Hill reps in a headwind


Last Tuesday morning was one of those beautifully sunny, but crispy cold mornings that us early morning runners have become accustomed to through April. Despite my blogging hiatus, I have still been running, and last Tuesday was a spontaneous hill training day.

It was windy.
My bum muscles aren’t as strong as they used to be.
My favourite hill felt steeper than I remembered.

But 5 x 4mins of threshold paced running, into a head wind, up and down that bastard hill felt good.

Sometimes you can feel like the world is against you. You do all the right things, but then everything goes wrong, and no matter how hard you try to get things right, things just get worse. You can haul your ass out of bed to run hill reps, but then the wind blows in your face the whole time. You can spend 12 weeks training for a race, but then you blow up 3 miles from the finish. You can fill out hundreds of application forms, for just three unsuccessful interviews. You can pour your heart and soul into a relationship that falls apart regardless.

Do you think I’m drifting off topic? I’m not. Stay with me.

Sometimes we spend so much time measuring our success by one single achievement that we forget all the things we learnt and achieved along the way. Running into the wind is hard, but that didn’t make my morning’s training any less worthwhile. Measuring my success and validity as a runner by the results of one single morning’s race is, at best, short sighted. Being exploited by a shit job contract is not a comment on me as a human being. Just because a relationship ended, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth having.

However, that’s not to suggest that we shouldn’t set yourself goals. Just that we should value what we did to achieve it – or to at least try! I perservered in the wind. I entered another race. I went freelance.

Sometimes I wonder why I write this blog. It started out as a journal to record the progress of my new hobby and, though I have made connections with other runners, cyclists and bloggers through my journal keeping, it remains primarily just that – my journal and my record. It has allowed me to reflect on my journey towards a goal and to really bloody enjoy that journey. I get more writing material out of a 12 week training plan than I do out of one morning’s running, so it’s only logical that I should take pleasure and pride in goading myself through the training, as well as the successful execution of a race plan.

See, I told you I wasn’t wandering off topic.

The last 7 months have been very difficult ones. My life has seen many changes, some expected and wonderful, but some not only unexpected – also not wanted. But the journey has been worth it. I’m now a qualified cycling instructor, been promoted into a permanent role, have trained as a Leader in Running Fitness, am helping to coach a local running group, am working regular hours and spending more time with my running clubmates, am dating, and am feeling really quite human again. And so I think there’s only one things missing really… It’s time to set a new race challenge and blog about it!

I’ve entered 2 big races for 2014 – the Run Hackney half marathon on June 22nd and the Nottingham Marathon on the 28th September. But in order to have an enjoyable journey, you need to know where you’re going! So my goals are sub-1:45 for the half and sub-4 hours for the marathon. Here we go again!


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