Quite a bit has been happening over the last few weeks, and I’m not just talking the apparent change of seasons every day. Let’s start with something uber exciting.
Couple of weekends ago it was the Scottish Cycling and Running Outdoor Pursuits Show (seriously, what a mouthful, couldn’t just call it a fitness show no?). The weather was depressingly wet so spending the day wandering around stalls of trainers, bikes and gear was an attractive choice for a rest day. We went with good old Frazer who had tagged along previously and can always be relied upon to come out on the bike with me. After I whipped his ass on the travelator (I fell and I still beat him!) we were looking for somewhere to eat when we wandered past a small stall that only had one stand in the middle of it with some nutrition bars. Now perhaps unsurprisingly I leave all the nutrition up to Joe as lets be honest, I don’t have a clue on that front. As I go to walk past my eye catches something though. Is that a Marathon Des Sables top up there? Nice. I look to the right and my jaw hits the ground. I do a double take. On the other side of the wall is none other than a Barkleys Marathon booklet, ripped out pages that clearly have been collected en route and a t-shirt.
‘Have you spotted the Barkleys t-shirt?’ a voice says to me. I instantly turn in to a babbling teenager and ask stupid questions like have you actually been? Oh my god!
It’s clear I won’t be moving from this stall for a while so Joe and Frazer leave me in my awestruck trance and wander off. The owner is selling a nutrition bar that he and his wife have devised and I learn that they are made not very far away from where we live at all. I chat to the wife for a while and discover that she has taken up running as well and is down for a big race this year which is on my to do list. I could have talked to her all day she was lovely. I talk to James when he is free and he tells me lots of things about his adventures at the Barkelys. Truly amazing.
Joe comes past again and he tries the bars. Unfortunately there are none to buy at the stall as they are just starting out so we go online to MACEBAR and order some. Needless to say Joes already been diving in to them!
Now. I don’t know if it was meeting someone who has actually done something as amazing as MDS and Barkleys, but I’ve managed to re-focus my attention to running. I’ve been struggling with accepting that I am running slower right now and that I am still in bloody pain. I’m signed up to an ultra at the end of the month which I want to complete as well as I can and enjoy. Joe has also turned round and said he wants me to do well in it so together we have been planning my sessions. He wasn’t keen on me doing the half marathon I had signed up for and I wasn’t really feeling it so when an opportunity at work came up it was a no brainer really and I didn’t go. (It’s not like my new career plan ends with being a lifeguard and doing gym inductions so that was obviously going to come first)
So instead of running races I’ve been picking up extra shifts at work and we have been going for a nice family walk up a mountain and then Joe has been kicking me out of the car on the way back and telling me to run the 10/12 miles home. No word of a lie. Do you know how hard it is to run after walking up a Munro? (A Munro being a really big bloody mountain in Scotland). Very hard! This new style has been working though. He has been telling me what to do and naturally I have done the opposite. In a true happy marriage style.
Only joking. It has been pushing me on. And I have found that my mileage is back up and I am not caring about anything else. We have even been out for a run together. It was a very slow 5 miles before his hospital appointment but it was something. And I didn’t even take a photo! (Did it even happen then? It’s on Strava and Garmin – don’t worry, it did). But it was only 5 miles and he claims I procrastinated too much so what did he do? He sent me out on the ONE day we had snow and ice pelting down insisting I run for 2 hours!
THAT ladies and gentleman – is marriage!
Sod was sat at home in front of our lovely wood burning stove in the warmth with a green tea and gluten free bacon sandwich whilst I was being drenched by bloody boy racers recreating Frozen by spraying me with the slush puddles! There were no Disney PG 13 glistening white snow phrases coming out of my mouth when they did that let me tell you. I definitely let it ALL go! This was then followed by a change from my pod cast to some solid angry girl music and my pace picked up. Pink will forever be my go to ‘I hate the world’ soundtrack.
11.5 miles I managed in that. Less than Gestapos instructions of 2 hours but it was a good effort and I value my fingers and toes too much to take the frost bite risk. Must remember 2 pairs of gloves next time – or at least some form of tissue, eugh.
So now I am 2 weeks away from my first proper ‘training’ race. A 50km laid back trail run – just how I like them. I have no intentions (read that as ability) to try and whack out a good time. My goal is my mindset. I want to run this race with a positive attitude and the occasional push saying ‘little bit further, just a little bit further’. Maybe one or two less picture stops too – there is no viaduct to run over this time.
I do though know exactly what’s going to happen after it. Joe is going to scrutinise every detail of my ‘performance’, including every sip of water and bite of flap jack, and then come up with a training plan for The One this year. He’s already insisted on a 30 mile run by the end of April.
I like this though. It’s motivating me. Telling me I can’t do something does nothing for me. I’m not one of those that turns round and says ‘watch me’. I bloody hate being watched. Hence why I hide behind a keyboard and my water logged antics aren’t on YouTube. But someone telling me to do something – that I will do. Obviously I’m not talking ‘jump off a bridge’ – although ironically my brother told me to do that and I did last year ha ha. Single most STUPID thing I have ever done. Only time I have seriously thought ‘this is a very bad idea with your heart Ella’. Didn’t die though so, you know, all good. Sorry Mr Cardio.
Let’s see what the next two weeks brings and what happens on this training run. Taking bets now to see how the element that is water will try and take me out. We all know it’s going to happen. Must remember to pack my arm bands.