Two races, one weekend, the perfect way to get my running mojo back.
I was fairly apprehensive going into these races. I had barely run in the month leading up to them because I was busy finishing my thesis/dancing at weddings/moving house, and although I'd been really consistent with my strength training I was pretty nervous that all the not running would turn these races into a cruel crawl. Turns out the strength training was the key! I ran strong, recovered well and LOVED every moment of the 20km I ran this weekend!
First up was Bournemouth 10k with the Swaines and I think this could be my new favourite race. I love Bournemouth (who are we kidding, I love anywhere by the sea!) and now I can't stop bleating on about what a lovely race it was. It wasn't too big, it wasn't too small, the crowds were wonderful, I ran on two piers and the views along the beach were beautiful. I also totally surprised myself by coming in just under an hour feeling super strong. The time I put into getting stronger paid off, my form was on point throughout the race, there were no little niggles or slouching, and my chest stayed open - crucial for steady breathing. Coming off the course it felt so good to feel that investment paying off!
I knew going into this that if I wanted to run two races in two days I would need to be on point when it came to recovery, so much so that I started before I even ran anywhere. Pre-race I made sure that I was properly hydrated, popping Zero tablets with my brunch to help things along, and invested time in my warm up and stretching - something I am notoriously bad at. As soon as I crossed the line I got on it again cooling down with some hotel room yoga (much to Mike's amusement) focusing specifically on the bits that I know get tight, like my hip flexors and my calves. Nothing feels as good as a post run stretch. So much so I was even having a little stretch on the train back to London!
The downside of Bournemouth's very civilised 4pm start was that I didn't get back to London until after 11pm, although there is something that feels particularly luxurious about eating breakfast for dinner (bran flakes, blueberry wheats and coconut yoghurt!) in a bath full of magnesium salts!
Sunday morning and another race, this time kicking off at 10am in Finsbury Park. I am a huge fan of the Women's Running 10k series, I feel like it offers a really lovely, supportive environment for women who want to run, irrespective of how 'good' they are. There are lots of debates around whether we need or should support women only events, and I am not going to go in to them here, but I do think that having women only spaces in sport can be a really positive thing and offers women an opportunity to create a supportive space that some may find less intimidating. This supportive and inclusive environment is exactly why I suggested my Mum join me for the race, and her very first 10k - and she smashed it!!
The day before the race Mum called me and I could tell she was anxious. We discussed race strategy and decided that run/walk was the way forward, one minute walking at every KM marker (exactly how I tackled my first 10k!), with me manning the timer and being just encouraging enough. It was a strategy that really paid off, and the whole way around the course Mum looked really strong, even the hills which she ran nearly every time! Taylor-Family mountain goat genes kicking in! There were times where she felt stronger and we ran on, and moments where walking was a better option, but either way she totally smashed it in 1:16! I could not be prouder!!
I am really glad that I took on this challenge. I learnt the value of investing in strength work. And recovery. But most importantly I fell back in love with running. Which after two years of struggling with my feelings about running is magical.
Read the whole #2x10k story here.