Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Long Haul - 15 Weeks To Go

I’d like to say I’m fighting fit. In truth, I’m fighting to fit training in. Other things are being sidelined - piano, social correspondence, bothering to iron work shirts. Keeping to the training targets comes first. I feel the benefit of the runs, especially the brace of long ones each weekend, and my mind is more still afterwards, but this isn’t honestly an enjoyable kind of running. This five-times-a-week repeated punishment gives me no time to recover and run with fresh muscles. Each individual performance feels as much of a struggle as the sort of training I used to run five years ago before I became fitter. I can feel repetitive stress injuries, quite literally, nipping at my ankles as I run. Each time, I pledge to stretch and use the foam roller more and more. And after each time, I don’t because there just isn’t enough time. Look at how often I’m using the word “time". It’s the miracle ingredient I crave.
What’s does this feel like? It’s like suddenly running with a passenger. There’s more effort and less result. These are each individually disappointing runs. Only taken as a series, ninety runs, five a week over eighteen weeks, does the achievement emerge. Each week the achievement is still being on my feet and just about uninjured at the end of the fifth run. It’s degrading my other activities too - yoga’s harder and on Saturday afternoon as I scaled tenement staircase after tenement staircase in the cause of activism, my calves and quads were screaming at me to stop.
I’ve worked out a way of fitting this in around Christmas obligations. Christmas can be a challenging time for an Aspie. There are lots of overlaid sensory and social landscapes and the temptation is to curl into a ball and wait it out. But I’ll have some solitary meditative space as I go out and train. I love running on Christmas morning, and finding a return to the childhood thrill of being first up and discovering what has been left for me.
I must record the strange weather this December. At this time of year my usual running enemies are cold exposed skin and feet sliding around on ice. But this year, I’m facing high-speed gusts of warm wind. Wind is the enemy of runners seeking target paces, but for the next fifteen weeks, they’re not what I’m looking for. I’m looking for stamina, and the ability to keep running when I’m exhausted. These are perfect conditions, then - a 45mph head-on gust can make even running on fresh legs feels as though one’s entering the fifth hour. 
I’ve rediscovered the dawn this week, twice setting out before sunrise. At this extreme of the year, the return of daylight each morning is to be celebrated and there is no better way than to be out in it, ideally running south-east into the new day.
And soon, into the new year.

Money Raised: £2,445.77
Money to Raise: £2,554.23
Miles run: 86
Miles to run: 878
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