grumpy. Yes that’s it, it was grumpy running. No idea why, it just was. We ran 1 minute/30 sec intervals again. We were going to go to Bolton Abbey but that doesn’t open until 9am and we were ready earlier (thanks mainly to the clocks going back) so we went from home, past our sheep which also gave us a chance to check on our ram (he’s been poorly with an infection) and still gave us some gentle hills.

Just past our sheep, on the slope I probably dislike most in terms of uphill running round here, there was a bullfinch puffing out his bright colours. There were also several robins along the way. I wondered if there are more robins around or whether their red chests just make them easy to see at the moment. The autumn colours are getting more vibrant and stunning every day but of course soon they will disappear (oh look grumpy again). There were amarous ducks on the canal and one or two other people, walking dogs mostly. We were passed by a runner who said something about ‘…isn’t going to be any help to you’ – I didn’t hear what he said though so I initially decided that it was positive but I couldn’t shake off the niggle that he wasn’t particularly complementary. It bothered me.

I bought ‘Run Fat Bitch Run‘ by Ruth Field yesterday. I have got through Part 1 and I wonder whether that has something to do with my grumpiness. There is quite a lot in there that I agree with but I also found it incredibly patronising and not at all motivational or inspiring. I may just be in that mood – I will review the book properly when I have finished it and when I have given it a fair shot. I think possibly I like and totally agree with the idea but not with the approach. We’ll see.

This weekend is the October iteration of the One Big Fat Run which I think is a great idea. It’s a virtual 5km run and it’s just about getting that run in at some point over the weekend and sharing the achievement of getting our butts out there. Time doesn’t matter, there is no coming last because the ‘race’ isn’t a race. It’s about us – you and me – getting out there and doing it at our own pace in our own way. You print your own race number (it’s the same for everyone 001) and you can even buy a medal in the Too Fat to Run shop. So our 45 minute run today was our Big Fat Run for this month – we did a little over 5km, 3.48 miles. Because I was all grumpy though I forgot to print race numbers and I also forgot to take a finish line selfie. Sorry. Maybe you can do better! Get yourself out there and round 5km, hop, skip, dance, walk, crawl, run your way round and then share your achievement on social media using #onebigfatrun.

Oh yeah – Sunday – weigh in – stayed the same – grumpy