Good morning and a very happy Bank Holiday Monday to all my fellow C25Kers. No need to rush before work today so I can take my time and relax a bit as I write this!
It was my own fault really, I acknowledge that. You see, dearest reader, I decided to go a different way today; it's a similar route to one I've used a few times before, only it goes up a long, gradual steep hill. I chose this today, mainly to avoid the other direction. Being a Bank Holiday, and it being a major route, there will have been quite a few people/revellers about and on their way home; I wanted a quiet run. I've done this route before so I know I can do it. Only today I deviate slightly; instead of going up the main road, I opt to cut through a park. It too has a huuuuuuge steep hill, only it's long and straight and almost totally vertical; the road option is a bit bendy, levels out a bit and though while not great, isn't as bad.
For reasons inexplicable I choose the park. Why? I know not. Don't ask, for I don't know. It started off as normal, the day: the usual breakfast, the Fitmo Special, as it's come to be known, thanks to Mousey for the excellent name for it, after a little lie-in. (Getting up at 0401 as opposed to 0339; it is a Bank Holiday after all, doncha know?!) All good so far.*deep Russian accent* eeees no proooblyeeem. Warm-up walk goes well. Still all well and good.
It's important to note that upon commencing the warm-up walk, immediately Julie is with me. You and Julie, you and Julie.......... Wayhey! So, onward. Time to start running now. I'm already on my way up the hill. I should have just carried on straight up the hill know so well. I don't, I turn left, head to the park and tackle the big one. Well, what a mistake that was. Half way up the warning lights come on. The buzzers sound. Despite trying to maintain speed I feel myself slowing a bit. It's okay, it's a bloody steep one this, don't panic. Turn right here, you're nearly up it! Each bench I pass I want to collapse onto it, wheezing ungracefully. Time to turn right and I see I'd severely underestimated this damn thing. It opens out to a huuuuge slope up. I've come so far but my breathing is all over and this is a great big struggle. All I have to do is continue and eventually it levels and then goes downhill, but that's a way off yet; this really is insurmountable. I've made a catastrophic error and I know it. I've ran down this thing before, but never up it. Nevers.
I need to make a decision because if I try and carry on I'll just collapse onto the grass and weep; I doubt I'd stop weeping once started. A passing dog walker would likely ring for an ambulance and the special doctors. I throttle forward to provide momentum, bank the wings to the right, turn round and descend. The view is spectacular and shows just how far I've ascended but I can't go on; my legs felt heavier than they ever have before, heavier than a Tesco Extra with a fire station on top of it. I start to rapidly descend but watch my speed. I take many a glug of water down and already I feel myself getting annoyed. At what, I don't yet know: attempting that in the first place or not seeing it through. A mixture of both, I think. No time for that now though; I need to decide what to do. I'd already considered this possibility (always have a Plan B!) and I have two options. Well, three:
A: continue down the hill and go in the opposite direction on the flat.
B: exit the park and go up the hill on the road, carrying on the same route.
C: call it a day, go home, be miserable and get annoyed at myself.
I'm still running downhill now as I weigh the options up. The easiest option, C, is the easiest. Easy option is easy. But unthinkable. I don't think things are quite THAT bad. Yet. That's a no-go. For now. Option A: the flat. There would be a hill eventually but not right at the start of the bloody run! Option B, back up the hill, on the road. Utter stupidity.
Option B it is. The Brain Dialogue warning light illuminates as I programme the new route into the auto-pilot. "You foolish buffoon, what the hell are you thinking?! Stay on the flat!"
"But that's failing, surely?"
"No. Collapsing and waking up in hospital is failing. Taking the easier option, given how you feel and the time remaining, is not a failure."
"I'm going up the hill."
"FFS. Do what the hell you like. Auto-pilot on."
And on I go, up the hill. I feel a bit better now but it's still not easy. The annoyance grows. It's okay turning around now, in training, but if that were a race, I can hardly about-turn, can I?! But then, most races, unless some sort of endurance/adventure thing, wouldn't start you out on a sod-off gargantuan hill like that anyway. But there's nowt I can do about it now. Onward.
I actually get to the top easier than I thought I would; it's really not as severe as the other one. It's hard work, mind, but not quite that bad. Soon enough it's time to descend but sadly the huge hill has set the tone for the rest of the run and it's not easy. Descent done and onto the flat now. On I go. Onward. We reach twenty-six minutes,eventually, and I've settled a bit but this is definitely an 'off-run'. I wonder why. Mondays tend to be and I firmly believe it's a weekend of inactivity that's responsible; it's always a struggle getting back into it. Perhaps I should have done the Parkrun after all.
You see, my dear reader (thank you for sticking with it!) I should have listened to my body. On Saturday afternoon/evening when I returned for the cinema, the rain was pouring and my body was craving a little run. I was going to go for an easy thirteen minute run, but decided to err on the side of caution and not do so. The same yesterday morning: it wasn't that I thought I should go for a run: more my body was yearning for it. I ignored it. I think, looking back now, it was the body's way of keeping a bit of activity ticking over. Ah well, lesson learnt.
Finally, the thirty minutes are up. I wouldn't say I'd settled into it, but things aren't as bad as they were at the start and I'm glad I didn't give up. Part of me feels I'd failed by not continuing up the hill, but I didn't stop and managed the full thirty minutes. I actually continued for a further three; partly because I (surprisingly) had a bit of energy left (!) and because I wanted to 'make up' for my ineffectual hill ability earlier. 33 minutes up I go to walking, with jelly legs and very short of breath.
That was really tough; the toughest yet, I'd say. On Wednesday I won't tackle a hill straight-off like that! I ran for the full 30 minutes and feel happy about that. It's easy to concentrate on the negatives but there are plenty of positives too. I normally tell anyone here who has a 'bad' run or struggles that they did well, yet here I am looking at the downsides myself. *slaps wrist* I did well, all things considered, but I tell you one thing (I'm addressing that bloody great hill here) I'm coming back for you. I will, *****WILL***** get up that thing. It might not be next week, or the week after and it certainly won't be Wednesday, but I am getting up it at some stage. If it's the last thing I do. Which in all possibility, it might be!
Lessons learnt today:
Leave the huge hills until sufficiently warmed-up. And not on a Monday morning.
If one's body is craving and yearning a short run on a rest day, do it. Not just the brain thinking a run may be a good idea, but a physical need for it. It's craving it for a reason. An easy, thirteen minute run might have avoided that calamity today.
Things are never as bad as they seem at the time. Sure, it wasn't great,but not a disaster by any means. Part of me feels like a BIG TOOL (sorry, I really couldn't help it! ) for not pushing on up the hill, but I did manage the other hill, so it's not quite so bad.
Even after a setback, success is possible: keep running, always!
So, onward to W9R2. Today was very tough but it's complete now. It wasn't a Did Not Finish (DNF) but perhaps a Could Do Better (CDB) but more likely a case of Idiotic Route Planning. (IRP) W9R1 complete and did I ever earn that delicious, delicious, tasty, refreshing CRM afterwards!
Good luck to you all out running today. Good luck to my fellow Niners: ONWARD! It looks like a hot one today, at least here, anyway; I did bemoan the lack of rain to myself this morning. If you're resting or injured, rest easy. But as ever, happy running, always.