Thursday, 11 May 2017

Feeling much better

AIt has been almost a week since I withdrew from Spartathlon and it is a real weight lifted from my shoulders. It has not only affected me mentally but also physically. I have started sleeping better with longer periods of deep sleep. I walk taller, no mean feat for a short arse like me. And my weight is better.

Most importantly I have started enjoying running again. I went out three days on the trot. All of them runs around my local lake in Langendreer West, the Umminger See. It was a joy to go out and just run for the sheer pleasure of it. To see everything around me with new eyes instead of obstacles to running fast enough. This time of year the geese are sheparding their goslings, squirrels, red ones, are scampering around and there are masses of people around enjoying the sun.

There was was quite a lot of reaction to my last blog on Facebook. People not quite believing that having gone to Spartathlon for the last five years that I had really quit. Greeks stunned and giving me a chance to reconsider.   That race really does mean a lot to me and it was the hardest decision related to run I have made. I really will miss going. That race deserves respect and a chance to run it. I really could not justify going and spending all that money to fail and for it to turn into a jolly again. Besides I have opened up a place for other people who have more desire than me at the moment. I am so pleased that Tarique is first off the waiting list. After chatting to him in numerous occasions I know he wants it more than me at the moment.

A short word about my beloved Chrissy. She is going to hate this bit, sorry baby, but you expressed it so much better than I did. Those of you that know both of us will have spotted she is the sensible sophisticated one, I am just a zero, to paraphrase the  Stereo MCs. Hence her reaction was quite out of character.
She read all  the comments about me having time to get fit and was quite annoyed. 

"I just want to tell them all to F Off. I want my husband back. I want him enjoying running and not hating it."

That amused me, when Chrissy resorts to actually saying an F, you better watch out. Also the fact everyone wants me to go but do not understand the cost implications. As a contractor every day not at work costs me a shed load. Shelling out close to a thousand euros and not getting anything at the end is just plain daft.

And that's it. The point of my running is a cheap way to stay fit mentally and physically and not enjoying it or spending money and not running hardly​ achieves those goals.

On a positive note I received several very kind offers of coaching. Chrissy was rather dismayed, but I explained that someone telling me what to do was a lot less stressful than me trying to meet my own goals, so we agreed to try explore the offer.

I took some time to think about it and took one of them up on it. I was pleasantly surprised that the plan they offered was a lot easier than what I target to do myself.

So I am going to give that a go. I have six weeks to get fit for a twenty four hour race. The original idea was to get an Spartathlon autoqualifier, but now it is to enjoy running in circles and getting lost in myself for a day. No watch,  no worrying about the distance covered. Just enjoy running and having fun with my crew, Russell and Sandra. It will be a blast.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Commit or quit

Another race another failure.
The fact of the matter is that am not committed enough to make the grade. It is hard to admit but it is the ultimate truth. My performances over the last last few years have got worse and worse. I used to aim for an average of ten kilometres a day so that my year's total would be 3650km. But in the last year it has not been above 2700.

Over the past few years, I have read loads on training, both mental and physical and nothing really works. Nothing gets deep down inside me that gets me up to the level of training that got me that marvelous finish at Spartathlon.

I have tried to kid myself in lots of ways. So many ways.

The list of stuff I have read is endless
The chimp paradox
The inner critic
The obesity code
The lore of  running
Ultramarathon man
Running and stuff​
Burn the fat feed the muscle
Our natural diet

I have kept a daily dairy and written blogs.
I have contributed to running magazines such as Like the wind and Ultra and the odd book. I have starred in a film on Spartathlon and given talks on running.

I have been an active participant on the Ultra Running Community Facebook page. I have  assisted the British Spartathlon Team in bringing them together and sorting their kit out in for the last two years and will do so again this year. I even assisted Alex KM on his trans Europe run.

I know several race directors and top ultra runners on a personal level. I have chatted endlessly with them trying to find that missing  je ne sais quoi.

I have read stuff on diets, paelo, low fat high carb, high fat low carb, vegetarianism. I have talked to more  nutritionist​s then I care to admit...they are an odd bunch. I think more bollox is written about nutrition than any other subject than is saying something from a guy interested in politics, philosophy and economics.

I have been tested this way and that. I had bloods taken. Had  more than a few endoscopy and colonoscopies done and let me tell you evacuating your digestive system and have camera rammed up your arse and down your throat is not as much fun as you might think.

I have been to a heart specialist and had heart ultrasounds, ecgs and even done running tests in laboratory conditions.

No one has found anything remarkable about me other than my low resting heart rate, which is under forty beats minute, and low iron levels. They have no clue why the iron level is so low which is more than a little worrying.

I have even focused on friends who can no longer run and tried to use that as a motivational thing. I owe them more of an apology for this self pitying drivel than I can express in words on a written page.

Nothing seems to work anymore. I keep searching for a magic pill that does not exist.

I can't in all honesty say that I will be ready for spartathlon or any other race this year. So I have withdrawn.

I have one more commitment this year and then that's it for a while. I would like to say it has been fun, but it stopped being that a while ago.

I am just tired of training and failing. Of spending time away from my family at races that never deliver the results I want.

Time for a break.

PS this is not a plea for help, so don't try. I have to fix this myself.