Half term, half measures.

Monday. Day 36

Still feeling the effects of copious amounts of alcohol and deep shame, tonight’s run is grim. Again, the weather is resolutely wintry and neither of us has the urge to train. It is now taking on average, 7 text messages between V and I before any arrangement is made to run. We both secretly hope that the other will call-off so we can stay on the couch and open that bottle of Rioja.

At this point, the fear of failure is the only thing keeping me going. Although how long my reserve will last is anyone’s guess.

We blunder on through 6k or so, amid a cacophony of swearing.

Tuesday. Day 37

I receive a text from V while at work which reads, ‘You still on for tonight? *please say no, please say no, please say no…*’ Maybe we should make this the new mission statement…?

We go anyway because fear of public humiliation is a great motivator. But we grouse about it the whole time and vent about anyone who so much as looked at us the wrong way in the last 48 hours.   There are several character assassinations during this training session. It’s bloody.

I’m plagued with pain from aching calves which I am trying to ignore but somewhere in the back of my mind, I’m wondering if I should be resting. The panic of breaking the schedule is too much though as I still cannot see a point where we will comfortably run even close to the full distance.

There is a constant sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, although that is very likely at least 50% due to over-consumption of gin.

Thursday, Day 39 – Saturday, Day 41.

Away on a family half-term trip so have done nothing since Tuesday, unless you count 7 lengths of the paddling-sized pool at the hotel and the energy it takes to shovel in a full Scottish (with fried bread, toast, tea and cereal to start) every morning.

Have decided to earn it today however, by heading to the hotel gym to use the treadmill.  It is screaming hot in there and I only have outdoor running gear. I consider taking off my top after 3k, but decide the elderly gentleman doing lunges will not be fooled into thinking Doreen is some kind of high performance athletic top, designed to hug the contours of the body for maximum support and mobility.  She’s hugging the contours alright, I can hardly bloody breathe.

Sadly her function is clear, she looks exactly like what she is,  a foundation garment for well endowed and slightly portly ladies of a certain age.  He probably sees enough of that carry on at home with Mrs Elderly Gentleman, so I soldier on sweating profusely and  turning an alarming shade of purple as I clock up the k’s.

Treadmill running is mind-numbingly dull and there is nothing to look at.  Aside from myself.  The mirror in front of me tells a thousand tales.  All of them from the horror genre.

The vision I believe I present when running is so far removed from reality, I expect a crash team or a concerned vet to arrive at any moment to perform resuscitation,  or to put me out of my misery for good.

Either would be welcome, but not before my fry up.

There is no inspiration here, look away now.

Monday.  Day 29, Day 30, Day 31, Day 32, Day 33…blah, blah…

We run.  It’s wet.  It’s windy.  It’s freezing.  I am bored of this shit.

There are no highlights this week  but many, many lows.  I know runners are supposed to hit the metaphoric “wall” but  I had understood that to be actually during the race, rather than slap bang in the middle of training.

Undertaking a run in snow while Rugrat 2 is at sports class turns out to be one of many lapses of good judgement.  Even the stalwart G, peels off when we pass close to her house in search of tea and a hot shower. I plough on to the village hall in a blizzard. V’s mum passes me in her car and the look of horror and bewilderment on her face will live with me forever.

I sit dripping and shivering all over the caretakers newly mopped floor waiting for the rugrat.  She is obviously thrilled.  The other mums are laughing and joking with each other and survey me with amusement and thinly veiled pity as they play Candy Crush in their warm and dry clothing.  I now truly understand the meaning of the word “embittered”.

I get home to find there is no hot water and feel like killing someone. Preferably myself.

Saturday.  Day 34

V and I have scheduled another 10k lochside route and it turns out to be the worst run we have ever had.  The fault was all our own as the conditions were excellent.  No wind, clear blue sky, dry and bright.  Should have been great.  It was anything but.

It turns out that there are two new things to consider before embarking on a 10k:

1. Empty your bladder

2. Do not eat McDonald’s or  taste test around 30 of the 200 cream-filled profiteroles you have made for a party this evening

We stop/start almost the whole way while trying to find a suitable toilet-stop spot on one of the busiest public walkways in central Scotland.  There are none. Perhaps if we were more hardcore, we’d just have done a Paula Radcliffe, but the thought of meeting a friend or one of our children’s teachers  while squatting in the undergrowth  is just too much to bear.

Typically, this is the run where we seem to meet almost everyone we know.  I suspect they are now all deeply suspicious of any previous comments made on our fantastic progress as they observe us ambling along at a pace that wouldn’t challenge your average snail, whilst casting furtive glances at clumps of bushes.

There is very little to be positive about today.  Except of course that it wasn’t me who ate the McDonald’s.

Sunday.  Day 35

If yesterday was bad, today is off the scale. Death would be welcome and ironically, I’d do anything for a McDonald’s.

I attended a 40th birthday party of epic proportions last night (see 200 profiteroles above) and used the disastrous 10k this morning as a poor excuse to drown my sorrows.  I have little recollection of the event aside from the rabid competitive spirit that overtook me when it came to the ‘No1 Hits of the Last 40 Years’ Quiz.  I fear I may have lost some friends in the process.

It was a fantastic night ( I am assured) and the details are hazy but it appears I have,

a) agreed to take part in a second-hand baby sale

b)decided to write a book

c)proved I cannot hold my drink.

That should read ‘second hand baby goods sale’.  I haven’t got any second-hand babies, just a couple of shop-soiled ones but strangely, I am rather attached to those.  And in my defence, it was a HUGE amount of drink so I feel I can hold my head up there.

If only I could actually hold my head up.

Schedule? What schedule?

Day 14 – Sunday.

No run.  Just a mental drive down the A9 in snow and a very twisty detour to avoid a jacknifed lorry. Mercifully, missed the lorry but did have to contend with two very green looking rugrats due to the alternative route.

Spent last night at a very enjoyable social event  celebrating a friend’s birthday.  Met up with R, a very old friend and runner, properly super-fit elite athlete type.  The fittest person I know and probably the fittest person in the world.  I confided that I had serious doubts about my ability to complete the race or even the training given that V has 8 years and at least 2 stone on me. But he assures me, when pushed,  we will be able to achieve it.  He goes as far as saying that if he challenged me right now to run a half marathon, I’d be able to do it.  It is not outwith the realms of possibility that he is serious.  I  laugh nervously as I’ve had a skinful and am wearing 6 inch heels.  I resolve to move seats at the earliest opportunity, just in case.

We talked more about running and I got lots of fantastic advice on pacing, training, gels, stopping at drinking stations and all sorts of other great titbits from an expert.  It’s a crying shame we were both so inebriated that neither of us remembers a word of it.

Day 15 Monday.

Quick afternoon run between school drop off and pick ups.  Managed 4 miles or so in 45 minutes.  Not breaking any records but not too shabby.  My phone lost GPS signal after only 10 minutes so I may be exaggerating the mileage.

I am exaggerating the mileage.

Still running solo as both V and I have husbands who regularly ditch us in favour of swanky nights out in stylish restaurants in the big smoke “with clients”.

Days 16/17.

No runs again as house/work bound.  Thought about going on the exercise bike in the garage and then slapped myself soundly around the head.  It’s freezing out there and I would have missed “The Taste”.

Day 18 Thursday.

Rugrat No 2 is at a class so I have one hour.  Managed a decent paced 5km despite the freezing temperatures.  Added in a bit of tempo by going flat out for the last 750m.  I think if done correctly, tempo running should involve spurts of speed and then more measured running, rather than the ‘hell for leather to collapse’ route I went down.

Finished up back at the village hall coughing up a lung and causing quite a stir amongst the Ladies Over 50’s Badminton Club.  I retire to the car in shame before one of them offers to call an ambulance.

Day 19 Friday.

Stormy day.  Do the same route as yesterday but it feels 10 times harder.  Much more windy so I  not only struggle to keep going, but also to stay upright.  Utterly exhausting.  I found my calves really tight and sore and the whole thing was quite frankly, the least enjoyable part of my day.  However, N is working from home which means that G&T time arrives early.  Every cloud.

Day 20 Saturday.

V is a slave to the independent school sector and is working today.  We’ve switched our rest day and will run tomorrow.  We’ve decided on a local 10k route and N has promised to drop us off at the start point at the other side of the loch.  V insists we have him on speed dial in case of her likely cardiac arrest .  He isn’t a doctor, he’s an engineer,  so exactly what use she expects him to be is unclear.

As I write, the hills in the distance are covered in dense low cloud and the rain is battering off the window.  My motivation is dwindling to zero.

It is 4pm, but as there is rugby on and I am running in the morning, now would seem  a good time to open some wine.  Starting early means I’ll be asleep by 8.30pm and fresh as a daisy in the morning.

Achieving goals: it’s all in the planning.