I’m in a bit of a slump. My marathon training starts on 28th December, and until then I’m just running. I’ve never done ‘just running’ before. I ran on Tuesday morning; a local route down the nearest main road, round town and back again. It’s downhill all the way out and uphill all the way home, and I allowed myself to be defeated by the final hill, so I stopped and turned my garmin off. As very often happens in those circumstances, I stomped up the hill giving myself a good, old fashioned bollocking. “How are you going to run a bloody marathon if you give up on every bloody hill??” “This is ridiculous. You’re perfectly capable of running this hill. You’re not *that* bloody tired.” “Why are you beating yourself up? You’re supposed to be ‘just running’; this is supposed to be fun. You’re never going to get through marathon training if you beat yourself up like this every time it’s not perfect.”
My inner demons know me well. I got halfway up the hill, accompanied by the cacophony of criticism in my head, before I turned the garmin on again and started running. So that run was 7.31km and then 1.16km. Let’s call it 8.5km in all. 8.5 tired, achy km. My groins hurt, my knees complained and the cacophony didn’t make good company, but I did tackle all but one of the hills with aplomb.
Yesterday morning, I set out for a 10km route into town. It’s become traditional for Mr P to meet me at Sainsburys and so I set off down the country lanes, in the wind. The rain hadn’t started yet and, actually, if you had to run in this weekend of really appalling weather, yesterday early morning was the time to do it. I had my audio book on for company, and kept what I thought was a nice, slow pace all the way round. I cut a couple of km off my planned route in acknowledgment that I am tired, and ended up running a solid 10.5km. It was hard work; I think I may have a virus of some kind, and at times my breathing almost competed with the narrator in my ears. But I like running with audio books, and I was able to lose myself in the story and keep focussed and it was OK. 10.54km in 1:11:00 – so actually, not all that slow either.
I am learning how to read my heart rate monitor. It’s in my Fitbit, and it’s quite new. I had a resting heart rate of 53-54 for the first couple of weeks, but this last week it’s rocketed up to 56-58. I reckon that, combined with a real sense of lassitude and a healthy dose of snot, adds up to a virus, although I really don’t feel *ill* at all. I’m not used to illness combined with fitness, but I reckon this might be it. So I’m not pushing myself; I’m just running.