I’ve had my first taste of running with other people and I enjoyed it, although it really was a tale of two halves. I’d agreed with the guys from my club who I’m going to run the Great North Run with, to go for a road run all together last night. It seemed like a great idea as we’ve all run separately and run together in the gym, but we’ve not got together on the road yet. A couple of guys from the club joined us for our early-evening jaunt, and we set off in (literally) freezing conditions, somehow managing to avoid the sleet and hail showers which peppered the county last night.
I wasn’t a massive route by any stretch of the imagination, running from just outside my instructors house, through one small village and on to the next, but separating the two villages is a nasty hill which peaks in the middle. So the agreed route was to the village (Troon should you be that interested), turn around, and head back. I’m no fool, I didn’t think for a minute that I’d be able to keep pace with guys much thinner and fitter than me, so I wasn’t entirely surprised when I started to see them leaving me behind on the crawl up the hill, but I was pleasantly surprised at being able to run the whole way (especially given the hill). Google maps has the distance at just over a mile. In fact I’ve just gone and found a plugin for WordPress which allows me to embed the maps, let’s have a go!
When we got there we turned right around and ran back. This was a nightmare from my point of view, going up that hill again was very tough for me and it wasn’t long before I was running on my own again. When I eventually caught up with everybody (waiting for me at the end), I was feeling quite despondent. I was much slower, my legs felt like lead, and to be honest I really wasn’t feeling too happy at all. We walked back down a different route, towards the big estate where my instructor and brother live, and then decided to have one last run around some of the roads of the estate. I surprised myself at this point and just started running again, and at a faster pace than before. I was shocked to not be the last person to finish this time, but at the same time a few things hit home which made me feel a lot better about things.I know I won’t be finishing very quickly wherever I run, but I know now that I can run, and a lot further with other people around me. One thing that always jumps to the front of my mind when I’m really struggling with anything (and I may have mentioned it on here before) is something my instructor said once. “The difference between a Black Belt and anyone else is finding that something extra. Even when it feels like you’ve got nothing left, there’s always room to dig in one last time and find something more”. That really stuck with me, and it’s what got me over the tops of those hills last night, and it’s something I try to remember whenever I start to wain. In fact I don’t have to remember it any more, it’s just there. I was really pleased at my overall fitness levels too. That might sound perverse given what I’ve just written, but I guess I’m talking at a CV level. When we stopped to regroup my breathing and heart rate went back to normal much faster than I’d hoped, which was a real plus for me. I think it’s just a case of building some stamina now, and making sure my technique is better.
On a total tangent, I hope this makes you smile as much as it did for me.