Sunday 28 January 2018

Runblog 2: Shut up, brain

I made a conscious effort to not overdo the running this week. My thigh occasionally does a little groan at me, normally when I'm doing something running-unrelated, reminding me that it was pretty knackered only a couple of weeks ago, so I make a point of listening to those groans and taking it a bit easier and so far, so good. I've been doing daily squats and assorted leg strengthening exercises and I think that's been helping a lot.

I did a 5km run on Monday and that was a tad tough. I knew my body was capable of it but my brain was telling me that it wasn't. I was all "We've done this many times, you daft brain. My legs and I can do this just fine, thank you very much for asking!" but my brain was telling me and my legs that we couldn't go on and that it would just be better for all of us if we stopped running, walked home and had a nice rest. I told my brain to shut its filthy piehole, and my legs and I completed the run. I also faffed about trying to do one of those running action shots. I propped my phone up against a post, set the self timer thing and ran past it. I managed to capture my leg. Still, my leg was running so I reckon the photo qualifies as a running action shot. (And don't be looking at my VPL; my Runderwear makes my arse look like a joint of pork.)

My mudguards for my bike arrived so I fitted them and went out to test them in the rain on Wednesday.

Post-cycling selfie

There was no grubby-buttocking incident this time, so that was a fiver well spent. I timed the ride wrong, though, and I got caught up in the school-home-time cycling traffic alongside the busway. I was bombing along on my bike amongst schoolyouths bombing along on their bikes and there was a moment where I felt like some kind of geriatric Goonie.

To date, bar parkruns, I've done all of my running alongside the busway. It's straight, flat and smooth, and I only ever have to cross one road. Apparently varying your route is a good thing to do so on Friday I planned a run somewhere that wasn't the busway.

Post-run selfie

I have no sense of direction. At all. The part of my brain that does directions and maps is just utterly useless; somehow my brain can remember the names of the entire Lockhead family from the terrible '90s BBC soap Eldorado, but it is incapable of working out how to get to a place. I studied Google Maps and worked out a route that was about 3.5km – a loop, all run on paths that I walk on a very regular basis going to the shops and the library and such. Except for one bit. There was one tiny bit that I didn't know but after looking at the map about fifteen times before leaving the house, I was confident I'd logged it it my head, but nope, I got to that bit and instantly my brain became all befuddled and I ended up doing a three minute scurry-about, trying to correct my route like a malfunctioning sat nav device. The stupid thing was, I was only five minutes from home! Eventually I sort of got my bearings and headed in the general direction of where I wanted to be and I ended up on a green, amongst children's boingy playground equipment, but I kept on running and sure enough I ended up on the right road and I was able to complete the run and make it home. I honestly shouldn't be allowed out without a helper.

I've not done a parkrun yet this year. Cambridge parkrun is in a country park so the route is muddy and there are lots of tree roots to dodge. When it's been raining there are puddles too, and sections of the route become mighty slopslippy.  I had to do a bit of tree root and puddle jumping on my last parkrun and I'm pretty sure that's how I twanged my groin, so I decided that I wouldn't run there again until the weather improves a bit. I know that's a bit runner wimpish of me, but I just don't want to risk injuring myself again. However, with my self-imposed parkrun hiatus, I was getting such parkrun ennui on Saturdays. Every Saturday my Instagram and Strava feeds light up with lovely parkrun photos and I was missing it so I decided to volunteer and yesterday I donned a hi-vis vest and did a bit of marshalling.

Probably one selfie too many

I was positioned at the point where the parkrunners head off on the final straight of the course, up towards the finish funnel. The runners have to go past this point three times before they can head off towards the finish so I was doing a mix of cheering people on as they completed each lap, and spurring on the just-about-to-finishers. I absolutely bloody loved it! Everyone talks about the parkrun atmosphere and I thought I'd experienced it as a runner, but nope, the volunteering was where I really grasped what they're all on about. I have never clapped and cheered so much in my whole life and every time a runner panted, "Thank you, marshal!" at me I got such a lovely feeling. Some fella high-fived me as he ran by and another gent shouted, "Thank you, marshal, lovely hat!" each time he went past me. A lovely lady came up to me after her run and said that my encouragement had really helped her at a point where she was flagging. That was so good! All I'd done was stand there clapping and shouting stuff like "Excellent running skills!" and "I love your leggings!" and "Keep going, you're doing fab!" and here was this lady telling me how that had actually worked. Magical. I had such a big grin for hours afterwards. After we packed up I put my name down for marshalling again next week so I will try and come up with some more things to shout – something better than the nonsensical "Yeah, you're doing a good!" that my mouth said to someone at one point yesterday morning.

Next week I'm going to do three runs with one of them being a 6km one, and hopefully none of them will involve me acting like lost idiot.

This week's runstats
Number of runs: 2
Total distance run: 8.8km (4.56 miles)
Standout running tune of the week: Cliff Richard - Wired For Sound


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