Sunday, January 31, 2016

Streaking In The Snow - Nine Weeks To Go

I've bought this, the trail version of my
usual running shoe. It's unmistakably
more stable in the snow, ice and mud
that my routes have turned into
this flooded winter.
As I approach half-way through my eighteen weeks’ training, I haven’t yet skipped any of my five training runs a week. I’d thought that I might start to drop one of the midweek three, but I’ve managed to keep it up. This, dangerously, means that I’m on a streak and that I’ll be compelled to try and sustain this for the remaining nine weeks. It’s dangerous because it will drive me to run when perhaps I shouldn’t, either because I’ve acquired sustained stress injuries or because I’m overtraining.
It’s overtraining that I’m most attuned to. It happened last year when I tried to train for a marathon while keeping up a relatively-new gym regime at the same time. I wasn’t getting enough recovery and my gym performance collapsed, while I developed acute mood swings and sinusitis. The only thing you can do is ease off and sit it out, which is the last thing an Aspie with a plan wants to do. But I did it. I rested completely for a week, and parked the gym until after the marathon. I recovered and ran a personal best.
I could feel the overtraining symptoms circling me last weekend. I didn’t want to go out and run. My yoga class just reminded me of what a comprehensive set of parts of me hurt. The winter blues made me shut down when the short day ended. I was in an icy mood, no fun to be near, no fun to be married to. I woke on Monday feeling there was no point in carrying on with anything. The black dog was back.
During Monday, something shifted. I felt better by the evening, opened up to Helen about how I’d been feeling, embraced my gym and yoga classes and got back on with things.
Work has been eventful this week. Sometimes my job is nine to five and involves writing things and having meetings. This week was a return to my engineering roots, as my team performed an intense hands-on change to our clients’ IT systems. I rose at five on Tuesday to be at my desk for six-thirty, and later ran nine miles home. The following morning, I rose at five again and ran another nine miles to work to be at my desk for eight.
It’s fascinating how different those two runs were. The run home after a long day’s work was a real strain, with only a vivid winter sunset to inspire me. I still can’t shift the habit of trying to stick to a pace and find anything below ten minute miles shameful, and it was an effort even to sustain that. I wanted to be home and warm and not have to cook dinner myself. Two out of three were achieved.
But the following day, rising at five, I felt less stiff, less tired and as though I was on top of the run instead of fighting it. It was dark cold and quiet, and in Edinburgh in January at six in the morning I owned the city – the pavements were quiet and the off-road paths were empty. The day didn’t dawn while I ran and I seemed to be dream running in a night garden that would stay like this for ever.
Beauty appears at the oddest, least expected times.

Money Raised: £3,025.76
Money to Raise: £1,974.24
Miles run: 366
Miles to run: 588
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