[psst!: it’s week-8 really, I did write this earlier but it’s published late due to holiday-cyber-gremlins. I’m now back from holidays and will update the last 2 weeks any day now…!]
Snakes & ladders
Last time I wrote it was after a spell disrupted by illness, and I was just beginning to feel that, with luck, I might still be able to make my autumn marathon. Well, in the marathoner’s game of snakes and ladders it seems the last two weeks I have rolled a 6 and moved up the board. The UK has been going through an extended spell of hot sunny weather, so the trails are dry and there is definitely something therapeutic about the heat (as well as something cleansing from the more intense cycle of sweat and rehydration… Who needs a spa or sauna – just get your trainers on!).
In two successive Sundays I have stretched my long run to 13.2 and 14.9 miles. This is slightly ahead of my (revised) targets for these weeks; I have run comfortably; I have suffered no adverse effects (it may even be the case that the enforced easing-off will protect my vulnerable calf). More importantly, in place of the trudge and grind and doubt I have relocated the joy and emotion of running for its own sake, as well as the daydreaming head-films of The Day. My pace is coming back, akin to a recovery run, and during the second half of the endurance runs I find myself forgetting that I’m not fully fit, and find myself running normally.
I am much slower, but that is ok because TARS focusses on being able to run rather than race: thoughts of pace and splits and goal-times can wait for later.
Not for the first time, I am amazed and humbled by my body’s ability to adjust to a new situation, and learn and respond to a different regime.
Oh and for good measure during the same spell I have started a new job; our son made a flying visit; I helped sort out a stair-lift for my Mum; and the family timetable was
disrupted by the intensive rehearsals and four performances of my daughter’s Youth Theatre performance at West Yorkshire Playhouse, complete with visitors staying over. That was stunning, and extremely professional (and FYI that judgement has been adjusted for the impaired vision of a proud father seeing his daughter go way beyond anything he ever did). It was absorbing, very funny, and left lots of mature adults discussing the issues not just long into the night but also into the week after. And to think, that group hadn’t even met this time last year. Teenagers today, eh! The Playhouse’s senior management should be proud of what the YT team have achieved, and I hope they continue to support and develop the initiative.
Juggling and the “Blerch”
So once again, an amateur’s marathon is being squeezed by everyday life; but, we manage, we juggle, we adjust and we apologise. Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe have it easy! The next spell will be both delightful and difficult, with a weeks holiday in Malta: sunshine and sea and new lanes and tracks and scenery… but probably only snatched in early-morning, so I am bracing myself for a dip in mileage along with a dip in the Mediterranean.
This week I also saw this via Twitter: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running, which is well worth a few minutes of your time. I have no doubt that runners will identify with it; or, if you live with a runner, it might help explain some of what goes on in their head. I recognise pretty-much all of this – maybe with the exception of the Oo-Suzembachi… don’t get much of that sort of thing in Yorkshire (though I have been known to swallow a midge). For me there is far more to it than The Blerch, and while I may have my stopwatch in one hand and a beer in the other, I do not think my running is some sort of binge-purge or good-evil tradeoff. I certainly do identify with the concept of running-as-meditation. Anyway, check it out: see if you can spot anyone you know.
Week 26 Index ( -11 to go)
Runs 4; Total 32.0; Long 13.2; Other 1
Week 27 Index ( -10 to go)
Runs 3; Total 24.0; Long 14.9; Other 2
Body: ok. Calf is accepting the increased mileage. Heart rate is staying 110-120, whether an hour in or twice that length.
Spirits: better, still 50/50 until I know what the doc says next time.