Being the youngest child of a teacher, I have always had a bit of a tendency towards overachieving and being a bit of a Teacher’s Pet. Yesterday’s run gave me ample opportunity for this, as it turned out….!
After a bad couple of runs last week, including a wheezy midweek 9 mile stagger and a foolish pre-parkrun long run, I really needed a good, strong run to get my confidence back. I also needed a well paced run – not just because its important to make marathon training sustainable but also because my recent pacing has been shocking and I felt like I was letting myself down (and letting my family down, and letting my coach down etc etc).
I was planning to head partway home from my office, heading along the Thames and through Westminster to the Mall, go down the Mall and loop around St. James’s Park and then back past Buck House and up through Hyde Park to Shepherd’s Bush. The idea here is partly to get a bit of practice in for the last 3 miles of the London Marathon.
Well off I went and within 5 minutes I ran into my Rome marathon buddy Phill, which bagged me my first Teacher’s Pet point; finally I get to add a ‘spotted’ tag written about by SlowRunnerGirl – spotted the bird!
He’s an Eagle you see. I’m totally counting that!
Anyway I didn’t take a picture of him when we stopped for a chat, so here he is with me in Rome instead.
Buoyed by meeting a fellow Eagle en route, I carried on up the river to my first loop around St. James’s and got to halfway in really good splits! So good in fact that I decided to complete the last 4 miles just going round and round that same loop. I was going really well, hitting my pace perfectly and feeling fine, so decided a course with no traffic lights was a great plan to keep my consistency.
So Teacher’s Pet Moment Number 2, I ran 8 miles in splits of 9:38 (but not really, my watch goes nuts at the start of this route because of all the tall buildings), 9:48, 10:03, 10:00, 9:59, 9:54, 9:55 and 10:02. So not only did I run the best splits I’ve ever managed without someone else pacing me, but according to Wikipedia’s definition I was also officially ‘running’ it!
I thought I might bag a ‘spotted the chimney’ at the Palace, but it seems the Queen isn’t partial to an open fire. Checking my watch thoroughly afterwards however I did notice Teacher’s Pet Moment Number 3 – again for SlowRunnerGirl – my average heart rate was only 144!
I also had a personal best in terms of shouting at tourists, with just two to report. One rogue idiot on a Boris bike who nearly took me out because he wasn’t even slightly looking at what was in front of him (literally twisted round facing backwards), and a couple who were ignoring the MASSIVE SIGN at the war memorial opposite Horse Guards which asks politely that people don’t climb on the monument by getting their offspring to pose behind the poppy wreaths for a cute snap.
I mean maybe they didn’t mean to be disrespectful. Maybe they didn’t see the sign. Or understand about poppies. Or, you know, the World Wars. Sheesh.
For balance I should point out that I am lovely to people who do actually have an awareness of their surroundings when I’m out running and who don’t seem to have forgotten their common sense glands when they left the house. I always make sure I say thank you if someone makes a space or hangs back to let me go through first. I smile at other runners in solidarity. And last night I made sure I gave an encouraging ‘good evening’ to a lady I overtook on the Mall in an inspirational fundraising technical top who would definitely be in Wikipedia’s jogging camp but was putting her back into it nonetheless.
So there we are; a spotted tag, a perfectly paced run, and sweetness and light all round.
Isn’t it amazing what a difference a bit of cooler weather and a few less tourists makes!