Throwing a Wobbly at Wandlebury

Today Alan said “what happens on Wandlebury stays on Wandlebury”, but I feel like you’re all part of my running journey now so I’m going to share what happened today. But good grief, I hardly know where to start. I had an absolute shocker of a training session. I mean I cried. A lot. Isn’t running meant to be fun?

It all started off ok. Alan drove me over to Wandlebury where we met Mary who was fresh from winning her category at the World Masters Championships Half Marathon in Lyon (she finished in a crazy time of 90:49)! I think this now puts her something insane like 4th in the world in her category.

We were set to do 12 sprints up a hill in 3 sets of 4. The recovery during sprints was just a jog down to the beginning, but we had a 5 minute recovery between each of the 3 sets.

The first set of 4 was OK. I was staying ahead of Mary on the final sprint but during the long recovery I realised I’d gone off too fast. AGAIN. Seriously, pigeons learn faster than me. I started to panic about the fact that I had 8 more sprints to go.


5 and 6 were passable, but at the end of sprint 7 I cracked. I just found myself doubled over, gulping for air in-between sobs. I felt utterly embarrassed and don’t know what it was about this session that was having such an extreme effect on me. I’ve struggled physically before but this was epic. Alan gave me a talking to (I can’t really remember what he said) and I took some deep breaths and jogged back down to the start, but sadly the worst was yet to come.

Halfway up lap 8 I buckled, sat down in the dirt and started sobbing AGAIN. I told Mary to go on but she came back, grabbed me by the wrist and hauled me to my feet, forcing me to finish the lap and set 2. It was not dissimilar to a toddler having a tantrum in Tesco before being dragged away by a frustrated adult.


By some miracle I got through the last set of 4 with Mary shouting encouragements over her shoulder. But it hurt and was miserable and I felt like I’d let Alan AND Mary down despite Mary trying to buoy my spirits by telling me it was nice to run against someone so fast. Ridiculously Alan even offered me his arm afterwards, making me wonder who it was who was less than three weeks out from a heart attack. FFS. I then trudged back to the car, my head pounding and generally feeling like I was a bit drunk.

After a super quick turnaround at the Sports Centre I bombed it back to the city centre on my bike to catch up with Theemiddlesis at Novi. This cheered me up no end as I managed to see the funny side (bolstered no doubt by my amazing rhubarb cocktail) of what was essentially a full-on emotional strop, something Ally could fully sympathise with after her (now infamous) ski-based tantrum.

When I got home I realised that I’m still just putting too much pressure on myself. I’ve been running for 5 years and only had serious training for 4 months, whereas Mary has been running for about 30 years and is quite honestly jaw-droppingly good. The fact that I can even come close to keeping up with her is incredible, but I always feel like I’m lacking.

Mary also made an interesting point when we walked back to the car. She said that part of my problem may be that I take my running for granted. What she meant by this was that she has had times where she couldn’t run, including a really rough 4 year period. This means that when she runs she enjoys every minute because she’s just so grateful she can. Although I did mess up my IT band which took me out of running for 8 months it happened when I was nowhere near as serious about my running. It’s a really interesting point and one I’m going to take on board while I try and sort my stupid, crazy head out.


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