A long way to go

This year has been very strange in terms of running. I started the year feeling absolutely pants, recovering from a stubborn injury. I got back into running fairly slowly when my knee started to hold up and began gaining back speed and things were going well.

Then after the Reading half (not many weeks before the marathon) I was struck down with another injury (sprained ligament in my ankle). Luckily because it was such an acute injury it went away as quickly as it appeared (just over two weeks). But it knocked my training and made me readjust my expectations for the marathon.

The marathon happened and I did so much better than I could have dreamed. No issues, a GFA and a great experience. Off the back of that though it has been quite a tedious time with running. I love it still, don’t get me wrong. But gaining back speed has been a tough old slog. I’m nowhere near where I was this time last year in terms of my parkrun times and I don’t feel as confident a runner as I used to be.

I’ve been going to regular club training sessions, parkruns and the odd race but things don’t seem to be there as easily as before. I know it’s just time, but I’m so impatient. Though I’m over the moon for my running friends and husband getting PBs, it’s frustrating for me that my PBs were achieved last year when I was in peak condition so my chance of beating them soon are slim.

This was evident when I really tried to go for it at parkrun on Saturday. I had my game-face on, the course was the flat five laps around the cricket pitch, and I was feeling ready.

Parkrun 10.05.14

I got 21:32 (2nd female) which is over a minute away from my PB. I really pushed it and felt shattered afterwards.

10.05.14 Parkrun I know I can get the speed back if I consistently train and do the right sessions, I’m just having a moan. I know I am very lucky to be able to run and enjoy it – don’t get me wrong. Since my numerous injuries, I am very grateful for every run and I know injuries are so easy to get. My runs could be numbered at any point. I just feel a bit useless at the moment with my running.

I also had the worst run of my entire life. I’m taking part in our running club’s league races (Hampshire RR10s) and we had one last Wednesday night. The races are typically 4-5miles long, off-road and undulating. This one was in the New Forest.

IMG_6622

Ben and me met up with the rest of the club and warmed up.

IMG_6623 Ah those happy faces, unaware of what was to come

I started ridiculously fast. Like stupid fast. It was downhill and I was just like “la, la, la, I’m so speedy”. Then hit the wall and the wheels came off spectacularly on mile two. It was painful, horrible and I thought at one point just to stop.

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Thankfully, I didn’t. I zipped up my woman-suit (girl version of man-suit) and just persevered. There was so much thick mud to get through it was a nightmare. Then a lovely long hill for 3/4 mile at the end. Joy.

IMG_6624My lovely new Run Mummy Run compression socks fully Christened with mud on their first outing

I’ve never been so glad for a race to be over. I’m not joking when I say I’d rather do the marathon again than that race. Too fast, stupid pacing, too much mud. A silver lining at least was that I got 11th female and first female in my club.

Because I knew that I worked very hard at the RR10 and I was also aiming for a good time on Saturday’s parkrun, when Ben and me signed up to the Alton 10 miler race on Sunday I knew straight away I didn’t want to race it. But Ben was keen to go for a PB (honestly, that boy is on fire. He got a PB at parkrun! I’ll be watching my back soon – he was nine seconds behind me). Ben’s 10 mile PB was 1:26:xx but that was last October and he’s made some great improvements since then so it was clear he would PB (providing all went well). It just depended on by how much of a PB it would be. He wanted 1:18. So I said I’d pace him as that was still quite a comfortable speed for me. Not an easy run, but not a racing speed (my PB is 1:15, of which I’m not happy with but let’s not go there).

The run was well organised and the course was very scenic – think traditional little British villages and farms. But undulating and windy on the day.

We ran fairly steady. I struggled a little bit due to a slightly niggling hip (let’s not talk about it) but other than that it went fine. Ben ran well and achieved his goal with time to spare – an 8 minute 1 second PB.

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He was over the moon, as you can imagine. Two PBs in one weekend. Nice work, hubby!

Alton 10 miles finish

Running is never easy. You really have to put a lot of hard, consistent work in to get good stuff out. I know I’ll get there again, it just takes time.

Alton 10 miles medal

Have you ever felt frustrated with your ability?

Is your other half into sports or fitness? Do you compete against each other? I never want to race against Ben. I’m sure he’ll get faster than me at some point but I don’t mind. I’m happy that he’s doing so well. I never want to compare his performance against mine. It would be silly anyway considering he’s male and I’m female!

Have you ever been paced or have ever paced someone else in a race?

24 thoughts on “A long way to go

  1. I feel like I could have written this post. Except there would be a whole lot more moaning and vitriol in my version 😛

    It’s so hard to race with little chance of getting a PB. I think that’s why I hate half marathons so much now; because I set a PB so far away from anything I have been capable of achieving since that even if I absolutely kill myself on the course I’m still at least 3 minutes away from it (same goes for 10Ks actually, but they’re short enough not to hate quite so much!). I was improving really quickly at the time, but then an IT band injury sidelined me for 3 months and I never really recovered from that. It had a huge impact on me psychologically and I think it’s that aspect as much as anything that held me back…until my current injury flared up so badly. There’s nothing I can do to resolve that for the time being.

    I completely lost faith in myself as a runner for a while after suffering from multiple stress fractures within weeks of each other. I did come back to run a marathon PR, but that’s feeling as much of a fluke as the half PR was right now, and honestly I really resent running at the moment because it’s demeaning to only be able to limp around at least 30 seconds per mile than my usual pace. I also get serious PR envy, even if the people I’m reading about are slower than I am…it’s all about personal progress, and I don’t feel as though I’ll ever make any again.

    I don’t know what to say other than to offer support and encouragement: not all runners end up like me! There are many who have been in your situation and come back stronger than ever…it just takes time. Also, you’re recovering from a marathon (!) I think in this crazy blog world we all forget that we can’t always just bounce back from that kind of distance, particularly when it was your first one and you were a bit undertrained. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself: I’m sure your speed will come back and everyone reading here knows what a talented and brilliant runner you are.

    Take care.

    xxx
    Jess recently posted…If it’s Free, it’s for meMy Profile

    • It’s really demoralising. It’s worse than comparing yourself to someone else because you never really know if you’ll actually beat that person. But if you’ve achieved those times in the past and can’t get there again, it’s just depressing! It’s like going backwards.
      I think we just have to use past PBs to keep us motivated but not get hung up on them. Tough though 🙁

  2. Mr PoP is very competitive and last year it was causing a bit of trouble for us as he would compete against me, do better (naturally, he is stronger, fitter and lighter than me!) and I would then feel pants. Not about not being as quick as him, but just about my own performance. So in the end I changed to a different app to track my rides which meant we / he couldn’t directly compare our times – things have been much better since then 🙂 Now I use his disappearing view as inspiration to work harder when following him up a hill, but don’t stress over the times. I’m sure your speed will come back Anna, but these things take time – you’ve done remarkably well considering the injuries you had.

    • That’s a good idea about changing the app. Ben and me are both on Garmin Connect and it’s so easy to compare. We try not – we just compare how the race felt to each other instead.
      Men are always going to be stronger because it’s biology (bigger heart and all that jazz), but it does suck.

  3. Feeling this exact thing right now. 🙁
    Having only been running a couple of years, – right up until the end of last year I was achieving PBs almost every race I entered. Then I started running longer distances, I got injured so speedwork took a back seat and now I’m fighting to recreate my original times from when I first started running. It’s such a mental battle and I feel like I am no longer capable of pacing myself anymore. I’m supposed to be racing 6 miles tonight but I’m actually incredibly nervous about it. Everyone says that you come back off marathon training and hit all your short distance PBs, but I’ve never found that. I still have an expectation for myself to finish in a time surrounded by those in my running group. If only my head would communicate that message to my legs!
    …So I feel very frustrated with racing at the moment.
    When Dan first decided to casually come out on a few runs with me there were a couple of times he tried to push off past me up a hill but I could easily outsprint him so in the end he gave up trying. If he was to repeat that exercise now though, I’m sure he would beat me! At the parkruns we’ve run together I’ve always paced him or we’ve both held onto the set speed we set for ourselves at the beginning so it’s never really been an issue. I think we’ll continue to run our own separate races as he improves and I’ve never really thought about ‘racing him’ as such.
    Mary recently posted…Three days until my hendo!My Profile

    • Yeah my friend who runs a lot of marathons told me to wave my speed goodbye when I got into marathon running. I’m the same with you and pacing with the shorter runs. There’s just not enough time or miles to get it right! Half marathons are just so much easier in that respect.
      I think running your own races is a good idea. Ben and me are doing the same. Sometimes he’s racing and I’m just doing a t-shirt run, while other times he’s just taking it easy and I’m racing.

  4. I’ve actually really stopped caring much about pacing/trying for pb’s, I just find it takes all the fun out of running and I fall out of love with it. I run to enjoy it and just appreciate that I am lucky to be able to do it at all. I’m sure your speed will come back soon, you’ve been working really hard.
    Lauren (@PoweredbyPB) recently posted…Ultra Training Week 18My Profile

  5. I am feeling pretty much the same! After I recovered from my hamstring injury earlier this year, I was ready to go all out and rock the rest of the year. And then I got really busy with work and sick, which meant I took two weeks from running. I went out and ran three miles earlier this week and had to WALK. So disappointing. I agree, it takes a lot of work to run to the ability you know you can… and I’m ready for it. It’s just a matter of how long it’ll take to get there.
    Lora @ Crazy Running Girl recently posted…What the Vibram lawsuit really meansMy Profile

    • I feel for you with being sick 🙁 At least though it wasn’t a long-term injury I suppose. We’ll get there in the end, it just takes a bit of time. There will always be peaks and troughs in running I guess!

  6. I think PBS come and go – or at least they do for me! I seem to go through phases of having them, then not and getting slower, then having them again. The roller coaster of running! However, PBS aren’t a big thing for me. They used to be but now I’m more focused on having fun and running to enjoy it.
    James is competitive, as am I. (Sometimes haha) but luckily we ‘re at the same level so push each other on rather than race.
    Claire @ Flake and Cake recently posted…Paleo Vegan BologneseMy Profile

    • Yep you’re right. The focus should just be about the enjoyment, rather than the outcome.
      It’s nice that you guys are at the same level to help each other out with running!

  7. I feel frustrated a LOT! Especially when I run with Andy, as he does not run that frequently, and will still run faster than me much easier. The other day he had not run for a few weeks, went out and did an “easy” 5k, and beat my fastest ever pb by quite some time. I sometimes get fed up when I read stuff about running too- I remember reading an article that was meant to be encouraging people to run their first half marathon, and it said that if you finished within 2 hours you would be an average runner. Well, I have been running for years now, and I am still not as fast as the average runner. But most of the time I focus on the fact that I actually love running and I do not care if I run a mile in 15 minutes because I will still be out in the fresh air, and even if I am last in a race I will still get a medal (although not a t-shirt that fits!!). You can’t be getting pb’s all the time.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Women’s Tour comes to Welwyn!My Profile

    • Urgh what a stupid article. There’s no such thing as an ‘average’ runner. Just a lot of individual differences and many, many affecting factors. You’re right, PBs are not going to happen all the time. There are peaks and troughs in the lifetime of running.
      Ahh that does suck about Andy – how annoying! But men are naturally faster anyway, and some are more natural than others.

  8. Injuries aside, I personally think that you are an amazing running and have come on in leaps and bounds, but I guess this is a subjective thing. Alfie isn’t sporty at all, except for watching it on the TV. We are very competitive against each other though, which can be great motivation to get things done.
    Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes recently posted…{Fashion Friday} Pink or Blue?My Profile

  9. My husband is also into running, but I never compete with him as he is much faster than me and always will be (he runs a 7min/mile and I run a 9min/mile). It doesn’t bother me, I’m happy for him.
    I still think you are amazingly speedy, even if you’ve had a few bad runs recently. We all have bad runs from time-to-time, don’t let it get you down 🙂
    Lucy recently posted…Om Yoga Magazine MayMy Profile

  10. Anna you are doing so great with your running! I know it must be frustrating to be so far from where you were last summer, but you’ll get back there before you know it! For now just try to soak up every moment and be happy you’re not injured. 😉 Yay for Ben too! You guys are great.
    Chelsea @ Chelsea Eats Treats recently posted…Favorite Things Friday!My Profile

  11. I kind of know what you mean…..
    Although I am nowhere near the runner that you are, a year or so ago I was making really good progress with my running, but I kept getting injured and it really knocked my confidence. I am slowly getting back in to it, but it is a struggle.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Healthy French ToastMy Profile

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