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Back To Basics Running

Sunday 9th Of August gave me a chance to do something that I hadn’t done for ages – run by myself.
When I first set out to run, I did it cos I was working at a company (CCN) who sponsored the Nottingham Marathon and a few of my colleagues were runners who took part in this.  When they decided they were signing up for the 1997 event they laughingly asked me (who had never ran since school cross country days) and I said "Yeah, no problem, I’ll do it".
I started training in secret and was only able to run a mile from home and then had to walk back.  Slowly over the weeks this distance built up until I was off on my first 10 miler – unbeknown to me Tracey had organised a welcoming committe for my return and a few neighbours were out on the street with a finishing tape across the street :-).  I did all of this training on my own and I told no one at work that I was doing any.  I found the training was really, really great for me – I was getting fit, losing weight and spending time by myself when I could work out coding problems, issues etc.  It was great, I complete my 1st half marathon in September 1997 in a time of 1:48 which I was well pleased with and which my colleagues found astonishing – I never did tell them about the training that I did for that race and to this day they still think I simply got off of the settee on the Sunday morning and ran the race (so if you’re one of my ex-colleagues who I hoodwinked – sorry!).
Since then I’ve completed other half marathons, a 20 miler and the London Marathon in 2005 and I’ve gone from running solo to running with a mate Bunde.  My current usual 3 – 4 runs a day are usually with Bunde and we usually run 2 – 3 times during the week for a distance of about 6 miles and then a longer run on a weekend – 10+ miles on a Saturday or Sunday morning.  I usually enjoy these runs as we run at a pace that allows us to hold conversations and the miles slip by as we chat about footy, beer and village life.  We do occassionally force ourselves to run that bit faster and that bit further as if you don’t push your limits, your limits will close in on you.  Running 2 abreast also forces us to run that bit quicker as we silently (and without ackonwledgement) compete against each other…..Sometimes these runs can be a pain as we both have to comrpomise on how fast we run, what distance we cover to what route we cover (hills or the flat?) but on the whole they’re great. 
We decided earlier this year to take on the P Coy Challenge – Para 10 and over the last 3 months or so, we’ve had to change our training regime to incorporate a weighted bergan (back pack filled with 35lb of sand) and military style boots.  We’re finding that we’re having to really knuckle down to this training and we’ve got blistered feet and chaffed backs to show for it.  These weighted runs are a real pain and there is no enjoyment gained from these runs at all – we don’t have the energy to chat while we run and we complete these sessions of an hour or more in almost total silence.  The best bit is dropping the pack from your back and collapsing in a heap while your blisters pulse and your back knacks due to the sweat in the friction burns from the pack :-(.
This intense training has led me to think that I don’t enjoy running anymore and I’m seriously making plans to jack it all in after this event – even though I have a place in next years London Marathon after deferring due to last years knee injury.
Anyway, back to the thing I did which I haven’t been able to do for ages …..
As Bunde was away on holiday I decided that I’d go for a "Back To Basics" run.  By that I mean, go back to how I started in running, no weighted pack, no military boots, no running partner, mobile phone or MP3 player.
Setting off I had a slight panic as I thought about running for over an hour over a fairly demanding course that I hadn’t completed for a long, long time, with no music to listen to and no mobile phone with which to summon help should I find that I was knackered and needed a lift home – the course is a 2.5 mile 300 metre climb, the sun was beating down and it was extremely hot and this was a proper concern of mine.
As I ran I found myself running at a nice pace of about 8:15 min miles and I was really enjoying it.  The climb was "fun" and I made it to the top of the steepest part breathing hard but with energy left.  I touched the half way point lamppost sited at the roundabout of the M1 Junction 27 in a time of 34:40 and headed back the way I’d just been.
It seems that running down hill should be much quicker than running up hill but I never seem to find this – I usually find that if I allow myself to just run down the hill my legs are soon struggling to keep up and reckon that I’ll take a fall so rein myself in a bit.  Anyway, for all I’d clocked my half way time I wasn’t in this run for that and I ran down the hill at a pace which allowed me to look around and enjoy the route I was running on.  The sun even went behind the clouds for a spell to cool me down slightly.
At the foot of the 2.5 mile hill I was feeling a bit knackered but I kept on running at a pace which was just out of my comfort zone.  I arrived back home and stopped my stopwatch at a time of 1:06:40 – I’d enjoyed the run, I’d completed a course that I hadn’t ran for ages and I’d recorded a time that was the fastest I’d ran the course for an even longer time. 
I’ll still run with Bunde as I still really enjoy the comaradarie and companionship when running but "Back to Basics Running"?  I still enjoy running – whoop!
Am I finished with running after the "Paras 10"? We’ll see, we’ll see…..

One Response to “Back To Basics Running”

  1. Dude, this rocks! I did Boots and Uts in the Marine Corps, I dont miss it, and i usually put those images in my head now that I am on day 4 of running. It feels good and I like the challenge, I am a bit scared of running with a buddy now cuz I feel really out of shape. but i am looking forward to it. Thanks for the motivation.

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