Ten weeks of Lydiard aerobic conditioning is similar to getting increasingly difficult hands dealt in poker with your only advantage being an ever larger stack of chips to play.
On a high from the constant progression, I vowed not get carried away entering the midway point, week 5, another procession could not turn into a stumbling block.
Small challenges have reared their ugly little heads during the first four weeks, sore shins here, sparkles of pain from my old metatarsal tip injury. All where quickly quelled by my shock troopers: Aggressive icing, 1 Nurofen and plenty of stretch. All disappeared within a day, leading me to think the old injuries just wanted to ensure I did not forget the lessons they taught me.
This week started differently, due to work commitments, I knew I could not get all my runs in during the mornings, meaning difficult runs in the dark would be necessary on at least some days.
To make matters worse, I had a heaven-to-hell experience as I first hammered home my longest and fastest run yet on Sunday. Barely had I time to savour the relief of this continued sign of optimal training before my left upper ankle almost locked – swollen and sore. “Here we go”, I thought, and braced myself for a difficult injury. Yet I brought out my fighting men again: Ice, 1 Nurofen, stretch. Behind these shock troopers my main fighting force always lurks – try to get 9 hours sleep as often as possible, eat well, and look after yourself the first hour after training like you the Sun King.
Voila, like out of nowhere the soreness was gone. Now I realised that my recently purchased LunarElites still needed to be softened up a bit. Two very bad blisters gave me trouble on Monday and Tuesday, when I finally looked at my little toe Wednesday evening the white bubble on top and below the toe were bigger than the joint itself! One sterilised needle later, the problem looked sorted and my runs again more comfortable.
Thursday saw a busy day: Straight from work to spinal rehab at Medfit, then an hour’s functional strength training to learn my new program before I blasted a one-hour fartlek through the streets of Blackrock. Amazing how the fast streets of Dublin seem to give you a free 5 to 10 seconds compared to the rougher running down in Glendalough. Yet, looking at the noise, the cars, and the monotony of the big city, I longed for my quiet country roads and rejoiced again at my decision to leave the capital. It’s a bit like the sad feeling of ending some relationship by looking at your partner and wondering what you saw in them in the first place?
The LunarElite has become my most trusted shoe over the last year both for its comfort and light weight but also its’ old school design. It’s a simple flat rubber sole under a shoe with no correction. It takes a few weeks to get them snug, but after that they are perfect. Designed as a long distance racing shoe, it fulfils all the needs of a reasonably lightweight front-foot striker like myself and I got a good deal from Mark at Sub4 (always a pleasure to do business with you Mark!).
With my latest purchase I have three pairs of LunarElites to rotate. I have given up on all other shoes except the specialised racers (LunarRacer and DS Racers), my spikes and my fell-running shoes. To fill the latter niche I purchased a pair of Inov-8 190s which I am yet to test as I am still staying religiously on the (relative) flats down here in the valley.
Five days are behind me, speed and duration for the week have again increased and with only tomorrow’s easy jog and the fast and fun Out and Back awaiting Saturday, I can very nearly tick the “success” box for another week. The most difficult yet, particularly the first medium-long run where I had to run the last hour in pitch darkness with head torch interrupting both my speed and my flow.
Two days from half-way and still going strong…