All runners should blog. Why? Because it helps. It helps when you are injured and you tell your friends and they come back and help you - not only by giving you tips and advice but by truly understanding why this injury in the middle of a training program is so upsetting to you. Right, Marathon Chris? And when you've lost your mojo - like I did - they come up trumps and bring you some. Thank you - all of you! As you can see from the shot below - and for the full ha-ha do refer to my latest post on What's a few miles among friends? - my mojo is halfway back again. So what happened? Well I listened to you all my friends. I have taken the following bits of advice to heart:
- from Adam Tinkoff on the ZenRunner - if your plan isn't working, change it. Running with my immensely capable friend Sally - who is just fundamentally and genetically faster than I will ever be - I think I have been constantly running beyond my comfort zone. When I trained for NYC 2 years ago I never trained at these speeds. And I never lost my mojo either. While it's good to push yourself, consistently going above what you're capable of is very dispiriting. Sally is more than happy to go at my pace (what a friend!) and I have decided to go down a step to Hal Higdon's Intermediate I.
- from ShirleyPerly - mix it up (one short run will become some horrible but distracting speedwork);
- also from Shirley-Perly - take walkbreaks in long runs. Now this is something she points out marathon runners frown upon and I agree - that I have frowned upon it. But maybe I needed to get to the point where my choice was "take walk breaks or don't run at all" to appreciate them. As Terry pointed out after my report on the dreadful nutty marathon that I ran without training - I walked then and the sky didn't fall on me.. This week I have not been able to get beyond 6 miles. This morning I set out for 8 and the circumstances were not perfect, I'd had some wine last night, not enough sleep and it was hot (for us thick-skinned northern europeans anyway) and I ran for a mile, walked for a minute. Well - what do you know? I not only ran 8 with an average pace of 10.11 minute miles - good, right? But I also sped through the last mile - it was my fastest at 8.21! Woot!
- a noble purpose - Susan - the wonderful inspirational and crazily early-rising wonderwoman from Arkansas reminded us all that there are people who face a bigger challenge than motivating themselves for a run. Humbling. Mixed in with lack of mojo, in my case certainly, is a degree of self-pity. When I see Elijah's courage I get a much-needed slap around the head. OK. My priorities are back where they should be.
- and last, but not least - I think we all need a powersong. Normally I listen to podcasts on my iPod and leave the music behind. But I downloaded Mika's Grace Kelly yesterday and that's what yanked me through my last mile - I was just laughing at this crazy nut singing his crazy nut song. Followed by Beyonce's audibly shaking her booty during Crazy in Love it's no wonder I pulled out that 8:21 mile - I was rockin'! And it wasn't even to Neil Diamond. I was not completely embarassing! Well - running on my own and singing and dancing while running might still have been quite embarassing it was just that nobody except the cows saw me. So that doesn't count.
So there we have it. I really hope that I am now back on track. I'll do 5 tomorrow, 9 on Monday and then do the 17 miler I missed on Tuesday. I will let you all know how I go. Thank you again for all the feedback and support. I would not be where I am tonight without you. Crazy but true. Thank you!