This past week I've been visiting my parents in the UK and all the memories from when I trained for my first 5k run all those 7 years ago came flooding back. I realise that I was so unprepared for it! I remember that I could run a circuit around my house once, and I probable had to stop at the top of a hill too. I now know (with the help of the nike+ sensor) that the circuit is a mere 2.5km! I thought this was neat actually, so I did 2 laps this time which was just perfect!
My childhood home is in the beautiful Welsh countryside and is pretty hilly! There are two up hill sections of the 2.5km lap, one long and climbing and one short and steep. I was quite looking forward to doing them to see if I could handle it. Running, as everyone says is such a mental battle. I ran twice when I was home. The first time, I managed 2 laps no problem, and even pushed myself to a sprint in the last minute or so! I felt incredible! The second time I ran, I had to stop on the second lap on the long hill with a horrible stitch. It took a good while to feel ok to start running again and I was so annoyed with myself. My stomach muscles were really tight and painful. I did manage to pick up the pace again before I got back to the house and was really surprised to see that despite walking for 3 or 4 minutes, I'd actually run the 2 laps quicker than the first time!
I've learnt so much about my strength and my capabilities and I honestly didn't think it was possible to be able to be so in tune with your body so quickly.
Things I've noticed/achieved/learnt
1. It's taken me 15 weeks to complete the 9 week programme. I lost 5 weeks right at the beginning when I got a nasty, face swelling virus and I lost more than a week to torretial rain near the end of the programme.
2. I've lost 4 kg in total since starting the programme, most of it in the first 6 weeks. I'm not 'trying ' to lose weight, but it is a nice side effect of exercise! I don't think I will lose much more unless I make an extra effort to change my diet. I've been eating healthily, trying to eat 'clean'ish and I don't need to lose weight, so I'm happy with how I am. I'm actually at my weight I was when I had an operation on my leg when I was 17. 12 years on is not bad I suppose to be the same weight! (As a side note to this, I thought my Mum would tell me that I was too skinny, like all mums, she loves feeding me, but in fact, she said that I was looking really healthy and that it 'suited' me!!)
3. I can't believe how much improved my fitness is! I never imagined being able to gauge speed myself, push myself on hills and then be able to 'recover' whilst still running. The conceot is still a bit crazy to me but I'm loving it!
4. I'm learning how important it is to eat and drink the right things at the right time before running. I definitely can't run within 2 hours after eating something, but if I've not been drinking enough water during the day, I definitely feel that too. My stomach gets tight and horrible (although I'm only linking this with dehydration myself, it may not be the reason)
5. I'm aware that I run slowly and I really want to be able to do a 5km race in 30 minutes. I'm going to start doing intervals for beginners to improve my speed ready for my first timed run at the beginning of September.
6. I'm quite hard on myself (see point 5). I need to remind myself that I still have, and always have 'dodgy' legs. I still have physio sessions twice a week to improve the use of my left leg due to a shortening of my Achilles tendon and consequent muscle wastage. I have seen a marked improvement in my left leg since starting the sessions 2 years ago but I know it will never be a great leg! Hence why I call them my dodgy legs right?!
My next challenge is the impending holidays! I'm not promising that I'll keep up running during our trips to the South of France (with all the distractions) like I should, but I will take my running shoes! There is a huge hill in the place that we go every summer. This year I will try to run (run/walk) up it! It's great to see the World with different eyes!