The last time I ran over 10 miles it was at the Outlaw in 2012 and lets face it my performance that day was more of a shuffle than a run I guess. In the later part of 2012 I did a few runs of 9 miles and on December 27th 2013 I ran 9.32 miles which had been my longest run in over 12 months and in those last few miles I was hanging on for dear life in the shadows of my training buddies Gaz and Annette, who are both aiming to lose their Ironman virginity in Bolton this year. So as you can see long runs haven’t featured highly on my agenda in the past 18 months or so, mostly through injury and caution. I’ve missed them.
I met up with Gaz again after work on Tuesday and paced him on his long run of the week, I was quite nervous as he’s getting fitter with every passing day and I was full of rust. Obviously I believed that I had the ability to run long again but having come back from a serious injury there is always that element of doubt. But lets face it if we give in to our doubts then we don’t really live do we? Yes it would probably hurt, yes it would be a struggle and yes my mind might ask my body what the hell it was doing after such a long break. Turns out none of that happened and every step was a joy, a celebration in my mind of being alive. Running and that wonderful feeling go hand in hand for me.
We chatted a lot but were also comfortable with the silences as we put one foot in front of the other both knowing that with each step we were getting closer to the prize on the horizon, both dreaming of an Ironman finish. We must have been a sight, one ex wrestling champion and one fat lad plodding along in lycra, grinning away. Neither of us giving a shit and just enjoying life.
Two hours flew by and in all honesty I could have kept going, I felt strong, my heart rate was low, my breathing controlled and my legs were comfortable. All things that were missing back in December when we last ran together. This was real, measurable progress and I was delighted. We covered 12 miles at a pace of 9.48, granted I’ve ran a lot quicker but this was about getting back out there, testing the waters and helping out a mate. I reckon at the moment I have a 1.45 half marathon in my legs, given that my pb is 1.39 I’m heading in the right direction. What makes it all that much more interesting is that I pretty much beasted myself the night before with a 5k session that saw me running sub 7 minutes, I expected that my legs would be in bits after that but they weren’t. Another sign of fitness returning? Time will tell I guess.
I’ve also been going well in the pool this week, and hopefully when I head out for my longest ride of the year tomorrow morning that won’t bite me in the arse. Have a good weekend everyone.