Every Christmas, Helen and I spend a few days with our families in and around Liverpool and Manchester. For the past few years, I’ve also just started training for a Spring marathon at this time, and have to lead a double life; as well faking neurotypical gregariousness and playing at being an Uncle and an in-law, I’m also getting up early and putting the miles in. It’s a strange lonely sort of ritual. It doesn’t seem to afford the same sort of comfort as running at home, perhaps because after each run I’m returning to someone else’s house where I’m living out of a bag and where my post-run protein comes in someone else’s crockery.
The disrupted weather this Christmas has led to some odd runs. I have no idea what to wear, and have donned a windproof jacket for a sixteen-mile run only to wish I could discard it after ten minutes. And this week, I set out two hours before sunrise in 50 mile per hour gusts in a single flimsy layer and didn’t feel the need for any more because the gales were so unsettlingly warm.
It’s not just the weather that’s been odd and unfamiliar. This five-days-a-week regime continues to surprise me. Not only are my muscles that aren’t having time to recover, but my skin as well, and I’ve experiencing chafing at far shorter distances than in my usual regime. I continue to feel tired and sluggish when running, but oddly the day after that treacly sixteen-miler, I zipped through another eight at what would be a respectable race pace. I have no idea why.
My calves and quads are still sore, and both my achilles tendons are aching although so far this feels like a sustainable discomfort and not an injury in the making. I’m daring to hope that because I’m fitter and stronger than the last time I attempted to run so frequently, I’m correspondingly less injury-prone.
After the Doctor Who Christmas special went out, I placed a reminder on social media that its writer, Steven Moffat, had supported me and I was gratified by the number of donations which came in on Christmas and Boxing Days. In the new year, I’ll be making more targeted appeals and also approaching donors directly. We’re not far off £3000 now and I still believe we’ll get to £5000.
I’ve run my last miles of 2015. Tomorrow will be the year I turn fifty, and the year I run an ultramarathon. Both occasions have been occupying my thoughts for years but are hurtling towards me now.
Money Raised: £2,753.77
Money to Raise: £2,246.23
Miles run: 132
Miles to run: 832
Sponsor me here: www.justgiving.com/wavenode