Challenges and Competition

I can be a competitive sort of person. As someone who has was always good at athletics and running, now that I’ve started up again I find there are times when I see something – a time, a distance, a pace – of some one else’s and make it a mission to beat it, equal it or at the very least use it to push myself that bit harder.
This has happened at the local Parkrun I do. Sure, it’s all about fun and (because there are no medals or anything for winners) not whether you win or not, but I still find myself pushing to better my Personal Best time. It’s happened with a friend of mine who generally does long runs. Whenever I see what they’ve done I get all competitive and want to go for it. What you just did..I can do that too.
Just this last week they showed me one of their latest runs, 13K in just under 2 hours. That’s a great effort, and I’ve only done a 10k once. And that was to see if I could actually do it.  Their pace was what got me. Consistent (as far as I know) 8 min/km. Over the duration I was impressed. And I wanted to replicate it.
This competitive streak has been prevalent throughout my running (and most other things I do).
I need my runs. For me, when I am running, it becomes a mind calming, soul cleansing part of my life. It pleases me. And appeases the manic part of me.  When I don’t have time (like the last month) I start to get a little cabin fever, so yesterday’s run was as cathartic for the soul, as it was a form of exercise.

I am now using an ankle and knee brace to help control the pain. If that’s what I have to use to be able to run, then so be it.
Today I left it off. My knee has been the best it’s ever felt so I thought I would test out whether I would need to use it all the time, or just when the pain is around.  Turns out I should use it all the time. I was hoping to get in 10K depending on the knee, the dwindling daylight and the extra traffic on the road. I did just under 8, which is 2/3 of a 10.5k loop I have mapped out. While not agony, I needed the knee brace towards the end.  Plus, the top of my foot, and front of the ankle was painful.
Now I know.  Use both knee and ankle brace, all the time.
Once challenge down. Many more to attend to.
The competitiveness. To get that last 3k in, in less that 20mins to equal or better the time I somehow managed the only other time I did it. And keep up a half decent pace. Less than 7min/km would be good.
I still have to get the speed sorted for both my 3 and 5k runs.
This then beggars the question of speed over endurance.  If I want to be running 10 and maybe 20k races do I need to worry about the speed aspect of getting certain times in a 3 or 5k run. It’s one or the other I think. I want endurance, with the ability of good speed when I want need it. Ha, oops, I think I want it all 😉 
Seriously, endurance is my main focus. I want to good enough to have a little tiger left in the tank at the end to either finish strong or not collapse from exhaustion on the finishing line. A strong finish is definitely the preferred option.

Challenge Accepted!

Support and Compression

I did my first run today in what seems like forever when it was actually about 3 weeks. It felt good to be back on the road. There’s that feeling that takes over when you do start your running routine. The changing of the bra. The pulling on of tights and shirt. Sorting out the playlist. And finally, lacing up the shoes. That’s what does it for me. It is the last thing I do before I leave the house. And it always brings a smile to my face.
My first run in 3 weeks. It was a scary thing. You know when you put something off because it’s going to hurt, or you think it will be too hard. Well I was worried about how my fitness level would have dropped. And how my knee would be feeling. It has been complaining on and off for the whole time.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love running and if I have to I will run with a compression brace. Today I was in the chemist and hunted out, (with the help of the Rep who was doing her order) the right pieces to help me with my predicament.
For my ankle I have a funky shoe type brace which laces up like a boot (with no heel) and the bands go around my instep for stability with a nice thick one around my ankle. I usually wear ankle socks but will have to wear something a little longer so the band doesn’t cut into my skin.
Thermoskin Ankle Brace, figure 8 strapping for sports use.

The knee piece is also a Thermoskin. Elastic support and compression with side stabilisers.

My whole leg felt rather chunky and heavy as I started off, settling down after by the first kilometre. I planned on doing my short 3.4km route and if I felt good enough to go a bit further (probably doubling the distance). Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. I decided after such a long break and not wanting to push it too far that the short run would be it. And then surprised myself. As I do constantly really. Twenty two minutes. I always seem to be happy with this sort of result, even though I’m able to do 5k in 28mins, go figure.

A good stretch session after a small arm and abs workout and I’m feeling alright. The knee is still twinging, though not unbearable as it might be otherwise.
I will be organising another trip to the Chiropractor, seeing what he says about it and maybe using the braces as a permanent fixture. Until then I will push to my limits, not wanting to damage the knee, and keep my activity at a regular pace.

And today’s inspiring quote and picture