I am having a real Brexit moment this week. There are parts of me that want to stop running; my hamstrings are the chief dissenters. They are trying to convince the rest of me that I have gone too far and pushed too hard. I am not listening to them – I believe in the silent majority. They are the parts of me, that if I stopped running, would tell me how much healthier and stronger in both mind and body I used to be when I ran. And let’s not forget the cake; I wouldn’t be able to eat cake if I didn’t run.
Planning, preparation, perseverance and positive mental attitude are the key components to success in any endeavour aren’t they? I am good at the planning part; I have my next six months weekly schedule written up. Then there’s Plan B in case Plan A doesn’t work. I have running/racing strategies to cover most situations. I read a lot, look at running kit, study different routes, watch the weather… You get the picture. Oh and I run, I run a lot – it’s kind of essential. I keep running even though I am not the fastest, I don’t give up. Most of the time that is true. Apart from today. It was a real battle this morning, my body really didn’t want to run this morning. That battle I told you in my last blog – it lasted at least 20 minutes this morning. That’s how hard it was.
Part of the problem is that 50 miler is starting to play on my mind, it’s not just 50 miles there are hills too. I don’t like hills. Anyone who runs with me knows I don’t like hills. So why have I joined up for three races which each involve over 3000 feet of altitude gain? Ummm? It seemed like a good idea at the time. So hilly runs are now part of the plan, and trail runs. I love trail running! That is how I started running … On trails, it’s very therapeutic. And my dogs can come too – happy days. I think I have the distance part nailed but those hills are worrying me. So I have started putting more hills into my runs, lots more hills.
I really need to listen to my own advice. It turns that ten percent rule is relevant for increasing altitude gain as well as distance. My hamstrings aren’t speaking to me and the calves aren’t very happy either. But nothing is broken and the rest of me is laughing and high fiving. I do feel strong, I am on track and next week’s mini challenge is looking good.
It got me thinking though. Let’s face it 13.1 miles is a very long way – it’s four park runs…and a bit. Oh and despite being tagged as ‘fast, flat and iconic’, the Cardiff Half Marathon has at least 3 maybe 4 miles that you definitely have to run up. If you are a first timer or this is your tenth half marathon you can’t just turn up and hope for the best. It is a real challenge – most people will tell you that Mile 10 is the make or break point for Cardiff – if you can get past that point feeling strong, you have nailed it. In March 2016 I ran the Cardiff Half and got a PB – I was grinning like a maniac for those last three miles. Who laughs as they run up Cemetery Hill? I did, I knew I had it in the bag, it was an amazing feeling. So I ran, I ran up a hill without walking! After running 12 miles! Who knew? That is what I want for all of you. To enjoy those last few miles, knowing you are going to finish and all your hard work was worth it.
Over the next few months some of you will face your own Brexit moments. Even the best of you will have bad days. I think about 20 people signed up in the last week, it may have been my fault, I might have encouraged you, hopefully I inspired you too. Now the initial excitement is dying down reality is sinking in. ‘What have I done?’ seems quite a popular sentiment. Don’t worry, we are a team, we are all in it together and that will make everything a lot easier I promise.
It’s still five months away which is a long time especially with all the distractions that summer will bring. My best advice is to get into a good place in your head first. Believing you can do this is the most important part. My moment of doubt this morning was just that a moment. I think I can ‘run’ 50 miles. I know all of you can run 13.1 miles.
Oh and try to remember to enjoy your running – if you are not smiling at the end of your run you are probably doing it wrong.