The Running Week and Olympic dreams

STAYING up to watch the Olympics meant I had a few late nights last week. On Saturday I didn’t go to bed until 4am (technically Sunday). I haven’t seen 4am since the nineteen nineties. The late Olympic nights are starting to take their toll on my body, but they’re really inspiring my mind.

‘I’m going to the next Olympics,’ I told Chris. We were sitting on the sofa, eyes glued to the TV while munching our way through a family bag of minstrels.

‘Pardon? Chris said.

‘I’m going to the next Olympics.’

‘Hahahahhaha.’ Chris almost fell off the sofa laughing. Thankfully, his reaction did not crush my Olympic dreams.

‘I am,’ I said. ‘I want to do that.’ I pointed to the telly where an Olympic gymnast was spinning round in the air. He landed on the mat then launched himself into the air again, resuming his spinning and somersaulting. ‘Well maybe not gymnastics,’ I said. ‘I’ve never been able to do a forward roll, but I could do something else.’

The BBC coverage switched to rowing. ‘I’m tall,’ I said. ‘I could be a rower.’

‘Have you seen how skinny your shoulders are?’ Chris pointed to my shoulders. ‘Rowers need big arms.’

I wondered which sport required big legs and bony shoulders. Cycling? That was it I’d take up cycling. We used to ride our bikes a lot. It was a favourite Champion-family past time.  We’d cycle down the trail to Newmillerdam, buy an ice cream (with a chocolate flake), then cycle back.

‘Olympic cycling champion,’ I said. ‘That’s what I’ll be. I’ll be like Laura Trott.’

Cycling on my hols last month


‘You’re 37.’ Chris was doing it again, shattering my Olympic dreams.

I looked back to the TV. Christine Ohuruogu was talking about retiring from athletics. ‘It’s one minute to midnight,’ she said. ‘The clock is ticking.’

Christine is thirty-two. I’m thirty-seven (only just though). I began to realise that my Olympic dreams would never come to anything. But then I had a light bulb moment.

‘I’ll write my way there,’ I said. ‘I may not have it in me to be an Olympic champion but I could be an Olympic writer. I’m sure someone will see my blog and give me an all-expenses trip to the Olympics!’

Chris reached for another minstrel. ‘We could just buy tickets,’ he said.

And there he went again, shattering my Olympic dreams! Thankfully, I did not let his lack of faith in my athletic ability get in the way of my training. Here’s last week’s running week.

Monday: I had a fantastic eight-mile run. It was the kind of run where everything felt right. I hit the open road, headed out of the village and just ran. It was getting late, the sun was setting and it was quiet. I felt a glimmer of hope that things are coming together.

Tuesday: The glimmer of hope vanished. I did five miles and it felt awful. Afterwards, we went to a strength class, which focuses on running-specific strength. It was only my second week, but I’m already starting to notice some improvements.

Wednesday: I had an unscheduled rest day.

Thursday: I ran 7.1 miles at 8.03 pace including a few miles of tempo. It wasn’t pleasant but it was a run completed.

Friday: Chris and I ran to Newmillerdam. We were both exhausted so only managed six plodding miles, but I felt better for getting out.

Saturday: The Friday fatigue continued into Saturday. I was too exhausted to run. My entire body ached, and I struggled to gather the energy to get off the sofa. I made things worse by staying up to watch the Olympics.

Sunday:  The 4am late night finished me off. I dragged myself around 13.1 miles, but I struggled. I tried to include a couple of faster 6.55 miles, but couldn’t do it. My body doesn’t respond well to late nights. On the bright side though, I did manage to run a half marathon, which is always a bonus when you’ve got a half marathon race in four weeks.

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