After the brutal hills of my 10k race on Sunday, my glutes felt a bit trashed. So in the sprit of listening to my body I took it easy for the early part of this week, instead getting my exercise on a number of bike rides into central London.
But with my half marathon quickly approaching, I recognised regardless of soreness I needed to get out there and put in some quality miles. Luckily I have a new running buddy in the shape of Clare who I met through our mutual friend Helen. With a marathon time of 3:30 behind her running with Clare is great for my training, we have loads in common and the minutes fly by.
Excitingly yesterday she brought along her beautiful 9 month Collie, Watson to join us on the run. Early on Watson was definitely setting the pace. We ran up to our Walthamstow and Hackney marshes. Watching Watson boundless energy was inspiring, he was in and out of the river, puddles, grabbing sticks, playing with other dogs. Basically he was having a brilliant time.
All whilst I was being a little bit of a moaner for the first few miles; I had cycled about 8 miles already yesterday and had been to a great social enterprise event at lunchtime. However at the event there was no vegan food apart from the obligatory plate of fruit. Now I had a choice and did the polite English thing and grabbed a selection of fruit. Basically I needed double what I took to get sufficient carbs in but I didn’t want to be a fruit hog. So after my cycle home I felt a little under carbed and had to eat a piece of bread and low fat hummus 30 mins before the run. Not ideal but after a bit of a food and water I felt near where I needed to be.
Once we got into Hackney Marsh the sun started to set the sky was a beautiful orange and pink. We both couldn’t stop admiring the beautiful views. These are the moments I have come to cherish as a runner. On every run I see something beautiful or something of interest, I learn more about the area in which I live in. If I was inside I was miss all of the interesting stuff happening around me.
By the time I was into the 4th mile I was starting to feel strong, we decided to run back on ourselves across the endless football pitches. I felt I got found out for my lack of soft surface training at the Bushy Park 10K a few weeks ago. I always find my pace drops on soft surfaces but I am finding it increasingly important to mix up. We then decided to head off down Regents Canal towards Victoria Park, my initial plan was to run with Clare for a bit then turn back and run home. But as I said to Clare I felt I was getting a second wind. This had the makings of a long run in it. So I decided to just keep running I left Clare and Watson at Victoria Park and made my way home.
Whilst running through the park I had a teenager throw a few stones. Which I felt was particularly brave of him only being in his hoody and standing behind steel fence. He must have felt particularly proud when despite me not evening saying anything to him he started screaming and swearing at me. Honestly you just have to smile, what a pathetic existence he is leading if that is how he gets his kicks.
I reached the end of the park and realised it was closed which was a bit of a lesson really, probably not the best idea to run around Victoria Park in the dark. This led to me having to rather gingerly jump the park fence before continuing home.
By this point my splits were again in the 8 minute mile territory again, I wasn’t flying but by no means was I struggling. I arrived home after completing 10:68 miles in 1:33.45. This has filled me with confidence for my half marathon on the 1st December a 1:45 time definitely feels within my reach now.
I really think having Watson running with us yesterday helped lift my mood and enabled me to get the enthusiasm to make what was meant to be a 8 mile run something much longer.
Have you ever ran with a dog? If so how do you find it?
Until the next time.