If I could summarise this year I would say it’s the year I stopped being a man who runs and became a runner. That may sound a bit odd but despite having run for as long as I can remember I think it’s only this year I’ve truly become a runner. In the past my Read more about Becoming a runner[…]
So I did it, I crossed Scotland in a day. Well 11 hours, 8 minutes and 3 seconds to be precise. 11 hours of continuous exercise starting in Nairn on the east coast and finishing in Glencoe on the west coast. It was brutal, challenging, spectacular and exhausting. The Scotland coast to coast I salute you.
What more would you expect from 28 miles of running, 85 miles of cycling and 2 miles of kayaking with the small matter of 4,000 metres of climbing (and the equivalent descent)? It’s the longest I’ve ever cycled and for the stat lovers amongst you also featured the slowest half marathon I’ve ever done at 3 hours (if you’d seen the ‘hills’ you’d understand why).
It’s now less than 2 weeks until the Scotland coast to coast, the panic is set in. I’m in that period where it’s too late to do much about any fitness worries but not close enough to say ‘fuck it, let’s do this’.
So I’m doing what I always do in moments of stress, I’m writing lists and organising my gear. Because you know being organised is worth at least 2 weeks good training. It’s probably not a bad idea though as I have the added complication that we’re having 2 weeks holiday in Scotland at the same time so we need to pack and organise 2 babies and a dog as well.
Exactly one month from today I shall be (hopefully) finishing that little race I’ve signed up for. *whispers* you know the one that involves crossing Scotland from coast to coast. Which means I’m at that point before a big challenge where I’m part excited and part in denial about exactly what I’m going to do.
I’m also having a small panic over whether I’m fit enough, I think I am but the cycling still worries me as I haven’t done as much as I would have liked. Work has limited my plans for evening rides, not to mention the 2 weeks of travel to the USA. But this was also why I found myself setting an alarm for 5.30am today to get out for a 2 hour ride before work. The advantage of working from home 1 day a week is I can be a bit flexible with start times on those days and not worry about commuting to the office.
My legs felt terrible all the way around the ride, but when I got back it was not only my highest average speed (16 MPH) but also the longest at 28 miles. Not even halfway to the distance I’ll do in the race but good to know that even when feeling that my legs have no energy I can do a good pace and one higher than we plan for the race anyway.
All of us have to make choices about where we allocate the minutes and hours of our days. Work and family clearly consume a good chunk of that time leaving relatively small opportunities to do hobbies or other activities. For me blogging obviously takes up another part of the day (and can consume every evening if you let it), there’s a bit of gardening and home maintenance in there, dog walking every day and maybe even some time to actually talk to the lady of the manor occasionally.
Which means for this running obsessed dad I have to work hard to get my daily fix in. I love running, I really do, but can I justify going for a run instead of spending time with my children for example? Difficult to justify that to yourself long term unless if you want to be any sort of real parent.
This leads me to, what is for me, the only real conclusion. Exercise early in the morning before anyone else gets up. It’s perfect, I take the dog so he gets exercised too, the children never really notice that I’ve gone and I get a quality run in while most people are still tucked up in their beds.
It’s definitely not easy dragging yourself out of bed at 5.40am every day come rain or shine, putting a head torch on in the dark winter mornings so you can see where you are going. But on days like today it’s just fabulous. Mother nature puts on one hell of a show as the sun rises and the mist slowly clears from fields. We see deer, rabbits, hares, pheasants and cows most of which Bracken will attempt to chase.