Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Family Fun Run!

Today, I went for a run with my No-so-Little Bro... first time we've run together... and I learnt two things:

1. Running around his area of South Manchester is far preferable to running around North Manchester... there's no hills!... I'd like to run with him more often!
2. I really have broken my running!

Not-so-Little Bro has been achieving a consistent 8.30 minute mile pace over a 5k distance for the past few weeks, however he wants to achieve under an hour in the Great Manchester Run and running at his 5k pace will burn him out over double the distance. As he knew himself, he needed to slow his pace slightly in order to increase the distance, what he didn't know is what that pace feels like. So today, the idea was to help him find the elusive 9.30 minute mile pace and know what it feels like to run it. For me, that pace has certainly been elusive over the past few months and I wanted to know if I was capable of running it.

I wasn't. Thankfully, I managed it for the first mile and, hopefully, No-so-Little Bro is now aware of the pace; just in case, I've lent him by Garmin for the week so he can practise using it and have a better idea of how he's doing in the race on Sunday (I'll be a true Lud-Runner for the week now!!).

As for me, I don't know what's going on. I recognise I'm still in recovery from the London Marathon, but to this extent? Really? The weird thing is that the trouble I'm having is breathing - my legs and body feel fine - but as soon as I start running I find it hard to breathe; running up hills, running faster, running for an extended length of time all makes my breathing more laboured and I have to stop to get my breath back again; we ran just under 4 miles, and I had to stop 3 times, at a pace that I would have been comfortable running and chatting at only a year ago. What is even stranger is that this doesn't seem to be brought on by the marathon, but started back in March whilst I was still training. Naturally, I've tried googling my 'problem' which has thrown up a number of hyperchondric (real word?!) suggestions of what may be wrong with me, but as I do not have: asthma, pneumonia, cardiac ischemia, interstitial lung disease, congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, I've had to resign myself to the explanation that I'm recovering from the marathon. Is that true? No one else around me seems to be having the same problems, or is there another explanation? With a solution??!!! Answers on a post card please!

Anyway, for the time being, as a coping strategy, I've decided (probably) not to run the Great Manchester Run next weekend. This is a complete cop-out and I love the race, but I know I'll beat myself up for a whole year if I don't do it in under an hour, and with my previous best times at 50.16 for the flat, 10k route I already feel hugely disappointed that I can't run anywhere close to that time. So instead, I'm (probably) going to go along and support all of my friends who are running it and soak up the atmosphere without any of the pressure! And... big bonus... For the first time, I'll be able to watch the winners (Haille Gebrselassie and Paula Radcliffe?) cross the finish line!

Of course, the 'probably' comes in because I still love running, I'm just hugely frustrated by the situation... perhaps a 'miracle' will occur this week and I'll fix my running... I'll certainly give it a good try!


  1. There was a bloke on one of the episodes of marathon talk who talked about some central brain thingy that monitored energy levels and rationed them so you didn't kill yourself. His theory with interval training was that it didn't work by making your muscles stronger but by showing your brain that you could train at that intensity without dying. Maybe, because you've been running long distances, your brain is still rationing you for marathons and won't let you run faster because it would kill you over 26.2 miles. In which case all(!) you have to do is find the running equivalent of turning your brain off and back on again.

  2. PS No garmin for a week! Now that's sibling love!

  3. Hmmm... that's food for thought... there must be a switch back there somewhere for these sorts of occasions... if I can just find a way to reboot myself! And yep... my brother better be appreciating my sacrifice... I tried stopping the blank space on my arm when I finished running today! :-)


Thanks for reading... feel free to leave me a message. Maggiee x