Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Long Distance Running.

                            Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon Completed. 

That is a massive statement and something I am very proud to have achieved. This was my second half marathon to go with my one Marathon, so that's 3 long distance race's I have completed, again I'm very proud of each of these achievements because it takes something very special inside someone to train for these events. But.......... I have finished each of these races with serious calf problems. I spent the majority of 2013 recovering from the Marathon and I have sought and received medical advice. I have a sports massage as I need or when I can afford to have one so the preventative side is in place and I have been running injury free for at least 8 months now so I am clearly looking after myself and able to enjoy injury free running.

So I was talked/encouraged to enter this half marathon, when it was mentioned I spoke of reason's why I had not entered and whilst talking I realized that I had a choice, I could enter and see what will happen or do nothing maybe never know or even worse enter a marathon start training for that and then breaking down in training or the race itself. In that respect I was confident I would complete the race. I had a slow time target of 2:45:00 so I was under no pressure to do anything other that run the first part of the race, enjoy myself then settle down to run/walk the rest to get home in one piece and be able to say I can do that distance again.

So let me run you through the race Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon . All was good up to the 5 mile mark then we turned into the wind to go back so this was a natural slowing down up until mile 6 then I get the bubbles going up and down my legs (lactic acid I believe) this is the warning sign that things are now going to be bad. I take a deep breath and run/walk straight away slow everything down just like in training and I will be ok wrong. Yet again in a long distance race situation the calf's give up on me completely the despair at this point with 7 miles still to go is all consuming. I have a good hour and a half by myself with my thoughts this is not a good place to be trust me, I know I will finish that is not in the equation at all I just have to march hard looking after my calf's making sure they do not cramp out that is the easy part.

The hard part is in my head battling away with the demons making sense of what is happening, coping with the huge disappointment I am feeling and also coping with the fact that the enjoyment of the day has evaporated, this is now not fun. I have to cope with the fact that I can now only walk, that people who are out and about can see me with my race number walking. You cannot tell that I'm injured (a few times I pulled up with cramp but not many). I also hobbled/run the last couple of hundred yards why? I don't know. I know it's stupid and I always tell others not to worry what other people think, but there you go. I am gutted that a part of my body is not nor will not do what I require of it. This is not a knee jerk reaction this is a result of a lot of hard work to repair and heal the one thing I have given is time and plenty of it.

So it is with regret and a great deal of sadness that I will no longer enter long distance running races. The longest race I will enter is the Great South Run at 10 miles. I will concentrate on the positives and will look to improve my 10K times to chase the dream of being able to run the distance comfortably, and to also chase the 5K dream of a sub 30 minute run. Time will tell if both of these goals are achievable. If they are both achievable it may take a long time to achieve but I will have a lot of fun and enjoyment trying to get there. I also have my little Duathlon Series this year the plan will be to go one better than last year and finish all 3 races uninjured.

I have two great stand alone cycling challenges this year the Cuba Cycle Challenge which also happens to be in the middle of Duathlon 2 and 3 so a bit of warm weather training then. I have also signed up to do the iconic London to Brighton Cycle Ride in May. Any plans I have during the year for endurance training will be done on the bike as this allows me to push myself without having the impact on my legs which means I will stay fitter have less injuries and as I said already enjoy myself which is the most important thing.

I also plan to volunteer for the longer races in Portsmouth, being towards the back of the field I appreciate the efforts of all the marshalls who give up there time for free so that these races can go ahead. I love to be able to give something back to encourage people who are making a tremendous effort and also see the front runners effortlessly running something I normally miss. I feel a little defeated for making this decision but I'm making it for the right thought out reasons. So as one door closes more than one invariably opens up. New opportunity's and challenges will come my way I await them with open arms as I say goodbye to half and full marathons and cherish the marvelous memories of the London Marathon, Brighton Half Marathon, and the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon.


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