Saturday, 24 March 2012

Spring is round the corner.

It has been a while since my last posting where I was reflecting on my autumn training and like everyone looking forward the start of a New Year 2012 - the Olympic year.

Like most people involved in running and walking you start to plan your events, races and training and set yourself goals, for me it has to be the UTLD 50, unfinished business from my DNF last year and the dream to get somewhere near the fitness I had 3 years ago when I completed it. So for me 2012 races and events are all leading to that illusive 50 miles over the lakeland hills.

My recovery from surgery has taken so much longer than anticipated and it certainly has changed my running physically - 9th March this year has marked two years from going under the knife for major surgery and I can honestly say I am only now starting to run something like I did before I was physically ill, which means I can  now maintain my mental health, one of the main motivating factors for getting out there.

I have been re-reading the book the Flying Scotsman about Graham Obree the  who also has clinical depression, he described his depresssion as, amongst other things " a chronic lack of self worth which is a huge driving force to make up for it by overachievement, to achieve what others don't"  I can understand that and my slow running and how rubbish I felt about that was a motivating factor in entering an ultra marathon.

I feel my runnning is getting stronger (about time !!) I am still not achieving the times I would like but I don't feel like the total hell when on the move, that must be an improvement even if  I still have significant back pain in my lower back and now in my neck.

I attend BMF running club 3 times a week and this for the first time is enabling me to achieve some consistancy in my training and it is paying off, I am starting to feel a bit fitter; motivation in it's self. Training in winter is always tough for everyone one:- dark and cold doesn't always inspire and motivate, but running with BMF has got me out of the door, especially as a group have signed up to do Manchester Marathon.

However for me some of my old demons  have started to come back to haunt me, being enthusiatic about running, events and the buzz of the finish line I encourage friends to get signed up,  "you can do a marathon, If  I can you can....."  January sees about 10 or so of us part with our hard earned cash, download training plans and with the drive and enthusiasm of Paula Radcliffe start to train and plan "the long runs". Small groups start to form and friends keep each other company to get all those miles into their legs, a facebook page is set  up to to motivate and share training tips and by February we are in the grip of marathon fever. Before you know it running pals are way ahead of me, running at fab paces and with the strength of gazelles, I'm back to lone training runs and hear of others long run plans; I realise yet again I'm too slow to run with others - why the hell my legs won't move any quicker I don't know.??

I have only done one road running marathon London in 2008 and swore I would never do another one ........... I do prefer off road, but  here I am looking forward to doing a marathon in my home town followed by a walking marathon in London 2 weeks later.

Now we are galloping towards the end of March and the marathon training gets tough, it is interesting to see the drop out rate; as life, illness, work and the realisation of what a training committment a marathon is sees quiet a few of people I know who signed up are now not going to run at the end of April, for me it is a milestone in my base fitness and a stepping stone to getting somewhere near UTLD 50 match fit.

In terms of my health winter is always tough, but I am now running a new business from home, which does have the early signs of being successful and it certainly gives me the breathing space to look after my health both physical and mental.

Living long term with a mental health condition is for me an ultra marathon , there is no describing the strategies you have to have in place in order that you can function and how it can consume your life, there isn't a time when I don't have to think about it, plan to maintain my health and work bloody hard to "fight it" - running is a massive part of that.  The benefit is I enjoy the events and races, the people I have met, and the finish line and most of all the well being it can bring.

Good luck everyone with the tough training ahead, spring is round the corner, lighter nights and a bit of warmth will make that start line seem a bit nearer. Stay Healthy and Fit.

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves"

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