Returning to my Roots.

This blog and let’s be honest has grown and travelled in several directions, a little like my running and that is where this blog was born. For some reason I felt that the internet needed another blog written by some one who wasn’t very good at writing telling the world about his exploits in the hope to one day cross a finish line in a 10K race allowing people a key hole look into the highs and lows of my 10K training and my discovery of running.

Well, to save you the hassle and bother of trawling through the archives I can confirm now that I did cross the finish line and my addiction to running was born. I carried on telling tales of my training, my injuries and of my running adventures and soon the blog snowballed into tales of work, dreams, walking and anything I felt there was to moan about.

Today I return to write about my running experiences. Its been almost a year since my last event and that happened to be in New Zealand. I have yet to get back into a full training session as work (What little there is) and my cycling has got in the way. Plus I have not felt I can enter… But now I am determined to train for a half and to get out there and start running regularly, however for some reason I have started to listen to music on my runs again and I feel this has been what was missing.

I always use to listen to music on runs, it would help me set my pace and some of my Personal Records have been thanks to my playlist, slow medium tempo songs to start me off which slowly build to faster dance or faster tempos – and using the same playlist for each race I would often race myself – I have to get to Stereophonic’s by mile 2 or I must have crossed the line before James comes on.

Now like most people I stopped listening to music because of the races I ran, many were on country roads or smaller events that were run on open roads as it wasn’t worth the cost or hassle to close roads so for safety headphones were banned. One of those very races was the Snowdon Marathon and so I started to train with no music to get use to it and you know what? I found I liked it. Didn’t at first, but I grew to enjoy it, being able to hear your surrounding and your body I found my running improved. I found I enjoyed running a lot more. I enjoyed races a lot more. I enjoyed not having that distraction of music and trying to fumble to skip a track or turn the volume up and off course hitting the accelerator because the beats were at 5 minute pacing.

But for some reason I decided the other night to slip on some headphones and listen to music on my 5K and while it was no quick run (one of my slowest as it was 25 minutes) it felt quick, the music distracted my mind from saying “you’re tired” “This hill is too steep” “Turn left it’ll take us home quicker” instead my head was telling me to turn right as they liked this one . So I tried it again today with a 10K and the same result. The music lifted me it carried me along.

While it was not super fast as I was still listening to my body in terms of pace, the music helped me to keep going and to zone off and be in the moment. Not sure how long it will last as when I ran with no music I felt in the moment but just recently running the same routes with the same scenery and not being able to push myself with times or distance as left me feeling deflated and adding music as some what for now   added a new sparkle into my running.

I’m still not 100% sold if I am a runner with or without music… But these last two runs have been very enjoyable with some musical accompaniment.

Addicted

It would be a fair comment to say I am addicted to running. But is it an accurate description of the portrayal. Yes I run, and sometime I run a lot, other times I like to stay in bed. This does not seem like an addiction to me, more a social pass time, a hobby that requires a little more attention and care than lets say ‘Stamp Collecting’ or ‘reading’.

My blog started life as a way to moan and let off steam about the world and the way it angers my very being but soon grew into a training diary of some one becoming a runner with that person being me. Me  who had never really ran more than the distance to catch the number 42 to the city centre before it pulled away from the bus stop. I wanted to blog to show people that a non runner could in fact learn how to run and the following blog is testament to that.

So am I addicted to the running, did I at some point while training for my first 10K race catch the so called ‘Running Bug’ it appears so as even when I was injured all I wanted to do was run and no sooner had I kissed my medal and sat back in relief that I had achieved an activity that for many is out of their reach and comfort zone had found myself entering ‘The Great North’ and then ‘Conwy’ followed by another 10K that was soon to be followed by yet another run.

It is only now that mystery seems to be unravelled. I am not so much addicted to the joy running, although science has shown that running can become addictive with the chemicals that your brain produces during exercise and I can hold my hand up and clearly say after a run I feel happy, delighted I may even go as far to say I feel ecstatic and for those who know me seeing me wear a smile is an odd occasion and I can even back the science up as when I am unable to run like the time I was injured I become miserable. Running makes you feel good. So am I addicted? I think the answer is a no, what I have now found or believed I have found is that while addicted to the benefits of running I am more addicted to the races.

As I write this entry I have just had to turned down a chance to race in the ‘Two Castles Race’ in Warwickshire an event that would be right up my street, running from a castle to another castle with the bonus of staying with friends who live down that way. The reason for this upsetting decision is because when I first tried to enter the organisers said it was full and placed me on a stand by list, wanting to race in June I quickly hunted for another race and found the ‘Mersey 10K Tunnel’ in Liverpool that falls on the same date only to get an email a couple of days later informing me that a place had come available.

In fact while I continue to write I have just entered yet another 10K race, which makes it my third race I’d be participating in during May, and only a couple of weeks after my Marathon (So much for resting). So while catching the ‘Running Bug’ may be a hazard to many who suddenly find themselves waking at 6am and knocking off work early to get home just to enable them to squeeze a quick 5K jaunt around the park I feel that I have gone beyond that and have now moved into the rather dangerous and costly addiction of race entries chasing the next medal, PB or distance. My diary is slowly booking up more with race dates than work ones, and being that I am freelance, that should be a worrying statistic but I am finding I am organising work to fit around races, not races to fit round work a couple of months ago I turned down a job as it meant I would miss an opportunity to run.

What is the reason for this addiction? I’m not too sure! is it the medal or T-shirt, the joy to run with others and run next to people who share the same passion and enjoyment. Is it just down to wanting to bag as many races like walkers wanting to bag monroes. Maybe its a consistent battle whereby you’re running after PB’s as all my races to date have seen me record a new PB and while I’m new to running the room for improvement will I’m sure die away and the PB’s will become harder to achieve so maybe the addiction will also fade or maybe I will just find something new to run after. Maybe it will to get ‘The best in age’ category or addiction to for the goody bags.

What ever happens, I know one thing for sure my love of running and the passion that burns inside for this simple past time will always stay lit and be it that the addiction is too competing, medal hoarding or just placing your trainers on at 6am and running on the desolate streets watching the world slowly wake and the sun rising as the human rat race begins another day the addiction will always be there in one form or another.