Spring – in the air but not in my step

Since I last blogged quite a lot has happened.  Unfortunately not all that much of it was running.  In what surely can’t be a coincidence, my body has decided to fall inexplicably apart since I hit the big three-oh on 3 March.

Falling apart

My birthday dawned, grey and gloomy, and I didn’t have to get up and go to work because I had taken the day off to get my 18 mile run in before the party at the weekend.  Unfortunately, the sniffles I had picked up from hours of running in the rain the previous Saturday had turned overnight into a full blown cold, and I felt pretty ropey.  So I spent a lovely morning eating cake and opening cards and hoping I’d feel a bit better after a spot of daytime TV.  By the time the church bells rang for midday though, I had to accept I couldn’t breathe properly just sitting on the sofa, and that in the circumstances heading out into the drizzle for three hours wasn’t such a great idea.  So I went back to bed and had a snooze instead.

Despite the total lack of long run on Thursday, on Friday I noticed that my right quad was really quite sore and that my lower back was killing me.  Obviously old age had caught up with me, right on cue.  The quad was still hurting on Saturday morning when I went for a fairly gentle 10K with a friend – although I was OK running I was quite glad it was just a short one.  After that run my back was really killing me, but fortunately four inch stilettos seemed to relieve the pressure so I was able to dance my birthday party away without too much pain.

Trouble is, the problems in the quad haven’t really eased up, despite the fact that I’ve really cut back on the running and other exercise (work has had something to do with that too).  It’s particularly bad when I’ve been immobile for a while, so first thing in the morning I can barely put any weight on my right leg without toppling or getting a sharp pain in my back.  I’ve been to seen the physio about it and he has noted that I have got an imbalance, but this close to the marathon he’s reluctant to change too much for fear of making it worse in the short term.  Fortunately, although it’s making walking quite challenging, it seems that the injury isn’t actually stopping me from running – apart from a bit of a limping gait when I first start out I seem to be able to run on it fine.  Perhaps my body is evolving so that running is my natural state? 

Hitting the wall

This Saturday I decided to test the theory that running on a sore leg was OK by trying the 18 miler I hadn’t managed the previous week.  So you can imagine how delighted I was to wake up to glorious sunshine and balmy temperatures.  For the very first time since my training started in October, I was able to head out in a T-shirt (my Oxfam one no less) and capri leggings.  The sun was out, Richmond Park was beautiful instead of its usual grey self, and my leg felt fine.  As I ran down towards the park I felt like I could go on forever.  There had to be a catch, and there was.  It was only after the big hill in Richmond Park at the five mile mark that I realised I had forgotten to put on the bumbag which contained my trusty Haribo that was supposed to be fuelling me round the latter stages of the run.  I had had a huge meal the night before at a friend’s house (two servings of treacle tart, AND cheese and biscuits) so I hoped that I would have enough energy to keep me going.  I didn’t.  I was OK until I got back down to the river having run through Richmond itself.  I think it was all the ice-cream vans everywhere that got me thinking about food, but I started to feel noticeably hungry around the 12 mile mark and could feel myself slowing down by the time I got past the half marathon stage.  It wasn’t long after that that I completely ground to a halt and realised I had just stopped moving.  I kept on walking/plodding for as long as I could but by the time I got to Barnes I was dizzy and staggering and getting cold very quickly.  So I persuaded a friendly bus driver to let me on the bus back to Hammersmith for free and skipped the last 3 miles.

Not a great result, and totally my own fault for being stupid.  But at least hitting the wall has happened once during training and I know how it feels now.  This post is such a long one that I haven’t properly described the sensation – in fact it sounds a bit like I just gave up.  But it was an unnerving experience, and I felt like I had just crashed through the floor.  I’ll be trying very hard to avoid that fate on the day itself.

I went out that evening with a fellow marathon runner, who had had an equally depressing run, managing just 12 of her planned 20 miles.  So we consoled ourselves with some Sauvignon Blanc. 

Distance:  18 miles.  Twice.  Only the first time I did 0 miles, and the second time I did 15
Time: 03:02:33.  But the last three miles were by bus (and I had done a lot of walking)
Weather: sunny!!!
Time of day:  1.00pm
Notable features:  no food, a big hill, and a bigger invisible wall


About westlondonplodder
Thirty-something London girl looking for the next big challenge

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