As we get older, birthday’s are celebrated less and less … I for one, prefer celebrating other people’s birthdays but unfortunately, no matter how hard I try to run, I still can’t out run yet another looming birthday.
When I used to swim, I took it for granted that I could just dive in the pool, bang out 12 lengths butterfly as a warm up, swim pretty much constantly for an hour, get out and go home – not a warm up or cool down in sight. There were no yoga stretches to stetch out muscles, there were no core exercises to stabilise everything, there were no sports massages, there were no HIIT routines, plyometric’s, resistance or unilateral exercises and I could eat what the hell I wanted without gaining an ounce, but of course that was both the beauty and the innocence of youth.
As I think I’ve mentioned on many occasions, my head is adamant that I’m still a youthful 25 year old … the hot flushes, night sweats, rapid mood changes, forgetfulness, palpitations, joint stiffness, unexplained aches and pains all serve to remind me that my body is a lot older than that! but with this age comes a certain amount of wisdom (debatable some would say..) perhaps a little bit more patience (again, debatable say my kids) and we can adapt to our changing circumstances. For example, I now walk around with a note pad and pen so that I don’t forget anything when it fleetingly pops into my sieve like brain ….. once I remember where I’ve put that note pad you guys will be the first to know!
I was having a cuppa and flicking through the November issue of Runners World earlier on today and one of the articles written by Paul Tonkinson was entitled “I’ve got the body that my behaviour deserves” and that has been ringing in my ears all day. For an entire year I trained hard for the marathons despite the rebellious nature of my hip screaming forth that it had had enough and needed some TLC and this TLC showing it’s face in the form of a glass or 10 of wine, I paid no attention to the fact that the longer the distance, the more pain I was in – I was running that damn marathon even if my leg fell off halfway through and of course, since running the marathons the hip hasn’t recovered, the running is no longer enjoyable and quite frankly it’s starting to piss me off …. although that could be the departing hormones!
But it’s not just my body that’s letting me down … my mind is making me look like a bit of an idiot as well! Take the Bedford Half Marathon for example (or the Bedford Bailer as I’m now calling it), my head kept telling me that it’s “only” 13.1 miles and that because I’d done all of that running for the first 5 months of the year, 3 months of very little running would easily see me through those 13.1 miles …… I walked off the course at mile 8.5 and have been licking my wounds ever since, and lets look at the “secret run” I was due to do in the form of another marathon. When I booked it I knew the course was “undulating” and this sounded like lots of fun, the closer the race got the less ‘fun’ undulating seemed and on the day of the race? I stayed in bed and got me my first DNS of the year.
And now with yet another birthday rocking up I was beginning to wonder if I should consider life without running, what with me being so old ‘n’ all now! …. but 2 things happened recently to make me reconsider. Firstly both my kids and my waist bands are shouting “for the love of god women! step away from the wine and go run” and secondly, the MK Winter half guys appear to have used a photo of me and my Chief Cheerleader / Pit stop director / fellow hero as a bit of #MondayMotivation with a strap line that actually makes a lot of sense and, digging into my memory archives, I remember being so proud of finishing that Half Marathon despite wanting to give up around mile 8 – the argument raging between those voices in my head constantly went from “give up” to “keep going” and back again but ultimately “keep going” won out.
As we start picking up the mileage, the pressure and stress this puts on our bodies increases and brings to the fore weaknesses we didn’t know we had and sometimes, like a car, we need to give ourselves a bit of a service. This may mean bringing the mileage back down again while we look at fixing or reinforcing some bits. Randomly, a certain Mr Albert Einstein once said “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got” so given my age, make and model, between now and the MK Winter Half 2018, I’m going to take myself off for a service and hopefully by doing something different the MK Winter Half won’t be so painful this year.
In the meantime, I have some birthday celebrating to do…
Until next time