Bless me running gods, for I have been lazy. It has been 20 days since my last blog.
It has been even longer since I have done a reasonable run. None since the marathon actually.
I know I should be on less miles as part of my recovery, but I have not been following the plan as I should. Only 30 miles run since the end of May. Nothing at all this week.
I have never really enjoyed running. Maybe that is my problem.
The friends of mine who just completed their first race at Harvel5 really enjoy it and don’t like it when they can’t go out (due to long working hours as teachers/parenting stuff). I have the time and the opportunity and just find it hard to get out the door.
I had a big long chat about his with Adam the other night and he didn’t say much (what can you say when your partner says she doesn’t like what she has been doing for the past 5 months). I was saying that I don’t enjoy it and I am not good at it, so really what is the point?
Why have you been doing it then? He asks. Because I hoped that it would click. That I would have that moment where it all fell into place, and I found the whole thing wonderful, and freeing, and mind-clearing, and… all the good things that people say it is.
I blame the runner-authors.
I just read two running books back-to-back:
Vassos Alexander – Don’t Stop Me Now
Haruki Murakami – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Both Vassos and Haruki (we are on a first name basis now) tell us about their love of running – of the feelings of freedom, of achievement, of clarity when they run. How they feel odd not doing it for more than a day. I am just glad when there is an excuse not to go out (late trains, too much rain etc.).
I am not a natural runner. At school I used to fake ankle injuries (though I did have a weird click-y ankle to start) to get out of running the 100m – sometimes even during the event itself. I hated formal physical activity of any form (apart from that one summer term where I was AWESOME at rounders) and all I did outside of school was a bit of bike-riding and walking up and down the hill to the shops.
Since school/compulsory exercise, I attempted running once at Uni and then once again straight after. They were not good. I didn’t do anything again until I met Adam, who ran, for pleasure(!). I went along to parkrun to cheer him on for a while, and then once took the plunge and ran/walked a time of 35:36. I finished unable to breathe and had to be talked through what felt like a near-death experience. I then felt rubbish the rest of the day and even had to miss Adam’s sister’s birthday drinks. Not a great start.
(I also have always been a bit overweight and not sure if that was the cause or effect of the lack of interest in sport/making my heart-rate rise a bit.)
I don’t remember when I picked it up again but it was following the C25k programme on my phone. I think I stop-started it, only running a couple of times a week, but I got up to 2.5 miles. 2.5 miles! That was crazy! That is so far! Without stopping! I remember being geed up for my next run but I bombed after half a mile. I got angry: I walked angry, I ran angry and went home. I didn’t go out again.
Three years (almost to the day) after that first parkrun, I did it again, at our new local parkrun (Great Lines) and got a time of 33:44. An improvement I guess.
Three parkruns later (once a month over the next 3 months), my time was down to 31:10. Which is where it has stayed.
But I stopped doing that, ran a couple of trail 10k races and then signed up for a marathon.
The rest of the story is already documented here, on this blog. If you have been reading it – have you seen any enjoyment?
I once recall feeling runner’s high (or just general feelings of yey-ness) after a 10k PB. And once finding a new route on a 10-miler a bit interesting. But I felt nothing post-marathon: no jubilation, no pride, no wanting to do that all over again. I didn’t quite rule it out as it wasn’t the worst 6 hours of my life, but… but…
Adam suggested maybe trying other sports: swimming, cycling etc. I have a bike (the brakes do need attaching and a wheel turning around) and I can swim, but these involve going somewhere, paying or taking equipment and I don’t think I have any real potential in, or love for, either of them. (Not that I intend to be great at this or anything else.)
It would just be nice to have something I like doing. That maybe gives me those feelings that others feel when running. Something to look forward to doing of an evening/weekend.
I say all this while mentally planning a trip to Manchester for the half marathon they are hosting up there in October. I don’t know why.
Talking it through though, I thought maybe I should give the smaller distances some attention; get my speed up (that shouldn’t be hard – I am very slow). Maybe with a faster 5k time I can feel some love for running. Maybe I can go on a longer run at an ever-so-faster pace and find some pleasure in it. Maybe, just maybe I can like this.
So that is my plan: give a couple of months to some intervals (which I hate), some hill running (which I have never done) and some strength/flexibility training (which is generally ignored by me) and see if I can get somewhere – a new 5k PB may get me on track. If not then who knows what I’ll do!
Has anyone out there lost their running-mojo and got it back?
Or never had it and found some?
Please let me know if you have!