Yesterday I was fed up, really pissed off with myself. After chickening out of a run for the third time this week I went for a walk with Marc to try to get my head straight. See I’ve been running shorter distances and less frequently lately because I have an inguinal hernia which I’m due to get surgery on at the end of November. But that’s only half the story…
In truth I’ve lost my confidence with distance. Since having to take a couple of months out over the summer because of injury I haven’t got to grips with running properly. I winged it through GNR with Marc’s help but it was very tough. Every long run I’ve attempted since then has ended in gastric disaster and the wheels have well and truly fallen off. Added to this I’ve been working long hours so runs have been confined to the hours of darkness making covering any decent mileage more complicated. So I did what I thought best, I cut down on the distance and tried to concentrate on making my runs enjoyable blasts as opposed to painful poo fests. The problem is that I’ve got myself to a place where I felt I couldn’t go any further, I could see my stamina dropping and longer distances started to look scary and daunting.
Well it’s fortunate that I have the best of running coaches who knew exactly how to help. The first thing he told me was the greatest piece of advice I’ve heard in a long time. Don’t compare yourself to your best. I tend to look back a lot to last year when I was super fit, full of steroids, running fast paces and serious mileage. I forget what I’ve been through since and the simple fact that I’m getting older. By constantly trying to emulate my glory days I’m losing the real reason why I run. For the love of it. And Pie.
Marc suggested we go out this afternoon together, in the daylight and try an eight mile run. Eight miles, the distance that used to be my short run which now seemed like a marathon distance. What would I do if my stomach and ass exploded four miles in like it has been doing recently? Armed with enough Andrex to mummify a large adult we headed out towards the beach. It was a perfect day, unseasonably warm and with the lightest of breezes. The Met Office had said it was 5mph or less, it definitely felt it and I immediately knew I’d made a poor, poor outfit choice. My legs were on fucking fire. Seriously it was like I had a hairdryer down either leg and it was blowing out of my arsehole. In short, it was hot. Thank Zeus, Allah, God etc I’d worn a T shirt so only one half of my body was insanely overheated. As we hit the beach the pair of us were dying, passers by were wincing in horror as we showered them with a sweat tsunami. We breathed like geriatric huskies as we dragged ourselves along the coastal path. Strange though that despite it all I felt kind of ok, it was a tolerable agony, so much so that as we passed the third mile I decided I was going to try for ten. Marc was in agreement and told me to knock down the pace a little, we still had a long way to go. I’d momentarily forgotten that he’d run a half marathon yesterday and probably needed a ten mile run like a boot in the bollocks.
As we turned off the coastal path the breeze found us and it was a huge relief as it found our legs, feet, faces and spirits. At the halfway point Marc suggested we run on a little and I was slightly dumbfounded. Throughout the years on pretty much every run we’ve done together Marc and I have quibbled about the halfway point- I like to go on a bit longer (it gives me a psychological edge) and he likes to turn immediately (he can’t be arsed with a long ass walk home). Sometimes he wins, sometimes I do, but suggesting it of his own volition, well that’s unprecedented. So a little further than I expected we didn’t hang around (in case my ass caught on and decided to obliterate the rifle range) and turned for home.
It was pleasantly cool until we turned back onto the beach to discover a truth we’d long since suspected.
The Met Office are a bunch of lying sociopaths.
In what parallel universe of insanity the bellowing ice cold gale that greeted us was 5mph I do not know. What I do know is that if that was 5mph then my left buttock is a Jammie Dodger. It was strong and bollock shudderingly cold and constant. It also made my insane hair look even more demonically manic than usual.
The funny thing is that up till that point fatigue had been setting in a little and my legs were tiring but now I knew I was going to have to get into my groove and find my automatic. I’m talking about that mode where you’re just running at a manageable pace and you know you can dig in and slog it out. Some days it’s a good steady speed and other days it’s as slow as barely moving but it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s what I need to get me home that’s all it has to be. So I found my automatic, against the stiff, harsh wind and like a particularly sweaty homing pigeon set my course.
The final mile came much, much sooner than I’d expected and I realised the method in Marc’s madness, in going further at halfway he’d given me what I needed to get my game back. And in turn given his very tired legs a long ass walk home with a very grateful and happier missus.
Ten miles done, feeling somewhere near to what I once was whilst accepting it’s what ahead that counts most.
Fall down seven times, stand up eight.