It’s all gone pear shaped since my last blog.
It took us 6½ hours to get to Inverness on the way up. On the way back, due to it being Friday, it said 7½ hours on Google maps. Bad to start with. Then the satnav diverted us to avoid horrendous road works on the M74. But that lead us through a gridlocked town centre instead. We were both getting stressed out. Then I saw I sign for the M74, thought it couldn’t be any worse, and took it. We queued to get on to the slip road, then found out the southbound slip road was closed so we had to go north back to the beginning of the roadworks again. Another disaster ensued. In the end, with a 20 minute stop for the toilets and a brew, and another stop to fuel up, it took us nearly 9 hours to get back.
It was awful. Like a really bad day at the office but worse because at least that’s just me, with Wendy in the car, who isn’t used to spending all day frustrated and raging, I was stressing over her stressing. So that was terrible.
On Saturday I’d volunteered to do some work at the boat club. The email requesting workers said that due to the 18 months of covid a lot had got overgrown with weeds, and stuff needed sorting to make room for more boats. As my boat hasn’t yet got an official berth (it’s in the temporary overflow at the top of the carpark) I thought I could help the club out and myself at the same time. I stipulated I would have to be on light duties as I had a marathon the next day.
Ha! I got there in my chunky boots I use for my motorbike (which I’m no longer used to clumping around in, always being in trainers) and my first job was dragging big tree branches up a field as they chainsawed them down. Then they said they wanted to make a new boat park. So I was digging up thick, clay-ey soil. Then they wanted 20 tonnes of tarmac/ gravel shoveling into wheelbarrows and moving to the new boat park. Which wouldn’t have been too bad except it had been there years and set solid. We had to pick axe it to break it up. Most of the people who turned up were quite old men, and there was only one pick axe, so me and another guy were taking it in turns navvy-ing. It was hard, hard work. I had to take my glasses off because I was sweating all over them. So much for light duties.
Today I got up early again and Wendy ran me into town, so I could get the train to Manchester, then the tram. I got there pretty smoothly. There was a 40 minute start time delay. We finally set off. I’d had a thought during the week, if I could maintain 9 m/m over the evil hills of Loch Ness, surely I could hold 8 m/m on a flat course? Then I got greedy and started thinking maybe 7.45? I did 7.47, 7.44, 7.44, 7.58, 7.50, 7.48, 8.03, 8.00, 8.08 and then it went to hell. 9 miles in and my calves were cramping, my feet were hurting and I just couldn’t hold the pace. I got an 8.36 for mile 10 and I was really struggling. I tried to adjust my expectations. If I could keep it under 9 m/m for the rest it would still be reasonable. By mile 13 I realised the best I could hope for was a finish. I had nothing left and I was hurting badly. I was looking at a DNF (Did Not Finish). I kept it going but by mile 19 I was stopping and walking sections. I finished mile 19 in 11.38! I knew it was over but I kept trying. I made it to mile 20 but by then I was walking more than running. I saw a tram stop and sacked it off. I had to do the Walk Of Shame with runners on the tram and trains who’d finished the marathon.
I don’t know what happened. I can blame last week’s marathon and yesterday’s hard graft, and my gob writing cheques my body couldn’t cash, but honestly I just don’t know. I’ve done 3 marathons on 3 successive weeks before now. And I’m often too ambitious for my meager ability, but I always get the job done, however badly. This is only my second ever DNF (the other was when they pulled me out of the sea swim on my first triathlon, because I hadn’t trained for sea swimming). I’m a bit shaken. I tried and tried, but my feet, calves and knees were killing me, and my legs just wouldn’t run.
I’m doubly sad because this was my last race of the season. I really thought I was in with a chance for a PB. Instead I’ve got to rest my hoof for months with that weighing on my mind.
That’s a half marathon, an evilly hilly full marathon, and a 20 mile failure in 3 successive weeks, and (touch wood) no plague weakness. So it’s not directly linked to exertion. That’s good.
Wendy should be getting her car back on Tuesday. I’ve booked the day off to do the exchange.
The entries for that triathlon (for next September) are live today, so I might enter tomorrow, when I’ve slept on it and regained some self belief. (I always assume I’m going to do stuff. Maybe not as well as I’d like, but at least get it done. It’s quite a shock to totally fail.)
Also tomorrow I’m putting some air in my pushbike tyres and getting set up ready to get back on the Sufferfest. Lots of brutal exercise on the turbo trainer. Getting bike fit while my foot heals.
Well, it’s been an eventful 3 days, at least.
Bit of twitter then I’m done.