So I knew the path from too much beer to a 5 week half marathon PB plan might not be an easy one and I was so right. The starting point was commendably good. I ripped out the plan I’d found in Womens’ Running Magazine and stuck it on the wall below the kitchen calendar or the ‘KC’ as we like to refer to it in our house. Any super organised household I’m sure has the same mantra as we do, ‘if it’s not on the KC, it’s not happening!’ So I knew that blue tacking the training plan close to such a regularly viewed document meant I couldn’t ignore it.
The long weekend run is a key element of the plan and a change in the weather marred what should have been a pleasant river side run of around 9 miles.I must admit it looked a little black in places as I left the house,but my husband assured me he thought any rain would hold off. If ‘iphone’ said so then surely it must be right! It was a nice temperature, I had a nice pace going and two disasters happened at once. Number one, the need for the loo…..not something I have ever suffered with, we’re talking trots, number 2’s, Tommy turtle looking for escape. I passed a pub and decided that actually it was mind over matter, it would pass (not in that way !) and it did …..but not for long and by this time I was on Victoria Embankment. It’s a mile stretch where the pub at one end has been demolished, the mid way snack kiosk has no loos and the public loos in the war memorial gardens are, guess what, closed, although I had suspected they would be incredibly grim and surrounded by dodgy characters, but needs must! Next stop, Riverbank bar, a swanky, expensive venue on Trent bridge. They’d be thrilled I thought at sweaty old me rocking up to spoil their image. But then I thought of the numerous meals, cocktails and ladies nights I have attended there, all dolled up and high heels looking a WB LCA and I decided they’d have to cope with my alter ego. But onto trauma number 2, how easily we are side tracked, the heavens opened with a ‘soaked in seconds’ deluge. My brain forgot my bum so to speak and I ran on through stair rods. Now I’m not a fair weather runner, but this rain was unreal. I sought shelter along with a young couple huddled under the canopy of the other snack kiosk on the edge of Riverbank’s car park. We laughed it off but after around 10mins we all agreed it wasn’t going to stop. It was Saturday, they had a party to go to and I had guests for dinner so we all agreed we could wait no more, it wasn’t stopping any time soon.
We’re talking about 3 miles home from here. I looked a crazy fool running over the iconic Trent Bridge in such rain, drivers must have thought me mad. You need a sign with ‘it wasn’t like this when I started out’ on it. It made little difference, but a Chav wagon, sorry, I mean Mitsubishi truck , swung over into the river now running across the bridge, as well as under it, just to ensure I got a proper head to toe soaking (Tosser!) This is where running gets weird, I got a total sense of euphoria at the madness of the situation. I could feel a torrent running off the end of my nose, my technical tee shirt clinging to me, my socks squelching and I couldn’t help but grin. Funny how a couple of other runners,pedestrians and cyclists all smiled too, the community of the ‘caught out’. Arriving at home and requesting a towel at the front door drew much amusement from the offspring, especially when I ‘steamed’ as I stretched. Removing and wringing out my socks into the topiary balls either side of the front door (very LCA) drew laughter too. My poor shoes took 2 days to dry out in the airing cupboard. A hot shower and a cuppa were my salvation.
So back to the other parts of my training plan which consist of a hill training session, a sprint training session and a cross training session (weights or pilates). My pet hate is the hill training which I find mentally challenging. My hill of choice is Selby Road, West Bridgford. It’s around a mile warm up to get to the top of it from my house and its a killer.I know that the running club use it during their winter training so it must be a suitable incline. Its actually a prestigious road, some lovely houses and gardens to admire, getting more grand as you go up. I tried it solo (4 times instead of the 6 quoted). Ironically deciding where the hill starts and ends is debatable. I assume it’s not the entire length of the road? So between a purple tree and a skip seemed good markers to me that pulled in the whole hill. So second time, I vowed to run it 8 times as planned, I needed the mental discipline I was thinking. I guess the residents aren’t shocked by nutters running up and down the road if the local running club do it. Hope I didn’t look like I was ‘casing the joints’! A lady was digging her newly designed front garden, she must have thought me mad. I pushed on 7 times…..just turning downwards to my finale run and another disaster…..nosebleed! What was worse was nose bleed with no tissue. I wasn’t really pushing myself, I don’t think it was the altitude, so god knows why that started ? My saving grace was wearing a long black wind cheater jacket, so pressing my nose with my forearm, ugh. I gave up and wandered back up the hill, I figured if it hadn’t stopped by the time I reached the lady digging the garden, I’d ask for some loo roll. By that time, it had finally stopped and you couldn’t see the blood on a black top. It had however covered my hands and without a mirror I was hopeful it wasn’t all over my face. Nothing like arriving on your front door looking like you’ve been mugged! Glad to say it was contained. So that’s another running first.
So finally to the DCA (Dog of a certain age) named Taupo I believe. My ‘series of unfortunate events’ actually ended on a high with the first meet up up of three of us from a Facebook group, Notts Women Runners. It’s a great group, we live all over the city, we appear to be a group of all ages, sizes and abilities just sharing the highs and lows of running. Being ladies (and not all of a certain age) is our only connection.It’s full of ideas and support so with three of us all entered into the forthcoming Robin Hood Half Marathon and all wanting a sub 2 hour time and the other 2 bored of the regular Sweatshop Running Store Sunday morning run, we thought we’d run 11 miles together. It felt a bit like internet dating (not like I’d know what that feels like at all ) just how I imagine it would be.I was stressed with panic, are they older, younger, too fast, too slow. Do we wear carnations or is a pair of trainers and head to toe lycra a big enough give away ? Actually Sarah Horrigan -Fullard who set up the group is in this month’s Womens’ Running Magazine as she’s on a running streak that has lasted around 300 days now, so hearing how on earth you find the time, inclination and stay injury free was a key topic of conversation during our run. Naturally it was fine, they were lovely, we were a good pace match, we found a good route, we had lots to talk about and we ran with a dog. That’s a new one. The running club has introduced me to running with blokes and now I’ve tackled a dog. He was very bright and shiny so I was surprised when he was introduced as a middle aged dog. Clearly running is doing us all good,LCAs running with a DCA, just occasionally he ran across my path and nearly tripped me up and at one point my poor knee crashed into his poor (leg, hip, flank…whatever dogs have?) Now the bruise this week on my knee has been a corker, so I can only imagine he’s been feeling that too. I look forward to another encounter with my new running buddies, both two and four legged and feel pleased that a couple of years ago I would never have dared risk such an encounter, I genuinely feel a confident runner now.
I will be ready for this half, but it’s an up and down journey.
Categories: Ladies of a Certain Age Running (LCA)