Tonight was Week 2 of the running course that I’m doing with Elite Conditioning. Given that 2 weeks ago I was pretty sure that the instructors would politely suggest that I should stick to swimming, I’m pretty proud that I did this:
OK, so we used a combination of run/walk so I ran exactly half of that distance, but that’s still cool. To have a map like that that involves just 35 minutes and my legs is unthinkable. I guess that’s why Elite Conditioning advertise “Achieve the Unthinkable” – I truly am.
Great news on the shoe front. I had them slightly looser tonight and I can report no pain during running nor after. Hurrah! This is a major breakthrough for me. If I never get to run 5k, I’m already happy. I have come from being associating running with bullying and injury to being able to get out for 30 minutes and run/walk for 3.5km – if that’s all I can ever do, that’s great. It’s another avenue for me to explore, something else I can do alongside riding, lifting, swimming and all the other things I love. More tools in the toolbox!
Also, a conversation that I had with a close friend today really helped and taught me something important. I was telling her that I was nervous about the session tonight. Of all the questions I had when I started the one that still remains is that I’m too slow for the group. The others, lovely ladies that they all are, are all faster than me and being last does bother me. Lots of reasons. It takes me back to being at school and the PE teacher telling me not to bother turning up to Cross Country running anymore. I feel bad for them that they’re having to wait for slow old me. This has the potential to ruin the whole experience for me, because I certainly can’t magically pick up the pace to match them (or else I would haha!) and there’s the chance that I’m going to spend the whole time beating myself up about being too slow for the group.
My friend tonight told me that I have to do it at my pace. I have to optimise the experience for me. I have to make it work for me. She made me realise that we’re all there to learn our own running. I’m not going there to learn how to keep up with others. I’m running my own race, I’m setting out to run my own 5k. If I set myself up to attempt to run someone elses’ 5k I’m setting myself up to fail.
There were two intervals in the middle of the session tonight that I really felt upset by being at the back – when the instructor had to zoom off to stop the front runners I admit I had the “you’re too slow to be here” thoughts. And what did those thoughts do? They justified to me that I might as well stop and walk. Running is hard work and I obviously wasn’t good enough anyway, so I walked the last few metres of those couple of intervals. And then I thought I’d let myself down and a spiral of Inner Critic was set up.
But then I remembered I’m there to run my own race, at my own speed. So the two longest intervals, 350m and 400m, I took exactly at my own pace and I let the others go off ahead and I didn’t worry about them and I just kept going and my mind settled and quietened and I made it. And on that last 400m I got into a groove, albeit a short and slow one, and my legs were turning over without really thinking about it and I felt almost disappointed to have to stop at the end of it.
We make our own experiences … we choose them. I can choose to celebrate the 4 PR’s that I set tonight – purely because I’ve never run these distances before, but whatever, I’ll take a PR wherever I can get it!
Can’t wait for a week of training ahead!