For a running blog, I haven’t talked about running that much lately! So let’s do that!
September running actually was pretty awesome! I ran 108 miles, my highest monthly total in 2017 and I really enjoyed every single mile! I’m really loving running at my parents’ home on Salisbury Plain. I’m establishing new routes, exploring new trails and roads and enjoying the differences between my Bay Area runs and my Wiltshire runs. There are some things I definitely miss (there are absolutely no public loos on my routes here) but on the whole, rural running has been a delight.
I raced once last month – the Marlborough Tiny Temple 7-miler – and really enjoyed it. I wasn’t in race shape but ran as hard as I could and so was more than satisfied with the outcome.
I’m still investigating race-finding options here in the UK but one very popular thing seems to be the ABC book. They have a website but they also publish a quarterly booklet listing all the races in your part of the country. I LOVE my booklet, I’ve found myself reading it in bed at night, I’ve geekily highlighted all the local races I could do! So much fun.
In terms of goal races, I’m signed up for the Avebury 8 at the end of November, which is off-road, muddy, hilly and fun. I also signed me and the Husband up for the Salisbury 10-miler in the Spring. 10 miles is my favourite distance and I’m looking forward to running really hard on road and seeing what I can do.
In September, we did parkrun 3 times, once in Andover and twice in Salisbury. Most times, I ran with the Dude so the Husband could run hard but last week, I got to ‘race’. I had no idea what to expect, I was using it as my tempo run for the week. I’d also lent the boys my Garmin, so I had no idea of my pace as I ran. I just ran as hard as I could for 3.1 miles. I had secretly hoped for 26 minutes (really secretly hoped for under 26.30) and was utterly thrilled to do a 26.12.Salisbury is a tough course – 3 loops on grass and path, with several really sharp turns that require slowing down and some significant overcrowding at the start, so this was a good result for me. Yes it’s much slower than my PR of just below 25 minutes but I was really encouraged.
As an aside, I’ve really enjoyed the lack of pressure from ‘racing’ whilst not in race shape. I know I won’t PR, I know I won’t be fast…so there’s been a real freedom and simplicity in simply running as hard as I can for the distance I’ve been set. As I get older and PRs slip out of reach (not yet, baby), I hope I can remember that feeling and it will be enough to keep me racing hard.
This months’ running actually followed some structure as I start working towards the Avebury 8 in November. Each week had some hill repeats (which I rather love), some speedwork, a long run (I’m up to 10 miles now) and two easy runs. It’s been good having that focus again, after months of unstructured running. There’s no running track around here (I’ve heard there is one in Andover, I may try to find it this week) so I’ve found a fairly flat section of a quiet lane for speedwork. Exploring has been loads of fun.
This month has also seen me try to get my head around what to wear whilst running. We’ve had gorgeous days, we’ve had blustery days, we’ve had rainy days, we’ve had days when we’ve had all of the above. I’m finding I’m often wearing too much or too little. Hopefully I’ll get better at this layering malarky soon!
And whilst I’ve enjoyed running this month very much, I’ve missed having running buddies – most of my runs have been alone. I’m dying to join my local running club when we eventually move to Marlborough, but for now I’ve run alone. Not my fave.
We’ve done some excellent hiking this month – 21 miles of hiking. Hikes have kind of trashed my legs (they’ve been on my ‘rest’ days) but it’s totally been worth it.
One last thing – a new running magazine was launched here in the UK this month, Run Deep. They ingeniously gave a free download to people for the first edition. I’ve been so impressed with it. A good mixture of human interest/real runner stories and informative articles. You can download it via this page and I really recommend it, even if you’re not UK-based.
As I was setting my goals for October, I realised that running is probably the only thing I have any measure of ‘control’ over, not that we actually have any control in our lives, let’s be honest. The big things that concern me right now, I can’t control. When we move into our house. Helping the Dude make friends. Building our new lives in Marlborough. All out of my control. So whilst there are many things I’m going to try to do, the only goals I’ve actually set are for running.
- 120 miles this month. That’s a stretch. I’m hopeful I can make it.
- Continue with structured training.
- Two parkruns. I’d love it if this included visiting a new parkrun, but that’s a bonus.
- Get back down to my happy weight (England has gone straight to my lips and hips).
- Run with Nic at least once.
- Investigate and maybe join in with local running clubs whilst we’re at the parents’.
- I’d love it if I could do a race, but that would be the cherry on the icing on the cake.
So goals are set. October, here we come.