So my last blog post was five months ago, it ended positively with me hoping to start slowly back on a course to training for the London Marathon. In September the hope was that I would slowly build up very gentle running and aim to be able to launch into a full training programme around Christmas.
That did not happen.
As I increased the running it was clear that my stress-fractured femur had not healed completely, there was a level of pain when running that was not good. Although I did a few parkruns and I even managed to get my times down somewhere near my previous bests, I knew deep down (in my bones) that this wasn’t sustainable. In early December I had another MRI scan and the results showed that although the stress fracture had healed, the bones were still badly bruised, and the consultant told me no more running for two months. He was not interested in the fact that I had a marathon to train for, in fact he just bluntly said “you’ll just have to not run that race” something tells me he is not a runner!
So, two more months of frustration. I have to admit that leading up to December I had let it get to me a bit, I was very low in regard to my running and I kind of gave up. I stopped doing any exercise and just piled on the pounds instead. But after that visit to the physio I decided enough was enough, I thought if I was going to have to wait till February to run, the least I could do was try to get fit so when I do start again, I’m ready. I have been going to the gym at least 4 times a week and have taken control of my weight. I’ve been bossing the cross trainer and generally pumping iron!
Early February came and I have been let down a bit by the hospital appointments secretary; long story short I wont even get to see the consultant till mid-March, let alone get another scan. I’ve decided I can’t wait that long. I checked with London Marathon and they confirmed what I already knew; that you cannot defer a place for two years, so if I don’t run in April, that’s my place lost. So on the 3rd of Feb, 2 months exactly from my last appointment, I stepped on to the treadmill in the gym and I ran for two minutes. The next day I did 4 minutes, the next day 6. Then a rest day, then 8 and then 10. I have promised Jenny not to go too fast and to stop if it starts hurting. So far it has been going well. For my 8-minute run I did put the pace up a notch or two and basically ran a mile. My chest was burning! That was just a moment (or 8 minutes!) of madness where almost a year’s worth of frustration came out on the treadmill. Since then I have been very good and stuck to between 9.5- and 10-minute mile pace. If I can run at 10-m/m for everything I do, and slowly build up time and distance, without being in pain, then I will be happy.
I am up to 22 minutes now, when I get to 30 mins things will shift, I plan to run 3 times a week and add 2 miles to my long run each weekend. There’s a half marathon booked in late March, I fully intend to run it at 10-minute miles, Jenny is running it too and will no doubt beat me but I will resist the urge to run faster.
Now I have brought the smile back to my running. I have accepted that speed and marathon PB’s are probably a thing of the past, but if I can just RUN, I will be happy. I don’t want to get carried away, I know that running a marathon after less than 3 months light training from scratch is not going to be easy, but it’s not like its my first marathon, I think I’m up to 13 or 14 now. I won’t feel a failure if I have to do some walking on the day, even if I don’t make it to the end (as long as I make it to mile 22.5!) but here’s the dream; My first ever marathon was London 2013 and I finished in 4 hrs 26, that’s an average pace of 10.09. It was by no means a good race for me and I have run faster, but if I could beat that time this year, well I would be over the moon!
And the title of this blog? Well, I have been lucky enough to run a few of my runs with the lovely Jenny Mc, my wife. She’s training for Manchester so is doing a lot of miles, I have been able to meet up with her mid long run, give her supplies and then run with her for a while. It has been the best thing about getting back to running. Last week I arranged to cycle to meet her around half way on her 17-mile run, I then ran for 12 minutes with her, then walked back to my bike and then tried to catch her on the bike before she made it home. We were having a lovely run together and just as we were about to get to my 12-minute point we passed an old gentleman walking his dog. When I stopped, wished Jenny good luck, turned and walked back towards my bike, I passed the gentleman again. He said, “You’ve not fallen out have you?” I smiled and explained that I was walking back to my bike and I would then try to catch Jenny up. He said, “That’s a great way to pass your time; getting fit and chasing girls!” Made me smile!
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