Today is Champions League Final Day and my team are in the final. To quote Alex Ferguson, today is squeaky bum time (I don’t like him much, but this is a great quote).
I hope and pray that Liverpool will win, but they are the underdogs in this fight for glory. My little challenge is also at its squeaky bum time, I’m getting searingly close to the halfway kilometrage mark, but things are occurring outside of my control.
The heat – Summer has arrived and today’s temperature is up on yesterday’s, I went out in 24 degrees this morning and got back at 26 degrees. This will continue, so I need to have a game plan for dealing with the heat. I do actually have one, chock full of useful hints and tips, the most important of which is getting up early enough to avoid the heat. With my now infamous sleeping habits, as a teenager when it comes to sleep, this is not going to be easy.
The opposition – Real Madrid are a tour de force and have some of the best footballing talent in their team. I run in the lanes of Real Marche and my opposition is the combination of inclines and traffic, both of which can end up as a near lethal cocktail. As the countryside verges grow ever taller, I become increasingly less visible, even when wearing my high-vis running kit. Safe running is a necessity, I may need to change my running venues.
The fitness – Real Madrid have some of the finest and most experienced footballing athletes in Europe, Liverpool are building theirs and I dearly wish they can teach the ‘show pony’ Ronaldo, a lesson. My lessons are that I really need to improve my core and overall fitness, as this will help carry me through the challenge, although the big toe issue is not helping one little bit. And to mix metaphors, this toe is becoming my Achilles heel. I saw a documentary on fitness that was talking about using your own body as a counterweight and that may be the route to better fitness that I have to take. Wall sitting anyone?
Managing the game. Liverpool’s big problem this season has been a leaky defence and an inability to shut the game down when it matters. For me, this is all about focussing on the task in hand – I want to do the 2018km challenge – anything else frankly is of secondary consideration. For example, I had toyed with the idea of running a half marathon during this year, but now that I’ve looked at various training plans, they all require me to be doing less weekly kilometrage than my challenge would permit. Somewhat reluctantly, I’ve kicked this idea in to touch. So my slow slog will continue, without the sexy addition of a half marathon as spice.
Finding the magic. Liverpool ‘found’ (although ‘bought’ seems more truthful) the magic when Mo Salah joined the team, he gave a different dimension and possibilities. For me in the running, this is a difficult thing to uncover. What is the magic of this challenge? – I suppose it has uncovered my sheer bloody-mindedness at wanting to do it, despite being ill-prepared, the wrong age, not a natural athlete, an inexperienced runner etc., etc., etc.,
How did these factors coalesce on my run today?
Heat – I was not up early enough to avoid the sun, but I can blame lack of sleep these past few days, but I have to get a grip on getting up earlier. JCR – you can do much better here.
The Opposition – I ran one of my usual routes, including the very fast and dangerous ‘all roads lead to Rome’ road. But I stopped my run early so I could walk the last part in safety. If I get up earlier, there’s not so much traffic – back to point 1 JCR!
The Fitness – well I did do some squats last night before going to bed and tried the wall sitting, but didn’t want to do it in jeans. Let’s just say an attempt was made. Good news though, the toe wasn’t playing up nearly as much, so that is a good result.
Managing the Game – I tried fartlek during the run to improve tempo, not sure it was a resounding success, as I ended up running much slower at the end of the run. My times now have to allow for shade seeking and shelter, but I am okay with that. It always was going to be a marathon challenge and not one to be sprinted through.
Finding The Magic – the nearest I got to Mo Salah’s standard was reading about him in an Italian sports supplement, (which helpfully captioned the photo in case you didn’t know who he was!). The bloody-mindedness kicked in, as today is officially my rest day and I managed to run just over 8kms. And then managed the 4km walk back up the Bitch of a Pitch. so a small sprinkle of magic occurred today.
Ode To Billie Joe – Bobbie Gentry
Soul Man – Sam & Dave
Help Me Rhonda – Beach Boys
Stand By Me – Ben E King
Let’s Dance – Chris Montez
Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry
The Israelites – Desmond Dekker
I Only Want To Be With You – Dusty Springfield
It’s My Party – Lesley Gore
Wonderful World – Herman’s Hermits
Jumping’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones
Aint Got No – I Got Life – Nina Simone
Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones
Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf
Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters
Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations
Be My Baby – The Ronettes
Keep On Running – The Spencer Davis Group
Mrs Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel
Californian Dreaming’ – The Mamas and The Papas
Average Pace 7:27 (mins/km)
Elevation Gain – 36 metres
Kms Run 908.47
Kms to do 1109.53