The 10K training plan that I’m following indicated a 9K long run this week. Last week’s plan also called for 9K. The trouble is, when you’re outside, it’s a glorious spring morning, and the route you planned is longer than 9K anyway (to allow for warming up and down), it’s easy to get carried away.
Last week I miscalculated the conversion between miles and KM, realised that I was almost at 10K anyway, and kept going. I ran my first full 10K in 1h 20m 44s. A slow time indeed. But I was chuffed at being able to run all 10K, and at being able to keep going for 1h 20m.
Yesterday, I planned to run the same route, with a little extra added on. Who was I kidding? Of course I wasn’t going to go further but run less.
My son James is a keen runner and has explored all the local routes, so he always has suggestions for me. This adds a lovely dimension to my running – that I can come home, show my son where I’ve been, and discuss where I should go next. You might think we’d like to run together but – a) I’d never keep up, and b) we both enjoy running for solitude.
It was a suggestion of James’s that led me to add a bit more to my route. It was also a suggestion of James’s that led me to the pretty Wayfarer’s Church at Kilton, where I paused to take photos.
The church was decommissioned in 2004, and is now a non-denominational spiritual drop-in centre and retreat. It’s a very calm and beautiful spot for quiet reflection.
It’s absurd to think that I’ve lived in my village for nine years, and never knew this place was just down the road. Through running, I’m finally getting to know my neighbourhood.
After the church there’s a steep downhill section. If I had turned left before the church, James tells me, there’s a really steep ascent up a big hill. James doesn’t really register the other hills on this route as hills – see the Strava graphic below – so this one must be quite impressive.
I’m saving James’s ‘big hill’ for a different day – not that I’m scared of hills. I enjoy the challenge. But one challenge at a time is sufficient for now.
After the steep downhill, the ground undulates a lot; one little hill after another, gradually climbing higher and higher. I resisted the temptation to turn off towards the beach, aware that I was tiring. And I plodded on.
As the ground levelled out, I recovered. Nine kilometers came and went, and I kept going. It would be too far to walk home from here, I told myself, it would take forever (not that my running is at all speedy). Might as well make it a round 10K.
As I reached 10K I felt good, and could have kept going. But I made myself slow to a walk, wary of possible injury. I walked the last mile home feeling very pleased with my effort, and my new 10K time of 1:18:27.
In just under two weeks, I have my first 10K race, and I know I can run the distance. Even if I’m the last to finish, I’ll get there, and I’ll be proud.