They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and, when it comes to fitness, I can definitely concur. I’m not sure how much time I had off from running, but I think it was a good 3 months of doing very little, including an entire month off exercise completely, whilst recovering from foot surgery. If nothing else, I’ve learned that I genuinely had no idea how fit I actually was.
When you constantly surround yourself with people who do more exercise, and more running, and more EVERYTHING, than you do, it’s easy to forget that what you’re doing yourself is actually far from ordinary. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t, at the very least, half marathon fit, if not marathon fit, and be able to not only run the distance, but race it in a time that was better than average, even though I was never happy with my time!
Coming back from an injury that has set me right back to square one has been challenging on many levels. How exactly do you motivate yourself to do something that has become so difficult and laboured unenjoyable and, quite frankly, hard work? It’s a bit like dragging yourself to a hardcore tempo session that you know you need to do, but the difference is, there’s no reward. There’s no reward to sending yourself out on a run that’s not only half the distance than you’re used to, but takes you 90 seconds per mile longer than you’re used to and leaves you more knackered than you’re used to. No reward, just a lot of AAAARRRGGGGHHHHHHHH.
I’ve had a lot of arguments with myself.
Undeniably, I’m getting fitter and stronger. I can feel it. Especially with the strength work I’ve been doing – Monday nights burning at the Barre in a ballet inspired strength class are becoming my favourite!
While I know I’m still fitter than most, I’m still not ‘me fit’ and I’m not ‘my friends fit’ and that means I still can’t run with them. That’s right, I can’t play with my friends and I’m miserable about it. (Fair play to Gemma though, she has offered to run with me but I fear she doesn’t quite know what she’s letting herself in for…)
As I plod on with my slow runs home from work, attempting tempo at Parkrun because I can’t join in at actual tempo, and slowly increasing my mileage, I’ve found a new found awe for my former self. She was tougher than I thought. In light of that I thought it was time to set myself a new goal and, being lucky enough to get a place in Great North Run, I thought it would be a good opportunity to finally try and beat my half marathon PB of 01.40.50. Gulp.