So, let’s get the important stuff out the way first, because I understand you’re all dying to know: yes, my birthday was fab. There was muchos food, cards and presents, and I was very lucky. Definitely the major themes were running and pink. I received some Winter running clothes, ‘Born to Run’ in both book and CD format (so I can listen while I run – very thoughtful, Dad), and…… a GARMIN!! I am so excited about this because I’m too cheap to buy one. Every time I’m wrestling my iphone from my back pocket to check my time mid-run, I curse myself for not having a Garmin.
SB got me the Forerunner 10 in purple. I haven’t tried it out yet – I’m washing a load of my running gear (felt like you needed to know that), but I can’t wait to give it a go! Other birthday highlights included two boxes of chocolate pop tarts, and the fancy dinner we went to. Thanks SB
So now that’d dealt with, on to the running. On Saturday I ran a 10k trail in the Lake District. SB was going to come too, but something came up, and I ended up flying solo. I’ve done runs from this series before, and this was my favourite. The start/finish line was right by the lake itself, with gorgeous views. Plus they had a steel band playing as we set off and finished – who doesn’t love to set off to ‘Goldfinger’ by steel drums?
As soon as we left the ‘race village’, we were climbing. And we kept climbing for the next 4k. As we started, I saw the (low) number of competitors and realised that I could do quite well if I put my mind to it. Pride comes before a fall: within the second kilometre, I was walking!
It wasn’t as if we were running up a normal hill, though, it was a small, steep track made up of stones and narrow clearings in an uneven field. Most people were walking, but for some reason it really got to me. I couldn’t find the motivation to keep running, even when the path became more even. My thoughts became very melodramatic, like ‘well if I’m walking now, I might as well walk the whole thing’.
Then as the path evened out a little, I told myself to man up and get over myself. One of my friends was competing in a roller derby at the very same time, and her mantra is: ‘I piss awesomeness and I sweat glitter!’. When you’re walking up a hill trying to avoid the sheep crap and keep your balance at the same time, this phrase can do wonders for your motivation! By the third kilometre I was running again, and found my groove again in the 4th as we reached the top of the summit.
Don’t get me wrong – this wasn’t anything like The Wall, but was more of a mental tantrum brought on by a couple of things: I wasn’t expecting to run alone, and my knee was still vulnerable, so even if I wanted to run fast, I couldn’t. I am lucky that I’ve never really had to battle my own psyche before. It turns out that when you’re not competing against yourself, it’s easier to give up!
As soon as I started again, though, I felt 100 times better. Sometimes you just need to keep going, and find that it’s not as hard/bad/boring/challenging as you thought. Or, it is still all those things, but at least you’re tackling the problem rather than letting it beat you.
Mental challenges aside, the trail was a gorgeous one to run. The scenery was different at every kilometre – fields, forests, rock quarries, and the last kilometre was by the lake. I finished in 1hr 5mins, and came 22nd out of 135 ladies, and 72 out of 228 runners overall. I was really happy with that!
On Sunday, I’m running the Newcastle Stampede with my dance friends. It’ll be the last big event of the year for me and I can’t wait!