Tag: 10K

Expat writer prepares to go the distance

Yesterday morning I completed my last run before my first 10K on Sunday. Hurray! As I came to the end of the 5.1-mile run, I felt like I had accomplished the 6.2-mile job already.

Make no mistake about it, the run wasn’t easy and I’m sure Sunday’s won’t be easy either, maybe tougher. Meanwhile, I caught up with Paul before he dashed out to work and he, who never tells me I look a mess, couldn’t hold his tongue.

Never mind!

But having come back from the US just over a week ago with little preparation during the month of June, I wouldn’t have thought that I could make four miles, certainly not five.

And though I struggled at the 3.86-mile marker, I dug deep. The Chelsea Bridge, a mile behind me and the Albert Bridge, less than a quarter of a mile, I looked towards Wandsworth Bridge, theoretically. At that stage, I couldn’t see it for the bend in the Thames Path.

Still, I somehow convinced my knees and the rest of me that it was a necessary task to reach that bridge. It would serve us all well.

If the lady who smiled widely at me around that time is reading this, I’m glad for the opportunity to explain my singing, more like moaning. I was struggling and found myself digging deep to keep going. Thank Heavens for Kirk Franklin’s Smile and your smile too!

I couldn’t help smiling that last mile myself. After stretching and showering, I went through my email messages to find tips from the race promoters and the training program I am following:

Pick up my race pack  – ✔

Plan attire – ✔

Hydrate – Working on it but admittedly was stomped by the advice not to drink sports drink with protein until I read up on it. Eek so protein might have been at the centre of my digestion woes during Monday’s run. In any case, all is well that ends well!

Head to the start line – Will do with plenty of time.

And remember you always have one cup left. Good because I am going to need it!

In the meantime, I’m continuing to carb load but not too much and I’ve given my muscles some strength training as promised today to ensure that my knees are not the only ones working. Tomorrow, I’ll spend recovering.

And Sunday, I’ll run, bringing the mileage since April to 86 miles. A closer inspection might reveal that I didn’t put in nearly enough miles to properly prepare for a 10K , but at first glance, it looks like a heap of miles. Yeah!

Open roads in London: No dead end in sight

When I hit the big birthday last autumn, I compiled a confidential list of 50 things to accomplish before my next birthday. I maintained there was no point in blabbing about the matter the way people often do about New Year’s resolutions or bucket lists, neither of which I am a fan of, precisely why I didn’t opt for either on my special occasion. Both a bit dead end-ish, if you ask me.

With that said, I really enjoyed the movie, The Bucket List.

Anyhow, I knew I had to mark the special year somehow, aside from a big soiree, which was great fun but fizzled out soon after it was over. My confidential list (aka London confidential), lives on–no dead end in sight.

Though I am still not going to spill all of the beans, I am compelled to tell you about one item on my list–to run a major race by autumn 2013.

Big deal you might say, and you are not the only one. Turns out I am not the only person running a race. When I mentioned my 10K to friends and family, I found that some had been there and done that and others were well on the way.

One friend ran her first marathon when she hit the big 5-0 and is still running several marathons later. A 10K is a doddle to her.

Not to me I tell you. I need all the help I can get, which is why I asked the said friend to run with me. And meanwhile, I’ve joined a running school, another benefit of living in my new neighbourhood. Body Logic Health in Battersea is one of the eleven UK locations of The Running School.

To this announcement, readers, friends and family alike responded with a question mark. Running comes naturally, many reminded; it need not be taught. One even went so far as to point out that she would never pay to do something that she already does very well.

Running school is just another big city ploy, she insinuated, contorting her face.

Bear with I told her and quoted from The Running School’s handbook.

“Although it (running) seems the most natural thing in the world to do, many people don’t know how to run efficiently without getting injured, and to achieve their goal or challenge.”

That’s me–blown out knees, pulled hamstrings, and low stamina resulting in an unfinished race or never started race. No more, I vowed.

After hearing me out, my acquaintance had to admit to more than her fair share of injuries.

So off to school I went last Thursday to learn how to run and to run fast!  But before then I had been videotaped and assessed by an instructor at the school. Not bad, not bad, the instructor said but there was much room for improvement.

Moving forward, I’ve spent one intense hour of the six hourly sessions not only running but also flexing and strengthening muscles to improve my overall technique.  Throughout the session, I admitted to feeling unnatural, focusing on coordinating my arms and legs, but also feeling taller and stronger as I did so.

This lofty feeling was worth hanging onto I tell you. It sustained me when I thought I couldn’t carry-on, not only during the session but also during training and practicing in between.

Admittedly, I am finding it hard going, trying to get the best out of my arms, my legs, my torso, while running and walking but I can already see the benefits and it is early days yet. My second session is tomorrow and the third one the week afterwards and so on and so on.

There is no dead end in sight, only open roads to look forward to.