So this morning I headed out on what I had intended to be a lengthyish run. I had 10km in my mind, and I knew that with the right head on my shoulders, I could probably manage that without too much trouble. But the truth is, you never know just what is going to happen until you get out there. You never know whether it’s going to feel good, or bad or indifferent. Sometimes you need every tool in the toolkit just to get you to the end of the road, and other days you could fly forever.
Of course, these days we have some very sophisticated tools in that toolkit to help us out. And this morning I took extra care to ensure that my phone was fully charged after last week’s minor disaster – battery died at 2km – no tunes and no encouraging words from Runkeeper for the remainder of a 7.5km run. To my surprise it wasn’t as bad as I thought, but the more serious implication of such a technical failure, was that my beloved Runkeeper didn’t log what I know was a particularly good run!! And there’s nothing you can do about that! No pat not he back, no glorious moment for posterity!
Now I love Runkeeper. It was my first bit of running software, and much like your first bank account, although you know it’s probably not perfect, and there are better ones out there, you have an emotional attachment to it. It knows your history inside out and you’ve been intimately acquainted though some real highs and lows in your life. When everybody else is bored out of their minds at you droning on about how much you love running, Runkeeper is whispering in your ear, ‘good job’, ‘well done’, and ‘that’s a new record’ even if that record is the fastest walk round the block in the last week – it can find good in everything.
One of the lovely features about Runkeeper is that you can take a photo to remind you of that run – be it with friends, on your own or just to remind you of a particularly uplifting view. And alongside that it allows you to rate your run with a smiley face – with poor, okay and great as your three options. But it occurred to me today as I was trying to work out which smiley face I would be clicking on at the end of my run, that the reality is that it is hard to categorise your runs within these parameters. For me, I have to categorise them as follows:
- A Forever Run – the ones where you feel like you can literally run forever! I can’t remember the last time I had one of these, and I am pretty sure it was before any form of technology came into our lives to whisper pace in to our ears, and make you run a little bit faster than you might normally be inclined to do. I think they tend to come either with youthful enthusiasm or massive amounts of experience, and I have neither.
- The Flyer – more common these days. It’s when everything just goes right – ambition, distance, pace, weather and general state of health. Usually more likely to occur when you haven’t had half a bottle of wine the night before, and have prepared appropriately with porridge.
- The Social – running with friends, with no particular goals or ambitions in mind, at a gentle pace, having a good chat. I am lucky enough to have my beloved Buns on the Run who have made running so special.
- The Grinder – ambition and preparation have not quite matched. You are determined to get out there and do as you’d intended, but today it really is mind over matter.
- The S*d This for a Game of Soldiers – it just all goes wrong. You go into a blind panic. I can’t run. I never want to run again. It happens to us all and 9 times out of 10 we feel 100% better next time.
Of course, on Race Day, there is one further category and that is the ‘I think I am Going to Throw Up on the Finish Line’. I haven’t done it yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
So there you have it. I’m not sure what the developers of running software will think of these variations, but it gave me something to occupy my mind as I fluctuated between a Flyer and Grinder this morning! Thanks to an awesome mix of running toons provided by my lovely Runkeeper, I would have to conclude that this morning on balance was all good. With grateful thanks to Example, Robbie Williams, Duran Duran and the lovely Barry Manilow! Not to mention Sing by Gary Barlow which had me shedding tears at km 5!
And finally, one word about my husband, because this week it is definitely not about me, it is about him. This weekend he will be running the London Marathon. It’s something he’s always wanted to do since I did it in 2005! Can’t have the Missis having one up one you can you? But he’s 10 years older than I was, and has a family and a business to look after. He is the most driven and determined person I know and his marathon training has been no different. He has definitely ‘ground out’ the tough stuff, he doesn’t love running like I do, but I have no doubt he will do brilliantly on Sunday and we will all be there to cheer him on. He’s been ably and heart warmingly assisted by his wing men Gareth and Bill, who have been beside him every mile of the gruelling training regime, and he and I can’t thank them enough for such extraordinary friendship. Let’s hope fate is kind to everyone running on Sunday! As a wise man said to me once, Marathon Running is 10% physical, and 90% Mental. It is definitely mental! That is for sure!