Sunday, 15 January 2012

Core, blimey!



I’ve definitely got the bug back. Although nowadays I normally take a rest day every other day, I felt compelled to get up early this morning and go for another run. My legs felt in reasonable shape, just a little stiff from yesterday with no particularly worrying twinges, so I thought it was worth the risk – I could always curtail the run if I felt anything might be likely to snap!

As it is Sunday, I thought I may as well wait until it got light before venturing out. The main reason I go out earlier during the week is to avoid the traffic and pollution that builds up on a workday morning, but Sunday morning is relatively traffic free. Not that I run alongside roads particularly, most of my runs are through the park, it’s just more peaceful generally and also wakes me up and sets me up for the day.

It’s much, much warmer this morning – t-shirt weather, in fact! I’m almost tempted to say ‘fairy outfit’ weather, but I’m not that brave yet! I should really take a leaf out of Eddie Izzard’s book and not worry about it. There is a bloke that couldn’t look more like a bloke in a dress in his transvestite years (not that I’m planning on following that orientation!), yet he ran 43 marathons in six weeks. Mind you, he wasn’t running dressed as The Diabetes Fairy, I reckon that is much harder!

The tide is out again, so there is just the narrow channel of fresh water that constitutes the river proper, when not swelled to five times its width by the inrushing seawater. Because of the close relationship with the sea we get lots of seabirds here, and this morning there seem to be more than ever. As I run along great flocks of them sweep across my path and you do wonder if they will all manage to avoid you, or will one myopic creature thwack you on the side of the head and pitch you over into the silt and mud below!

At one point along the path I am paced by a golden retriever in a flash red jacket, gambolling amiably and effortlessly alongside me, whilst I wheeze and grunt alongside her. As if to rub it in, she slows to a lethargic trot, yet still keeping pace with me. Thanks dog! Why is she wearing a jacket anyway? It’s probably about 5C and she already has a fur coat on, she must be boiling!

I feel quite good as I reach my turning point, and it occurs to me that one of the reasons for this is the fact that my one-time distended belly is now much tighter and controlled as I run. This is in no small part due to the tough 15-minute sessions with my good friend Gay Gasper and her aptly-named Workouts for Dummies. I have been trying to do the abdominal training exercises at least once a day fr the past few weeks and, although there as yet no sign of the promised six-pack, I can definitely detect an improvement in the strength of my core (hence the title of today’s entry!). Runners take note – do not neglect your core! I’ve lost a bit of weight recently too, only a couple of pounds, but it should make that outft a bit easier to squeeze into come race day, which – it has just occurred to me – is now only 8 weeks away!

I’m so pleased by the way people have supported me, helping me reach my initial target of £250 in less than three days. I’ve now increased my target to £500, which I would certainly hope to achieve by the time of the event. Setting targets for sponsorship is a very difficult business: set it too high initially and it becomes disappointing if you come nowhere near, but if you do reach your initial target then they say it is a good idea to increase it, since some people will be less inclined to sponsor you if they see you have already achieved your target. I have quite a few pledges for the end of the month, and hopefully some of my old friends will support me too, so I think £500 is not an unreasonable ambition.

All these thoughts of why I am doing this and the support I am receiving spurs me on. I’m running a slightly shorter route this morning, and am happy to post an improved pace and a few more miles under my belt. From long experience I’ve found that, once I can happily run 5 miles, then the increases to 7, 10 and more come fairly easily as long as I can remain injury-free. Injured or otherwise though, I intend to finish this event, so there’s no wimping out!

Time               32 mins 8 secs
Distance        3.29 miles
Pace               9:46 per mile
BG before      7.8
BG after         9.6

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