Coasting along

There was an entirely different perspective on my running this week my dear blogpeeps.  Saturday’s track session was definitely last week now, so I can file it under “Ouch” in my lexicon cabinet of pain. Sunday morning was this week and the club run had a good squad, and the banter (mostly aimed at yesterday’s man Craig “Don’t call me Mc” Mackenzie) was good as we did a relatively aimless ramble towards no real destination. Chris had read (I know, Chris had read!!!!) about a nice big house on an island and worked out how to get there so we went up through Chatelherault, crossed some bridges, climbed some fences and found this house. It was rather lovely and none of us had a camera to capture it. Doh. Having no doubt trespassed we jogged away before the hounds and winged monkeys were released, running back the wrong way, twice, before getting back to base and completing the run. I was almost head to toe in mud. But it was utterly magic. There were no preconceptions as to what we were doing. There was no end target, no glancing at watches, and since neither Tommy or Marcus were there there was no sprint finish. I loved the exploring and “running at it’s most basic” concept. I know this can’t be done all the time, but for this week it would do me. I was off down to the Solway Coast and to Brighouse Bay for 4 days to try and make up in some way for the aborted holiday. We had booked a lodge with hot tub, so it was going to be chill time.

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But it was a new area. I had been there once before and knew it was on the coast, on a quiet bay, and there was potential for some more exploring as Sunday had given me the bug. Having arrived on the Monday afternoon, I was up early on the Tuesday morning before anyone else was even awake, like a big wean. Ready to explore. There was no fast pace. I ran the paths behind the lodge and then down through a wee wood and onto the bay itself. It’s not Cannes by any means but there was a wee beached cove, the tide was out and there was no one on it except me. It felt liberating.

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I ran across the sand, through pools of water and up onto the road on the other side, then ran back around the road and into the woods again and went the other way, a trail path of about 2k coming out again on the waterside at a jetty. I saw a couple of people dog walking and that was it. Came back into the complex and up a hilly section to the golf course and then a downhill section with a final uphill to the lodge. Magic stuff. Nice and slow taking in all the sights. Not afraid to hit dead ends and retrace my steps. Not giving a monkeys about the watch. (Though I did have the Garmin, if it’s not on Strava the run didn’t happen apparently, eh Kevin?). This was my running week. Tuesday – Friday, every morning I was up, out and back before anyone else stirred and I had my different routes, trying new sections each day. From 6k to 10k. The 10k was on the hottest morning and I sunburned my shoulders. The pace got quicker each day as I got my bearings but I didn’t care about the splits. This was the life. No, the weather wasn’t as good as everyone on Facebook was getting abroad. Yes, I felt gutted every time I saw people’s pictures when they were where I should have been. But there was a simplistic pleasure in just putting those trainers on and going for a run and not knowing how far, or where I was going, and then coming back and lying in the hottub listening to some tunes.

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I almost smiled, or maybe it was just wind, on the jacuzzi setting who really knows?  Run for fun, I certainly did that. Now I know it is unrealistic to do this all the time (especially the size of the desserts that I had, try the “Dream of Rob Roy” dessert, ooooft). This approach will not bring PBs or win races. But there is nothing wrong with bringing it in as part of your routine. Have a freedom run, have an explore and remember how to enjoy just running without any pressures. At the end of the day strip it back, it’s what it’s all about. I have a week now to get some speed back in my legs as there is a club championship 5k next Saturday. I will not be at my peak, but I need to get some points on the board before the half marathons start. I have my general fitness though, because I ran about and I enjoyed it.

Coach John from MAC had given me a loan of a book when I was away, “Once a runner” by John L Parker Jr. I won’t pretend it’s the best novel ever written ,but on the day that it rained, and the lightning was giving it laldy, I sat and read it all in the one go. It’s worth a read and I will be looking out for the sequel. There’s a bit of all of us in that book whether we want to admit it or not, and not just the good bits. I wasn’t sure at times if I even liked the “hero”. I also eventually got round to reading “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, and whilst I believe that there must be a lot of artistic licence in his account, and I know that barefoot running wouldn’t necessarily work for me, I enjoyed it immensely and again had my wee idea above reinforced about going with the flow and having those runs of freedom. Have a wee read of either or both and take them with a pinch of salt.

As an aside, a few months ago Clare Barr from MAC passed my details onto the editor of a magazine (she knows everyone after winning that British medal you know…) I gave him the address of my blog and told him if he liked what he read then I would be interested in writing for the magazine. At the time he had replied saying that all articles were in for that edition and I thought that that was simply a polite “Aye right” and promptly forgot all about it. This week the gentleman involved contacted me again asking “Would you be interested in being tasked to make a contribution to the winter 2015 edition of the magazine? We are keen to get your skill set on board” I didn’t even know I had a skill set apart from bad puns, insulting Tommy Sneddon and moaning a lot but there you have it. I will keep you up to date but since there has been nothing tasked as yet, and since I may not be up to the task ( as athlete interviewing may be involved) then I won’t say any more about it. Fingers crossed for me though, and it is nice to know that people can appreciate your hobby. Anyway back to REAL training now, potential last place in next Tuesday’s handicap coming up after last months scorcher but next Saturday remains the big one. It may only be the (go drum roll, go mariachi trumpets!) 2015 Motherwell Athletics Club Road Racers Championship and League Division 2, but to some of us it’s a big deal. See you at the finish.

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