Last few weeks have been a holding pattern – for much of the world I think. I was musing on the run the other day – last week was my birthday and that morning I planned to get up early and do a long run. I didn’t have much of a plan, it was more a case of throw some food and water in a pack and head out with Murph to enjoy the day before anyone else was awake. As it turned out we did 17 miles and were out for 4 hours plus – which I was happy with, much of the route was beach and much of it was rocky so progress was slow but we loved every minute. Even when with an hour to go the heavens opened and the chill cut in.
I digress – I was musing about the lockdown and how I felt about it. I have friends who are frustrated, depressed and can’t wait until its over – Which is understandable. So I was trying to work out why I feel so relaxed about it all, of course I can get out with the dog that helps but I genuinely am content to sit and wait and sit and wait and sit and wait. You can’t rush this thing, you can’t fight it, you might as well punch fog. No point in being angry it just needs riding out.
And then I figured perhaps I cope because it’s similar in a way to ultrarunning. You grind through it, you chop it down to step by step, you don’t look at the ending, you can’t look at the ending because it’s so far away and that distance is overwhelming. So perhaps ultrarunning has taught me patience and how to deal with living in the moment and taking one step at a time. The goal will come, we will get through this, you can’t rush it, the finish line comes when it comes. You might as well do what you can to enjoy the ride. In last years 50 miler there were moments I wished for the end, 10 miles out I was praying for the line to come, it couldn’t come fast enough. I look back and I see the mistake I made. I concentrated on the end not the journey. It’s inconceviable to me now I did that, I would give anything to be out there right now 40 miles into a race but out in the mountains and in pain. To try to enjoy that last 10 miles instead of wishing them to end.
No those last 10 miles weren’t pretty but they could have been if I’d chosen to embrace them not hate them. It might be a poor anology with people dying out there and losing jobs but times pass and we get one shot, embrace it all, even the shit bits.
I’ve been running just not writing about it. In fact i’m back to 4 or 5 days a week although the legs go from great to bleurgh pretty quickly. I suspect I still haven’t fully recovered from last months ultra. But it really is awesome to be back out just enjoying it. In order to maximise joy and not worry about miles and times etc Ive also stopped wearing a watch. Its odd at first but then quite liberating. No more seeing what pace i’m doing means no more worrying about what pace i’m doing. The run ends when the run ends. This is just a chance to be out with murph simply enjoying the whole process.
It does feel odd not to have a goal or target, the 50 miler loomed so large for such a long time I forgot what it was like to just do what i felt like. So at the moment all i do is what i feel like – and we’ll see what that takes me. I suepct back up more hills but that can wait.
Half term came and went and finished with a 13 mile training run as I knew the tides were gonna be suck this week back in work and had already decided to take a rest week – no running at all! Walking Murph a lot of course rain or shine so its never total rest and the aches and pains dont seem to change whether I run or not. In fact I probably feel better when I do run. Theres so much information about training plans out there, do this many miles, do x amount of speedwork, do this do that but I really am feeling the “fuck it do what you love and it’ll come together” works better for me and to be honest that usually translates into 50 mile weeks anyway which is plenty.
I stumbled across a poem this week also – I dont usually do poetry but this one spoke to me especially the second half.
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Every time I feel like im getting into a groove something like flu kicks in. This week has been mainly a writeoff, to be fair the flu didnt properly kick in until later in the week but last weekend saturdays run was around 10 miles and I felt amazing. Then on sunday everything was broke. Just felt bleuuurgh from the off. So you know what, I walked a lot of it, we did 6 miles or so but half run half walk and normally I cant get away from that “cheating” feeling when I walk but I figure its better to be out there doing something than nothing at all. I know Murph would prefer it!
So with 3 months to the first ultra and with a few fell races in between I feel like I cant get a solid training block started … and then i realise I havent really stopped and the fitness is there anyway so whats the worry.
Technically I shouldnt go out and run today but y’know…. techincally we’re all dead one day so im gonna seize this one
I’m not really a christmassy person. However I do find it a good reason to be outside and getting in some longer runs while I have the time off. In the last week I’ve managed around 50 miles (not counting today – Im waiting on the tide) and have taken the days off as needed when I can feel that the legs need the rest. If I was the type to do new years resolutions then ths years would be to try not to be injured half the time. Sometimes you cant do anything about it – Some times you can – I’ll at least try! I have plans for 2019 but everytime I announce plans something tends to get in the way so I’ll keep them to myself until they happen.
Until then I’m just going to enjoy being out with Murph and doing whatever miles I can.
And by no time I mean im not running with a watch at the moment. Its a concious decision rather than I forgot to wear it. I figure all it does really is encourage me to look at pace and distacne etc when that really doesnt matter as I come back from injury. A watch can make you feel guilty about walking and right now I need to walk every now and again to rest the soreness. Its actually surprising what a few minutes of walking can achieve in relaxing the muscles again. If I look back I had reached the point where because I could run anything and everything I just did and at faster and faster pace – because I could and it felt good. Then i’d look at the watch and think wow 7 min miles – thats awesome – as my body slowly broke apart.
Sounds so sensible but the newfound commonsense (we’ve been here before I know) isnt quite there yet as I did 10 miles or so this morning through the rain and mist – but I loved being out again and actually running. I guess Murph did too …
Im still about, I just cant run much, or at least I could but I know its not going to do me much good in the longer run. The arse still hurts .. glutes are, legs whatever. I know when its not right and there are days I can hardly feel it, Its healing just taking its damn time. I did run/walk on saturday or rather walk/run and it was good to get going again but I cant really drive off it so Id rather wait until Im confident in it.
Perhaps its taking its time to heal as I’m walking on it so much. Murph needs long walks and Im happy to oblige so I’ve donned a headtorch and he has a flashy new collar with LEDs and we’re not letting the darkness beat us. I’m reckoning we’re doing around 40 miles of walking a week still which I guess is keeping me at some sort of level of fitness. Its frustrating but there you gp – that it seems is running half the time. Either injured or in the process of injuring myself. Still if youre gonna have a layoff this is the time of year to do it. I feel bad that I dont keep up with wordpress and you lot while Im injured … I turn off from running altogether, its easier when I dont think about it so sorry about that!
So the bit you all come here for instead of me whinging about injury – The photos – in no particular order
I was down in West Wales yesterday and as you do figured I could add an hour or two to my journey to get to the Preselis and have a bit of a practice ready for the Ultra there in May. I know most of the course and only intended on running the Beast Bach course which is around 11 miles and I was fairly sure I could navigate that. By the time I got there around half two I noticed that the clouds were covering the peaks. Ah well let’s go up and see what happens.
But I always love it nonetheless. After a day of fairly nice weatehr by the time I got home from work it was getting dark and raining, sometimes hard rain sometimes just mizzle. The temptation was to stay in and pretend to stretch or something but sometimes you just got to get out of the door.
Up on the cliffs it was cold and wet and I still loved it. I said hi to all the sheep of course.
I did the 4 or 5 mile trip around to the barrows at Wick beach and headed back. Once again negotiating the haunted woods ™ by headtorch
So yeah its always worth getting out even if the weather says no the lesg say yeh!
And finally a big hello and hug for my mum who’s not been so well lately but hopefully on the road to recovery!
So the holidays started officially yesterday and so I ran despite the torrential rain. I mean it was stair-rod stuff, cats n dogs, pissing it down. You know the drill. So I only did the beach and back as by the time I got there I was like a drowned rat and didn’t fancy dying of hypothermia running along the exposed beach despite it being july – its still Wales!