Saturday, 9 March 2013

Uh oh...

This could go horribly wrong.
After the last update , things continued well for a couple of weeks.  In spite of some fairly horrible weather, I kept the sessions going regularly and the distance of the weekly long run increasing to plan. 

Then the flu that had been travelling round the office got to my desk.  OK, I thought, let’s be a good boy and wait it out.  A few days later it was just passing when it’s red-headed step-child of a cold came to visit.  And stayed for another 10 days.

Again I was pretty patient, riding it out.  I was told a few years ago that with any illness if the symptoms are at or above the neck that you can continue to exercise gently.  If they’re below, like the chesty cough I couldn’t shift, you shouldn’t.  Of course, after a few days I cracked and went for a run anyway.

I tried to be “sensible” and run to feeling.  And as I ran, I felt great.  Even completing the ascents in the local park with relative ease so I pressed out to about 10k before heading back.  I even had some food which is very rare on a shorter session for me.  

All was well until about 15k when I started to feel very drained.  A kilometre later, I had to stop running and just walk.  I was totally emptied out and beginning to feel pretty shabby.  To make matters worse, the temperature began to fall away well below freezing.  I was dressed for running at about 0°C (32°F) so walking at -3°C (26°F) was far from pleasant even before the wind started to blow.  Which, of course, it did.  This was the coldest I had felt since the Preston Guild Marathon last year.  So the run ended with a 40 minute walk that I won't forget in a hurry.

Looking back, I reckon that the paracetamol I had taken during the day masked the fatigue and energy loss as it built, giving me that false good feeling.  When the house of cards came tumbling down, it all crashed at once.

That really knocked my confidence and I’ve been ultra-cautious getting back to it ever since.  This week, I’ve done two very careful, easy runs of 7k and 10k.  This weekend, I plan to try a long run but will plan loops so I can stop if it’s all going South.

The main reason for my concern is that next weekend, I have booked onto an 80k in Paris.  Following the November/December layoff, I had already decided to abandon any ideas of bettering last years performance.  But now?

Last year, I was really, really well prepared.  Two weeks before I’d put in a PB for a half marathon and my training had been solid all winter.  This year I’m nowhere even close to being that fit and my training has been pretty sporadic.  I’ve changed my goal to enjoying the run as much as possible with a vague hope that I can actually finish the event.  To add to the fun, my colleagues have delighted in telling me that it is likely to snow next weekend.  That would really put another dent in my already reduced expectations.

Well, I intend to turn up on the day and give it the best that I can.  I don’t expect great things and accept that this could be my first DNF for an event.  We shall have to see how it goes.