Que sera sera…


This post is all about running a 5k on Sunday. You may well think ‘Seriously, lady, it’s just a 5k. You can do another one next week’. And yes, you’d be right (except that we’re going away over Easter). There’s always the danger that we make our races into much more than they actually are. It’s good to keep things in perspective, to remember that it’s only running. But Emelie Forsberg made a great point recently when she got injured. (I quote her gorgeous Scandinavian English).

If we can´t aloud ourselves to be sad and disappointed, it is like nothing matters. Even though, in the whole wide world it means nothing. But right here and now, for me it was everything that matter.

I wouldn’t say Oakland is ‘everything that matters’ by any stretch, but if we don’t go into the little things with our whole hearts, what’s the point of doing them???


On Sunday, I’m running the Oakland 5k. It’s been my goal race for this first quarter. I was initially gunning for a sub-25, my first ever. I kind of achieved that at parkrun in January (the official result came in at just over 25 but my Garmin clearly said 24.50) so my revised goal was to beat that at Oakland, or at least get a solid sub-25 on the official results.


My training this quarter split into three distinct chunks.

  • January – 5k training resulting in the sub-25 at parkrun.
  • February – building up distance for the Post Oak 25k, my longest run for 12 years.
  • March – back to speed work to blow my sub-25 goal out the water.

But reality has a way of stepping in. Whilst January and February were awesome and surpassed my dreams and expectations, March’s training has been consistently rubbish. Life has got busy. The Husband’s Ironman training has increased and has taken up time when I would usually run. (I knew this would happen, I’m cool with it in principle but it’s taking me a while to adjust to it in reality.) My college course workload has increased. My other commitments have been heavier. I got sick. The Dude got sick. It’s been an interesting three weeks since I got back from Oklahoma. Basically, my lovely, spreadsheeted training plan was a waste of time. I’ve fitted in as many runs as I can but it’s not been enough and they’ve not been good enough quality.

However…it MAY be enough…

Things in my favour

  • I have run some fast tempo miles in the past week. This includes my fastest ever mile, 7.40, followed by a 7.48. I was triumphant as I stopped to gasp in some breath. Until I turned round to jog home and found I was jogging into a substantial headwind. Which means my speedy miles had been wind-assisted. But anyway…
  • I have lost weight lately. I’m about 4 lbs down on my usual weight. This isn’t much but on a short girl, this is a lot.  This may make a slight difference.
  • This time, I’ll be warming up. Parkun was done without a warm-up, that might make a difference.
  • Music. I ran parkrun without music. This time I have a flipping kick-arse playlist of my fastest songs. Songs make a massive difference.
  • Lately, my mental game has been strong. During those fast tempo miles, I was really chuffed with how I stayed focussed and determined, ready to suffer. I kept chanting ‘push, push, push’  in my head and I kept pushing. (I’d make a labour joke here except that I had a c-section so I never got that far).
  • The forecast is grey, cool and maybe a bit wet. Minimal wind.

Things working against me

  • It’s ‘that time of the month’. Delightful. Cue the bloating, the sluggishness and the hormonal changes that have been scientifically proven to slow a girl down.
  • The race course is bendy. There are a number of sharp turns AND a u-turn. Not helpful. I’ll need to be really sharp on the tangents, and to know the course in my head.
  • The course ends in a hill. That final 0.1 mile when you feel like death in any case will be up a hill. This is cruel. This may well be the deciding factor.

I haven’t yet decided how to pace the race. I think I’ll need to ‘bank time’ to be able to slow up that darned hill. So I think I’m going to go all-out from the start and try to get my first few miles in the high 7.50s so that I can have an extra breath or two up the hill. But reality is rarely like the plan.

At last year's Oakland Running Festival
At last year’s Oakland Running Festival


So what will make me happy on Sunday?

A) A PR… 24.49.

B) Anything under 25.

C) The solid knowledge that I ran my socks off. That I kept pushing. That I didn’t give up. That I fought the hill. I can’t dictate the result of the race. I can only dictate how hard I fight and take satisfaction in the effort, even if not in the result.

But let’s go for 24.49 anyway, eh?

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    Let’s do this!!!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I think it’s all about the attitude. (She says, drinking wine).

      1. Nic J says:

        Wine is made from grapes, which are officially part of your 5 a day. Fact.

  2. Nic J says:

    Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour.

    PS – got the dreaded shin splints (right leg only) so desperate to run and can’t – booooooo!! All my recent hard work disappearing rapidly. 😦
    So to make me happy, run like the wind Bullseye (to change a quote from Toy Story)!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I have some right shin pain too, as does my friend Lisa!! Crazy! How are you mending them?

      1. Nic J says:

        Reluctantly I’m following advice and resting it. 2 weeks not running seems to be the standard starting point. Managed that, although on day 14 I had my trainers straight on! A 3 mile run clearly indicated it wasn’t sorted so now exploring other exercise options. Free 1 week membership to the leisure centre next to work obtained, and 1 km swim completed Thurs morning. 10.5 mile ride on mountain bike done yesterday and 20m on road bike planned today. If my bum can stand another saddle session too soon. Been thinking about cross training for a while and looks like this might be the catalyst for finally kicking that off!

  3. You got this! Go out and have fun and it will all fall into place. 🙂

  4. Bean says:

    You got this! You are such a strong runner! Will be cheering for you from El Paso!

  5. Angela says:

    All you can do is go for it & give it your best!! Can’t wait to see you ladies!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Gutted I missed you on the day! x

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