Following that great big behemoth of a race in the Brecon Beacons, my body and in particular my legs have felt of late like they were passed on loan from Pheidippides, immediately following his arrival in Athens. Perhaps rather foolhardily I decided to train again on Wednesday 24th following Saturday’s race. A mere three days rest. Somewhat hopefully and against all prevailing experience and logic, I figured that three days would be ample recovery time. How wrong can you be? Well apparently, very is the answer.
Sensibly I took it very easy on the Wednesday and felt quite loose for the three or so miles that I jogged. Suitably inspired, I decided to go to the club night on the Thursday. After a short jog to warm up, I upped the pace and pushed hard for a couple of miles. I got to start of the hill climb on the Congleton Edge route and disaster, or maybe reality struck. My feet were suddenly cast in concrete and I felt like that 35lb bergen was back on my back. My knees groaned and it was a struggle just to make it back to the leisure centre from then on in.
To my own amazement given my usual blasé attitude to injury prevention, I decided that the only way that I would recover would be to take a week off. Following the Dave Clarke 5k on August 22nd the plan of action was that I would hang up my running shoes and take that week off to get my mojo back.
As it turned out my system was so beaten up by my experience in Wales that I didn’t make it to the 22nd. I had to take a break immediately to try and ensure that I could make the start line. My training runs had become slow and painful affairs and it was a doubt as to whether the sessions were doing anything anyway. Quality always usurps quantity and this had never been more evident.
I came back after a week off feeling suitably refreshed and with a couple of weeks left to get in shape for a good crack at sub 21 on a tough multi terrain course in Trentham.
After my enforced break the training had gone well and I was looking forward to a good race. On the day of the 5k I woke up feeling like I’d been gargling with glass. I put it down to sleeping with the window open and feeling the effects of hayfever. As the day wore on I felt gradually worse and seriously considered pulling out of the race. However, being a tight fisted sod I reasoned that as I’d spent £6 on my entry fee I would run the race and hope that I didn’t throw up or collapse before the end.
Luckily I did neither and my time was a fairly reasonable 21:09, a slight improvement on the previous year. I did feel terrible and couldn’t really get going at any point during the race. I struggled all of the way through and wanted it to be over, a strange feeling for such a short race.
Afterwards it took me ages to stop sweating (virus alert!) but the post race endorphins kicked in and I felt good on the way home. When I woke up the next morning my sore throat was even worse and I couldn’t swallow my breakfast without grimacing in agony. It turned out I’d picked up a dose of tonsillitis and another week of mind numbing inactivity was ahead of me.
Since the race I’ve run several times. The first four times were horrible. My legs were like lead and I struggled along doing 9:00 minute miles. The next few have been slightly easier but the virus seems to have killed my stamina. I did manage to open up a little yesterday, it was less Aston Martin more Austin Allegro but on the right path at least and a sub 42 at the Stoke 10k is the target.
Sadly the Congleton Half now is out of the question. Too little time now to rebuild my ‘lost’ stamina and I don’t want to run a race just for the sake of it, tempting as it may be.