It was a struggle to get myself out of bed to go for my run this morning. I finally managed to convince myself that running was a good idea so that I could indulge myself with some chocolate today. Jumping on the scales helped to convince me that running was essential - my weight has gone up 0.5 kg in the two days I've been home.
I really struggle to eat well in Melbourne. My apartment in Canberra is a food-controlled environment whereas my home in Melbourne is full of yummy food. There are also healthy snacks, as my Mum works hard to make sure there is nutritious food in the house when I'm home, but yoghurt vs freshly baked chocolate cake .. no contest! My other huge weakness when I'm home is bread. I don't eat much bread nowadays, so I eat it with enthusiasm on my weekends in Melbourne.
Today's run was around the creek. I set off, determined to make it around once (3.24 km), willing to run around twice if my legs felt up to it, and thinking about walking a third lap as that would take me close to the 10 km mark, which is the fun run distance I'm planning to do on Saturday.
I wasn't sure how I'd go, but I was determined to run for at least 15 mins before stopping to walk. In fact, I'd been a little disappointed to have stopped for walking breaks at the Relay for Life, so I secretly wanted to run for 30 mins without stopping. It's difficult to keep a secret from yourself, so I managed to cajole myself around the first time by wondering how long it would take me today. I had a goal of running more slowly than I have been lately. I would never have thought of that as a goal, but I've realised now that it's really hard to run at a slow steady pace. Over my last few runs I've thought I was taking it easy and they have kept being faster each time.
Anyway, last time I ran around the creek I made it in 22:39. Today, I made it in 22:55, so at least I wasn't running faster. Of course, I perversely was disappointed to have run a little slower - no wonder it's hard to run slowly if you're not happy you've done it when you've done it!
By the time I made it round once, I was committed to running the 30 mins, so I kept on going. I was all set to stop as soon as my watch ticked over the 30 mark, but then I started telling myself I should really do 35 mins - then 40 mins etc, as I was planning to enter the 10 km fun run.
I then went through a whole conversation with myself about how I should do the 5 km run on Saturday instead of the 10 km run. Now, I've planned to do the 10 km by running for as long as I can and then running / walking the rest, so there's no reason for me to be scared of the distance. Despite this I was working hard to give myself an out - "you're not ready for it Kathy, do the 5 km this week and the 8 km Mother's Day run, and then do a 10 km run." It sounded like a really good idea at the time.
I kept running, and kept giving myself an out - you can run to the Catholic bridge, you can get to the main street, you can get to the turn, and before I knew it I was on the home stretch for my second lap. My legs were really tired, so I had a word with my core and my arms, telling them to help my legs out. I'm glad there weren't any people nearby at the time. I must look and sound crazy enough, stumbling around the creek with a bright red face and loud breathing.
Fortunately, concentrating on my form took my mind off what I didn't think I could do. When I was running up the last hill before the end of the second lap I decided to add 10% to my run. I hit the finish line for the 2nd lap at 46:32, again a little slower than last time (46:01) and then kept running to the High School bridge. I knew it was roughly 4-5 mins away so I figured it would be a good 0.5 km. I got there at 51 mins and dropped to a walk. That's the first time I've run roughly 7 km in one go and it's the first time I've run for 50 mins without stopping. As I was already on the 3rd lap, I kept on walking.
I walked for a little over 15 mins, and decided to see if there was anything left in my legs. I reached the Catholic bridge and then started running for 3 mins / walking for 1 min. I made it back to the end of the 3rd lap (9.72 km) at 1 hour 17 mins, and decided to run for another few mins to make up the 300 m I needed for 10 km. I stopped running at 1 hour 20 mins and walked home. I was so glad to get there.
I learned a lot from my run today.
I have to change my self-talk at the start of the run. I can see that I'm giving myself the option of walking when I'm really not struggling with the run physically. The same thing happened on the Tan yesterday. I'd already told myself I could walk up the hill before I got there and saw what it was like. I'll have to either distract myself or come up with a different conversation to have for the first ten minutes.
I have to include a long run in my week on a regular basis. My legs really ran out of steam at about the 40 min mark. I usually only run for half an hour maximum, so my body is used to stopping then. I know I have the strength and stamina to run for longer. I just have to do it so my body gets used to it.
When things are getting hard, focussing on form really helps. (I knew that, but it doesn't hurt to reinforce that lesson.)
I am well able to achieve my goals. I will enter the 10 km on Saturday and run it as I planned. I'll run for as long as I can, and run / walk the rest. And, going on today's effort, I'll be able to find something in my legs to run across the finish line.
Oh, and I burned off 700 calories, which has to be worth a few Easter Eggs. :-)