Archive for February, 2013

25
Feb
13

random distances, diminishing returns

Fourteen Kilometres. Eight miles, one thousand two hundred and thirty yards in old money: Six months ago when training for the Berlin Marathon, this would have been considered a “short run”. I would have cheerfully kissed Mrs Eatingtrees goodbye and, with a spring in my stride, bounded off. On a grey and cold February morning with limited running in the previous four weeks due to illness, it feels like a massive effort. Almost from the off, my legs are heavy. My breathing doesn’t ease up until about 5km in by which time my legs are so leaden that it feels like I am wearing sandbags on my feet rather than my trusty Vibrams. I cunningly avoid hills but even short inclines feel like hard work. I grit my teeth and get on with – using the time to daydream and try to distract myself from the effort and discomfort.

Once the end was in sight, I realised I was going to come up about 200m short of 14km so continued on past my turn just to round it up. Like 13.8km really wouldn’t do but 14km would. And 14km was just an arbitrary minimum distance that I decided that I wanted to run that morning. Us runners really are an odd bunch when you think about it – we set ourselves goals and then when we beat them, set ourselves tougher goals (gotta beat that personal best) and then feel devastated when we don’t pb every time. Or we decide on a distance that we want to run and coming up 200m short is not good enough. My own personal peccadillo is that if I have to stand and wait at the side of the road for traffic to pass, I feel like I have stopped for a rest and therefore not run the full distance. Which is why you’ll often see me running on the spot whilst waiting to cross. Or running along the kerbside, up and down the traffic looking for an opening that I can nip through. This sort of compulsive behaviour in any other pastime would be seen as odd or possibly borderline compulsive. But not us runners. We positively revel in it.

Soundtrack to this post: Atoms For Peace – Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses

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17
Feb
13

share and share alike

3 weeks ago, Son Number 2 – my youngest – was off school – high temperature, lethargic, gallons of snot. By the following evening, Mrs Eatingtrees, myself and Son Number 1 all had the same symptoms. Ironically, Son Number 2 seemed to be recovering. A few days later, we were all feeling better until the tail-end of my illness seemed to mutate into an ear-infection culminating in a perforated ear-drum. Brilliant!

So the last few weeks have meant that I have been moping about, weary and coughing and a little off balance and asking people to repeat themselves so that I can try and make out what they have just said through the muffled and tinnitus filled right ear. I don’t often get ill, but when I do it is always in style and I get really frustrated if I cannot recover quickly.

Yesterday morning, the sun was out and I was confident enough that I could retain my balance with one still-dodgy ear that I set off for my first run in about 4 weeks. 11km which easily felt twice that distance – legs were heavy from inactivity and lungs laboured to get rid of the last traces of whatever had been settled in them for the past couple of weeks. Once back home and showered, I felt great though. Cleansed. And alive again.

Then this morning, another crisp and bright morning, I got out of bed determined to get out on the singlespeed. Once again, partly because I now can and partly because, earlier in the week, I received my confirmation for my entry into the Maas Half Marathon complete with instructions in, helpfully, French and Dutch. It dawned on me that I will be required to run a Half Marathon and also to do it after Hauling My Carcass and I have cycled to Belgium from the UK via Holland. I absolutely cannot wait to do this although the fear of being unprepared and getting there under our own steam – only having our bikes and running gear – lends this particular race a sense of urgency. We have accomodation booked on specific nights in specific towns so there is no margin for error -we must cover the full distance each day or we have nowhere to sleep that night. It will be awesome but, right now, with little running training and less cycling under my belt, it still feels a little scarey. 37km cycled today then before many had crawled from their beds. That has eased some of the pre-trip jitters but I know that I have 11 weeks to get myself to a place where I can comfortably cycle 100km a day over multiple consecutive days.

Soundtrack to this post: Ben Harper – Steal My Kisses




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