A new route

After not running for 4 days, due to no particular reason other than loads of work, I had enough today and went out quite early. I was looking for a new route I can do for my medium runs.

I wanted a route that forced me to start slow and that is easily done by including a hill that reminds me of it every couple of hundred meters:

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I know that if I don’t take it slow in the beginning I end up utterly wasted like this fellow:wp-1481445569476.jpg

A good route also includes castles …

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Grass fields I can run on with  the city in the background waking up. Which I can’t look at cause I would fall on my nose (not that this ever happened!)

wp-1481445656329.jpg Did I already mention castles?

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Of course, not to be missed, a lighthouse, a harbor, a medieval church and coastal defense towers. wp-1481445797014.jpg

The route then has to include another hill climb to appreciate the sunrise over the sea.

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It ends with pebble hopping on the beach to make my feet happy.

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You have to experience it

I got started later than usual today and it was already dawn when I headed out. What happens in the early morning hours during winter has to be experienced live. It is hard to capture, both in pictures or words. It had 0 Degree when I headed out and there, again, was no wind or cloud. The leaves are still on the ground and frost with the first soft light makes them glitter. The grass is nice and frozen – perfect for running.

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Did 10k today, nice and slow. I also got to test out my new insoles I got for my gloves and really like it so far! After having read “Fixing your feet” I’ve become much more aware of all the options and been testing different ways to lace my shoes. I might have mentioned it before, all the running definitely makes me more aware of taking care of my feet and they’ve gotten much more picky in what socks they like and what care they need. Today my feet felt quite happy during the run and maybe the insoles even prolong the time I can spend with my gloves.

Reflections

Today was a perfect morning for a run. The wind still and reflections on the water nearly as crisp as the morning air.

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As I had decided to include more strength training, I wanted to run the stairs leading up my hill, or at least see how many I could run before facing a heart attack. Let’s just say there is loads of room for improvement! The view from the top of the stairs is worth it though:

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When I got back down I was treated with spotting the ship behind the rock!

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Today’s run reminded me of how far I’ve come and I thought about the book I am reading right now. “Running to the top” from Arthur Lydiard was my original inspiration for “becoming slowrunnergirl”. I had read it back when I started running again and his training plan just seemed so incredibly far away that I went to create my own “plan” in the hope of getting to his mentioned durations at least. “Speed will come with time, it is just a matter of running consistently and without injuries”. This is what I told myself back then and forgot all about it.

Now the year is ending and at the end of the year I wanted to make the decision if I run an ultra next year or not and I got back to read his book. I was blown away by the fact, that when I read his beginner marathon plan I thought “hey that sounds doable”. When I now read about running 6 times per week, it doesn’t feel like a distant vision. It’s reality. I just ran 50 minutes and feel like I finally recharged my batteries and am ready to tackle the day.

So will I run an ultra next year? Probably not. I think I could, but not the way I want to. I don’t yet have any concrete plans, but I think it would be clever to get some more experience in shorter distances before I tackle anything big. Of course the temptation is there, but I have the rest of my life, so I shall do it properly. Another reason is that there is i.e. the perfect “first ultra” for me, just around my cliff, but one of the starting conditions is to have run a marathon.

What is next? I will continue what I have been doing, but won’t increase the duration. I will include faster segments. To transfer from my typical “MAF” paced run to more Lydiard style “Steady” runs. 80/20 fits right in there and I think December and January at least will be good for this. I plan to include more of the hills and stairs stuff to prepare my legs. It will be a nice mix-up, for my legs, my brain and you as you follow along and read my ramblings!

Got an opinion? Give me your best!

Minus One? Bring it on!

Today I wanted to run again. I checked the temperature and it said -1 Celsius. “Bring it on” I thought, added a couple of layers including my “wind shield jacket”, grabbed my headlamp and headed out there. I found magic at the park. Never has my track looked as magical! So I left it alone …

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Found fog lingering around the river.

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Despite a PR for 10k (1:17:something thanks for asking) I missed the sunrise at the beach and got there when it was already up.

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Loved today’s run and now I gotta catch up with loads of work, but I surely have the energy now.

Greyish

Finally went out for a run again, just a short one, but a run nonetheless. Felt like it has been ages. Probably because it has been ages. Weather, sky and sea was all greyish.

A boat was out there being blow around like me.

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Ooops!

My heart rate went as high as the waves today …  wp-1479716564548.jpg

What an amazing run!

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Have a fine day!

Sunrise

Let me quickly distract you with amazing sunrise photos from the fact that I only ran 1.5 hours today:

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Can you go run longer for me this weekend?

Real Feel!

My weather app which I obviously don’t trust, shows me what they call “Real Feel”. Today it had shown -7 Degree Celcius when I headed out and so of course I was doing the bank robber style running wardrobe.

Let me show you … the colors were just so amazing:

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I’m so glad I left my warm blankets and got to witness today’s sunrise. 50 minutes easy done.

Half is better than nothing

It started out fine … I left the house, walked up my hill and started running. Wearing my headlamp and feeling cozy due to my nice lovely thick running sweater. No clouds were promising a beautiful sunrise …

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Then the rain started … it soaked my sweater full of water, my glasses were unusable and as I took them off I promptly step into a puddle.

Gear failure par exemple. At least I made the right decision to turn around and head home which made my 100 minute planned run into a 50 minute run. Note to self: Don’t trust polls or weather apps!

Why Ultra?

During today’s easy 50 minute recovery run, while listening to the waves and being blown around by wind, I reflected over the question why I feel such an attraction towards running an ultra.

In the end I came to the conclusion that it’s not so much about the event itself. In contrast to other runners, I don’t have a specific dream race or event I want to be doing. Surely there are some stunning events out there, but that isn’t what attracts me to the idea of running for hours on end. For me it is about problem solving. To reach a state where I can be at the start line of an event that covers more than 50k and honestly think I’m capable of finishing so I am proud of myself, that is my dream. I’m fascinated by all the challenges (aka problems) I have encountered and solved so far and I am looking forward to many more challenges.

It’s simple things really … but it seems like a never ending pool of possible challenges. Taking care of my feet for example. Until one year ago, I would have never thought about topics like “pedicure” or thoughts about the right type of socks. Or take today’s run. During those 50 minutes, I had wind blown at me from the weirdest angles and there was rain. I had to stay dry, manage heat and heart rate. All those little things keep me in the moment during my run. There is constantly something I can work on and improve – which is what I love. I can work on increasing my stride rate aka cadence, my breathing, my stride length, relaxing my arms.

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To get me to the point where I am now, running 6-7 hours per week, has taught me so much about myself. Even if I never get to the start line, I am sure there are loads of amazing challenges awaiting me on the way there and loads of puzzles to solve.

What attracts you to running for long (no matter what long is)?