Everything’s gone Pete Tong.
What should have been a pivotal week, with my longest run so far involved no running at all. My plan was to start the week off slow after Brighton Half, do a few easy sessions, then end it with a long run of 16 miles. Instead I’ve done four hours on the bike (about 50 miles) and a swim.
Monday was always going to be a rest day, as I don’t overstretch myself after a race. My ankle didn’t feel too sore, and I definitely wasn’t in pain. Tuesday it felt about the same though, a bit sore and I was reluctant to try anything on it, so instead I sat on the turbo in the evening while the girls were doing their homework, and as winds and rain battered the house.
Wednesday was another rest day, and Thursday I was pre-booked into seeing my physio Lawrence at Knott Kinetics, based at Absolute Running in Gosport. I explained how I had stepped on a tiny wooden stake at the beach, which cricked my ankle a bit, felt nothing much for the rest of the session, then had ended up in agony Friday night. I felt recovered enough to race two days later, but Lawrence thought I had some minor ligament damage on the outside of my left ankle. He gave me some ultrasound, strapped it up and recommended no running for a few days at least. We devised a plan. It didn’t really work, but for a while it made me feel better. Instead of 16 miles on the paths I would cycle 32 miles trying to keep my heart rate at 80% of my max. Could this be equivalent to a 16 mile run?
I’ve never cycled that far as I tend to get a bit bored on the bike, but I went home at least feeling I would be doing something. Thursday evening I sat on the turbo for 40 mins, Friday, with enforced rest, I couldn’t lead my group but did lots of strength and conditioning at home.
So. Saturday it was miserable; freezing and raining (on and off). I was miserable. I knew I had to try for 32 miles on the bike, but first I had to do everything a mum has to do at the weekend, which involved a lot of running around and plenty of stress I’ve got no time for. As the hours passed I got grumpier and grumpier. With everyone. Including me. No one was giving way so that I could get the mammoth (for me) bike ride done; I had to wait a long time before I could go out. By which time it was sleeting and about three degrees Celsius. Worse, the roads were wet. I should mention I am a scaredy-cat cyclist when it comes to fast downhills and wet corners. This is due to going over the top of my handlebars once when I was a kid, then again at university (I have two scars on my chin where the road kissed me deeply).
I started, and even though I wasn’t feeling the love I am very stubborn, and decided before I began I had to go for at least 80 per cent maximum heart rate. The whole way round. Then I got on with the ride, had rain, a little hail, and sleet, sunshine, but all I can really remember is my feet being so cold that as soon as my watch clicked over to 32 miles I stopped and started walking to try and get my circulation going. The last five miles or so the cold had crept up my legs to my thighs and I feared hypothermia. How will I run without feet, I thought? Surely they are going to drop off, I hadn’t felt them for so long. But the feeling had returned by the time I walked home, I just then had to wait another few hours before I had the time to have a bath to completely defrost. Motherhood brings a whole new dimension of patience into your life.
Did I feel like I had done a long run? No. Was my worry pacified? No. Am I beginning to fret a) I’m not even going to make the marathon now – especially after such a key session (I should mention here I’ve done this so many times before, got to about 16 miles and something happens. Yes. I’ve gone on and ran a marathon with only 16 miles done in training and *No* I don’t ever want to do that again). And b) Am I going to have to run 26.2miles with my longest run being 15 miles about two months before the run? Yes I’m beginning to worry.
What’s 32 miles on the bike really worth? Probably about 10.5miles running, if I’m really lucky, according to Dr Edward Coyle of the University of Texas, who devised a formula for estimating the caloric equivalence between running and cycling.
What’s really scary is, if I take his formula, and if I am supposed to be running 18 miles this weekend, I will need to cycle approximately 53 miles. Shit. I don’t even like cycling. Like everything else in life (except running) I can’t really do it – my legs are at least 12 inches too short. They’re also too narrow – you can’t spot my muscles. They’re just so delicate.
Sunday was Mother’s Day and I was a bit low after a week of not running at such a crucial stage of marathon training. I started feeling lost. Do I know where I live? Check. Am I secure in my family? Check. I think I know who I am, anyway. Yet, here it is again, already, that feeling of starting to lose my identity.
Why does all of me have to be so tied up in this running game? Why can’t I enjoy a more easy, sitting down kind of pastime – crochet, painting, chess… I’ve been asking myself this all my life. But running comes before me, from my family and it’s imprinted in my DNA. I can’t unpick the strands of who I am and create a more convenient, less energetic me.
So my running week was non-existent and rubbish really. I’m dreading where my running will be next week already.