IT'S been a funny couple of weeks, for some reason I've really been feeling quite fed up about my training, like I'm not achieving anything, nothing is getting easier, I'm not getting faster and I haven't suddenly metamorphosed into an elite runner.
I know I can be my own biggest critic at times, it's that little shoulder devil I allow into my life - the one who whispers sweet little put downs and insults in my ear the minute we start running together.
He just about had me convinced that I couldn't do this lark and I should jolly well give up now and admit defeat.
I've always said I prefer to run alone. It's only because I feel so rubbish and embarrassed about how slow I am, how ragged my breathing is, and how my wobbly bits jiggle like a Turkish belly dancer on a bucking bronco. You're mentally picturing that right now aren't you?
Well, this week I have had someone with me on every run, and I did so much better - so that's it, I've decided to press-gang my friends and relatives into getting me through this. (They won't get any of the usual benefits though - no King's Shilling in the bottom of their pint of ale, no rum rations to keep them going and, sadly, no hot foreign climes as their destination! The good news though is they won't suffer from scurvy at the end of it).
My aunt, Ros, came with me to Carsington to do my Sunday long, slow run. (Yeah, ok, fair point, I do know every one of my runs is slow....it's just the Sunday runs are supposed to be leisurely, the others should at least be a fraction speedier!)
Now I don't think I am giving away any deep, dark secrets by saying she is an OAP. Only just though, and a very fit, active and energetic OAP who had no problems with the four miles.
In fact I couldn't blame any of my 'let's just stop and stretch here' or 'oooh shall we slow down even more and have some water' nor the 'ok, ok, my calves are killing, let's walk this hill' moments on her.
Jessie, my daughter, also came along. She is just 13, and as I have said before she is built for running.
She's all long-limbed and slim, with bags of energy and enthusiasm that being a teenager brings! She didn't even break a sweat, and was quite vocal in nagging me to quit walking. Thanks Jessie - you're best training partner ever!
The three of us decided to enter a Parkrun in Darley Abbey on Saturday - fantastic concept, free weekly timed 5k runs in parks all over the UK.
There were 115 entries on the day, and everyone was super friendly and welcoming. I knew I could run 5k, I've done it several times now, but blimey, running on wet grass and mud sure slows you down! It felt like a Hash House Harrier route but without the excuses to stop every few hundred yards and find the false trails!
No beer stop at the end either - I had to make do with coffee and biscuits! But I didn't come last, which had been my main worry, and my two allies did brilliantly, they both came first in their age category.
If you are even slightly inspired to have a go at this running thing yourself I would suggest you get along to one of these - the route marshalls make you feel like you have conquered Everest - loads of clapping, cheers and encouragement!
Finally Gill offered to take me on a five mile run on Sunday - I must admit I was nervous.
I tried every excuse known to PE teachers worldwide to get out of it, but she was having none of it, and funnily enough this was the session that silenced my little Beelzebub, because I COULD do it, and what's more I felt good throughout the run.
I could talk for a start - now that has never really happened before, usually I can barely manage a single word before I gasp for air! My legs felt strong, and my pace felt comfortable. Yeah, I still walked, but not as much as before.
What's more, and please, don't be telling everyone this or they will think I have really joined the dark side, I enjoyed it!
Now there's something I never thought I would say!
19 Oct 9am 3.1 miles 41 minutes 37 Pace 13.45 min/mile Wet but warm Ave HR 147 * Park run timed 5k on wet grass and mud WITH hills!!
20 Oct 4pm 5.1 miles 1 hour 8 minutes 28 Pace 13.32 min/mile Warm Ave HR 147
23 Oct 5pm 5 miles 1 hour 7 minutes Pace 13.20 min/mile Cool and dark Ave HR 147
Next week.....Runner's little helpers!