It’s been some landing since returning from our honeymoon on Sunday 21st. You’re always going to feel a bit “flat” after a wedding and an adventure when returning to “normal” life. Thankfully, my life is not too normal yet my calendar planning could have been better – I returned to work 13 days in a row and only yesterday could we finally settle down.
Thankfully, work does not have to mean dull as the “Run injury free” weekend the weekend before this proved yet again. Tony Riddle was back and this weekend was really insightful. Tony stays in our house when he is here and Saturday morning was spent with him fine-tuning our running technique. After the first day we worked out mountain running technique during a run up the Spink. I had some real breakthroughs this time: working on my posture on extreme uphills and downhills and getting my “intellectual mind” to settle down while running. “There are moments of brilliance,” Tony told me, “but then sometimes something sneaks in.”
The Power of Hills
So the weekend featured a double-refresher: we had three previous attendees back and like me they were no longer in need of the major overhaul that most runners require when they attend the first time. We were in detail-territory. Sundays extreme hill session emphasized the effect your posture and rhythm has in a way flat simply cannot do. While I was on coaching duty, Tony looked at me and asked “want to have a go?” The temptation was too much, of course, and as I hopped up and down the 15% slope with the 5kg bar over my head, I felt a rush of excitement from the pure power and skill necessary to do the action. “This,” I though, “will unlock a different runner.” I saw evidence of it on our Spink run when my downhill stride felt faster and lighter than it ever has.
Mentally and physically I went into the following week quite exhausted, unfortunately, but bounced back as we drove down to Limerick for the Great Run Expo where we had been scheduled to give three talks. Aoife and I travelled alone to give the rest of the team a bit of a break and my talks got a positive reception and we got the chance to talk to some interesting people in the fitness industry. “Jeff Galloway says he’s seen the barefoot fad come and go five times in his lifetime and that this one too will go,” I said to the audience, “we don’t agree on much but he’s right about one thing – it will disappear if we don’t stop getting distracted by the barefoot debate and start discussing skill and begin to teach the right practices.” The message was simple: “Do you want to spend most of your time crashing your car and going to the mechanic (e.g. physio) or do you want to go and see a driving instructor and stop crashing the car?”
I was nowhere near my mental and physical best on the Saturday so was greatly relieved to be given such positive feedback and hope to repay it when our team hopefully tells an expanded version of “out story” at the Dublin marathon Expo later this year.
Compared to last year’s Dublin Marathon Expo, there is a lot more knowledge and interest out there about the concept of running requiring technical training and the whole philosophy of natural running. We have a lot of work ahead of us and I cannot wait to get started as there is much to achieve – huge foundations need to be put in place brick by brick. With that in mind I promised myself to relax as much as possible on the Sunday. None of our plans and visions will come to fruition if I forget to rest and “sharpen the saw”. As Stephen Covey, author of the “7 habits of highly effective people” puts it “you need to look after your production capability, not just your productivity.”
After the drive home to Glendalough I essentially went into a coma and then woke up feeling human again. Glorious sunshine over Glendalough and a perfect day for an adventure. We knew it had to be open mountain and with Oliver Castle for company, we began intending to do the Six Summits and a Spink route but changed it to a longer route featuring a complete circumnavigation of Camaderry starting and finishing at our house which is nicely situated just at the very tip of the mountain. 27.5km with 916m ascent made for nice going with only the mid-section from Corrib to Turlough Hill being slightly boggy. Aoife and I decided the weekend required another run, so we took the back door to Camaderry on the second day and the fast descent back to the house. A short 9.8km run with 549m ascent. As I descended Camaderry, feeling every bit like a range rover, several ideas for training sessions on the mountain popped into my head. Nothing inspires like Mother Nature.
So we’re back to reality but it’s not so bad and while are eyes are firmly fixed on the future and what we need to do, we try not to forget to enjoy every day as well. On a sunny day in the Wicklow mountains it is not difficult. With “normal life” resumed, and some order, training seems to be becoming more consistent and I may be able to free up enough time to prepare for an event over the summer or Autumn. All I need to do now is pick one!