So Mr Muddy Masochist where the hell have you been? You may have been asking. There you were blogging along with regular weekly mileage reports then pppffhhhhh – nothing – not a peep for the best part of a month.
I am still here and I am still running – just (as we all do) been through a bit of a slump.
It all started at the beginning of December – The Human Race Winter Trail running and Duathlon series is in full swing, and I made the ambitious decision to take on my first duathlon in the middle of the early stages of my marathon training. No problem (I think), I regularly cycle to and from work, and I easily cover more than the 9 miles this event requires on a bike – heck, in May I covered around 70 in one day.
48 hours earlier I am on an evening training run; it had been tough at the start but with half a mile to go my pace felt good, my breathing is easy and I feel in good form for the weekends running event, I get overexcited, I up my pace, I feel like I am flying – actually, I AM FLYING – in my excitement I have clipped a wall with my foot and expertly launched myself towards the starry heavens, only to be painfully reminded that humans cannot actually fly and slide as gracefully as a brick out of the air and along the pavement, a move which precedes the application of iodine and a trip to Sports Direct for some new running tights.
Back to event day, I’ve picked up my bike from the hire place and given it a ride – immediately I realise that riding a mountain bike, over off-road terrain, is very different from riding a hybrid on the roads. But I am confident I can handle the challenge. At the starting line I fire up my Garmin, only to discover that the battery is flat – doh! But not to worry, I am sure I can gauge my pace mentally.
A Quarter of a mile after the start and I nearly roll my ankle on a large, loose rock. Half a mile in I hit the water hazard with my usual gusto and accept that the next 2 hours are going to involve wet feet. 4 miles and 6 hills later I have already had 3 separate conversations about the toughness of the route and the prospect that this thing may just beat me.
Finally, I hit transition one, no idea what time I have run and I cannot see Kate. But there are still quite a few bikes in the transition area. The next 9 miles are relentless and (frequently) death-defying. Again, I have multiple conversations about this being too tough for me to handle and I am beginning to have mini-bone breaking-nightmares about the final 5 mile run.
At transition two, I see Kate. I have been going for 2 hours. Man, I expected to be done in 2.5 and there is no way I can do this now. I am tired, wet, cold, hungry, and hell do I need to pee. I change back into my wet running shoes; I look at the transition exit and walk in the complete opposite direction. I never exit transition two, I quit.
Quitting is hard for me. I never quit. Battered from my earlier tumble and bruised from the bike ride I lose my motivation to run and get a serious case of Couch Potato Syndrome, about 7 days of it.
Like a Victorian remedy to Tuberculosis, the only thing that can cure CPS is fresh air and exercise – thankfully the following weekend Kate and I were going to Breacon and a 12 mile run between Tallybont and Breacon allowed me to get into my headspace and clear out all the negativity.
14 days after my failed duathlon attempt I set a new PB at my local ParkRun and even manage a sub 7 minute mile, followed by a reasonably pacey 12 mile run on the Sunday, which gets me back on form and almost on track with my marathon plan – which is perfect. If only it wasn’t Christmas.