I have been too busy getting on with (and enjoying) a week’s worth of exercise to actually write about it, so here goes with a quick recap. After a splendid weekend in London (where our food diary went something like; Mr Tickle jelly sweets, beer, piggy barmcake, beer, kangaroo burger, beer, beer, noodles, beer, noodles, beer, falafel, beer, pizza, beer, jaffa cakes) both Ginge and I felt that it was time for a week of temple food and committed exercise. I have been forced back into the gym to rediscover the fact that I quite like doing weights and I have discovered that necessity can be the mother of chilled out running…
I had planned to do a longish interval session, but couldn’t decide on what intervals to run. Because of my indecision, I ended up extending each running session by a minute and it turned into a longish pyramid interval session instead. Well it did for the first half… After a couple of miles or so I started to feel some lower abdominal pains, which never bodes well. Without going into too much detail, if this starts after a mile or so it’s usually a sign that I need to stop running away from home, turn round and make sure that I’m within dashing distance of a familiar loo. However, while I’ve been doing intervals and trying to pick up my speed, I’ve noticed that I get very similar pain when I start to run faster (I’m convinced it’s a combination of how I breathe and tense my upper body). The fun part is trying to tell which sort of pain it is.
I weighed up the fact that I was doing intervals against the fact that the weekend’s excesses had left my insides a bit confused and decided not to risk it. I turned round, abandoned the intervals and gently headed back. The pains didn’t stop. In fact they got worse. I walked for a bit. They got even worse. I had a growing sense of dread that I wasn’t going to make it home. I pulled up outside the slightly dodgy looking motel that I’ve gone past hundreds of times but never been in – they might have toilets near reception, I could just nip in couldn’t I? Deep breath, in I went – no loos. No signs of life. I followed the instructions for locating staff until I reached a door marked ‘Private’. Another deep breath. I tapped tentatively… Sounding like Hugh Grant* (“Um, excuse me, this is um very embarrassing, but I’m out running and ah, could I um, use your loo…?”) but feeling like Papa Lazarou (“Hello Dave, can I use your toilet Dave? Dave, there is a blockage in your toilet…” **). Luckily the lady was very nice, directed me to where I needed to be, I did what I needed to do and yelping “thank you very much” as I scuttled past the door marked ‘Private’.
The rest of the run was uneventful.
I went to the gym. I like the gym. They have proper facilities there.
I fell asleep and declared it a rest day.
I took advantage of a late start at work to do an early but not too early 6 miles. The run itself was uneventful apart from the fact that it felt good, I enjoyed it and I managed to ignore the nagging voice of doubt that crept in after a couple of miles. Oh, and I ran without tunes. Normally I would have my shuffle on for anything more than three miles, but I couldn’t find my earphones and I was feeling reckless so off I went with only my thoughts for company. It turns out my thoughts are mostly weird and a large chunk of the run was taken up with thinking about advanced directives and what decisions I would want making if anything happened to me and I lost capacity. Cheerful. It did occur to me that it would be ironic if this was the run, without tunes and whilst thinking about such things, that I would get run over by a bus. Thankfully I wasn’t. I did see some swans though.
Another self-declared rest day. I knitted.
Long run day. I wasn’t sure if I was looking forward to this. On the one hand, I’d had some good runs during the week and was enjoying myself; on the other hand, what if I couldn’t do it? For once I’d put some thought into making sure that I was well prepared – a good carb-loaded tea the night before, only a small glass of wine, water before bed and when I got up, oats eaten an hour before setting off, water bottle filled. I had no route planned, other than turning right at the front door, left at the end of the road and then running 10 miles. After about half a mile, I realised that I had left my carefully filled water bottle on the kitchen table. Arse. I tried not to panic or give up and plodded on. This decided my route for me – rather than go a way that I find difficult at the best of times and has no escape routes, I went for a loop that could be 6.5 miles or it could be extended as much as I want. I plodded on, ignoring the dark grey clouds gathering to my left and listening to clever Radio 4 people talking amusingly about intellectually challenging things. Just over halfway, the heavens opened – I plodded on, actually quite grateful to be hydrating one way or another. At 6.5 miles, I plodded on with my extension loop, pausing at 8 miles to consider my route, before turning round and heading home, cold, wet and very pleased with myself.
The lesson of this story is that I seem to have an awful lot of comfort blankets in the form of routines when I run, some of them might be useful, but as long as I have me and my trainers I’m mostly ok.
And I hesitate to say this, but I think that I might have got my running mojo back!
*But not looking like him, unless he’s become a sweaty, red-raced blonde
**I hope that all of you familiar with the League of Gentleman are doing the voice. If you didn’t, go back and do the voice. Go on. You know you should.