Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Day 30 - after sharp showers

Type - tempo run

Distance - 5 miles

Time - 37 minutes 26 seconds

It had not been a good day, and by 7pm I was not in the mood for running. Going back to work after an extended bank holiday (at the wedding in Liverpool at the back end of last week, and off for Bank Holiday Monday) is never much fun, and when I woke to the sound of rain splashing great globs down my bedroom window. Threatening grey skies, ceaseless curtains of water and a stiff breeze made for a miserable cycle. I wouldn't have bothered with the bike but I needed to get it into the bike shop for a well overdue service I had booked last week.

I finally got to work, and peeled out of sodden clothes in the changing room. I discovered I had packed my phone at the bottom of my panniers, and it was now sodden and malfunctioning. At best it would dry out (eventually) and work, but chances were that my nearly new Nokia N95 was finished. Straight to the desk, only to have to go over to Borough for an unanticipated meeting, and a rushed, miserable day. I finally went to collect my bike, paying over £130 to cover the long list of repairs and replacements needed to get my bike back into working order - the final bludgeoning of a crappy day.

But by now the sun was shining, and riding home on a fixed up bike was a delight. I sat down to plot my route (a slight variation on the previous 4 mile run down Petherton Road, but this time going across Upper Street and up Liverpool Road and then back across Holloway Road into Highbury Fields (map)) and did not feel like getting up to run, let alone to pace out a tempo run over five miles.

This is where setting the challenge, training for a specific event and writing this public blog makes all the difference. These three factors combined to push me out onto the road, and, ultimately and after much internal griping, it was worth it. Today's run was not much fun, lacking the willpower to push forward, worsened by a stiffness in my calves that took a while to dissipate and a general lack of fluidity and pace. At least that is how it seemed for the first three miles. This was the first run I have done in this series of training sessions when I wanted to cut the mileage down significantly, to give up and walk home. I told myself all the way to mile 3 that I would cut off the last loop and be home in 4 miles. It was sapping, defeatist and unpleasant, but I just wasn't feeling it and I couldn't seem to snap myself out of the thunderous mood the day had produced.

But then, as suddenly as black clouds displaced by the sun's brightest rays, the last two miles were actually quite enjoyable. I managed to kick up a gear to finish in a highly respectable 37 minutes 26 seconds, under 7 minutes 30 seconds per mile and a minute quicker than my time running the 5 miles at home. It wasn't as easy or as quick as I had anticipated, but then perhaps I need to be reminded that this whole running lark is not easy, but the more challenge and adversity, the greater the reward. And that is kinda the point - that after sharp showers the sun shines brightest; no weather is warmer than after watery clouds.

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