Thursday, 28 July 2016

Different pressures.....

Not many of us are lucky enough to be able to make a living out of our hobbies, so sometimes it has to take a backseat to everything else that is going on in our lives. I am sure that other people's jobs are just as stressful as mine, but sometimes it does feel rather all-encompassing.

Recently, I found that the pressure was getting to me so much, that not only was if affecting my sleep, my work and my relationships with family, friends and colleagues but also my running. I did not want the pressure of taregt races, and indeed I did not even feel like going out to run, never mind actually doing any purposeful training.

A break was definitely in order....from work (ie a holiday) and also from running pressures. Having withdrawn from a big autumn race, I decided to just run if and when I felt like it for a couple of weeks. That turned out to be rather little, so I did a few races with friends just to get me out and turning the legs over...and enjoy the fun of running and socialising with mates.

Finishing in the rain at Comber!!
Five of us went over on a daytrip to Northern Ireland to visit clubmate Hazel Smyth's family and take part in their local 10K. Hazel's dad was a speedy runner in his day so it was great to have him out supporting us on the 2 lap course of the Comber 10K. The race was organised by Ballydrain Harriers, and the rain became so hard during the race that all I could think was "where the Bally **** are the drains?"

Still it was a great day out, as the post-race cake spread was fantastic (even I was I had to sit on the floor holding my stomach after my 6th piece....whilst the tables were still piled high!!) and we managed a quick trip to a pub in Belfast before catching the ferry back home.

With Alex, my fellow 3000m runner

Eeeek - a running track!!
The next day was my "track debut". I was making up number for Durham Harriers in their track and field league, so agreed to be the second 3000m runner. I think I caused other people much entertainment asking how the numbers worked for A-string and B-string, whether you were meant to wear socks or no socks, and not realising about how races started with stepping back and then up to the line followed by an actual starting gun. Still at least I didn't get lapped, scored some points for the club...and really enjoyed the support of clubmates there for different events (and my parents faithfully watching in the stands!).....though I'm not sure it's the discipline for me!

The Borrowdale "Half"
The following weekend brought a low-key "trail half marathon" in the Lake District. A couple of Dumfries clubmates and I took part and were rather unimpressed by the level of organisation and value for money (the course was short, people got lost on the way to the start, several of us got lost in the race as signs were pointing in the wrong directions, the aid station was near the finish rather than midway and had nothing left by the time some of the slower participants came through, there was nowhere to leave clothing at the start despite the rain, they scrapped age group prozes on the day, registration were handing out 11 month out of date cereal bars....need I go on?). I ran over to support friends on the Wasdale fell race afterwards which was about 100 times more fun, despite running in monsoon-like conditions!

Up the hill at Moffat
A few days later I ran the Moffat Gala 15K, which is always a good local event. It has everything in undulating few road miles at the beginning, then a steep uphill off road mile, and then 4.5 tortuous downhill roadmiles back to Moffat. I find it hard to get the necessary leg turnover on the downhill (and Moffat never seems to get any closer as you can see it below you the whole way down) so a few guys flew by me, even though my watch told me I was running some fast mile splits (for me anyway). Still, it was a good fun run with clubmates yet again, rounded off with drinks and cakes in the pub to say goodbye to a clubmate who's returning to Australia after several years over here (and an added bonus is that you are given a marsbar for finishing...and you finish right outside the local chipshop :-) ;-) Yummm!).
The Cheshire Half

Parkrun No 50 with my dad ;-)
I then had a weekend of travelling and catching up with people. First of all I went to Durham and actually ran my 50th parkrun there - it was a lovely social occasion as my friend Jacquie was "rundirecting", my mum was "marshalling" and after I finished I went back and ran in with my dad to make it a proper family affair. Unfortunately my dad didn't quite manage a PB but he's had several of those recently, so wasn't too upset by that!

Post-race with Hannah and Steve
Later that day I popped over to see a friend who lives in Cheshire and so ran a half marathon just a couple of miles away the next morning. A couple of other friends (Hannah and Steve) were also running and so it was great to catch up and have a bit of banter both pre- and post-race (and also meet a gentleman who had been a member of Dumfries Running Club a few years prior to me joining). All in all, if I was going to run several non-target races in a row, then that would be how I'd choose to do it!!