It’s been a strange few weeks since the marathon. Running 2:55 in those roasting conditions eventually left me feeling I had a great springboard for really turning it up a few competitive levels over the coming years. The speed of my return to from, from “oh” to “whoa”, in the months January to May almost left me unprepared in terms of planning the next steps.
The first ten days after the race I revelled in being able to do whatever I wanted, something I’d promised myself to do and I threw myself at other activities. With Tony and Ben arriving for our workshop tomorrow, there has been plenty of preparation to do, easily 30-40 hours of graft over the last few weeks and that in addition to work, which is quite busy as always.
I am finding it difficult to “kick back into my athletic lifestyle” but hope that Ben and Tony’s visit will serve as a catalyst, it certainly ignited something primal the last time they were here and I’m sure it will again. Once someone forces you to run bare foot up up a rocky trail with your eyes closed and you can do it, you start to realise just how bound and trapped we are by the limitations we set for ourselves. Herb Elliott set the only standard I truly think is sufficient to sate the hunger of an athlete: win races, break records and retire knowing no one could beat you. Everything else is just an inch short of perfect. But keeping the fire burning endlessly to pursue such aspirations can be as great a challenge as keeping physically fit and injury free.
One piece of advice I will take to heart from Aoife is to spend no time on any side-projects next week except the most important one: my own running. This seems like the sort of simple erudite solution leaving no room for failure and thus I think I’ll have to adopt it. Snowdon awaits only 5 weeks away. I am ill-prepared and in hindsight, it may perhaps have been the wrong target to shoot for this year. Yet, I returned and surpassed my previous best in just a few more weeks earlier this year, so while I feel a bit “side-lined” just these last five or six days, I know it may take only one or two days of strong running before I feel fully competitive. A few hill-focused weeks should do the rest.
On another positive note, the body is improving. The massive blister under my big toe joint caused by my old ASICS DS Racers in the marathon grew together too rigid and the skin broke in a nasty-looking open tear which has been difficult to walk on. But it’s now healing properly and will hopefully give me no more trouble.
Anyway, best get in a few drills so I am not completely out of practice when the lads arrive, we have a busy weekend ahead with a full-on schedule from morning to evening, so rest will be limited. On the plus side it’ll be exciting and I plan to take at least 2 hours “off” to watch Denmark-Holland. Only issue is of course what it will do to my blood pressure!