Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Tough Times Ahead

After the holiday came the relays. With my hamstring pulling it was always going to be touch and go that I’d be able to run but, as regular readers will know, I love taking part in relays so it looked like being good news as I managed to run well enough to make the start line for them both. I knew I wasn’t 100% but I was getting better each day and I thought the short sharp blast might even help me.

If you’ve read my previous blog you’ll know I struggled at Lancaster. Well the following week I travelled to Blackpool for the North of England Relays, slightly longer at 6.6k, but the pain had continued to recede as the week went on so I was confident I could run better than at Lancaster. It was a good start too, the weather couldn’t have been any more of a contrast to the previous week as the sun beamed down on us and the temperatures soared. Understandably I was a little nervous about my leg but went for a warm up to get everything working and check out the course. The warm up did neither, my leg niggled and my confidence ebbed a little, the course was, at best, confusing and I had a less clear picture of where I was running than if I’d not bothered with a  warm up. The race started and Salford A were always up there, Salford B were fighting their corner aiming for National qualification and Salford C, my team, were right in the mix.

I was 3rd leg, taking over from the only man I know who can make fast running look slow, Mike Grace. There were girls aplenty for me to chase, it was like being back at school, but 40 metres into the race I felt a twinge in the leg and hobbled a few steps, I was ok but I had to slow it down, so much that it took me an eternity to pass any of the girls that I’d normally have swept past. In the meantime three other teams had passed me. I never really ran slow but I never really found my stride either, pain was with me all the way, which made it a much harder run for me than it should have been, considering it was only 6.6k and relatively flat.

My leg over it was down to the next three runners to make up the places I’d lost. It was another disappointing run for me. I don’t usually get dejected after races, if I get beaten then it’s usually because those that beat me were better, even so I would have given 100% to try to beat them, but these last two races had seen me unable to give 100% and I felt I was getting slower rather than faster. Irrespective of dejection I’m never down for long but it made me think about what I could do about it.

Decision made I’ve decided to put racing on the back burner until I get full resolution for my problem. I’m comfortable running at around 7 minute mile pace, but faster than that causes a problem, which means I can still run, just not fast. In the meantime I’m trying to build a stronger base by doing some intensive sessions that I’ve created for my more advanced clients. And it’s working, I’m still relatively fit but I also feel much stronger, just need to get rid of the pain and I’ll be back where I want to be.

Despite not being able to achieve much myself, lately, I’ve seen the athletes I advise produce some good times in races, so at least I have the satisfaction of knowing I’ve made a difference somewhere.

With the cross country season looming I’m wondering if I’m going to play any part in it. Luckily, for Salford, we have so many great athletes and particularly in my own age group, that I won’t be missed. It’s more a case of me missing them and cross country. Knowing my luck I’ll probably be declared fit to run the day before Boggart Hole Clough!

Just to cheer myself up here’s a picture from the days I used to be able to run fast and pain free, my leading a 1500m, you may notice some good athletes behind me, though I’m not sure it was for long. With thanks to Ray O’Donaghue.

It was a long time ago when I could run fast but I'd forgotten colour photography was yet to be invented.

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