Running uphill to 40 – half way through 500 mile challenge!

Life has been such a manic, emotional jumble lately, I haven’t had a clear space in my head to update my progress.  Since Grandad died, I have found it so difficult to run.  My legs and feet have felt like dead weights and my times have dropped off.  That was until I discovered ChiRunning.  Someone mentioned it on the Run Mummy Run Facebook group (if you are a female “runner”, I highly recommend joining it) and I thought I would give it a go and ordered the book.

ChiRunning book

The book arrived as we were pulling off the driveway to go on holiday.  Our postman is the best, he flagged us down, and gave me the parcel, which I excitedly unwrapped and placed in my hand luggage.  It honestly couldn’t have come at a better time.  Knowing I had eight days until the Whipsnade 10km race and needing every little bit of help I could find to make it around, I didn’t waste anytime in starting to read it.

ChiRunning is focused around the disciplines of Tai Chi, using your core energy to move and breathe.  Having practised Yoga for 6 months now, I am slowly understanding the power in relaxing and breathing, so this concept wasn’t completely alien to me.  I have to say though, I was reading it thinking “how the hell do you relax while you are running?”  In desperation I read the whole book in 3 days and only managed one very brief, seriously hot run on the hotel gym’s treadmill.  (Why oh why are hotel gyms not air-conditioned in foreign countries?)  I returned home in the early hours of Thursday morning having drunk far too much alcohol, eaten far too much food and having done far to little exercise, wondering whether I would make the start line on Sunday.

I had to silence my demons.

There was nothing else for it.

After dropping little J at school on Thursday morning, I pulled on my big girl pants, refreshed my memory of some of the ChiRunning techniques and decided I would run a route I had mapped out to be around 10km.  It felt good.  It felt easy.  It felt relaxed.  Until I got lost, then my calm slowly evaporated and I started to feel tense in my legs, shoulders and breathing…. it took me sometime to find a familiar road again and by this time I was quite tired.  I was able to gather my composure and complete 10km.  The longer route provided me with the opportunity to walk a kilometre back home.  It was beautiful, it gave me the time to think about the run, to look around me at the rolling countryside and listen to the singing birds.  My splits were good.  Much better than they have been for a month or two.

First 10km post holiday splits

Filled with renewed confidence, I felt sure I could complete the Whipsnade 10km in under 1hour 15 minutes.  (I’d much rather make sure I can reach the target and feel happy if I smash it.)  I did ache quite a bit after this run.  My thighs definitely hurt more, but surprisingly my TFL didn’t.  I know my ChiRunning technique was poor, but I honestly think there is something in the leaning forward and relaxing.

The Whipsnade 10km was hot.  The starting markers had time splits.  60-70 minutes or 70+ minutes were my choices.  Not wanting to be last (or in the last category)  I decided to up my goal and aim to finish in 70 minutes.  Unlike my previous race at Blenheim, I didn’t join in with the warm up.  Instead I did my own dynamic stretches and decided I would set off steadily to warm up.

The race went well.  I managed to steady my breathing quite early on.  Leaning forward and relaxing really helped and using my arms was a god send when I felt really tired.

Running Whipsnade 10km

Again my quads felt heavy as if filled with hot water.  I had to take a moment to walk on a couple of occasions, but all in all, I felt strong and in a funny sort of way enjoyed it – until I stared getting really tired around 9km mark.  When I reached the finish line, I honestly felt as though I had nothing left in me.  Keith and Jonathan were waiting for me.  Keith said I looked pained as I crossed over the line.

Crossing the finish line!

My chip time 63:45 minutes – woohoo!  My fastest 10km ever!

I’ve just finished my Tempo run and in all honesty it hurt.  I was determined to keep to the 180 beat cadence, but really struggled to match it to the ChiRunning way of relaxing, leaning and running from my core… It must have been better than I thought though as I smashed over a minute off my 5km PB – not enjoyable, but hopefully will be helpful in my quest to become a better runner.

5 km PB

Anyway, my 500 mile progress…. 264.85 miles down, 235.15 to go!  I’m determined to enjoy more of the 235 miles left.

500 miles progress 110615
K = KM M = Miles

I’m seriously considering contacting a ChiRunning coach…

Any tips would be gratefully received 🙂

Thanks for reading!

If you would like to help me reach my £500 fundraising target for Blue Skye Thinking, please follow this link – Thank you!


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