Capital running

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One of the great things about working all over the world is that I get to run in so many different places. Having run in Geneva last week, I have been trying to remember which other capital cities I have been running in.

There are those capitals I have been to without going running – like Paris and Moscow. Then there are those countries I have been running in without running in the capital city – like Cameroon or Thailand. And of course, there are those cities I have been running in and might think of as ‘capitals’, but aren’t – like Auckland and New York City.

So that leaves these capital cities:

  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Dakar, Senegal
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Kampala, Uganda
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • London, England
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Windhoek, Namibia

Where have been your favourite places to run, and when you travel do you take your running shoes? Of course you do, right?!

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Geneva Half Marathon

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Yesterday was an awesome race day! Here are some highlights:

  • The weather was perfect: not so cold that you felt cold and not so warm that you felt hot, but somewhere perfectly in between. I dithered about what to wear because the weather can be so changeable at this time of year, and eventually went for a long-sleeved, very breathable long-sleeved top with a deep zip. This turned out the be the perfect choice, which is great because I hate to be distracted by uncomfortable clothing!
  • The organisation was superb: loads of loos (always crucial) straightforward transportation, speedy bag-drop and great water points. There was a moment at the finish when I couldn’t locate the bag collection because it was hidden away in an underground parking lot and there didn’t seem to be signs, but hey, I should have just followed other runners as I’d been doing all morning!
  • The route was great: the first 10k were slightly undulating, through villages and beautiful Spring-coloured fields on the edge of Geneva. The roads were all closed, so the villagers came out to cheer as we ran through (which was especially nice for people like me, running alone!). The next 7k or so were along Lake Geneva, flat and with a breeze. The final few kilometres wiggled through town, which was a bit frustrating because you could see the finish on the big bridge (Pont Mont Blanc) but it took ages to get there. But what a great place to have a finishing straight! Lovely route.
  • There were friendly pace-setters: as I mentioned in my previous post, I had decided to run a realistic time that allowed for a comfortable pace reflecting my creaky SIJ and how recently I have begun training ‘properly’ again. This is where pace-setters are invaluable – I found the 1h55 flag and stuck with it even when it felt slow, and by the end I knew I’d done the right thing.

So all in all, a great morning. Doing these sorts of things alone is kind of losing its allure, but if that’s the only way to make it happen, then needs must! I feel incredibly spoiled to have been able to enjoy running – for fun and in events like this – in so many different countries 🙂

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Learning from mistakes

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No, I haven’t completely fallen off the wagon, only in the blogging sense! But running has continued … I had a bad week when we were in Spain, having cricked my neck on the flight over, but things picked up okay after that.

The thing was, I had a 10k booked for one week after the Spain trip. It was first race I’d done in ages, I’d missed a week of training and two long runs, and I made every mistake in the book. I got caught up in the excitement, went out too fast and bombed after the first 5k. I did the first 5k in 21 minutes and the second 5k took a full 10 minutes longer! And I felt awful to boot.

It took me a while to get my head around it, but obviously the only thing to do is to learn from it and move on. Here’s the low-down:

  • Be honest about where you’re at. I hadn’t raced in ages, I am still recovering from the fall that locked out my SI joint in February AND I’d missed training due to a minor injury. But I went into the race as if I was fit and race-ready: bad move.
  • Stick with your plan. I’d told myself I was going to treat the race as a training run, then I got swept up in the energy of the people around me and went out too fast: fatal mistake.
  • Comparison is a fool’s game. I beat myself up because I’m not as fast as I know I can be, others are quicker, blah blah. Comparison can be motivating, or it can totally take the fun out of running. So I’m going to keep a low profile and run to my own stopwatch.

Tomorrow is the Geneva 21k. I can beat myself up over the fact that I’m not going to run a quick time, or I can run within myself and relish the treat of being in a beautiful city and running a fun race. I choose fun 🙂

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Just keep moving

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Today, as I was running the middle section of my 17k route, a friend’s blog post came to mind: the middle is the hardest part! The post is not about running, but it might as well be when Deirdra writes, “the truth is, it does matter what you do in the middle. It matters a lot.”

Middle weeks of training plans are tough and middle parts of tough sessions are difficult. Halfway up a hill, we feel like walking. Halfway through speed reps, we feel like reducing the number of intervals we’d planned on doing. Halfway through a long run, we feel like finding a shortcut.

And the best advice? Keep moving … just keep putting one foot in front of the other, take your mind to your happy place and whatever you do, don’t stop!

Not that difficult, surely?!

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March Training – week 4/5

This week took me out of my normal routine, which threw my cross-training as well as my running, unfortunately. Thursday was hubby’s birthday – which required me getting up before the rest of the family members to wrap presents and lay a birthday breakfast, when I would normally be doing HIIT. Then we packed for a few days away and drove first to one set of family members and then to another, arriving late when I would normally have been doing a speed or hill session.

I did, however, manage to find a Parkrun where we are staying, and work out a good 17k loop for today’s long run, so it’s all good 🙂

This week’s round-up:

  • Monday – HIIT training; no run.
  • Tuesday – HIIT training. No evening fitness class – had to be at a meeting.
  • Wednesday – 10k out and back to Flamstead. Evening Pilates class.
  • Thursday – WIPEOUT!
  • Friday – 9k with progression.
  • Saturday – 5k Park Run (time trial but hideous course for it, with hills and gravel underfoot).
  • Sunday – 17k.
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Critical cross-training

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There are some things I just can’t do without. A week of training is incomplete, for example, without a Pilates class. Truly, ever since an accident a number of years ago when I injured my back, it’s Pilates that keeps me on the road.

I recently had to see the Osteopath again. Together we figured out that I had fallen on or in some other way impacted my sacroiliac joint at least half a dozen times; this is not normal! As a result, I have to constantly work at preventing the joint from locking, causing the muscles in my lower back, glute and hip to tighten up. I try to be faithful with my stretching – I’m better at that these days – but I think without Pilates I’d be pooped. That and my trusty tennis ball 😉

What’s your secret to staying on the road? Or are you too young or lucky to know what I’m talking about?!

 

[Photo credit: Holis Spa Experience]

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When music trumps scenery

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I can’t believe that last week’s long run was in the rain and this week it was in the snow! I skated around quite a bit, tiptoe-ing over black ice, but even taking care didn’t stop me falling over at one point … however, I fell over so slowly it was almost like being laid down gently on the road!

At times the wind was cold, blowing snow into my face and stinging my cheeks, but boy was it beautiful! As I ran along the edge of a copse I could see up to 3cm of snow on each branch and twig; it was like peeking into the edge of Narnia’s winter wonderland.

Cranking up the music was helpful today. The roads were quiet; the people I did see were heading into the warmth of the pub for their Sunday lunch. My legs stayed cold pretty much the whole way round, I found myself prematurely hungry in spite of a couple of jelly babies, and although it was beautiful I did need an extra bit of umph.

How does music add to your running experience? Got a favourite playlist? (My daughter’s violin pieces had somehow wormed their way into my list today, which was odd!)

This week’s round-up:

  • Monday – HIIT training; no run.
  • Tuesday – HIIT training. Evening fitness class.
  • Wednesday – 10k out and back to Flamstead. Evening Pilates class.
  • Thursday – HIIT training. Evening 8x300m speed reps.
  • Friday – HIIT training. Evening 6k.
  • Saturday – 5k Park Run (time trial).
  • Sunday – 16k.
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