Well I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself over the past few weeks! I’ve also been doing a lot of reflecting on my running year to try to piece together how and why it turned out like it did.
Thank you for your comments on my last blog. I hadn’t realised how ‘heartfelt’ it was until I read it back a week or so later. Strangely enough reading it and seeing that picture of me looking so upset still made me feel emotional!
Last Christmas I had a nasty virus which came on after I’d done just one training run for the Manchester marathon. I developed labyrinthitis afterwards which is an infection of the inner ear which caused me extreme dizziness to the point that I literally couldn’t lift my head off my pillow for at least 2 days. I was frustrated that I couldn’t carry on with my marathon training and was eager to get going again asap. After this all of my training runs (especially the long ones) were a struggle for that marathon. Without doubt I’m sure that I went back to training far too quickly. On top of that I went through a huge amount of stress in the early part of the year to do with my business which put a hideous amount of financial pressure on us. After my disasterous Manchester marathon I went almost straight into training for Snowdon. So I can look back now and feel that it’s no wonder I’ve struggled this year!!
A few of you mentioned in the comments to my last blog that perhaps I should see my doctor. David is worried about me and thinks I should too. However, I’m convinced that some physical and mental rest from running along with some tweaks in my diet will fix me. I’ve been doing a lot of research over the past few weeks about burn out etc and can relate to the symptoms. I already feel miles better. I’m feeling fit and healthy and I’m enjoying what I’m doing. So I’ve promised David that if I don’t feel better after this period of rest from serious running then I will get checked out.
So onwards and upwards…. I’ve been LOVING my sessions in the gym. They are truly brutal with an hour of endless HIIT; weights; press ups, lunges, squats, burpees etc etc; and a little bit of cardio 3 times per week. I’m 4 weeks into a 6 week course now and have the feeling of being permanently steamrollered! I’ve ached in muscles that I’ve had to google to see if they exist! For example I never knew until a couple of weeks ago that I had muscles in between my ribs! The instructors show absolutely no mercy. I was measured on a body scanner thing for weight, fat/muscle percentage, BMI etc at the beginning; plus I did the Cooper Test on a running machine. I’ll be interested to see the results at the end.
As for running? I’ve carried on doing park runs since Snowdon with no pressure whatsoever which has been fabulous.
Then David and I had the Tatton half marathon last weekend which we’d entered before Snowdon. Tatton Park is a gorgeous National Trust estate so we were looking forward to it. Remember I told you about my friend’s brother Mark? Well he was doing this race too – his 3rd half marathon and part of the reason for entering was to support him. With how Snowdon went I made a decision before Tattion that I’d like to run with Mark. He’s a bit slower than me anyway and my friend told me that he’d been struggling with training over the past few weeks.
As David has already mentioned there was a horrendous traffic jam getting into the park which wasn’t the best of preparations. But off we went and Mark and I stuck together. The first half was uneventful except for finding poor old Red Dave pulled up at the side lines after around 1 mile. However around 3 miles in I needed the toilet in a way that I’ve never needed before whilst running …i.e. I think it was something I’d eaten the night before!! I had a pretty uncomfortable few miles hoping to see a portaloo or something but no joy. We were running slower than my normal pace too which, interestingly was quite difficult to do. However I was in absolutely no hurry. Mark had his head down and very few words were exchanged between us. I did feel a bit that perhaps he didn’t need me with him.
About 7 miles in I saw a toilet block. I told Mark that I’d catch him up and had to do quite a diversion to find the ladies. I’ll just say that it was such a relief to go!! Afterwards it was great to stretch my legs for a couple of miles to catch Mark up. I think that my next mile was sub 9 minutes which was a confidence boost as this is the point in many long runs that I’ve struggled lately.
I could see Mark ahead for quite a while and as I got near him at about the 9 mile point and he stopped to walk. He told me that he was really starting to struggle; his legs were like lead; and confessed that he’d had no breakfast that morning. I only had one jelly baby to offer him which probably didn’t even touch the sides! We spent the next hour or so talking (a lot) and run/walking. I gently encouraged to try some slow running after a few minutes of every time he’d stopped to walk. Each time he complied until his dead legs forced him to walk again. He told me in that time how he’d stopped taking his anti-depressants a few weeks earlier as he’d been feeling so good with all of the running. However, he now realises that he stopped too early and too suddenly. But he didn’t go back to the alcohol (which is an achievement in itself) and was now back on the anti-depressants. He was finding the run so tough but he kept going. We crossed the finish line at 2 hours and 40 minutes and I could see that it took absolutely everything out of him. But he did say afterwards that I helped him to keep moving. I have to say that it I felt honoured to have been there for him in his hour of need.
And I’m starting to look forward to putting some more fast miles under my belt over the next few weeks.
Before I go I have to mention how much fun David and I had watching the blobs on Jim and HOBS latest challenge. Neither of them have blogged yet so I won’t say too much (apart from bloody well done) but I will say that David and I noticed that one of the blobs was heading in our direction. Just after Jim and HOBS had finished this blob was just a couple of miles from our house. So as realbuzzers what did we do?! We jumped in our car of course to go out and cheer him on!! It was the most bizarre experience: we knew this guy’s name and his exact location. It think it’s fair to say that he was a bit startled when two random strangers called out his name and offered him coffee and food! This is what I love so much about the running community!
Right I’m off now to see what you’ve all been up to.
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