I am pleased to report that my last parkrun time was 30:38 - an improvement of almost 3 minutes! If I can keep this rate of improvement up for another four months I will be the first female finisher at Guildford parkrun. If only ...
So, what has caused this improvement?
Firstly, not working is great. It means I have a lot of time to exercise and be generally more active, as well as to plan and prepare healthy meals. I am also a lot less stressed and therefore far less prone to entering a "sod it" state of mind where I want to eat all the food. When I go back to work in November, the real challenge (apart from the whole new job thing) will be to maintain all this healthiness whilst working full time.
I have also got myself a personal trainer called Jack. I have had six training sessions with Jack so far and am having a lot of fun being back in the gym and playing with all the weights. Before I started running, strength training was my passion, so it is great to be getting back into it. I even once entered a Strongwoman competition, but that is a story for another blog. Jack has one task which is to devise exercises and workouts to help improve my running whilst not actually breaking me. After one session, he described my body as "complicated", I think he now knows that the real challenge is my mind! He has lost no time in pushing me to do exercises I didn't want to do (but that would be good for me) so I think the signs are promising that he will have a good effect on my running. Plus, did I mention that lifting weights is so much fun!
I lost some more weight - another 2.5kg - just 6.6kg to go to reach my parkrun PB weight.
And, I confess, I have started trying harder in parkruns. At the end of the July, a friend (she knows who she is!) commented that I don't push myself when running. Of course I was quite offended and thought it was terribly unfair of her at the time. But her comment lodged itself in my brain so at the next parkrun I thought I'd try a bit harder, resulting in 20 seconds off my previous week's time (a time I had been very pleased with). So, it seems my friend has a point.
The next Saturday I took it a bit easier as I had a race the next day (the excellent Hart Relay - to be covered in a later blog) but the following week I decided to see what I could do if I really went for it, resulting in a 32:03 time, a reduction of 1 minute 10 seconds. Awesome, I thought, except that I said on my blog I would do sub 32 by the end of August and only had one parkrun left in which to achieve this. Stupidly, I mentioned to a few people that I was going to try to take 4 seconds off my time to get sub 32 by not drinking on the Friday night and going to a flat parkrun, thereby putting quite a lot of pressure on myself.
A grumbling hamstring on Wednesday did not help my confidence but a sports massage from the wonderful Philippa (ouch!) sorted that out. Jack was told on Friday that I wouldn't be doing any exercises that stressed my hamstring as I needed fresh legs - he did as he was told, focusing on upper body exercises, meaning that I was amazed I could even move my arms on Saturday!
I duly turned up at the wonderfully flat Brooklands parkrun on Saturday, after a wine-free Friday night, wishing I had kept my mouth shut. Not helped by seeing some lovely friends from Fitstuff who had come to support me! I won't lie, I did not enjoy the parkrun and was very glad when I crossed the finish line, but all the effort was worth it with a reduction of 85 seconds rather than the 4 that I needed. Rob, Alexandra, and Abi ran with me for the last 100m which was very sweet of them although I did not acknowledge them at the time as I was focused on finishing and nothing else.
|Team Fitstuff before the run|
|After the run with Debbie - happy but sweaty!|
So, my sub 32 is done, sub 30 is my next goal but thankfully my self-imposed deadline is 2 months away. I miss the parkruns where I take it easy and walk up hills when I feel a bit tired. Maybe I'll treat myself to a lazy parkrun from time to time so that I can enjoy the run. Although for now I think that chasing PBs may be a bit addictive. Of course, my overall PB of 28:13 is still some way away but now starting to feel achievable.