The weirdness of running

Ooh it’s been a little while sine I wrote about running. I have been running though. And at the minute running is a funny thing. By all accounts it is going really well. I have run 270 miles so far this year. I can run further without walk breaks, I generally feel fitter. Little things are different. I can now say ‘I’m ‘just’ doing the sheep loop’ (about 5km) and mean the ‘just’. Running 10k is no longer a big deal and running it without walk breaks is now the norm rather than the very rare exception. Over shorter distances I am getting faster. The running is all good.

But it’s not quite doing it for me. I’m not quite as much in love with running as I should be given all that. Some of that may just be because of the marathon training plan – it’s a lot and I am struggling to do the weekly mileage it asks. In fact most weeks I don’t and that is in part playing on my mind. The other thing has, I think, been the weather. I’m not that keen on being wet and cold and I have not enjoyed being blown about by the wind. I also think that maybe I am getting a little bored of running the same canal towpath route but I’m not fit enough or confident enough to take the long runs onto the hillier routes round here.

A week ago I got my act together and headed out for my long run of 16 miles. I was going well and actually quite enjoying it. I don’t remember thinking about anything much. I ran along the canal towpath – a stretch that has recently been re-done and now has a proper path. Then, just through Silsden the path is old style and much of it is a lovely muddy mess. I was actually enjoying the concentration it took to run that section and somehow before I knew it I was 8 miles in. I turned round and started heading back. I was beginning to get a little tired. I was happy with how it was all going and though I was beginning to feel the miles, I still felt pretty strong. At almost exactly 9.5 miles my right foot slipped down the slight slope I’d been running on in the mud and it felt like my knee and ankle were going in opposite directions and I had a horrible sharp pain in my ankle. I winced but kept going but the next step resulted in an even sharper pain across my knee. I stopped and tentatively walked a few steps. The pain was intense. I was really worried I’d done some serious damage. I called Kath and asked her to come and get me. I got my location wrong so had to call her back when I realised. I was actually right bang in the middle between two points at which I could come off the towpath so I had to hobble a mile and a half. Thankfully after resting, ice and more rest it seems I did no major damage.

I then did a 4 mile and a 7 and a bit mile run during the week and then didn’t run Thursday, Friday or Saturday because quite honestly I just could not be bothered. No real excuses – just couldn’t be bothered. Today I was actually looking forward to going out and the weather looked a bit brighter. Well I managed 11 miles which I am taking as a big win because honestly, I was done by mile 1. There wasn’t anything specific really. It was all just a bit ‘meh’. I plodded along feeling a bit generally grumpy and unconvinced by everything. Every mile I really tried to stay in the mile and drag myself along landmark by landmark. The towpath was busy and 2 dogs jumped up at me and loads more got in my way – as did lots of their humans as well as humans without dogs.

It

just

felt

endless.

I just kept locking onto some sort of landmark and when I reached that, looked for the next. That worked for 10.5 miles and then everything was starting to hurt. I no longer felt strong and my landmark picks were getting closer and closer together. At 10.7 I realised that I was randomly sobbing – no idea why. I kept pushing on but I was struggling. I was coming up to a bridge on the canal that I could cross and head towards home. I’d be about 3 miles short of my plan but it would have to do because I felt both mentally and physically done. I ran to 11 miles and then walked the rest.

I’m hoping that my lack of anything in the tank is just poor fuelling (although I did sip tailwind every mile or so) or dehydration or general tiredness or even just laziness rather than getting the lurgy that poor Kath has been battling for 3 weeks now. I was a bit disappointed but I have never run 11 miles without walk breaks before and I did it on a run where I would have quite happily turned round and gone home after a mile. So again, I’m winning, the running is going well but it’s just not doing it for me.

I also had my first London Marathon anxiety dream. I was running happily along and then pulled up and stopped for some reason – not entirely clear why in my dream. Kath had already finished. I then had to get back to Dad’s flat – which in reality is in Hamburg and in my dream London looked like Hamburg, mostly anyway – and on the way I decided that I wanted to finish after all. But for some reason only Dad could tell me the way back to the embankment (which did look like the embankment) where I had apparently dropped out. Kath had had to find an official with a laptop to track me and find the point. Then everyone kept telling me that I didn’t need to finish because I’d already covered 26.2 miles in 5 hours 55 and I wasn’t going to finish the course in under 6 hours. I kept saying that I wanted the medal but Kath refused to show me the medal so I could decide if I really wanted it. I got back on the course but I have no idea if I finished the marathon or not.

So running and everything around it is a bit weird. It’s not necessarily a bad weird, just a weird weird. Running is always a hugely emotional thing. Also, I can’t really disagree that it is going really well but somehow that doesn’t feel quite right either. It’s just all a bit weird.

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