It has taken me a long time to write anything. In the past it felt easy, there were things going on in the running world, I was running consistently and training well. At the end of September 2019 I completed the Berlin marathon, achieving my sub 3:30 goal that had been written on my chalk board for months prior, wrote a blog about my experience but couldn’t bring myself to publish it. You might ask yourself why?
Put simply, it was because I couldn’t bring myself to close that chapter of my running journey, I had invested five tough months building myself up after the London marathon and then just like that it was over. I don’t think I have ever invested so much time and effort into one event and I wasn’t ready for the emotional and mental fall out of crossing the finish line.
Post Berlin, I struggled mentally with running. I clocked a few runs here and there but nothing of substance. It became almost a chore and I hadn’t felt that feeling in a very long time. I finished 2019 with a solid month as I tackled running 100 miles (I averaged 50 miles for the previous two months!) and tried to force a routine by completing a Joe Wicks HIIT workout everyday. It did kind of work. I drew a big line under 2019 and decided that 2020 had to be different. I couldn’t keep running with the sole purpose of chasing times, over the last few years running had become so much more than “how fast can I run X”. I had lost that a bit and the fear of failure weighed heavily on my mind at times. I have always been very open and honest about my running goals through social media and that added pressure to “not fail” had to change.
I did take the new approach of “New Year, New Me”, in the sense of reminding myself that running isn’t all about times but memories as well. Don’t get me wrong, I want chase personal bests but on my terms.
2020 – We go again
I had high hopes for 2020, my first international marathon in Chicago, more parkrun tourism and tackling some new personal challenges. I ran a half marathon at Prestwold Hall in February and it went well, I clocked 1:36 and I had a great time in the process. Everything was going well until the word COVID19 started becoming a very common phrase on the news.
Suddenly the world started to stop. Country by country started entering a lockdown.
It was bizarre seeing people moaning and complaining about races being cancelled. We have to remember at the end of the day; people were dying at a pretty alarming rate. I did feel sorry for people who had been training for their first events for them to be cancelled. No training is ever wasted though, it may have been tough to take but you invested in yourself and that is the best sort of investment you can make.
Who had heard of furlough before 2020? I hadn’t. I was furloughed from work. I tried not to take it personally as I understood the business was just trying to protect itself. I had a choice, stew or grow. I chose the latter. I have never been able to run everyday, I managed 16 days before, but I decided this was my goal throughout my furlough period. It would keep me active, focused and it’s something new for me. Nice to challenge yourself.
50 Consecutive 10kms
What started out as running everyday, then turned into 10km a day throughout April. Game on. It was bloody difficult. My body struggled from day 10 to day 13/14 as the huge uplift in miles started to hit me. As I tell my son a lot….
“You can’t just give up when things get a bit difficult, you have to dig deep and push on and remind yourself, you can do it.“
I knew if I just kept listening to the legs and it wasn’t about time, I would get each 10km done. It became more mentally challenging than physical towards the end but I got to the end of April and decided to kick on. Let’s get 50 done. The final 10km was awful, it was hot, the legs were tired and I just wanted to finish. It showed me though that when I’m physically tired that my own mental strength can/will carry me across the line.
I have now almost completed 70 consecutive days of running as I write this. I am back on the training plan with my coach Sam at Head Start Coaching. I am feeling positive about my running and I have resigned myself to the fact Chicago may not go a head. I am ok with that.
I will continue to work hard and what will be will be with regards racing this year.
Its been a while since I updated this, hopefully it wont be so long next time.