I've been going to the Sweaty Betty Running Club for about a year now. It's great. No, really, despite what I'm saying up there. Our running coach Alan (cf. yesterday's post) is a great guy (particularly when he's had a drink before meeting us, which I'm sure he did yesterday cause his instructions made no sense whatsoever), you run with a great bunch of girls who are also super fast (not so great for my ego, regularly being part of the slow end of the pack) and it's totally free! Alan coaches us out of the goodness of his little heart and no one forces us to buy Sweaty Betty kit (although we all love it so much, we do anyways. And no, we don't get a discount for being RC members...I know, shocking!).
I can't pretend that I've been attending RC regularly. I started in August of last year, just before my first half, and then was really good about it until the clocks changed and our evenings were dark and running around Midsummer Commons was not only a very wet, but also scary and dangerous affair (one time we had a dog come running at us at full pelt, only, we didn't know it was a dog, because it was so dark. All we could see was the red bike light its owner had clipped to its collar. Very scary indeed when you think tiny, super fast aliens are chasing you around the green!).
When I started training for the Cambridge half, I had every intention of going regularly. Only I didn't. Again, dark and wet nights literally forced me to stay home on the couch, with a good book or a large glass of red wine. I didn't have a choice, I swear. Once the clocks changed again and it got a bit warmer, I did come and go. Then, of course, the wedding happened and for about two months I was a total no-show. Until last night.
With this being week one of the 'totally official I'm really doing this now' half marathon training, evenings still being light and yesterday actually turning into a semi-dry afternoon after torrential rainfall in the morning, I decided to go. In order to curtail my own amazing ability of finding good reasons not to, I had the foresight to shave my legs in the morning (yes, I shamefacedly admit that I've used hairy legs as an excuse in the past why not to go out for a run) and changed straight into my running kit after work so as not to find any other excuses (like, I can't find my right sock, oh well, better stay home...).
I left the house on time, armed with my Garmin and water bottle, met Anna at the our corner and headed over to the green. We were a big group last night as the Beginner's Fitness gals joined RC as their coach was doing a race last night. Alan, after almost falling over backwards and squealing like a girl during warm up (like I said, I think he'd been boozing), explained that we'd be doing pyramids.
This is actually one of my preferred workouts as it seems that I have more time to catch my breath. Well, not so last night. We started out with a 1-minute sprint, followed by a 1-minute recovery, 2-minute sprint, 2-minute recovery and, you've guessed correctly, a 3-minute very fast run (let's not kid ourselves, I couldn't sprint for that long!), followed by a 3-minute recovery. Then we did the whole thing backwards. I worked out, math genius that I am, that in total we only actually ran for 12 minutes. So it's really rather pathetic that I felt as shattered as I did. Also, I'm not sure what most of the gals smoked beforehand, but EVERYONE was super fast last night. I was at the back for almost every single leg. Not. Cool. Then I looked at my Garmin and was told that apparently I'd been averaging between 6:20 and 7:30min/miles for the various stretches (obviously the 6:20 being the 1-minute stretch while the slower ones were the longer ones). Obviously there's a problem with my Garmin cause there's no way I can run that fast. I wonder what the warranty is like on that thing?
While doing each drill, all I could think was that it hurt, I was out of breath, crap, I'm getting a stitch, is that Lilli catching up? Oh no, must not let Lilli pass! Darn it, how did Lilli pass me? Why is Anna ahead of me! How is Alison already around the corner? Crap, slipped in the mud. Did I twist my ankle? Maybe I should stop. No. Can't. Give. Up. Now. OH MY GOSH, HOW MUCH LONGER....??? So yes, I suffer greatly at RC. But then I finish, have a quick chat with the lovely ladies there and slowly jog myself home. I get in, in a total infantile way wipe my forehead on hubby's shoulder while saying hello, crash in the grass to do some stretching and think, 'Am I glad I did that' and, as the jolly English would say, 'how chuffed am I with myself?' Yes, the feeling of achievement, of knowing that this one killer session will work wonders for my running, of having survived it and of not having been the last to get back makes up for all the pain. Maybe that's what pregnancy and childbirth are like? The joy of finally meeting your kid makes up for getting fat, stretch marks, labour, etc. (not sure where this analogy came from, too many pregnant women around me at the moment...)
So there you have it. Speed training for week 1 of HM training successfully-ish completed. And one more good thing about RC: I slept like a baby for the first time all week. Yay to utter exhaustion!