This is a post full of frustration (that would normally involve words I’m going to refrain from using on a public blog) as well as reflection, acceptance and the odd cyber slap from people I turn to when I just can’t get my head around the way I’m feeling.
I took a couple of weeks off running just before Christmas because a niggle/tightness in my calf just wouldn’t go away…taking my own advice is such a difficult thing to do (especially when all I kept hearing was “what would you tell someone else to do?”) so all I can say is thank goodness for HERC Triathlon Club! They have not only got me entering my first triathlon (in my mind this isn’t happening yet!) but more importantly gave me easy access to some crucial cross training.
Thanks to a Garmin malfunction I can’t recall my first run back but I think it was the Saturday before Christmas at Netley Parkrun and then again on Christmas Day followed by a very hilly and muddy Cross Country…
…so I figured if I could run up hills and on unstable terrain (an actual mile of mud and frozen tractor tracks) then my calf was now fine!
Which appeared true with a pretty nippy (in both senses of the word) 4 mile club run averaging at 8:42mm pace a few days later…I love the buzz of running fast but this is not what I need right now and whilst speed-endurance is an awesome combination, speed and endurance how I want to do them do not work well together!
So, later that week, on New Years Day, I completed two Parkruns in the morning and a 6 mile run with the club in the evening…I wanted to get some miles in the legs but wasn’t quite ready to run them all in one go (or to, between and from the Parkruns…yes people actually do such silly things!). The last two miles of the 6 mile run were as mentally challenging as they were physically, especially as they ran past the short cut I thought they were taking.
But this is where the frustration of having to chose between endurance and speed started to kick in…seeing someone I not so long ago was just about keeping up with in training storming off into the distance was difficult to take.
However, I was still happier that I’d run 12 miles in one day that had averaged out at 9:10mm pace over the three runs and remained focused on the 12 mile long run that was now on the cards for the weekend. Which was achieved comfortably on a hilly course in an average of 9:27mm pace…I felt pretty good!
The next week went well and I was happy with my mileage including a 15 mile long run the following weekend after an hours swim with the tri club. I split the run into two smaller ones (7m and 8m) to enable others to run with me who didn’t want to do the full distance but still give me company. The second part of this was done with the aforementioned person who went storming off on the shorter run…it was during this run (and particularly towards the end when he wouldn’t let me take the short cut back…meanie!) that I realised he knew my mental weaknesses better than most other people I train with which, given what I’m training for, is pretty invaluable in a training partner.
It was all going so well and then I got ill…I wasn’t even out for a week but it was over the weekend of Stubbington 10k that I had entered and had planned to run back from to get in an 18-miler so I was gutted to say the least.
But instead of moping about at home I went to support and cheer on the very strong Hedgie turnout, which I absolutely love doing, even if I did end up carrying more of other people’s stuff than my own and being on hand to dispose of banana skins and catch things thrown at me on route!
It was an awesome day out with so many PBs but I couldn’t help feeling pretty deflated by the time I got home…not being able to run was bad enough, but knowing that this stupid ultra training was stopping me being able to run as fast as I know I can, I was seriously considering giving up my Ultra 12 place.
Cue cyber slap from more than one person, including Keith who gave me the idea of putting an image on my phone of what my goals are to keep me focused. So I googled Ultra 12 and put this photo grid together and now have it as my phone wallpaper.
OK so the bottom right image is a tad ambitious but if I get to the start (which I will) then I’ll get to the finish and therefore that and medal image is in the bag so may as well have something else to focus on!
So anyway, this helped and I was feeling more positive, I had a couple of good training sessions followed by a disastrous one (and several more serious talkings to about how I give in too easily) leading up to the local XC.
I was in two minds about doing this…it would be hard on the legs and I need long not hard runs at the moment but I love XC (yes you heard me right…an ex squeaky clean summer track runner loving the mud and cold!). It’s the social side I love most so I did it along with a run there and back.
I would say I am glad I did it given it wasn’t really that hilly, I didn’t come a cropper and have now got it out of my system but won’t be doing any more this season. It was so hard on my legs. I did however feel stronger towards the end of the run back as I was running the XC out of my legs. Not big mileage (not even 13 in total) but given the last few weeks I’m happy that I feel good.
So after a long few weeks and a lot of rambling in this blog I am back where I was before Christmas…focused on the task in hand and almost excited again about what I could achieve in July.