It is safe to say I’ve been rather remiss with the blog posts lately. I keep planning to write something then think ‘meh, I’ll just not bother’. It is so much easier to write something when everything is just ticking along nicely and working out as planned. So that’ll give you a clue as to why I’ve not written anything of late….
Running was going pretty well in January and February. I did two 10K races which I really enjoyed, and I was pretty pleased with my times. I had a bit of a hamstring niggle, but it wasn’t too bad. I also had a great weekend back in Scotland, catching up with pals and generally just relaxing and enjoying myself. I had a good PT sesh when I got back, and managed to lift 80KG deadlift, my best to date, so I was over the moon with that. However, the shit hit the fan the day after when I started to come down with a cold. Long story short, I seemed to pick up chest infection and for about three weeks was hacking up loads of gunk in good fashion (you’re welcome. I like to share). So that put the kibosh on the running. I got back into it on the third week, but was struggling with only 2.5 mile runs, so opted for a couple of 4 miles walks that week instead of running. The following week I was getting up to 5 miles, and managed a three runs, but I was supposed to be doing midweek runs of up to 9 miles, and 16 on the weekend – I was nowhere near this. I don’t know what it is about marathon training – I can manage the half marathon distance okay (I was up to 12 miles pre-infection, slow but steady), but anything over 15ish fills me with dread at the best of times, and more so when I seem to be struggling with 5 miles.
Last year’s shocking marathon as part of The Outlaw triathlon had been praying on my mind a lot. I totally died on my arse that day, and I cringe to think of how awful i was. Yeah, it was a hot day, but every other person faced exactly the same conditions, so that is really no excuse. I have to admit my training for that race wasn’t as consistent as this year’s training, but still. So when I woke up at 2am last Saturday courtesy of a slamming door in the block of flats I live in, then spent the next 4 hours wide awake stressing about Big Sur, I knew I had a tough decision to make, because (sadly), the marathon just isn’t going to run itself (goddamnit!)
I really want to be this idealised marathon runner I picture in my head. I want to feel the glory of reaching the end of a 26.2 mile race, and feeling really proud of what I’ve achieved. I completed two marathons so far, but I can’t honestly say I am particularly proud of either of them, because I could have done so much better. So the thought of travelling half way round the world to maybe not make the cut-off for this race was weighing heavily on my mind. For most people, 6 hours to run a marathon is MORE than enough, but I’ve yet to break that time barrier. So (cue drum roll….you know what is coming)…… I’ve decided to pull out. I know I’m giving up without trying, but quite honestly, I can live with that. What I can’t live with is going on an expensive holiday, that I can’t actually afford at the moment, and maybe not achieving my goal. I’m paying off debts, and don’t want to add to them, so I’ve cancelled my flight, got the tax back, and cancelled my annual leave. I’ve lost some flight money that I paid for last year, but I’ll not be adding to my credit card, so I can live with that.
While I was trying to decide what to do, I was wondering ‘what will everyone think if I just give up?!’, but then I realised that actually, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I know some folk will think I should have just ‘manned up’ and kept going, but honestly I just didn’t want to, and truth be told, I feel like this is such a massive weight off my mind. When I’ve been doing my gym sessions lately, I have really, really loved them. I’ve seen good progress there, and I don’t dread the sessions that are planned. In fact now I can’t wait to be able to get back to my three sessions a week, which I often sacrificed in lieu of getting the desired runs in. I’m still running, but without any pressure. I’ve lost some weight this year, and I’m looking forward to losing more, through eating better, but also through my gym work. I could beat myself up about not trying, but I’m not going to. I’m feeling pretty happy, and looking forward to lifting heavier weights and feeling the burn from a good gym sesh.
I’m pretty bad for making decisions based on what I WISH I could do, rather than what I actually CAN do. That’s not to say I don’t want to push myself, but I need to make sure I push myself in the right direction. I have a habit of thinking about some amazing end goal, like running across the finish line of a marathon, arms in the air, triumphant and victorious. The problem is I sort of ignore the path that will take me to that goal (i.e all the endless hours of training), just thinking I’ll figure it out as I go, because I’m bound to get there in the end, right? Well, maybe. Until I got that chest infection, training was going okay, but I would be lying if I said I was enjoying it. In truth, being ill gave me to reason to be more honest with myself that I may not have otherwise have been. I was sick of the training about 6 weeks ago, but felt as though I had no feasible reason to stop. I’m surrounded by fit friends who run marathons every weekend, bash out a few Ironman races here and there, and just generally get on with it. I would love to be like that, but I’m not. Not at the moment anyway. Weight loss is happening, if slowly, and who knows what I’ll want to do (or what I will be capable of) when I reach my goal weight, but right now I’m more suited to lifting heavy stuff, so I’m going to stick with it. My sub-5:30 marathon goal for this year might be out the window, but my 100kg deadlift and weight loss goals are still well within reach, so I’m going to focus on those 🙂