Running continues to amaze me, interest me and confound me. The main thing that I have discovered about running, and it's taken me a year to find this out, is that there is ALWAYS something for us to do to keep it interesting and varied, resulting in incredible self worth and satisfaction. Allow me to amplify if I may......
Most of us on here hadn't done any exercise or running since those ghastly school PE classes where some sadistic teacher would make us poor shivery, bony little people go outside dressed in a vest and shorts and humiliate ourselves in front of the school athlete. If ever there was something to affect you as a child in terms of shyness, then this was the class to do it. Now I am talking about the late 60's and 1970's, which is when I went to school so perhaps it's now different for the shivery little bony people who are still growing.
ENTER C25K! Our middle aged and senior selves (and younger folk too) discover something that we can do privately, without some ghastly teacher shouting at us to make us feel shi*. We work our way through the program and suddenly after 6 weeks of the 9 we realise we can actually RUN for quite a long time. We feel good about ourselves cos we've achieved something. Something we can shout about. But hang on? Shout where? And to whom?
ENTER the INTERNET! Suddenly there's a whole new "class" of student runners who encourage, inspire and laugh with us along the journey. It's private, yet satisfyingly "open" so that it doesn't matter what shape, age or gender we are, we can all of us "shout" about this great thing called running. Instead of feeling like a worthless piece of sh** with giggling little brats pointing unkindly at us, we can hold our heads high and say "Check me out! Look what I just did. I just ran for 60 SECS people"!!!!!
ENTER graduation! Suddenly we can run for half an hour. Some of us cover 5K and some of us the lion share of 5K, but we've done it. We've achieved something we never thought we could do. And this is where the amazement, interest and being confounded hits home. Because after the "downer" of Laura disappearing into the ether having qualified you as a proper runner, what can we now do? We can set ourselves GOALS that's what. Lots and lots of GOALS! I'm talking enough goals to keep you busy for an entire life people!! We set ourselves the 5K goal. Then there's the improvement on time over 5K. Then there's the fastest K, or the quickest mile to achieve. Then goddamit, some of us hear of folks who advance to 10K. TEN K??? NOOO WAAAY? - YES, way. I was one of the doubters that thought I would never reach 10K as a runner. It was too far, too long and a distance that only the likes of Mo Farah does at the Olympic games.
WRONG!!! So you set yourself yet another goal. Keeps it interesting doesn't it? What's that? You achieved the 10K goal? Nooooo waaaay? YES way! Suddenly your fitness is automatically getting better and better and you don't get so out of breath anymore. How is that? It just happens (thank GOD) and before you know it you find yourself planning a 10K run. NON STOP. Wearing a lycra SuperDan suit. You plan your route along the river, you make a juice, eat some dates, tell Mrs Dan "This is it baby! Not sure I can do this, but I'm gonna give a damned good try!"
THIS was today's goal - to see if I could do it. No-one was around to encourage me, no-one to say "do it like this" or "do it like that" - just me on my own with my plan which so many of YOU out there have inspired me to do. I'm not going to go into lengthy detail kilometre by kilometre, but you know what guys?
I BLOODY DID IT!!! Ten kilometres non stop at a pace I've been working on and honing. Took me 61 minutes 19 secs. I couldn't believe it at the end, yet at the halfway point I KNEW I had it in me to keep going. This is the LONGEST non stop run I have ever ever done - a huge milestone for me. Where was this energy and relaxed breathing coming from? It was coming from a years worth of running and getting to know one's body for pace, rhythm and running form. So yet another goal ticked off the list and a massive feeling of satisfaction (you know, .....the kind that The Rolling Stones can't get any of!).
As I bask in my own little world of glory I know that there's more to achieve. Quicker, longer? Who knows, but don't ever get complacent or bored with running because there is ALWAYS something new and fresh to keep you interested!
Happy running folks