What an ace few days! After successfully returning to work on Friday I completed back to back races over the weekend, recording not too shabby times following on from my ‘comeback‘ the prior weekend.
Having missed runs on Wednesday and Thursday I committed the cardinal sin of double 20Ks on Friday to compensate (usually my rest day before a weekend of races and the long run). This is no ideal way to prepare for an intensive weekend but then again in this post-truth world these are no ordinary times!
Part of being on new medication is experiencing waking up really early (even for me). The downside of this is of course added tiredness and shorter recovery. The benefit is increased warm up time and the opportunity to have my first breakfast an hour or so earlier than usual, allowing it to digest and add to my depleted glycogen stores (or so my dubious grasp of science tells me).
Newly experienced limits to my energy levels have created a spectacular dichotomy between body and mind. I am not entirely sure which one is shattered and which is raring to go and take on the world, all I am sure of is that this conflict was playing out when I left the house at 8:15 on a Saturday morning. The 6.5K run to my local parkrun felt really sluggish and I was beginning to wonder whether I would heaven forbid not sub 20 minutes for the first time this week.
I switched up my playlist a bit, took selfies and pondered starting further back in the second row or something to make way for the viable athletes. Usually I come flying out of the blocks during the first lap, often leading the pack before slipping back somewhat over the next two rounds of a bumpy course. My logic is that with each passing week I might be able to sustain it a little longer until eventually I win one of these but I’ve been thinking of trialing starting more temperately for a while before building up pace (this seems to be what the super speedies manage to do). With my newly found acknowledgement of my potential physical limitations I figured that better than a complete write-off this week I would actively experiment with my approach and see what happens.
I started in around fifth place by the first corner. By the first half a lap I had overtaken some of the runners who like my usual self, lose a bit of steam after a flying start. Could this work? My pace felt steady but unspectacular. By the end of the first round I had my usual contemplation that I was tired and might not even finish the race. By the end of lap two I had been overtaken a few times (including by an impressive individual with his dog). I finished in a lowly 8th place but suceeded in not embarrassing myself, coming in at 19:52 and still breaking the 20 minute mark!
On Sunday I had my Goodgym monthly 10K time trial. This would be the first time in a few weeks that I had ran 3 consecutive days. In spite of another 4am wake up I got my kit on, ate well and made my way to Victoria Park near Mile End to meet the gang with one critical difference: this week I did not run to my race location. Usually I have the long game in mind. While additional miles impact my short term performance negatively, over the long run (pun) in the races that really matter to me more than they are fun I will reap the benefits. By the time I caught up with people I was rarely to go! 4 laps of Victoria Park, no problem!
I do not have a 10k playlist so added some new songs to my parkrun list to take my music time to around 42 minutes. The pressure was on!
I set off anticipating grogginess, but whether it was the pre-run social interactions, the banana, the introduction of a third breakfast, or divine intervention I realised I felt really spring in my step. I felt really quite good. I made my way around lap one quickly, glanced at my phone to check whether I really could only be on song 3 (around 10 minutes). This increased my confidence further for the next 3 rounds. The rest of the course stayed steadily pacy and I came in at 40:18. While I would have loved a sub-40 I am really happy with that time Not least because it is a whole 2 and a half minutes faster than my last time trial only a few weeks ago where I completed in 42:47.52 albeit at the very end of my first 100 mile week). Very pleasing! You can read the full Goodgym run report here.
It is really empowering to be able to run consistently while feeling under par. It really increases my confidence and trust in my body. Writing at 5am on a Monday after another early rise I will shortly be setting off again this morning for the 20k trek to work.
Consistency cultivates confidence!