Running makes you stupid. Well OK to be fair that might not be quite true, there are a lot of people out there who run and though they have quite a bit in common, it might be a stretch to call them all stupid. Perhaps I should have said that running makes me stupid. Again on reflection that might not be totally accurate, it’s possible that I always was stupid, and that running has given me the opportunity to highlight that stupidity in new and spectacularly impressive ways.
Certainly there is a look of puzzled horror I have come to expect on occasion when describing some of my regular weekend activities to people who have not been afflicted with running. “You’re getting up at what time, to run how far, and there isn’t even a t-shirt, medal or celebrity to greet you?!?” There are also those moments, when the rain has found a chink in your protective gear and is slowly dripping down the back of your neck, while you try to wade at a slightly quicker than walking pace through the mire that was a lovely trail run the week before. The wife is quite sensibly at home in front of the telly with her feet up and a cup of tea questioning your sanity. This kind of stupidity though is nothing and can be countered by pointing out the virtues of exercise and experience. Feeling happy, alive, and full of energy certainly is worth the trade off of a few early wet runs. As is the glimpse of deer on a trail or the view across this rolling green and pleasant land. My running has taken me to some magical places I doubt I would have ever seen otherwise. No the kind of stupid I am talking about here is the blinkered, short sighted, narrow, lunacy created by the desperate desire to achieve a goal.
If you have read my blog at all regularly you may be aware of 2 things. I quite like the odd marathon, and I would really really really like to run a sub 4. I’d like to go quicker than that but a sub 4 would be a good start. I had, or have what I think is a really sensible plan this year. Less marathons and more proper training. I ran my last one in October and since then have spent a lot of time on track focusing on pace and 10k’s. I was certainly getting quicker, and actually having some fun waiting for my marathon training plan to kick in at the end of December. I had noted a slight twinge in my leg. Well I wasn’t going to let that stop me, oh no twinges are just there to remind us to train harder. So in my first week of the plan I stepped up from 4 days training to 5 days and by Christmas day when I came back from my run I was limping. That was that, rested for a week, went back out on New Years day and although I managed 2 x 5k runs ( double Parkrun, there was a drive between each one) I could feel the hamstrings were not pleased with me.
In an attempt to compensate for this small degree of stupidity I went to see a sport physiotherapist and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had only been slightly stupid. The increase in training for pace had exaggerated a twist in my knee caused by a piss poor stance. In short I got injured because I stand like Gumby. I dutifully started doing exercises to correct this at any and every opportunity, much to the wife’s annoyance.
“Why have you got to do that in the supermarket? You look stupid.”
“Yes dear I am a runner it goes with the territory have you not seen my Lycra collection?”
Satisfied I was once again doing the right thing I went back to training. I didn’t stick to the plan though, swayed by friends I went back to run with them and everything would have been fine except…..
Come the long slow run on Sunday I had a cold, ditching the 10 miles at 10minutes a mile on my plan I joined friends for 13, and feeling good to start off with happily pootled along at around 9:30’s. Well unsurprisingly that didn’t last long, I sniffed and shuffled my way round but by the end I was dead(ish) barely doing 11 mins for the last mile. Home to bed for 3 days.
Yup I am a runner and my desperation to do enough training to reach my goals makes me too stupid to listen when my body says stop!