I am not sure whether this mornings run could have in actual fact been any worse than it was. Lets look at the facts:
Last night I just couldn’t be bothered, nothing about the weather, my hunger, the football, or the way my legs felt stood any chance of forcing me off the sofa for a run. Not that it was a challenging run that was planned, an easy warm up followed by 2x 10mins at marathon pace (MP) followed with 3mins jog recovery and then a nice cool down. 46 fairly straight forward minutes surely.
My main issue with this plan, is that there is simply nowhere here that is flat enough – and by that I mean even a nice rolling landscape – to maintain 10 minutes of MP so I can adequately teach my legs how that feels. Within minutes I am in hills that people may not even dare do their hill-training drills on, and when preparing for the nice flat London Marathon this is hardly ideal practice territory.
So anyway, last night was a dead end. So I had a nice dinner, watched some fairly mundane Champo League footie and went to bed, setting my alarm for 5:20 convincing myself that a new dawn would make the world seem right.
Sadly I woke at 2:20, 3:20, 4:20 and then 5 before the alarm finally went off and I heaved my arse out of bed. Having gotten my gear together the night before I was ready pretty quickly and the rain meant that my warm selection of clothes was undoubtably the correct choice.
Or was it?!?!?! As I stepped out into the drizzle I glanced at a thermometer on the wall which seemed to be hovering at about 10 degrees, but I assumed that was my tired eyes and the contact lenses had misted up as surely that couldn’t be right at ten to six. Sadly, I think this may have been my biggest downfall in the run, I am pretty sure that I overheated – but thermal layers such as they are don’t make for easily removable and portable items once out on the run so I had to struggle through.
Before even out of the village my legs didn’t feel quite right, and perhaps that was a sign to just give up and turn for home. But I didn’t want to quit, and was again pretty sure that it was just my tired legs complaining that they should still be in bed. But 10 ‘easy’ minutes later, and they weren’t much better and I felt almost as if I were rolling my body around a lot, and struggling to hold myself straight upwards. I set off on my MP (which I have calculated to be 10:30 – for a sub 4:40 marathon), but the lag on my iPhone app saw me achieve apparent speeds of about 8:30/mile which I was never going to sustain, but even when travelling at what I thought felt the same pace, along terrrain and elevation that had not perceptively changed my speed was (according to the app) so incredibly erratic that I had no idea what was going on and 5mins in to a slog up hill, I just gave in!
I couldn’t do it any more and I slowed down to a crawl, just aiming for the top so I could turn around and power back down the hill and for home! But the power never really came, my legs felt horrendous and the thundering down hill never materialised. My back ached, my calves felt awful – well that’s a lie, my calves in themselves felt OK, it was more that they ached as if my feet were lead weights that I was trying to run with. I was overheating, and to top it all off – I got a stitch. This, and a pain in my rotator cuff (either one, it just depends how they are feeling) seem to often crop up when I am going down hill. Not every time, just sometimes, but it is painful and annoying! any ideas?
In the end I just had a bit of a run/walk home. Most of which was spent beating myself up about that awful state of the run – the least I owed myself was a good run having forced myself out of bed at the crack of dawn.
On the bright side – once away from the thundering lorries on the main road, the chirruping song of the birds from the trees, the cockerel crowing, and the general peace as the sky began to lighten was beautiful and such an absolute pleasure to run in – if only the run was pleasurable too :-)
Another quick note I wanted to make was that I have struggled a little to find the motivation for my running. I initially signed up to the marathon because I wanted to do it for my own sake and to say that I was a marathon runner (or at least that I had been), but it turns out that wasn’t enough motivation for me, I think if it was left to that I would have over ridden that desire at about the 10 mile Sunday run and decided enough was enough. Instead I signed up to run for a charity, and although personally I had no discernible link to it, I chose the Everyman campaign who fund research into male cancers, because it is something from which I am sure I will come into contact with at some point in the future. But even then, I still had no real link to them as a charity myself and motivation was waning. Until I read this wonderful blog. The way that Phil writes about his very recent dealings with testicular cancer is emotional, yet uplifting and whilst I don’t know Phil, I have never met Phil, and until just a few days ago had never even heard of Phil – it is Phil who I am running for, and thousands of others whose life is turned upside down by cancer.
And once this London Marathon experience is all over, I have something else up my sleeves for a couple of good friends who have themselves been recently diagnosed with various cancers!!
So don’t forget to sponsor me to help raise money for people like Phil