Its been a while I am afraid, despite reassurances in my last blog (dated almost two months ago) I have been very slack on finding the words to write on this site, and almost as bad at finding the time to read the views of those to whom I subscribe on here.
I wonder if my lack of blogging has anything to do with the decision that was taken today? I think it may have played a part, even if only a very small one.
When I first started out on the blog, I did a fairly good job of at least providing a weekly breakdown of my training (or lack thereof) and the occasional comment helped gee me along, but on the whole, the cleansing act of quantifying my training helped to put it into black and white before my very eyes – and although I may not have always subsequently acted upon the facts in front of me, I was very aware that they were there to be noticed!
Without having blogged my training, I have had no place other than my own head to make note of the distinct lack of it that has been going on. That’s not to say it can’t be found simply by looking at my endomondo calendar, where, if I am lucky, I may find one workout per week – although on too many occasions even this has not been the case.
By not holding myself accountable, by not putting my training (or lack of) out there for the world (or my 4 subscribers – mostly my direct family) to see, it was very easy to avoid. One of the most wonderful things about training for the London Marathon was the way I got so much from twitter.
I know a lot of people rubbish twitter; many have never tried it and are perhaps unsure, or unwilling to give the concept a go, and many who do try it think it is rubbish. To be honest, when I first signed up a number of years ago I was definitely of the latter view – whilst it was interesting following Stephen Fry and Phil Schofield, I was tweeting garbage about my life to absolutely no one as I had no followers, and no apparent way of really finding any – and I think this is when people get turned off the idea of twitter. But then VLM came around, and for some reason the twitterer inside me was reawakened. You see, the best thing about twitter is the ability to find people who have real, genuine interest in the same things as you do – and in my view the running community, as a generally all-encompassing kind of community anyway, has really taken to twitter and I have been able to make friends with people over a common activity, no matter where in the world we are doing it. And with VLM so many people were working to the same goal that it was easy to draw inspiration, plan training, bemoan injuries/illnesses, and offer encouragement to those in need.
But this time around, the same level of support hasn’t existed – and I never realised quite how much I owed to the super bunch on there to get me through training and to the start line in London. With the major goal completed, people are now doing their own things, different training for different events, or maybe no training at all having been put off by London, but I have no marker by which to judge my marathon training, and despite always having had a plan of some description, I can’t believe how much a few reassuring tweets about Sunday morning long-run distances covered can be.
Excuses made though, and when it comes to the crunch – it’s all my fault, my head just hasn’t been in the game. Foolishly I went for a far too over the top training plan which – whilst my head dreamt it would be achievable, my legs and ultimately my heart knew that it wasn’t. Sadly they just didn’t let the top bit of me know what the story was. After a few weeks of very minimal training, the time when everything got busy came around, the time I knew I’d get no training in – my wedding and honeymoon. Two weeks of buffets and fine dining, and lounging by the pool, and beer on tap. Two weeks of nothing but piling on the pounds, coming home to find out just this weekend that I now need a 36″ yes 36 inch waistband on my trousers!!! I am appalled at myself!
Give it a go
But atleast it proved to be enough encouragement to get out training. I went for a run last Sunday morning with my Mum, the sole aim of which (for me) was to keep up with Mum. It was to be a relatively easy 2hr + run along the seafront, so relatively flat excepting Galley Hill at the very start and end. Sut 45 minutes in, all of me ached, I had to stop, stretch, and turn for home, walking a few times on the way back. It was something of a wake up call, but in a way stirred something inside of me that said I really had to give it everything to get prepared for the next marathon in just 7 weeks time. And I was certainly going to give it a go. It sounded to me though, like Mum had decided that wasn’t going to happen for her, and the chances of her rocking up to the start in Chester were slim at best.
This week I managed a couple of runs (just). The first a fairly easy 4 miles were planned, but with dinner on the table when I got in, I had to leave the run late and when I got the very darkest bit of a town I don’t know I just had to turn back, a decision aided by a funny tweak in the right quad – 2.6 miles covered. Thursday, I went straight out when I got home. On the whole felt better physically, but still not totally comfortable and covered 3.4 miles. Today was meant to be the final test this week, see how far I could cover in a very easy 2 hours. The answer is a simple one.
I covered no miles this morning, I got out of bed, my legs ached, my head wasn’t right, and my heart just no where to be found. I was not in the kind of state where you think that once you have your shoes on and are standing at the front door pressing the button on your watch, that everything will be OK. I was just thinking that I couldn’t do it.
There was no way I could run today.
There was no way I could train properly for a marathon in 6 weeks time.
There was no way I could afford to drive all the way to Chester to try and struggle around 26 miles just to get to the finish time.
I did that in London, and I never want to do it again! I was well and truly beaten by London. It was a horrible experience, and I am not sure I have ever beaten myself up about something quite so much in my life – and I hope I never do again! But it was an experience that I hope I do not forget – and the reason that I planned to do it all again. Chester is supposedly a fast, flat course, and whilst by no stretch of the imagination would I expect a fast time, I am seriously aiming my next marathon at a time I felt confident of before being ill in the run up to London. Sub 5 hours. And on what basically would have been 6 weeks of training, on a very low base-level of fitness, and an ever expanding waistline – this is not going to be achievable.
So I cancelled my hotel, and I told my twitter following – who offered me wonderful words of support and advice, and whom I thank for that. I’ve drawn so much inspiration lately from many people on twitter through running, and these people amongst many others are the reason I won’t be giving up my goals too easily. I do think though, that others should check them out too:
RunGeordieRun. Mark has recently completed an amazing feat of running the entire width of America in just 100 days (averaging 31 miles per day) and raising many thousands of pounds for two worthy charities along the way, brilliant man (even if he does support the Toon)
Simon B. An ex Army serviceman who suffers from PTSD, has lost dear friends and colleagues as a result of this condition, and who has today run his 28th of 100 marathons to be completed in just 100 weeks. Absolutely amazing!
Runningthetube. Since November 2010, Stephen has covered 400 miles throughout london, having run between every station on the London underground system in aid of charity raising money and awareness of stillbirth and neonatal death.
All monumental achievements, truly inspirational and somewhat overwhelming. But today an off the cuff tweet made me sit up and think it’s not all over for me yet:
2 yrs ago I weighed 19st I set myself lots of goals – 1 was get fit & run a sub 45min 10k 2day I DID IT! time 43:20 :)http://twitpic.com/6ckfzb
This tweet from Lawrie Conway made me sit up and think, I need to start from the beginning. I need to set myself achievable goals, and work from there, and whilst I may not weigh quite as much as Lawrie did at the start of his journey, I definitely have pounds to shed, and a 45 min 10km would be a dream achievement for me. So I am going to pinch those two from him to start with. I am going to start with the small numbers -> 5 – 10k, and build myself back up to the 42 and beyond!!
And another little goal to set myself – I WILL RETURN TO MINIMUM ONCE A WEEK BLOG POSTING!!!
See you next week guys