I'm away from home this week, staying at Mum and Dad's in England. I flew down with the kids on Tuesday, leaving Pete the small tasks of going to work and selling our house, and we're staying until next Monday. The kids have been having a great time being spoiled by Granny and Grandad, and I've been taking the opportunity to read and relax a bit more than I do when I'm looking after them by myself.
Running round here is great - it's so flat! Well, in comparison to home anyway. On Tuesday evening I tried a relaxed, steady pace run, and found myself speeding along without really working hard. Then this morning, I decided to do another 1 mile time trial (see my Magic Mile post). I had found that in the local park, by the kids' play area, there is a concrete path which is marked at 100m(etres not miles), and 400m, and it is just a bit longer than a standard running track.
This morning we had a good laugh as Dad took the kids to play on the swings, and I jogged around them for about 1 mile, then ran a mile as fast as I could round the path. I passed them 3 times, and each time they started shouting 'Come on Mum! Come on Runner Mum!' and other encouragements. They clapped and whooped, and high-fived me as I passed. There were a few pedestrians who looked surprised and amused - they must have been expecting Paula Radcliffe to come whizzing past them, but it was only red-faced, panting me.
Anyway, what a difference a flat surface makes. 10 days ago my fastest mile was 7m49s on a hilly road. I had hoped to be able to run 7m30s ish with a bit of training and on a flatter route. But this morning, I did it in 7m26s! A whole 23 seconds faster! In a way I wish I lived in a less hilly town, although I suppose it's good training.
So what should my new target be? I'll need to find a flat route in Scotland if I'm going to match or beat this morning's time. Maybe I could aim for 7m20s - I didn't feel that I was as tired at the end as I was on the last one.
Meanwhile I'm eating a lot of big meals and puddings here, so I need to keep fitting runs in to make sure I don't go back up to Scotland half a stone heavier.