Since I've been back - and although it's only been a week! - I've been able to maintain the run day, rest day, run day etc. routine pretty well. I guess being unemployed and having to pack/clean one's house and not wanting to pack/clean one's house is a pretty good motivator. Who would have thought, eh?
Anyway, I didn't write about my run the other day because, well, I was a bit disappointed in myself. I haven't been running for 30 minutes for a few weeks now. When in Hong Kong, I told myself it was because I was doing so much more walking during the day that I was tired. When I arrived back last week, I blamed it on jetlag and me starting my period (during a run. That was fun). And I was disappointed when my Monday run lasted for 20 minutes before I slowed down to a walk and headed home.
Of course, any distance is better than no distance - indeed, earlier on Monday I had walked for 2 miles, so a 2.5 mile run in the evening was overall not bad, exactly. But today I was determined - I was going to run for 30 minutes.
And I was going to enlist Laura to help me.
Since graduating several weeks ago, I have been listening to my own music - something I'd really been looking forward to when I was completing Couch25K. But today I decided that actually, I wanted a bit of Laura uttering words of encouragement every 5 minutes. So, I set off after a few quick stretches, Julie and Laura my company.
Regular readers of the 'koi know that I love animals. I enjoy seeing them when I run, I enjoy fussing them on my warm-up/cool-down walks - I love them! So my spirits were immediately lifted when I saw a cocker spaniel sitting patiently outside a corner shop, waiting for their human. It brought back fond memories of Steffie, my very own cocker. Although we put her to sleep over 10 years ago, I still think about and miss her. She helped me to learn how to walk! I carried on, smile on my face.
I deviated a little from my usual path as I began to run and went on to see a lot of cats! One cat had stretched himself across the path leading to someone's house, napping in a patch of sunshine. Another cat was sat inside, peering out into the street. He watched me run past. I had a little bit of a shock when one cat ran out in front of a moving car - but luckily, the car slowed and the cat skittered away, unharmed but not unshaken.
I was finding the run quite easy, but I was aware that I was going a little more slowly than usual. Maybe I was taking it too quickly in my other runs, which was resulting in me being unable to go the full 30 minutes, so I wasn't too bothered by this. I was enjoying the new route, which made everything a little bit more interesting.
When Laura announced that I had one minute left, I consciously upped my pace, and went into a full-on sprint for the final ten seconds. When she told me to slow down, I felt like cheering. It was as if I'd graduated again - I'd achieved a 30-minute run for the first time in what felt like ages! I was grinning all the way around my cool-down walk. I was a little disappointed when I arrived home and saw that I'd only covered a total distance of 2.95 miles, but I am still very proud of what I have achieved. Now that I have reminded myself that yes, actually, I can do this, I can focus on maybe going a little bit faster next time. Plus, had I not have upped the pace for the final minute and giving myself a bit of a stitch, I feel confident that I could have gone on for a futher 5 minutes.
I have my RaceforLife 5k coming up next Sunday, so I am going to maintain the 30-minute runs in preparation for that. My last 5k was for the British Heart Foundation in March, and I covered the distance in less than 34 minutes. I would be happy to be able to achieve this time again, although of course if I can shave some time off, too, I'd be thrilled!
I hope that everyone is having a successful week! It's good to be back and posting regularly again. Good luck for those about to graduate, to those just starting, and everyone in-between and beyond!