Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Clarendon Half Hanging By A Thread
It's the Clarendon Half Marathon this weekend. On the one hand, I am really looking forward to it (not least because I'm meeting up with a bloggy friend for the first time who is also running it- hello Small P :o)), on the other, my knee flared up again on Monday night after perhaps over-doing it with two races back to back over the weekend and a fast club session on tarmac on Monday. I managed two brisk kms before the knee started really complaining and I decided it wasn't worth carrying on so stopped. This has (mentally at least) thrown the Clarendon back into uncertain territory. The run up to this HM has been a real rollercoaster of emotions. I'm just very glad it isn't my first one because I think I might have collapsed under the 'will it hold up, won't it?' stress of it all by now :o)
I'm dealing with the uncertainty by doing what lots of competitive runners do, adopting a 3-point strategy for the race. 1) is the outcome you'd be thrilled with, 2) is the outcome you'd be happy with and 3) is the outcome you'd accept.
1) for me would be getting round the whole course with no knee pain in a respectable time. 2) would be getting round with knee pain but being able to finish the race and 3) would be having to stop at some point and get a car back to the finish. Right now I'm thinking 3) is not unlikely, 2) is possible and 1) would be astonishing.
I have learnt from the awful experience that was the Beast a month ago that it's important to have your race strategy in place in your head before you start, so you're prepared for whatever happens and don't end up a sobbing gibbering mess at the end. Unlike at the Beast, I'm not planning on getting round this race at all costs and keep telling myself the sensible option of stopping means I can get straight back to running and racing the week after with no need for a week off to recover.
To distract me from all this and to focus on something more positive, I spent a chunk of yesterday working out a marathon training plan for next year which starts this November. I've earmarked three long-distance races I'd really like to do in 2018: one is the full Grizzly (20 miles of gnarly cliffs, bogs, rivers and beaches in March in Devon), one is the Neolithic marathon in April (26.2 miles between Stonehenge and Avebury, raises £10k for wiltshire wildlife trust and funds a lot of chalk-based ecological projects especially blue flutters, so that one is very close to my heart) and the other is Stroud marathon in May, which runs through gorgeous Cotswold countryside.
But I honestly don't know whether any/ all of these will happen. The positives are that I have got the knee strengthened now to the point where it can cope with 6 mile races and three runs a week mainly off road, so the worst case scenario would be consolidating that gain by shelving all thoughts of distance running next year and spending 2018 working away at the 10ks and conditioning the muscles further. By the end of the year, the knee will either be strong enough to tolerate the move up to distance running for 2019 marathons, or it won't. Either way, I'd still be able to continue running and racing next year.
Of course, the only way to tell all or any of that is to run the Clarendon on Sunday and then start the training in November.
I am fairly indebted to friend and all-round hard-as-nails inspiring distance runner Brenda, who has emailed me regularly over the past month with tips and words of encouragement. She's currently training for Abingdon marathon and hit the wall in a half last weekend (which is where you run out of energy and fall over), so she and I were commiserating yesterday. She told me not to despair just yet, that the Clarendon could still come good, so I'm holding on to that as a mantra to at least get me to the starting line on Sunday.
I'll leave you with a text conversation L and I had earlier this week which made me smile. He has mild dyslexia which mainly effects his spelling. I first suspected this when his reading age at seven was five years above his actual age, and his writing age was three years below it. The school weren't particularly concerned about this (in fact I was told at one parent's evening I had contributed to it by reading him books that were too old for him, making him struggle with spelling complex words on paper that he knew in his head, and that I should stop and start reading him simpler texts. Grrrr. I feel vindicated now as his vocab is brilliant). We were lucky we had the resources to do the screening ourselves, and his next school were fantastic at putting extra help in place, as is his current college.
L is the grey bubble on the left, I'm the green one on the right.
I do love his sense of humour.
Hope you're all well?