I've done two runs this week. The first on Tuesday night was 15 minutes in my invisibility cloak - Vampire Runners of the world unite! I was a bit self conscious running for such a short time and so slowly, so the cover of darkness was much appreciated.
But Friday morning was very different. I headed out in my Ron Hill brightest pink for a nice and comfy 30 minutes along the beach. I did just over 2.5 miles, running into the wind. It felt so good to run. It didn't matter that it was slow, that running into the wind made me breathless or that I had to slow right down every time I got that warning twinge. I just enjoyed being able to run again along North Berwick beach with the sun in my face and the sound of the sea. Bliss.
It was about 7 am so a few folk were out, but this time I didn't worry what they thought about me. I ran with my head up and my sunglasses off, saying good morning to everyone I saw. Nothing mattered but being able to run again. It was joyful.
This is what running is about and just where I need to be if I am ever going to run to my full potential - back in touch with my natural runner and the joy of running and it feels good.
When I started off on that first trot round the block, almost 2 years ago, I just wanted to run. As I ran I began to believe I could do more, I wanted to push myself for a half marathon and then 10ks. Next I set my hat at the dreamed of marathon. As I focussed on the marathon, I tried to do too much too soon and more importantly, I lost touch with my inner runner. I stopped doing what had worked for me in the past, I stopped trusting my own knowledge of how I run and how I need to train and I got wrapped up in a training schedule that didn't fit. And it got me, hard enough to make me pay serious attention but early enough to give me a real chance of starting again.
Funny how things work out. My running goal immediately before "the injury" (said in a 'voice of doom' kind of way) was to stop running fast. I was running way too fast for marathon training where my first goal was to acclimatise to a much longer distance.
I kept saying I needed to slow down, but I just wasn't disciplined enough to do it. Of course fate intervened and now I am indeed running slow, super slow. I am now totally focussed on how long I run and then building speed. I am back into using cross training and of course I have my ever faithful friend - Pilates - to get me through.
It was my natural inner runner that helped me when I started, and I had a training approach that really worked for my physically and mentally. Starting to train for a marathon, I lost faith in my ability and just looked for some expert to tell me what to do. In the process I stopped doing what worked for me. I should have built on what worked rather than knock it down and starting with something new and untested.
That Friday run, me and my inner Sue were reunited. I think I'm beginning to accept that I'm the expert in my own running and my training, I have to do this my way. I can take tips and hints from the experts and people with experience, be bonkers not to, but nobody knows me like I know myself. To make this work, I have to be in control and I have to make this work.
When something is awful we often say we've had a learning experience, and there's something else I've learnt by paying attention. I am not a tortoise. Well I am a total tortoise if you compare me to other people and I have the build of a tortoise, but in my running world (and indeed life in general), I am too fast. I charge off at pace and make it up as I go along. I have a problem with speed. That means my marathon challenge is focussing on distance and a lot of it.
I've been looking at marathons and wondering about Palma in the autumn or should I wait and smash Barcelona next year? My head says Palma - after all I did say I was going to do a marathon this year and it makes the most of the time before winter. But my heart and my head say Barcelona..... Or should I just do LochNess, which doesn't really excite me, but would be cheaper. I think I'll get a bit further on my recovery before doing anything.
Training stats this week - 45 minutes running; 45 minutes on the gym bike; 2 yoga and 1 Pilates session. I was really pleased with this, and then I did too much walking on Saturday afternoon after a morning at the gym and the day after my 'long run' and I ache. I got close to overdoing it and rushing my recovery. More slowing down needed, it's not just how fast I run that I need to slow down on and I have no excuses this time.
I hope all your challenges, runs, walks, cycles and swims are great this week!