Runner 5 Versus Zombie Swarm (with Stella for back up)

A month since I last blogged which speaks volumes about how much running I’ve been doing. Not enough! I’ve had to change up the routine, something that I hear time and time again as way to get the mojo back. I just lost the love. The sofa was winning, and with added daily pressures, my training dropped from 3 times a week to just one lonely session. And I have to give credit to my friend Emily for that one, having a work mate running date helps enormously!

With that in mind I do need to find a running group to help kick my schedule into gear. I’m looking at a few at the moment (from the comfort of my arm chair) but I have yet to get up the nerve to turn up at one. The majority are free, so its not the cash that’s the worry, and I have it on good authority that most cater for all abilities, so what am I so afraid of?

My guess is it has something to do with the fact that I still dont see myself as a ‘proper’ runner. With two half marathons, and four 10kms races behind me, and another 3 races signed up for 2012, you’d think I may have convinced myself by now. I think I’m too slow, or slightly too curvy or maybe my gear isn’t quite the right stuff. I think I’m terrified that when I do join a group, I’ll not be able to keep up, or I’ll stagger up a hill too slowly. I am my own worst enemy here.

Its that old voice playing up again, telling me its easier to just not bother. So I had to counteract it this morning before I become all consumed with self doubt and probably unhelpful obsessing about mileage missed or fitness lost. So I went for a run, but left my HRM, Nike + app and GPS at home.

I just added a few Zombies, just to mix it up a little.

I saw this app advertised a few weeks ago, but for £5 I thought it was a little too steep to invest in. Bring on the Easter sales and for £2.50 I could just about justify it. The premise is, you’re Runner 5, collecting essential life saving items and out running zombie swarms with the aid of the radio controller back at base. Once you’ve completed your run, you log back on and ‘distribute’ you findings at base, unlocking new missions and helping level up your station.

If you can get over the very cheesy acting, its actually a lot of fun. I pretty much sprinted up my nemesis hill when I was told ‘IT’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU!’ and the zombie moans get louder in your headphones. Stella had a ball. I’ll have to get her written into the script for the next upgrade. Its great for recovery runs or short, sharp sprints, as it reverts back to ‘radio’ mode after about 5kms. You get to choose your own music, so I’m thinking I may just download the sound track from Resident Evil for authenticity!

It got me out the door, and I’m rather intrigued to see what the next mission may be, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be up for another short run tomorrow. Anything that works, I reckon, is worth trying again.

And with the extra milage adding up little by little, I may just take the leap and turn up at a running club next week. There’s one next Tuesday with my name on it.

The Bad Run

We’ve all had them. This was a particularly spectacular in its badness. It goes a little something like this:

Woke up late. Couldn’t find the right kit. But that happens often enough, so I wasn’t totally put out at that point. Got Stella out the door without incident.

Two hundred metres down the road and the the sports bra unhooks. Stop run. Sort out unwieldy hook (while trying not to expose myself to all of Ladbroke Grove!). Start run. Stop run as Stella find something unsavoury to hunt. Get dog back. Start run.

Phew! Finally get the right pace and it looks like it’s all turning around. Hit Hyde Park at 4 miles and have to divert from the usual route due to horses with small children. Stella looked far to interested in the equestrian activities so I moved us along to avoid a Fenton incident. Stella still manages to cause a ruckus when she almost slams into a fellow runner with a huge stick she’s just found, which is about 3 times her size. Stop run, apologise. Start run.

Around 7kms my headphones start playing up. Right earphone conks out completely at one point. Stop run, check the wiring. Fix this temporarily. Start run. But even with the fixed headphone, my playlist is working against me. Skipping tracks every other song because nothing is really doing it. Should have had this on the playlist.

Hit 6miles and I’m feeling knackered, three to go and I’m thinking I may have to  call it day. But manage to push through. I remember at this point that I haven’t actually had any water to drink since about 8pm the night before. Ah. There’s the mistake right there. Stop run. Catch breathe, stop Stella harassing a small puppy. Start run.

Finally, the end is in sight and I can see the final goal. Just another quarter mile, over the road and I’ll be home. I’m so busy focusing on the distance, I’m not paying much attention to my immediate surroundings. And I miss running straight into Spencer by half an inch. Yes, that posh boy from Made In Chelsea. I had to swerve to avoid him and nearly came tacky on a lamp post.

Of course, I gave him a dirty look like he should have been watching where HE was going. And legged it in the opposite direction. Got to 9 miles a little quicker than expected, red faced and more than a little embarrassed. Sorry Spence.

Trainers off, dog bathed (so very very muddy today, why I am not surprised), and I’m logging the miles. Although it was a pretty horrendous couple of hours, I made the target mileage after all. I’m constantly surprised by what I can do, or overcome. A year ago, I would have given up after the bra incident! And its always good to see this result on the old HRM. Think that effort deserves some spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Whoop!

The Road Home: Uxbridge Road 10km

Hooray! The silly season is upon us! Christmas get togethers, work functions and late night shopping is in full swing and I’m finding it tough to keep up my training and have a social life. And I refuse to forgo the christmas sales, mince pies and late night catch up with the girls! I’d like to have my cake and train while eating it. So to speak.

There are only so many hours in the day, and although I have tried many many times to get up before 6am, I have failed miserably. I am not a morning person (yet!) and the snooze button is just too tempting. Lunch time running is invariably impractical and involves me looking sweaty and ridiculous in close proximity to my work colleagues (this should only happen when we’re looking at budgets). That just leaves the evenings, and these are booked up between now and January 18th. Yes really.

R has managed to injure himself a tad, after not heading my recommendations to rest after a long run. Quote: “I need to figure these things out for myself, just because YOU need to rest does’t mean I need to” Of course, turns out I’m right. Have your humble pie served HOT boyo!

HOT pink. Sort of. 

As a result I’m training on my own this week, and I have decided the only thing for it is to forsake my oyster card and use my legs to carry me home, 3 times a week. Problem solved!

I was rather excited by this prospect this morning while packing my bag with trainers and other running paraphernalia. No trudging up the high street, no rushing for the next train at rush hour, no falling asleep and missing my stop (or getting stuck in the doors when I remember too late!) This would be good. Me and the road. It’s only 9km after all. In a straight line. Easy.

Then the fear stepped in, which usually happens when I try a new route, what if I get lost? What if I pull a muscle and I get stuck in deepest darkest Acton? What if I just wimped out? I packed £20 cab fare, just in case.

But after the initial shock of leaving the office dressed in bright pink high vis subsided with a few raised eyebrows behind me, I got into the swing of things.

Uxbridge Road is not pretty. 9kms of it, filled with dodgy chicken shops, and very sad looking shopping centres with bargain shops. But the pavements were wide enough so I didn’t need to dodge cars and people. Best of all, Uxbridge Road happens to have a slight decline when running from west to east. So that helped cheer me up.

Got home in just over an hour, without that feeling of being harassed by TFL, and possibly exposed to everyone on the tube’s winter cold. Plus I got the listen to this album most of the way through; Result!