Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Starting With A Bang (...and a Whimper)

So off in the West Berkshire countryside my training for running a half marathon has officially begun! People, I told you I was serious. As soon as the Husband is back from his business trip to the states we'll sign up together for the Grim Challenge. Since it takes place the first weekend in December that's our half-way point in training: a lovely fun run that almost no one takes very seriously. Sure, it's 9 miles through sand, mud, and freezing water over the tank proving grounds in Aldershot, but it's got such a jovial, playful spirit about the whole event. I mean, where else can you do a 9-mile cross country dressed like this?

Precisely my point. This run is hard core (I've been reminded that I swore I wouldn't run after finishing the last one...I was that knackered), but it really doesn't take itself seriously; which is all to the good, in my opinion.

But today, the next Grim still looms in the distance, as does whichever half marathon we sign up for in March. I'm thinking Fleet since it's so close and I know that registration opens in October. So even though the fulfilment of one of my personal life goals is still a long way off, I'm taking my first weary steps towards being able to do it without feeling like I'll curl up and die one I cross the finish line.

I set off - having put E down for a nap - to do what looked like a nice 3.1-mile loop from my in-laws's house. Alas, Google maps doesn't do topography, so that huge hill at the start of my run was just a nice surprise. And by nice I mean vile and hateful. But I was determined to make the most of it and promised myself that since the hill was so long I'd get a walking break once the incline evened out and I'd reached the summit. And anyway, after a bit of time on the flat, I spent nearly half of the rest of the run going gently downhill, so that was nice.

My plan for now is to try to do about 4 runs per week. On the days in between it's perfectly acceptable to just round to my usual 2-3-mile walk with E in his pushchair. That'll get me easily back to the 5-miles-a-day I was doing just before our last Grim. Of course, the last one I ran was just a few weeks before we found out that E was the tiniest of buns in the proverbial oven. That said, I think my current training breaks up into two phases: pre-Grim where I build back up to running 5-7 miles at a time, and post-Grim where I maintain that average with one long run per week thrown in for good measure.

Any tips I discover along the way, any fun songs for motivation, handy swag that makes running easier: I'll share all of that right here. My first order of business? Contemplating new shoes or some sort of exercise to strengthen the join in the front of my pelvis. See, having a baby basically destroys your body, and with mine, it inconveniently widened the gap at the front of my pelvis. Just before E was born it was painful to lie on my side without pillows between my knees, to walk up too many stairs (that one's still painful!), or to walk or run too far. Needless to say, while it's gotten a lot better since then, even my 3 miles today messed with that joint a bit. That needs fixing before I race...

In the meantime, let the training begin!

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