You know the feeling when you try something that you really don’t like, have a horrible experience and never want to try it again? Well I have that with fruitcake and more recently running.
I know, another post about my battle with running. However, this post is a confession and gauntlet being laid down all in one.
Following my triumph at the London triathlon in August and skimming over of the pain and desperation that I felt during the run I haven’t actually been for a run since that race. That’s nearly 4 months that I haven’t laced up my running trainers and gone for a trot.
The reason is that I felt like I left myself down on the running leg of the triathlon having had my strongest open-water swim ever and a solid bike performance. The 10km run took me over 30 minutes longer than my PB and I spent most of it walk-jogging trying not to cry. Mentally it hurt so much that I’ve ignored running since and semi-consciously replaced it with other forms of cardio such as swimming, cycling, boxing, spinning and circuit-training.
However, on my recent holiday I decided that it was time to break the cycle of denial. How could I go to New York and not run?! My plan was to head up to Central Park and join the hordes of other runners but as we were staying way downtown in the East Village I just couldn’t fit it in.
Instead on our last morning I laced up the old trainers and headed out into the early-morning chill with my fiancé and sister-in-law. We decided to attack the Williamsburg Bridge as it was practically on our doorstep and seemed like a good way to get some great views of Manhattan.
The first 1.5km were hell as always. My ankles were grumbling, my breath was ragged and my legs felt heavy. On I plodded up to the apex of the bridge where the views were indeed breathtaking. When I set off again after some photos I suddenly remembered what this is all about.
Charlie Dark’s mantra of ‘right foot, left foot, smile, repeat’ popped into my head and I started repeating it to myself. Running is simple when you break it down. It’s not about going as fast as you can or about as far as you can, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where you get to mentally and physically.
I ran without headphones, one of the best habits that Run Dem Crew has got me into, and soon enough we were at the other side of the bridge. As we approached the turning point I suggested some sprints and so off we all went, recovering between manhole covers and racing back up the slope to the bridge.
Coming down the other side my mind started drifting back to that triathlon run and I felt sad that I had let one bad run get the better of me.
That brings me on to that gauntlet that needs to be laid down… Next year I will be taking on the Hackney half marathon. It’s more than double the furthest distance that I’ve run and even the thought of signing up makes me feel anxious. I know however that by signing up with friends and with the support of Run Dem Crew I will be smashing that half that is right on my doorstep. Also, it is 6 weeks before my wedding so the thought of that will be keeping both feet moving.
Watch this space for training reports and more musings on running as I get back into it.