I'm whiling away my days cleaning and packing my suitcase, ready for my 2 week trip to Hong Kong. I managed to weigh my bag today and it's still well within the 30kg limit, so I'm going to squeeze some more things inside before my flight on Monday evening - but anyway, onto running!
This evening I decided to set out with a specific aim in mind - to do the usual 5-minute warm-up walk, a 30minute run, and then the 5-minute cool down walk. I was a bit flexible with the 30 minute run, in all honesty - not downwards, but upwards. I was feeling confident, and resolved to run for an additional 5 minutes if I felt that it was do-able. But my minimum run-time was set in my mind at 30 minutes.
It was about 5pm when I set off this evening - the sun was not quite setting, so I didn't see a beautiful smattering of pinks and oranges across the sky as I took my usual west-facing route, but it looked beautiful all the same. I enjoyed my little walk, finding it pleasant now that the wind has subsided - I think Katie has been and gone!
I decided to take it a little slower this evening - perhaps this was why I had had to walk for 30-second intervals in my previous run? It felt as if I was running very slowly, but when I glimpsed myself in the reflections of cars and windows I seemed to be trotting along at a decent pace. I always ask myself, 'If I was driving along and watching somebody jogging along at the pace I'm currently doing, would I think that they're going really slowly, or would I think they were doing quite well?'. This has really helped me to keep positive, even when I feel like I'm barely moving. There's no need for me to rush through my run. I've been watching lots of speedruns of video games lately (a speedrun is where the player attempts to beat a video game as fast as possible, sometimes to beat world records or personal bests. Sometimes glitches or bugs are exploited to achieve this, and sometimes they're not. There's a biannual event called 'Awesome Games Done Quick' which raises money for charities, e.g. Doctors without Borders, and Prevent Cancer, which I've been watching past episodes of on YouTube), and I reminded myself as I began to run that a 30-minute run is not a speedrun - it is a test of endurance, NOT speed.
I was thoroughly enjoying my run around my usual route. I did find my attention wandering as I ran, which I think is partly due to the fact that I've been running the exact same route over and over since week 1 of the Couch25K plan - I keep saying it, but I definitely need to find a new route to try to maintain my interest. Although I saw no foxes today, I did see my fair share of cats. At about 5 minutes into my run, there was a beautiful long-haired cat with glistening eyes who sat and watched me as it cat on someone's driveway. Then, there was a chubby ginger cat sitting in a window, facing the sun so that his eyes were squinted as he gazed out into the street.
At about 20 minutes in, I was feeling really good. Although I'd slowed my pace, overall I seemed to be covering a good distance - Runkeeper was chiming in and defying my expectations. I said to myself, 'Okay, you're on 2.00 miles now. In 5 minutes' time, be at 2.3 miles.' When the next 5 minutes rolled around, I was on 2.45 miles! And yet I was still ambling along at a slower-than-usual pace. I was enjoying it a lot more than my run on Tuesday, which had ended at around 20 minutes in because I was so exhausted. I think that there's a lot to be said for going more slowly if needs be!
Then, it began to rain again! It was nothing heavy, but it lasted for around 10 minutes. Normally when I am driving and I see pedestrians caught without an umbrella, I'd pity them... but I was loving it!! The gentle but steady rainfall was cooling me down, and the sun was still shining so I could clearly see where I was going.
At about 24 minutes in, I got a stitch, as does sometimes happen. I thought to myself, 'Okay, do what you usually do to get rid of it'. Normally what I do is take Laura's advice and suck in big breaths whilst pushing my tummy out, but for whatever reason today that was not working! I made it to 30 minutes and decided to stop because the stitch had still not gone away. I was really disappointed, as my breathing was fine, and although my legs were protesting a little, I could have easily and happily gone on running for a further 5 minutes had it not been for the stitch - that I was certain of.
Whilst I am disappointed that I couldn't go any further than a 30-minute run, including the warm-up and cool-down walks I was out and about for 3 miles exactly, according to Runkeeper. I am pleased with that - I hope that next time I will be able to run for slightly longer. I enjoyed myself this evening all the same, and that's really what this plan is all about, am I right?
I hope that everyone is enjoying their week of running so far.