Its been an ungainly past couple of months on the running front. As you may have read before, I'm 6'4" and just over 85kg so there's a fair bit of meat to shift right, left, right, left at any pace. Combine this with too many elbows and knees and you can get the impression, don't you...we're seldom talking grace here.
December was a swine weather wise, just as my debut-marathon training plan was starting the snow and ice rolled in coating Brighton in slick layer of compacted snow and black-ice very quickly. But, you know what I kind of enjoyed it. Kept up with the mileage from the training plan and got bloody cold, but the lonely seafront running and sense of achievement was great. Only draw back was pulling back from the slowly increasing pace improvement (managed 10km PB of 51:11 at end of November) as discretion took the better part of valour and I slowed things back to a 10/10:30 pace to avoid the embarrassing sight of nearly 2metres of ginger lump crashing to the ground. Let's face it there'd be no fun in that - or at least not for me.
Maintained this through December and even across Christmas (first as runner) managing nearly 30 miles in the 10-days up to New Year, then with the weather warming up I pushed it on a speed session, and for want of a better phrase fucked my calf. Undoubtedly a case of not enough stretching and pushing too fast, but god did it hurt. Did a bunch of short sub-10km runs at a slower pace, when probably should have just rested, and couldn't manage it without finishing in pain. Doh!
Then last Saturday with the Brighton Half and Brighton Marathon getting closer I went out planning on a slow as possible half-marathon training run with my mate Ollie, and we ended up doing 17.2 miles - a record for both of us, as was the bang on 3hrs it took it to run. Not sure what made us happier, running 17-miles or knowing that we'd stayed on our feet running for 3-hours, knackered, but could have still dug out a few more. Amazing thing was/is/has been that since that run there's been no tightness or pain in the calf for first time in 3-weeks. Amazement again probably fuelled by inexperience, but that's the whole point of this isn't it...
Did a cheeky little run Tuesday which again felt fine and then Thursday thought "sod it, calf's alright" and garnered with this refound confidence in my running, opened up the stride and had a cracking run. Dumped the short shuffling stride of the last few months and for the first time in weeks felt like my form was back in synch, I was comfy in the run, going at "speed" and having a great time. Ended up running 6.7 miles in just over 59mins during the hour between dumping and collecting my son at karate class at a pace just under 9-mins per mile.
Back in the groove! Perhaps not a very finely tuned fast RPM groove, but a groove none the less and all of a sudden the "over"-confidence of pushing for that sub-2hr Brighton Half-Marathon in Feb is back and with 17-miles now under the belt the Marathon seems that little bit closer.
So, until the next time I don't stretch properly or make another inexperienced cock-up with my running, the groove is refound, I feel like I'm going fast and I'm dreaming of times, not distance.