June running

June saw a definite shift in my running pattern this year. After six months of running all the miles, working hard towards some kind of Half Marathon PR, June edged into different territory.

Racing

I raced twice (kind of three times) in June. The first was the Lacock HM which was really disappointing for me. I’ve been training so hard all year and my time for this race didn’t reflect all that effort. I’ll be honest, it took the wind out of my sails. I considered ditching that HM goal entirely and then decided to have one more shot at the end of July. As I write this,at the very end of June, I’m wavering as to whether or not I really want to do this or not. My motivation for this big HM goal is pretty low now. We’ll see.

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However, the Longest Day 10k was a total delight and joy. I loved the race, felt strong throughout and was really pleased with my time. I’m considering putting in the effort in July to try to crush another 10k at the end of the month, or even at the end of August as I think I could train for a 10k as we travel. But anyway…this was a cracking evening that really boosted my excitement about running and gave me much delight.

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Last weekend, we were in Leeds visiting friends and we ran Roundhay parkrun. This is a brutal course – it’s three loops but four times up a long, steady hill. The first time doesn’t feel too bad – by the last lap, you’re spitting foam out your mouth and gasping for breath. My course record was 26.52 – I set the goal of beating that, and was thrilled to sneak in at 26.43. I was also pleased to notice that, whilst I waited for my time to be emailed to me, I was genuinely not fussed if I’d beaten my course record or not – I knew I’d run as hard as I could and was content with that. If I could extend that attitude to all my races, I’d be a happier runner.

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Junior parkrun – 2k!

That attitude is actually something I need to work on really hard. Whilst I’m not ancient yet, I won’t get any younger – my days of getting faster are either over or limited. So how will I continue to motivate myself to run hard when the clock no longer reflects improvements?  This chasing after a time is bonkers, isn’t it. It’s such an arbitrary goal. Why is 1.49.59 any more significant than 1.52.30? Why do these big round numbers attract us and motivate us? At some point, I need to accept that my goal will be to run the best race I can on the day, no matter the time on the clock. There must be inherent satisfaction in that goal. Clearly my mind isn’t there yet, but that’s the long term aim.

Other exciting runs

Apart from racing, there were some seriously awesome runs this month. My lovely running buddy Nicola has proved resistant to 6am dawn patrols so far, but in June, I lured her out twice in the early hours, thanks to 4.30am sunrises and gorgeous weather. One morning, we ran a loop up to the Cherhill White Horse and monument – it was one of my happiest runs for a long time…

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See the white horse in the shadow on the left?

…and last week we braved the unexpected June Gloom to run trails around West Kennett and Avebury. We got slightly ‘off-track’ and ended up bushwhacking through waist-high grass and nettles. My legs reacted to the grasses and I ended up looking like some kind of monster. Enjoy 🙂

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The lovely Nicola and the neolithic Silbury Hill

On Friday, I was planning to go to Bible Study (which I love) but the sun was shining, I was in an odd mood and I just didn’t fancy sitting in a room reading the Bible. So instead, I headed to Savernake Forest and ran six miles in the shining leaves. It was genuinely good for my soul. There’s something about being in nature that brings me closer to God. I was pleased and surprised at how comfortable I felt running in the forest alone – it’s very safe in terms  of wildlife risks, the only danger is human and we live in a very safe part of the world. I did get lost at one point but used my GOS outdoors app to navigate myself back. Seriously, that app is the very best – if you’re a British runner, I recommend it wholeheartedly. Savernake is big and the criss-cross trails are totally unmarked yet I never felt particularly worried as I could easily navigate myself around. It’s the best purchase I’ve made this year for running.

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Someone had built a high chair into a tree. I climbed it and sat there for a while. Bliss.

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Volunteering

Last week, I volunteered at a local midweek triathlon as a way of giving back to the sport a little bit. I was a marshall on the bike route – my job consisted of making sure the cyclists turned left and being encouraging. It was a gorgeous summer’s day and I had a lovely time. Things I learned were:

  • Bring something to sit on
  • Bring food and water
  • Sunscreen
  • Bring podcasts and headphones, and only wear one ear.
  • Most drivers are very pleasant. One or two are idiots.

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In even more exciting news, I’m now on the steering group for the forthcoming Marlborough parkrun which should start in September. The course has been approved and we are working through all the due processes. This is so exciting.

Life

In June…

Shadow Squeaky grew from a tiny elf kitten to a slightly bigger, utterly bonkers nutcase.

He and Charlie are starting to get on a little better.

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I didn’t dare move the iron or the peace would have been shattered

We hosted two separate bunches of American guests who came bearing Trader Joe’s Mayo and Graham Crackers. We took them to various beautiful places…

(See that staircase? That’s the staircase in Hogwarts where Professor McGonnagal meets Harry for the first time). 

I went twice to London to my heart hospital to get re-established as a patient for ongoing monitoring. Due to NHS inefficiency, I didn’t actually GET my heart checked but the process is in place and it should happen. Whilst frustrated about this, I am still incredibly grateful for free healthcare.

We went to Leeds to see friends and had the best weekend. I do love being home with my people.

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parkrun with bridesmaids

And finally, I went on the induction day for my PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education – the qualification I’ll need to teach primary school). I start in September but now I know the schools I’ll be training in and I’ve met the different people on my hub intake. I’m incredibly excited.

Goal for July are:

  • Run hard. This is my last month of ‘training’ before PGCE starts. I want to make the most of it.
  • Run for joy. Along with being my last month of ‘training’ before PGCE, it’s my last month where I’ll be to run this much. I want to wallow in every single run, banking up joy for next year when realistically I’ll be bashing out half-hours on the treadmill in the dark.
  • Be careful. My achilles is a little sore, I want to avoid injury.
  • Go camping.
  • Take advantage of the Husband’s discount card at his outdoor retailer job and get some new running shoes 🙂
  • Make the most of this gorgeous summer weather.

Okay…here goes!

 

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