best laid plans

I had a brilliant training run last Wednesday; one of those seemingly rare occasions where everything falls into place and you just think ‘I am awesome at running’. It was a fairly steady 6 miles, so nothing exceptional, but it was the first time I felt confident about the increasingly impending Great North Run and could picture myself actually finishing it without walking for half the distance, passing out or being carried off on a stretcher.

My pace is now spot on – it’s maintainable and I’m happy with it. Since I’ve stopped pressuring myself to get in under two hours I’ve found a nice rhythm that should see me home in about ten minutes over, with a little bit of leeway for human traffic and potential mishaps en route. I set off last Wednesday evening intending to do four miles, maybe five at a push, but I found that my legs felt strong, the weather was tolerable with a light breeze to take the edge off the humidity, and in the back of my mind was a little voice saying ‘you’ve got to start taking this seriously – get on with it’. So I did six in a couple of minutes under an hour and still felt I had more in the tank when I finished, but I decided not to push it.

I was so energised from the run, I was already psyched up for my next session. I planned to mix it up a bit by having a go at my old 6k training route on Saturday, and do it at the faster pace of training for my 10k races. I was then hoping to follow this up with another slow run on Sunday to repeat the 6 miles before stepping up the distance to 7 this week. The best laid plans however…..

Saturday morning started badly when I did the monumentally stupid thing of slipping off the last step on the stairs at home, whilst carrying a full wash basket. Cue panicked husband and laughing child at the top of the stairs as I lay flat on my back at the bottom, crushed beneath the weight of a machine-load of dirty laundry. I had barely winded myself but had landed with a thud and had a stair digging into my lower back and shoulder blades. I wasn’t mortally wounded though and I wasn’t going to let a little thing like falling down the stairs stop me from running later.

The stomach bug that made itself known late in the afternoon had other ideas though. Instead of going for 6k, I couldn’t go much further than the bathroom for the rest of the evening, and of course Sunday was an absolute write off. I was weak, I was exhausted, and my back was killing me. A combination of laundry basket trauma and being violently ill was making it difficult for me to get off the sofa, never mind anything else. I was gutted to have missed out on a whole weekend’s training when I had been feeling so good about it.

Now it’s Wednesday again, and I’m back to where I was a week ago. My energy’s back, I’m feeling confident, and I’m raring to go for 6 miles again tonight. Hopefully then it’s onwards and upwards as I had planned. That’s provided I don’t have any more ridiculous accidents or debilitating illnesses to stop me.

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