The real key to making this whole plan of mine - you know, the plan to run 13.1 miles one day without stopping - is to make sure that it actually works in my real life. You remember what real life is? When I'm not surrounded by family members who can blithely watch my kid for an hour while I go rambling over paths and streets and vaguely wooded areas. When I'm not off in the idyllic Berkshire countryside, or free from the daily chores of being a grown up with a house to keep clean, or food to cook, or church events to plan, or play-groups to attend. When all of those things are still in force, I need a running routine that will actually fit in with my life. Enter Stage Right: Google Maps.
Yeah, it's the simple things for me, people. I've discovered since becoming a mom that I need to be more organised than I was before. I've always had a bit of an OCD streak buried in me somewhere...though it usually only surfaced when I was stressed. But now, I can really tap into this deeply hidden desire to organise everything and plan everything in advance. So, in order to make sure I can get in some runs of a decent length throughout the week, I decided to go into Google Maps and plot out a few circuits in and around town.
Why do this all beforehand? Well, when you run alone you have to consider what will happen if you're far from home and twist your ankle, or you get farther out than you planned and then take ages to get back. See, I can't really allow for these sorts of things if I have E in his pushchair. I need routes that cover a decent distance, but keep home within a certain radius - so that I always have the option to pack it in a bit sooner if E needs to be changed or gets restless or (re: the other week) gets suddenly and inexplicably sick all over everything, requiring a huge load of laundry, a bath, and some cuddling. So, by planning out a route in Google Maps, I know where I'm going, I can make sure that I keep our house at the centre of my circuit, and I can estimate how long we'll be gone since I already know what distance the route covers. Brilliant.
Yesterday, this was the route I intended to do. Truth be told, I only got through about 4 of the 5.5 miles, but for someone who hasn't run a decent distance in months, I think that's a pretty fair percentage of my goal. Really, at this stage the point is two-fold:
1) make the habit stick
2) get back to where I was for my last Grim Challenge.
If I can do those things, my routine is doing what it ought to do. And really, the habit isn't going to stick if I don't make it easy enough to keep up with. So especially here at the beginning - and generally pre-Grim - I'm willing to cut myself some slack in the distance so long as I'm running regularly. As it is, the half marathon schedule I found on Runner's World suggests running every other day with one longer run each week.
Speaking of which, until we look up a few more things, this is the run the Husband and I are planning to do: the Fleet Half Marathon. It's closer and cheaper than the Reading Half, and in cooler (i.e.: better) weather than the Otmoor Challenge in June (which is also quite the yomp for us, being up in Oxfordshire). That said: if we're still up for it when Otmoor rolls around again, the entrance fee is only a tenner, so it's pretty inexpensive! But we still have time to decide since registration doesn't start until October, and in the meantime there's always the Grim to look forward to.
For now, though, I have some cleaning to do, some errands to run, some touristing adventures to catch up on (so I'll be back here later today), and some playlists to create. That last will entail another blog post as well. I'll see you again once I've gone and been productive for a while!