…. is yet another mantra that is complete and utter b*ll0cks! No Pain, No Gain is the other mantra I’ve tried and tested for you all, so no need to bother trying it yourselves – I’ve done the research on your behalf and can only manage to give them both a negative rating.
So whats happened?! I hear you all ask (purely out of kindness and compassion, and not to utter those immortal words “I told you so”). It’s a long story so I’ll cut straight to the highlights.
Firstly the good news!! I applied for the London Marathon…. because I really liked the ‘rejection T-Shirt’ not because I actually wanted to run it. First ballot attempt and 1st acceptance. Yay! go me. I can only assume that whoever was picking out the acceptance names, saw my details, figured I’d never make it to the starting line, given my age, gender, weight, hair colour, childcare issues etc and thought they’d give me a birthday present I’d never forget. To be honest, the kids are still scraping bits of me off the ceiling as I type this, and as is the case in this modern-day of social media living, I was keeping a beady eye on Facebook to see how many of my lovely running partners in crime had also been accepted. As the days progressed, I realised that none of the people I had hoped to run with had been successful. It was going to be me, myself and I .. and a few people from the running club who I don’t know that well. My first thought was “f**k it! I’m deferring until next year” but speaking to one of the more sensible Zero2Hero’s posse I was informed, in no uncertain terms, that I was being a ‘ungrateful tw@t’ and that I should run it for all of the other people who didn’t make it. So! with those words of encouragement ringing in my ears, on 22nd April 2018, this SavageMum will be proudly wearing her green Redway Runners T-Shirt and having a little 26.2 mile plod around London. Feel free to give me a cheer, wave, slap on the back, glass of wine (large …. oh and white … preference for Pinot but happy to taste test whatever is going) if you do happen to see me!
On the not so positive side, what was once a home with 2 adults and a bunch of rug rats, is now a home with 1 adult … and a bunch of rug rats (just can’t seem to shake those damn kids no matter how hard I try!). As anyone who has been in a similar situation knows, tensions generally run high… hell! sometimes even fever pitch.. during these changing times and for me, when tensions run high, my outlet is plodding. On one particularly beautiful dark evening, I shot out of the door like a raging bull and I SMASHED my first 3 miles… Mile 1 – 9:43, Mile 2 – 9:24, Mile 3 – 9.35 .. go me! I’ve so got this! I. Am. On. FIRE …. no really! … my bloody calf was on fire, and not in a good way. Cue a 45 min plod/jog/hop/limp/walk/crawl to the nearest taxi rank to thumb a lift home. I can only liken it to the walk of shame, the morning after the night before, imagining the neighbours twitching at the curtains wondering what sort of training plan allows you to use the services of a local taxi firm to complete your 10k plod.
So! It’ll be almost a month out of my training plan and 3 planned races where I’ve now become a dreaded DNS (oh the shame!) but what a great time to sit down and share the lessons I’ve learned so far:
- Don’t #AngryRun – After quite a hefty bollocking from the Coach, her words of wisdom left a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth, but I’ll share them with you anyway “When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is” followed very quickly by “Do squats and sit up’s if you’re p1ssed off. Don’t run”
- Too much too soon – All too often, confidence gets the better of us. My plods before this fateful evening, had started to become longer and more comfortable. A 10 miler on a Sunday morning? … you bet’cha, a half marathon just for the hell of it? … no problem. Unfortunately I got carried away on the wings of the confidence I had built during my long runs watching the minutes per mile decrease. My weekly mileage doubled in a fortnight and, along with the lack of proper warm up and the sudden increase in speed my calf decided to call time and stick me in the naughty corner. According to our physio our muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones .. yes even our old bones ….need time to adjust to the demands us plodders put on them. Too much, too soon = guaranteed injury.
- It’s all about the core – Core work = bore work in my books. I am not an apple – I have no core. Unfortunately, I have learned that, without a solid core, I won’t have a good posture when running. Having a good posture is vital if you want to breath… breathing is good. As well as the ability to take in lots of lovely polluted air whilst plodding, a strong core will improve my balance (vital after a few glasses of vino) and will make me a more efficient, lean, mean, plodding machine. So there ya go … drop down and plank it out!
- Don’t forget your arse! – I have been told that my arse is my engine… not one of those engines that blows every 5 minutes thank goodness, but the kind of engine that needs to be in tip-top condition: strong and powerful, to help keep the old pins moving forward. So I have seen a “welcome” return of the squats. Squats are our friends people. Neglect them at your peril.
- Warm up – probably the biggest lesson for me is the warm up. I’m so used to being a slow plodder, I’ve always told myself that if I take it easy for the first mile or so, then I can start to push it from mile 3. Clearly this didn’t happen on the night of the great calf explosion. As a minimum, I should have walked for a few minutes, then completed a gentle 2-3 minute plod then hit the hyper-drive button propelling me into another dimension. This kind of progressive warm up is perfectly fine if you’re heading out for a recovery plod or a long run. Different “dynamic stretches” are needed for sprint and interval work and quite frankly, as I’m a plodder and not a speed demon, I’m not really qualified in any way, shape or form, to start preaching about these kind of warm ups …. give me a few months and I’ll be able to let you know what works for me.
So all in all, its been another amazing learning experience in the early stages of my plodding journey. Injury sucks. I am that person who is ‘Grunpy’. I am that person who is mad that an injury has stopped me running, not that it injured my body, but I am also that person who now realises that there are positives to being out injured. There’s time to work on that neglected core, time to work on the weaker parts of you that runners neglect because they only want to run, there’s time to revisit the training plan, to tweak it and make it more rounded, there’s time to work on cross training but the main thing I’ve learned over the past 3 weeks is that my running gear makes up half of my weekly washing load … without the need to wear lycra, I have reduced my weekly washing cycle considerably and that can only be a good thing. Stay positive!!
Until next time