On the road again

Woah, all I want is on the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin’ music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

‘On the road again’
Willie Nelson


So I was having a mild case of the ‘what ifs’ recently, following on from the Hardman race last month. It went something like: ‘what if the weather hadn’t been so bad; I would have got through the cycle much easier, and somewhat quicker, and then perhaps not been under so much pressure on the run…’

It’s classic bargaining stuff, and you normally go through this process during the actual event. The Seven Stage of Grief, and all that. Though much of that theory has been debunked over recent years. Anyway. I digress.

In reality, the knee went as I was finishing up the bike, and in reality, if it hadn’t have gone then, it may have gone after lap 1. Or maybe a little further. Who knows? (And indeed, who cares? I mean, I can hear you thinking that now, from all this distance away, and I would join that chorus too). It’s no biggie. It’s done. It’s gone. As I was often fond of saying over the last year and a half or so, the whole ironman thing is a luxury problem.

But. And there’s always a but.

You can’t help thinking… what if?

And as I was mulling all this over in my head, I recalled that the knee went once before, during a marathon that I had possibly not trained enough for, many moons ago. Which makes you wonder: if I really trained hard for another marathon, would the IT band problem just flare up again, but during a training session, and not in the actual event? Is it just something that is going to give trouble, once you accumulate a set amount miles in the knees? Because it was the bike wot did it, yer ‘onour, not the running.

So the real aim now is to get back to fitness, and do some targeted exercises for strengthening up the core. I am back doing Pilates once a week, but that won’t be enough. I will need to add in at least another couple of gym sessions.

On the running end of things, at least we are back on the road again. I did an easy enough 7 odd k or so in 5:48 pace. I wouldn’t typically go much faster than that in any run over 5k in training, and indeed once I get into double figure territory in terms of distance, I would generally drop back further, as regards pace. Though a quick review of stats in the lead-up to the race last month would suggest I was picking up the pace in my runs; maybe some more targeted running times are in order for the next event, to make sure I am doing my pace work when I need to, and the slower, longer runs are just that: slower and longer.

The next planned run, bar the odd parkrun which will no doubt sneak in as I re-discover my running legs, will be the Lock up the Year half marathon. I plan on dragging Mark along too, though the way he’s running lately, it might be the other way ’round!

Lock up the Year is great fun. You are dumped on the side of the Royal Canal and you run back to the athletics club in Leixlip along the towpath. For thems that know it, you start at Cloncurry Bridge and wind your way through the north Kildare countryside via Kilcock and Maynooth. The towpath is usually quite boggy in places, and it’s a war of attrition on the legs. It sucks the energy out of you, and you need to work at it if you want to get in under 2 hours. Well, speaking for myself anyway. I know plenty who do it from the club who have no issues with 90+ minutes.

Hot soup and sandwiches beckon back at the clubhouse. It’s very much a self-supported race, with no medals or T-shirts. The only thing the club asks is a small donation for the bus and food. Long may it last. It’s the ideal way to ‘lock up the year’…

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2 thoughts on “On the road again

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