Marathon Diaries – A2

This week I had coffee with my dad and had an impromptu chat about my depression. We chatted about what I felt changed me from the most whimsical carefree child to an adult with the struggles I’ve had. I’ve always been fairly adamant that for me it was never one thing or one moment, and although I stick to that. I recognise that’s  a hard sell to others.

In trying to explain it in a way that made more sense. I said that for me it stemmed from having no idea where I fit in. For the most part that I felt I couldn’t fit in anywhere, that my head and heart couldn’t settle down and I searched for that belonging in so many of the wrong places. This made me ever increasingly less resilient and less authentic. Every time my solution fell through I got more lost, alone and confused; essentially losing pieces of myself along the way, until I really didn’t know the person I saw in the mirror.

I’m not a great runner, on some days I’m not even sure I’m a good runner. I work hard at it. So why do it? Those who know me well know that I light up whenever I get to talk about it, I’m a complete run-bore. That really comes down to the fact that it’s given me my identity back. That’s why I love it so much, because it’s helped me rebuild my self in to someone I’m immensely proud of. And the freedom and happiness I get through running is the most akin to that I had as a kid.

Anyway this week has been about miles and feeling strong running them. I love when the mileage begins to build in marathon training. Every week is a milestone, a barrier, you have to smash through!

Monday: 7 flat miles flirting with marathon pace. I’d had a crazy weekend/week/month and I was desperate to get out on my own and just run. It was windy as anything on the first 3 miles before I turned, and it acted as great resistance training at my goal pace.

Tuesday: 5.5 miles of hills with run club. 554ft max elevation and averaging a 9:20 pace. I was super happy with this. I even worked on holding my pace on the up hill, and maintaining an 8:45 on the first climb. It didn’t last long and then I dropped my pace as I got tired or lazy or both, but hey it’s a work in progress!

Wednesday: strength, conditioning, and intervals at the gym. I’m not the gyms biggest fan and this was a particularly shoddy gym experience. I know it’s important to do though, and I’m getting more confident in that space.

I managed 3 sets of 10 reps:
•Dumbell split squats (8kg each hand)
•Kettlebell glute bridges (12kg)
•Kettlebell sumo deadlift (20kg)

Then 3 sets of 30 seconds:
•Kettlebell swings (12kg)
•Kettlebell squat jump (8kg)
•Jumping split squats

Thursday: Running. I made it to another run club session. 6 miles pushing my pace with some of the faster runners averaging 8:50 pace. I managed to have a good old chat at this pace as well which is always a good sign that it’s becoming more manageable.

Friday: yoga. I was super stiff and our session was pretty strong on the hamstrings. Safe to stay I won’t be winning any awards for my Eagle pose! I laughed pretty hard when my instructor Sarah suggested I attempt the splits. It was great to release a little tension before my long run double on the weekend.

Saturday: rest day! I visited my bestie in London and still managed to clock over 15000 steps, oops. Rest really should mean rest, but I had a great day and a cheeky cocktail at Brixton Beach 😊

Sunday: Double run day. I wanted to take part in the trailblazer 10k but my mileage had to be a fair bit higher. I split my runs up to do the 10k race in the morning followed by a 12k later on.

The race was pretty tough, it was a trail run amongst the beautiful East Sussex countryside. You start at the top of Woodingdean, weaving down in to the valley, through live stock and hay fields before you start the climb back to the start. 640ft elevation was tough on my legs, and it was hot as anything. I was desperate to stop and take some pictures as the scenery was insanely beautiful, but I resisted as if I stopped I wasn’t sure how i’d fare starting up again. I was really pleased to cross the line in 55:20 and was even happier to get a piece of lemon drizzle cake at the end!

I had no desire at all to get back out and run again. I got home, downed a cup of coffee and headed back out for part 2. My legs were dead, I was frustrated, tired and running into the wind again! My route had to be changed last minute due to a local festival bringing the masses to town and I was just winging it. Winging it is fine most of the time, but I was fed up of checking my watch for distance and realising i’d actually only run 400m since the last time I’d glanced. I picked one of my favourite pubs to be my end point and slogged out the final miles knowing a pint of ale awaited! It was not a fast or pretty second run, but it was a 13 mile day complete with medal and cake!

31 miles for the week and my body is holding up really well. Sometimes I get absorbed in the times and achievements. Becoming more focused on the tick boxes in my training sheet than what this is all really about.

So for my #mondaymotivation I’m sitting down and feeling totally grateful for this body I have, and for the sport it loves. It has given me back my life, my identity and it is 100% my thing on the good days and the bad.


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