A few people have asked me how my running is going since I made my resolution to run a 5km this year. I’ve been meaning to tell you all about this for so long now and so much has happened that it’s now going to have to be a two-parter such are the tales I have to tell.
I had decided on a strategy when it came to training which basically avoided having to run outdoors for as long as possible. I’m sure I’ve told you all before about my fear of running outdoors but in case I haven’t....I have a fear of running outdoors which largely centres around my belief that everyone in the whole wide world is looking at me and scrutinising me and thinking I look like an idiot. It’s like a cross between extreme self obsession and self consciousness.
So I told myself that I wouldn’t run outdoors until I knew beyond all shadow of a doubt that I could run 5km on a treadmill. You can imagine the mix of delight and horror I felt when I ran 5km on a treadmill – hurray I’d done it but oh no, nowhere to hide, time for outdoor running.
I came up with another strategy.
I would plan out a load of 5km routes using Run my Route so I would have lots to do and wouldn’t get bored running the same route.
Yeah you guessed it, major delaying tactic.
In the end I decided to steel myself. I had to do this. I had to get over it. No-one would be looking at me, nudging their friends and saying that I run like Phoebe out of Friends. No-one would even notice me.
To be on the safe side I got up at 7am one Saturday morning and went on my first outdoor run.
I was expecting it to be tough. After all the beauty of the treadmill is that it’s a) flat and b) keeps you at a steady, constant pace. Outside I would be subject to the vagaries of unbalanced paving stones, leaves and a complete inability to pace myself.
So you can imagine my astonishment when I discovered that actually running outside really isn’t that much harder than running on a treadmill and is a hell of lot more interesting.
My overall time was a little bit slower than a treadmill but that was to be expected given that I was pacing myself and was probably running fast and then a bit slower and then a bit faster.
Once the ice was broken I was rearing to go. I have to give myself a little pep talk every time and remind myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me and it’s highly unlikely I look totally nuts when I’m running and then I plug my earphones out and off I go.
I can’t believe how much I enjoy it. I can’t believe I’ve just said that. Me. Me who hates running. It’s like I’ve had a brain transplant.
I feel like I’m part of the secret gang. When you see other runners on the street we give each other little smiles before we’ve passed each other. We know what the other person’s feeling. We’re runners. I’ve learned to avoid dogs, I guess it’s the wolf in them, but all dogs see a runner and suddenly become very alert and want to join in the fun. Although I have to say that the fear of getting a Westie tangled up in your legs doesn’t half push you to run that little bit faster.
I wouldn’t be without my i-pod when I’m running – or more specifically the running cd that Dorothy got me for my birthday. Absolutely amazing tunes on there that are, funnily enough, perfect for running to. My new favourite is Electric Light Orchestra’s ‘Hold On Tight’ because it has a brilliant beat and makes you feel jolly as you’re running along and they’re singing in your ear “Hold on tight, to your dreams.”
Yeah I know, it’s just a 5km but it’s a big deal for me.
All has been going so well that I have started, in the back of my head, to plan to run a 10km at some point. I can handle 5km no problems now. I’m not running it in a particularly good time at all but my only goal is to keep running for that distance, not to break any land speed records.
I went back on Run my Route and planned out some longer routes to have a bash at.
Things were going well.