This summer (now last summer, I haven’t yet told you about this summer’s crazy plans…) I did something I little bit silly…
I entered a 50 mile race. I’ve not run further than marathon distance and at the time I was injured. WTF and why?
Life for me works best when I have a challenge, when I have direction and something to work towards.
Before I was injured I was trying to do *all* the running. I was chasing a fast 5km time having unexpectedly knocked nearly a minute off of my parkrun PB in May. I was no longer on the hunt for sub-24, it was now sub-23 so I ran fast intervals.
I’d run two marathons on the tail end of my last injury.I’d been good, had taken them easy and run not raced but now I was fit I wanted that 3:45 London GFA time that I KNEW I could do. So I ran long.
And oh look, hills and mud and tracks and trails and ‘oh, isn’t off-road running fun’ lets go and climb 1,600ft. I didn’t stop. Every run was a hard run because, well I could. I’d gotten over a long-term injury, I had 18 months of running to catch up on…
And then, wham, bam the injury train hit again. I denied it and ran. No, my hip flexor isn’t tight, my TFL isn’t screaming at me, I’ll stretch, foam roll, ice, it’s ok I can still run… Until I couldn’t. I went out in glory though, my first off-road half-marathon, the North Downs Way, 1:59:02 and fourth lady. Mile 12 ran in 7:16 trying to catch third lady. Woo hoo, this trail running lark is fun… Then I couldn’t walk for a week, couldn’t run at all for four weeks, fell into a spiral of running despair, distraught that I was injured AGAIN. Hip, TFL, Quad, everything in my right leg protested when I tried to run. So on the 13th of August I entered a 50 Mile race in May 2017.
Because I’m crazy?
Injury gave me time to think. To re-evaluate. to set new goals. Why do I run? What do I enjoy about running? What am I missing most?
I’m missing lacing up my trainers early on a Sunday morning, filling my rucksack with water & snacks, downloading a podcast and going exploring for three, four, five hours. I’m missing discovering new places. Climbing hills, getting my foot stuck in two-foot of mud. Running through a field and only discovering the other side that there was a bull in the field.
Spending an hour studying maps working out a route. Trying to remember roads and place names.
I missed views like this.
I missed the sense of satisfaction, of achievement, of pride when on the third attempt you navigate the Vanguard Way and end up in your intended destination of Edenbridge, not in Caterham or Mersham or anywhere else, lovely as they may be.
I missed getting lost.
I didn’t miss pounding the pavements of Croydon. Or navigating my way around cars. Waiting at a crossing for rush-hour traffic to pass.
And I didn’t miss running three loops of Dulwich Park to knock a 50 seconds off of my parkrun PB.
So I entered a 50 mile race. The Centurion Running NDW50 on 13th May 2017. I didn’t tell anyone for a few months, not even the husband (edited to add, he does now know!).
I’m now back running, I have been for about six or seven weeks. Randomly I’ve knocked another 24 seconds off my 5km PB (ran at the off-road Roundshaw this time) and 27 seconds off my 10km PB. Completely unintentionally. I’m up to 13 miles and have a couple of off-road & trail races booked in in the next few weeks.
And as I write this today, on the 13th November 2016, it is six months until the North Downs Way 50.
This blog is going to be my training story.
It may get personal. Running is my time. It’s where I do my thinking, my planning & my scheming.
Join me if you want.