Daft Tactics - Shock Results!

Daft Tactics - Shock Results!

This week was hijacked by my preparations for the ShockAbsorber Women Only 5k Run in Richmond Park.  I found I was more nervous about it than I had imagined.

I took it easy with the training runs though and I felt a bit down on Thursday as I was out on a 6.2k training run, and could not even make it to the second kilometre...I just felt like there a fist in my hamstring.  So I walked home slowly and seriously considered not doing anything further, especially not running the planned race at the weekend.

However being a competitive soul, naturally I was soon negotiating with myself in terms of how and what I could do and trying to manage my expectations.  I reasoned that I would probably achieve a time of 34 minutes or more; but would I be content with that?  I decided that if I made it in below 30 minutes I would be ecstatic, given the run up or lack of running in the last week.  It is weird that this is all so significant to me now.  In days gone by I would have avoided this exertion like the plague.  I was the kind of gal who if I could not find a parking space within 10 feet of the entrance to the gym would go home!

Despite the physical setbacks and the mental mind games, the training has continued.  In the last few weeks, whilst out running with my husband, I have been trying to get my head round some of the more technical aspects of running.  An increasing stride rate (SR!) has now been re-named 'Spango' running.  Spango is a mild form of insult in our family.  Someone who moves like a Spango resembles a camp tyrannosaurus almost running on the spot.  Lengthening the stride is described by me as 'Antelope' running, with visions of antelope springing lightly across the plains.  We decided that 'Spango' running was good for uphill and 'Antelope' good for downhill. 

Our locality is pretty flat so there is not much call for either, but it was just something I visualised.  We had a laugh and joke about it on a run demonstrating to each other the various properties of each, one of those silly 'in jokes' that only you and a select few might find amusing.  I had no idea it would come in so useful at the weekend!

Saturday arrived and it was about as perfect a day as it could be. The weather was amazing, sunny and cool.  We did this crazy warm up before hand which, although I felt a bit of a pratt doing it, was really good preparation for the race.  I ran the first kilometre in under 5 minutes and thought...'I might be on to a good time here'.  The course undulated, with some quite steep inclines.  Spango and Antelope styles were deployed in almost equal measure (perhaps more Antelope on reflection). 

I tried not to fade or get over-excited and completed the course in 25:03.  I am so thrilled I cannot tell you.  I know it's not a world beating achievement but I only began this malarkey in July!  Is it daft that I am still walking on air several days later?

Ever since the race I have been noting and analysing why I might have pulled out a PB when I wanted it most.  I did nothing new on the morning of the race, still ate porridge, wore the same gear as for all my 5k Park Runs (not the right time to try out new pink running shorts) and I had rested quite a lot in the week (being so paranoid about my hamstring giving way).

Will I become drawn into the world of daft rituals as well as daft tactics?  It may not be long before I too will be insisting upon wearing my 'lucky' socks (unwashed since 1973), stretching my left calf muscle out on the dashboard of the car whilst listening to Joy Division or stuffing a rabbit's foot somewhere inappropriate.

Now I am giving myself some serious rest before I embark on the next phase of my running 'career'.  I have my next goal mapped out - a 10K in March...wonder what is a good time to aim for - it will all depend upon the terrain...I hope it's 'Antelope' all the way!

Have a great week!