There is a reason why I haven’t blogged my progress in six weeks, and the reason is that although I have sat down to write many times, the outcome has always been “How the hell do I write this?”
Today is the anniversary of my first-ever DNF. The Eccup-10, staged (by my kind permission) on my local Sunday trails, and the day last year when my marathon goal shattered in a painful relapse of my nemesis the old calf-injury.
Today is also 12 weeks to the Robin Hood Marathon, when I would seriously start logging and obsessing with the target runs, miles, longest. They have published the route this week too, which has caused a flurry of exchanges on twitter.
So today, according to my plan, I should be relishing the fact that with 12 weeks to go I am well ahead of my targets, building my miles, cruising my long weekend runs, and protecting my calf with each gentle cautious increment.
Ladders & Snakes
I can say that because four weeks ago I cruised a 17-mile trail run. Cruised it at a steady pace with no effort at all. I can say that because I checked my heart-rate around halfway and it was around 125; and then well over an hour later after the long climb to the finish it was still only sub-130. This was one of those runs on a favourite course which you do with your spirit as much as your body and is the perfect illustration about why you do it. In my log I noted “Brilliant run; marathon run.”
The following week I saw the doctor again about something completely non-running and was given some pills which made me feel awful and every attempt to run was like the worst possible trudge. The week after, I managed a couple of runs but found that I only had 1st-gear. Two weeks ago (in the face of some family events and handovers before moving to a new job) I didn’t even try to run at all.
That Friday, I tried a couple of circuits of Mal’s Field… and it didn’t feel so awful. By the Saturday it seemed that somehow I might have found a 2nd gear; and on the Sunday, running a little longer, I found myself calculating whether I might still make the Robin Hood start line despite the three lost weeks. Last weekend should have been the Humber Bridge Half Marathon: instead, I managed just over half that distance but nevertheless felt encouraged that I had at least managed some distance and without hurting myself.
12 Weeks to……? The start line?
So here I am, Eccup10 day and 12 weeks to Robin Hood. I was supposed to be sitting here with a beer having laid to rest that DNF ghost , with the Humber Half comfortably in the bank, and telling myself not to over-do things, to stick to the programme. T-A-R-S and Pace-not-Race to protect myself.
Instead, I am looking at the next four weeks and facing a challenge to even stay within reach of the start-line. I am looking at the newly released full-marathon course and thinking “Well, that certainly is flat…!”
This year started out with me wanting to try again for a full marathon, but uncertain as to whether that journey would end at the start-line or with an injury which would in effect mean the end of my full-26.2 running. But I had assumed if the latter, then it would at least be a running or training problem and not something completely out of left field.
And another thing…
… which aggravates me is that I was just about to get serious with pushing the fundraising for my charities: now, as well as missing two events which would have given me a “hook” for some promotion, I feel I need to pause that until I know I am back on track and going ahead for the full Marathon (or maybe Plan-B and go for the pity-me donations). Despite that, I will still ask you to donate a couple of minutes and tell your friends and family about b-eat and Grief Encounter. Just in case someone you know ever needs them.
Resetting the compass from “Here”
I have said all along that this would not be easy. That running a marathon is not just about the day but the journey to the start-line. That there would be difficult times and days of doubt. That is what makes us; that is why marathon-runners have a very special spirit. Because if things change and get harder we don’t give up, but simply re-set our compass to re-start from our new “here”. There is a parallel here for life in general – work (or lack of) issues, illness, money worries to name but a few – but that may be a topic for another blog.
How annoying though, that I got injured by a packet of pills rather than a twisted ankle on the trail, or revenge of the nemesis-calf.
Four weeks to see if it’s still possible; twelve weeks left to train.
* Pops dice into cup, shakes, rolls….. *
Week 20 (-17 to RHM)
Runs 2; Total 26.25; Long 12; Other 1
Week 21 (-16 to RHM)
Runs 4; Total 33; Long 17; Other 1
Week 22 (-15 to RHM)
Runs 4; Total 15.1; Long 5; Other 0
Week 23 (-14 to RHM)
Runs 3; Total 8; Long 3.7; Other 0
Week 24 (-13 to RHM)
Runs 3; Total 14; Long 7.5; Other 0
Week 25 (-12 to RHM)
Runs 4; Total 20.2; Long 9.5; Other 1
Body: I’ll let you know…
Spirits: Less than 50/50, but I don’t give up.