I’m Back!

I’ve thought about it (for several whole minutes) and decided that, seeing as there is nothing actually wrong with my foot I can get back to running. Shocker, I know. I was surprised too, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I don’t make the rules. I’m doing the stretches from the physio and my foot is mechanically sound, so why the devil not?

I decided to do a tester run yesterday, my first in over two months. I did my stretches, warmed up, and put on my game face.

I did 5 miles and didn’t die. I’ll take that.

I’ve been stiff all over today. Every time I got out of my truck it took me several paces to get back to walking naturally. But the main thing is my foot hasn’t flared up.

Few days later…

I’m properly back at it now. Four days, three runs. I am trying my best to show restraint and ease myself back into it. I even tried looking for a “returning to running from injury” plan, but that was “15 minutes brisk walk, rest” etc. I’ve had two months off, I’ve not forgotten how to put on foot in front of the other. I looked up a “first marathon” training plan, I figured that would take me from couch to distance nice and gradually, but that was “15 minutes jog, 2 days rest”, give me a break! What I’ve decided to do is gently increase my distance until the end of January, to build a base of fitness, then start on the training plan from my Advanced Marathoning book. The “long” run on the first week of that plan is only 11 miles. I could do that now, but my plan is to do 6 days a week of modest running for 5 weeks, then start.

I started the other day with a 9.10 m/m 5 miles, then the second day I was understandably stiff and done in. I set off for an easy 3 miles, and 9.10 was all I could manage. I was a bit quicker on the second mile, then I saw another runner and did the last mile in 8.10. If I can do an 8.10 after two months off, having inhaled all the calories, on battered legs from my first run, I have been coasting these last 10 years. I went out yesterday for a 5 miler and the same thing happened. Slow, faster, faster, runner! Faster, ended up with a 7.40 m/m. OK, it was stupid and overloading my legs on what is supposed to be a gentle return to running, but it demonstrates that I’ve not been pushing anywhere near hard enough in the past. No more! My new year’s resolution for 2022 is a sub 3. It’s going to mean going all in, and everything else is going to have to be a far distant second place in my priorities, but if I can do 7.40 off the bat, I reckon I do it.

I’ve seen a very boring marathon on the 20th of November, it’s just running around a 2½ mile tarmac race circuit at Oulton Park. But it’s the end of the year, so it gives me maximum time to train, it’s a closed loop on (presumably) a flat bit of tarmac, and it’s only 20 miles away.

I know (thanks to that article on women ultra athletes/ what men do wrong) all the things I need to get right, and I have a plan to follow to do it. The Advanced Marathoning plan is 23 weeks long, so I’ll work back from my race date, have one complete cycle (up to the race) and however many weeks of the plan I can fit in before that.

This time I’m going to do it right. 80/20 training, (80% in heart rate zone 2 -gently jogging-, and 20% zone 5 which is flat out sprint repeats), with consistency and discipline. No more “I’m going for a 5 mile run” one mile later “10 mile run” another mile “half marathon, PB”. No more letting pride make me chase after another runner when I’m doing an embarrassingly slow Z2 run. Discipline. No more distractions, tri or ultra.

The thing with 80/20 is, both bits are awful. Z2 is hard to not go for it, and Z5 is just hard. But again, I’ve had a revelation. Doing the “work until fail” tests on the pushbike, I have about 30 second bouts at the end when I have to control panic as I’m literally on my knees and no matter how much air I gasp in I can’t get enough to breathe. It’s really, really nasty. I feel sorry for people with asthma, if that’s what’s it like. My revelation though, is that I’ve never felt like that when running. Ergo, I’m not pushing hard enough.

I know it sounds extreme, and indeed it is, but it’s just a feeling of panic. I won’t die from it. And it’s a definitive benchmark. If I hit that on sprint repeats I know I’ve done all I can, I’ve not got a single atom of effort left in reserve.

Talk is cheap, now I have to put my money where my mouth is. It’s going to be hard and painful, but I am really looking forward to it! If the physio’s exercises can keep me moving, this is going to be great. And once I’ve cracked sub 3, I can smash any marathon’s Good For Age category. The capital city marathons are oversubscribed, so they allot places by lottery, unless you earn your place by proving a GFA time.

For me it’s not so much the race (I’ve never wanted to do London until everyone on Twitter was bleating about not getting in on the lottery) it’s more about proving I can earn it. I quite fancy Berlin. If we are ever allowed to escape this Covid death pit island.

In other news I am quietly pleased with my shopping restraint. A few weeks ago I decided enough was enough with getting splattered and sprayed on my ‘winter’ pushbike. I’ve tried different mudguards, but there is no way to mount them. The obvious, and very tempting, solution is to buy a shiny new, made for the job, pushbike. With mudguards. Which can take skinny, rock hard, tyres in the summer, softer, fatter tyres in the winter.

I resisted and bought fatter tyres for my road bike. They fit the wheel fine. And in the frame fine. But are wedged solid against the mudguards. Grrrr. I could buy that shiny new bike, we can easily afford it. No. I looked at what tyres and mudguards the new bike can take. I’ve already got the tyres, so I’ve ordered the new mudguards. If they fit on my current bike then I’ve saved buying a new bike. If not, I can buy the bike knowing I tried everything else first, and the tyres and mudguards will fit straight on, so I’ve not lost anything.

As soon as I have a solution I can sell off the bike (s) that are left.

The bike is just for my commute to work, so I don’t want to spend loads if I can help it. Well,I do, but I won’t.

Work has been a huge relief this year. Last year at this time I was just starting, so everything was new to me, I was stressed out with driving rigids, doing mulitdrop, long hours and chaos at all the depots. I’ve been quietly dreading it all year. It wasn’t until last week that I suddenly realised I was about to get my shifts for actual xmas week and I haven’t been overwhelmed or stressed out. Yay!

Oh, I forgot to mention, when I did that ride to the physio in the pouring down rain I wore my proper motorbike boots as they are easier to take off to show him my foot. The review of them said “although they are not marketed as waterproof boots we have reports of them working fine.” There’s a reason they are not marketed as waterproof boots, mate. It’s called the trade descriptions act. I had water coming in by the time I got to Manc, both feet were wet by the time I got home. Irritating. I’ll try and waterproof them.

I think that’s about it. Just ranting about running. I’m so glad to be back at it, and hopefully on top of my injury.

Some twitter and I’m done.

I was looking at 1966 bikes (my birth year) and I came across this. As reasons for sale go, it’s a fair one. (Old Brits used to have the brake and gear lever on the opposite sides to what is now standard.)