My plan to cycle to work didn’t pan out in the end the office doesn’t have a shower. The best case for my commute became that I arrived in the kind of puddle of sweat that you can’t fix with a toweling off and a change of clothes.
With that established, I’ve made it a point to get on and get out whenever I can. Running helped me to realise a few months ago that every stupid urge I ever had to go boiled down to a claustrophobic urge to be out from under the roof. It doesn’t matter how I move as long as I move. Long runs up to 20k mostly fill that role. Mostly-there are times when the sheer boredom of a long road run makes me not want to go.
Two weeks ago I couldn’t sit still after work so I pulled out the bike and headed off to shop in Dundrum. Dundrum turned into Sandymount, turned into Blackrock, turned into… you see where I’m going here. I followed the road right down the coast to Shankill through a gorgeous stormy sunset, where I caught the train back home.
And again with the comparative narcissism. More than “hey look at how shit how I am now,” this is “it shocks me that I look so vastly different.” The cheekbones, better haircut and overall communication of happiness.
(I lifted the content for this post straight out of journal because I’m lazy. Why draft twice?)
By the winged heels of Mercury, messenger of the gods! This morning I ran to Poolbeg lighthouse and back home again, exactly twenty kilometres there and back.
My time time over the course was 01:48:30, which puts me at around 01:53:00 for full half-marathon distance. While this hasn’t been the pace I’d hoped for, I know well enough how great it is that I came in under two hours.
Before now I conserved myself. Come down to the wire, I haven’t had enough confidence in myself to push for 20k, even though that’s my bloody goal. Oh, I can’t do it. Oh, I don’t have the endurance. Well fuck, I got up, got dressed and ran it in good time. My knee fucking hurt after and my feet were sore, but those are all things that we hot showers, painkillers and foot balm to tackle.
I feel great. I had the stamina, had the mental fortitude, and now my biggest worry is how I bring down my pace.
Other random thoughts:
Actual total time was 02:01:00. I lost time at a few points, like when I stopped for photos, took a halfway break, and got stuck at one light for five minutes.
My total fucking shit Karrimor X Lite running belt cost me a good ten minutes. Run, not walk away from this as a purchase. I found it painful to get at my phone, get at my energy gel and to run without distraction. As much as I love being hands-free and unencumbered, this isn’t what I need.
Last week’s 29k run led to a waking up within me of my actual fitness, my growing technical ability as a runner, and how I seriously under-exerted myself out of a sense of “this I cannot do.”
Over the four days after I logged a further 35k on the road, 10-12k each over three days, with one off. Yesterday I took things easy, with a lovely nap to cap off an afternoon of doing absolutely nothing useful to anyone.
Comparing last week’s run with today’s loop out along the Dodder to the end of the riverbank park.
This week I moved nonstop. Across the entire route are only two blocking roads to cross. I didn’t feel any the worse for it.
The Poolbeg loop is as flat as it gets in Dublin. There are plenty of hills to climb on my way up and out of town.
I left the shitty fanny pack at home and used my normal belt instead, with one gel tucked in for good measure.
Now I’m pushing mileage and feel more ready than ever for September’s Dublin and Galway.
In comparing my experience on the DLR Bay Run with the Kinvara Rock and Road, I get the feeling of being prepared. For the DLR Bay Run I followed a running schedule, watched what I ate, and arrived fed and rested on the morning.
As an experience, I have impressions of up, down, straight, feet, and cheers, the finish gate, my medal in hand. Every runner deals with runs in their own way; in Running with the Kenyans for example, Adharanand Finn talks about how he fell back on the love for his children. I away in my head and focus on my feet and breathing, pace and form. It’s a mostly internal flow of thoughts punctuated with vignette moments of outside. Have I kept pace? What the kerb! Have I extended enough? When’s the next hill? Can I pass these other runners?
As a result: training pays off. Time and hard work on the road every day pays off. My pace per kilometre went down by 37 seconds. Even though I know these gains don’t persist, it felt incredible to finish higher in a bigger race.