Sunday RunDay and the Strava Fairies ..

Me Sulking

Oh yey!! It’s Sunday … it’s RunDay, the sun is shining, it’s toasty warm (by deep mid winter UK standards) plus I have no kids! what could possibly go wrong 😁

Up at 5am, all set to start plodding at 6am – it’s all looking positive so far…. until I look at the clock and it’s 9am and I’ve killed 4 hours by drinking 4 strong cups of black coffee, a half pint of Berrocca and half a pint of water with 2 Hi 5 tabs in while scouring Facebook, The Daily Mail online, Pinterest and Rightmove …. oops – time to get my act together and figure out a route.

Mileage on the plan reads 15 mile long run …. my head says “I don’t bloody think so – 13.2 miles will do” so with half marathon distance being the target for my long run today, after peeing for England between the hours of 08:30 and 09:00am, I quickly make what I think is this right decision and renegotiate this down to a nice round 10 miler, yeah! 10 miles, double figures … I’d be happy with that!! So on to kit…..

The sun is shining so I’m thinking capri leggings would suit this weather but then remember the dreaded pins ‘n’ needles and pop my calf sleeves on for added support. Now I’m thinking “well it’s windy around the lakes and it’s a long run so I’ll be slower and not such a sweaty betty” so throw on my base layer just in case, along with my Bedford Twilight 10k finishers t-shirt to show other Sunday runners that although I LOOK like I’m dying, I can actually run the distance! So heading out the door around 9.15am …. 3 hours 15 mins later than planned the Sunday Runday is ON!…. bring it!

The 1st mile

Has anyone seen this meme on Pinterest?? well I do trust it … I think it’s the only piece of sense I’ve heard and if you know the 1st mile is going to hurt then you get through it and you aim for that 2nd mile … right? erm… wrong. I guess everyone is different. For me it takes a good 5k of consistent running with no stopping to put those initial demons to rest and today’s run was no exception. What I loved about today’s run was how it would be perceived on Strava … as a plodder, and I’m sure as other runners will tell you, Strava (and other similar running apps) will either make you or break you. Well today, Strava had the power to make me even though the run broke me… let me explain…..

Strava Splits 1

I’ve always said I’m a plodder – it’s my comfortable pace when I enjoy running … and look at today’s stats! I’d be pretty pleased with these .. IF I didn’t know the real story behind them …. so let me de-mystify these stats for you.

Mile 1 – awesome… a true reflection of what I was comfortable with at that time. I was panting only slightly but felt relatively comfortable with the distance and the pace .. all good so far. By 1.79 miles I was sweating like a pig off to the slaughter house so found a covered area where no-one could be traumatised by seeing a half naked middle aged women strip off her base layer and replace it with just her t-shirt! Once done, I was off again …. and got to 2.20 miles before my calf hurt so much I found a seat in a kids playground and angrily pulled my calf sleeves down to my ankles to release the pressure… so far, poor planning had made me stop twice, I was adamant I wasn’t stopping again…..

Oh! hello mile 3.10 and welcome back pins ‘n’ needles … as I pull over to stretch the living shyte out of my leg to get rid of the pins ‘n’ needles, I had to smile and shake my head at the irony of standing outside the crematorium leaning on their wall looking as if I truly needed to book my plot for a same day delivery … I figured that if I waited here long enough I could forgo the cost of my own hearse and maybe people could have a drink at the bar on me…. 🤔😂

By mile 3.5 I was sitting under a bridge having a breather, ripping off my calf sleeve and giving myself a good talking to, so! so far, miles 2 and 3 on Strava, whilst looking good for a plodder, were inaccurate, filled to the brim of “stopping the clock” to recharge … but no ones gonna know right? After slapping myself round the face once or twice, off I go again… but just before mile 4 I find myself so wound up with the expectations I’d put on myself, that were too high and totally unachievable, the frustration that I know I can do better than this made me stop once more and I found myself in another kids park sobbing into my already snotty base layer sleeve not knowing where the hell I was and what the quickest route home would be. Finally after pulling myself together again!! (you cant say I’m not a stubborn, resilient old sod!) and realising that the only way to get home was to get off this park bench and keep moving forward, I started plodding in what I hoped was the right direction and figured I’d take it a mile at a time.. so that makes the last 3 miles on Strava accurate … kind of. I ran a mile and took a breather… ran a mile and took a breather … whatever it took to get me home to my hot bath, strong coffee and bacon butty.

I did eventually make it home … an hour and 45 mins later. Strava has advertised the fact I did 6.4 miles in an hour and 4 minutes, which I think is awesome! But it also means I was stood around for 41 mins during that run …. but luckily, only I know this 😉

A friend of mine has suggested I try a “naked parkrun” …. no he’s not being all wierd and suggestive on me, it just means taking off your watch or covering it up while you run so you’re effectively “running by feel” rather than to time. My chief cheerleader / pit stop director / fellow hero has suggested I slow the heck down ….. both of these I think are brilliant pieces of advice. As much as us runners love to challenge ourselves and try and beat our previous times and/or distances sometimes the pressure we put on ourselves and the added, and often unwarranted, pressure advertising our runs on Strava adds, sometimes it can actually hamper our running and take away all of the enjoyment a leisurely Sunday runday should bring.

So ladies and gents…. when I started this blog all those months ago, I always swore I’d be honest with you and with myself … this is the most honest it gets, and you know what? The start of a new week, brings the chance for change and the chance to start practicing those lessons you learn on each run……

So until next time

SM xx


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