Monday, 31 May 2010

Reality bites! what a fellsman does next

Strange, but I wonder if I think doing things such as the Fellsman will lead me forever changed for the better. Tougher, more grounded and solid and with a steely-eyed determination that would make me unflappable in dealing with lifes surprise challenges?

Of course this is all bull.... what it does is makes you consider the next challenge. Its like some surreal - and some might say sadistic - shopping list of gradually more extreme challenges that I must tick off. I know the next few, but as with any christmas shopping list there are always the "awkward to buy for"  where its just a case of trying to find the right fit. Some days it seems that any of these are possible, others I feel in over my head..... proof that I'm no mentally tougher than before.

This isn't to say it is not worthwhile, I'm more aware of my physical and mental limitations and whilst I know I can't overcome them overnight I think I can nibble away at them and see where I end up. Anyway, enough of the deep s**t ;¬)

1 week later

Never being one thats happy so sit around letting reality tie me down I was back at a club hard session by the Thursday post-fellsman. After a gentle, undulating near loop of lovely Welton Dale our run leader decided on 1km downhill reps. With my knee in an improvised ill-fitting knee support I knew this may not be wise, but dedcided to tough out what I could. 4 reps later I made my excuses, I wasn't in agony but that was enough of the hard work and the knee wasn't right. The next day I visited the Physio and he suspected a bit of irritation of the ITB where it attaches below the knee. Odd thing was it had felt fin and improved since last nights session so I felt confident to pick up the training again.

On Sunday I joined Mark for a run on some of the gentle hills of the Wolds from Huggate to the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy and back via gawjus Thixendale (above). Problem was that my leg hurt from within 5 miles. Maybe stupidly, I persisted and completed the run, nearly 21 miles, sometimes the pain was awful, as bad as I've tried to run with in years. At times I could barely run, then it would be almost alright again. By the end, with pint in hand sat in the Wolds Inn I wasn't sure what had bothered me so much.

2 weeks later

By the next Sunday I had convinced myself I could run a 10k PB in the inaugural Hull 10k run for all. A hill reps session - this time uphill - on Thursday then un-convinced me as I sweated uphill, with my cardio-vascular system seemingly not coping well with shorter hard effort and a knee pain that reappeared after 7 or so miles. By Sunday though, having sunbathed and chill-axed all of Saturday I was ready to give it a good effort.

I didn't warm-up as being in the corporate challenge I was left indoors with hundreds of others until last minute and then pretty much penned up so no useful running warm-up was possible. Then I tried not to scowl as the tannoy was passed over to somebody to lead a "jump up and down, hands in the air"-type, nonsense warmup. In fact it was so hot I was already very warm, but there is a difference between a warm core-body temperature and a proper warm-up that gets key joints and muscles up to a safe operating temperature so your "good to go" come the race starting.

The first km or two felt stiff and slow as I meandered through hundreds of already slowing runners within the Victoria dock village. Still I was soon up to near 4:15 min/km which I wasn't totally convinced I coul maintain. As the race went on we were offered slim respite from the warm air temperature from short periods of cooling river breeze. Into what would be the scenery highlight of the race, the marina, and I was surprised to still be holding pace. I already felt I couldn't increase the pace and to let myself off the hook would be the start of a steady decline.

The city-centre streets of Hull which often seem quite long and wide all of a sudden seemed quite shrunken as I twisted an turned through the final few miles of the run, disapointed by any turn which didn't progress me towards the end. I raised a quite limited faster final k or two as I picked up the pace to cross the line in 42:30 something.

Whilst disappointed that was over a minute off a PB I tried to dwell on the positives. Almost dangerous heat for a full-on 10k and I wasn't a million miles from what I think my previous best form would have given me on such a day. Lead me to think that I will revisit my quest for that ellusive sub-40 sometime in the future. Also, unusually, it was quite nice to get some praise in the office for running exploits. Many in my dept had run who don't run and couldn't quite understand how times like mine were possible having done it. They though the winners 34:something was sub-human - I didn't try to explain that most races are won by a time nearer 30 and even that would get you lapped on a top-level track 10k. Also, the knee didn't feel a thing

3 weeks later

Which is now. A promising hill rep triangle session midweek saw me run some good steep uphill, some near as good as I'm capable of downhill and even held my own against others I train with on the flat for the first time in weeks. Even before this I had run Monday and Tuesday following the Sunday 10k. I've drawn up one of the most thorough training plans I've ever done and this really helped me get out. Took it easy on Monday and then on Tuesday the plan was to run the undulating 5m at 7:45 pace. Easier said than done two days post-10k and not far off a race effort.

A weekend off running followed as I helped celebrate a friends birthday with consecutive nights out in Newcastle and Sunderland. The way my guts feel I would have much rather done the Fellsman again.

What does this mean? Is Drunken-Euphoria dead..... did I do im in and bury him on some bleak, fog-covered, rain-blasted moor..... No I would never do such a thing, but he's lost out there somewhere away from neon-lights, cheap pints and happy hours. Maybe getting a taster of how much more satisfying a post-long run pint or two is than getting hammered?


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  2. I knew you were barking Danny and this confirms it!! And to make your post extra special I can sign off my comment as Mr Blofeld. I'm obviously a fan and part of a facebook group trying to connect all Blofeld's in the UK. I haven't found the connection yet between me and Earnst Stavros! will keep looking though. Though having just come back from the fling i certainly would never entertain a hundred (well not today anyway) I'm sure you'll do well and plan meticulously for it