running feet

running feet
Running feet. These aren't mine.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Feel the burn

Just got back from a seven mile Sunday evening jaunt in the rain - the perfect way to end a week (or should that be start the week, I'm never sure if Sunday is meant to be the beginning or the end). Despite the drizzle it was a lovely run, reminding me again why I love living in Bristol - starting from my inner city suburb I ran seven miles, with barely a car or a main road to be seen (only through Clifton village, over the suspension bridge, and at the bottom of Ashton Court was I on main/busy roads - maybe two miles max).

As well as congratulating myself on how great it is to run near where I live, I also spent much of the run pondering on how much my thighs were hurting. Probably this should be no surprise - since I started training for this half marathon my weekly milage has probably doubled. And yet I don't remember these 'long slow runs' hurting so much last time I trained properly. Well, I don't remember them hurting at all.

Now, rationally, that can't be possible, and once again experience brings memory (and its morphine like ability to blur the sharp edges) into sharp focus. When I stopped this evening I thought my legs would seize up, and I know just standing up from the sofa now is going to hurt. The bad news is I only did about half the distance of the half marathon, at a pace about a third slower than I might aspire to do on the day. The good news is the half marathon isn't until September. Hopefully the long slow runs won't hurt so much by then.

Running log
Distance: Seven miles (ish)
Pace: About 10 minute mile pace
Location: Bristol harbour, Clifton Suspension bridge, Ashton Court park

Friday, 3 June 2011

Do I think at all when I run?

So. I finally committed to running Bristol Half Marathon and have started a 16 week training plan to get me there. So although the blog has been quiet this month, this is no reflection on the amount of running I've done - 13 miles for the last couple of weeks, with more to come over the summer.

Interestingly though (at least to me), I'm discovering that most of the time when I'm running I'm aware of nothing more than my breathing, my heart-rate*, the rhythm of my feet on the road, the relative amount of pain in my legs and so on. Which not only brings into question the theme of this blog (not sure I can make a recurring series out of 'nothing much'), but also my memory of why I enjoyed running in in the first place.

I ran a lot in 2007 and 2008, but then more or less stopped after the birth of my second child (citing physical and emotional exhaustion as an excuse to my inner personal trainer). I always intended this as a pause though, and over the last year or so I've been wistful about not running regularly, partly because I remembered the sensation of running as being a great time to think. Hence the idea for this blog.

But it turns out I don't think too much at all when I run. Or at least not about anything that is interesting. Perhaps this will change as I get fitter. Or perhaps there's something else going on. My (admittedly shaky) understanding of meditation is that the goal is to clear one's mind of everything and focus only on the immediate moment, starting with the in and out of your breathing. So maybe when I'm running I'm taking myself into a similar meditative place, and what I wistfully remember as a time when I got to think is just the memory of a period in my life when I was calmer and more centered generally. ?

Maybe. We'll see. Anyway, the bottom line is I still enjoy running, and will continue, and I still enjoy blogging, and will continue. It's just the two things might not be quite as entwined as I intended a couple of months ago.