From bad to worse to terrible.

”Every cloud has a silver lining, you just have to go through all the darkness to get to it.”

Stef Railey

3 days since the Brass Monkey half 2017

So how did it go? great, im sure, for loads of other people. For me it was a no goer, a DNS.  To get to this point though i have a few things to go over.  Its been over a month since i last blogged and to say its been a bad time would be an understatement.  The guts problem didn’t go away and continued through December. I had a decent run at the last South Yorkshire xc race at Penistone.  It wasn’t a full out race effort but after a 7.5mile ride up the TPT i still managed a strong run in very windy conditions. I wasn’t far behind recent rivals who were racing. A strong base to attack the upcoming Xmas period.  Dave O gave me my sessions and i was confident of kicking on towards the Brass Monkey. The gut problem was still that but no where near the Percy pud fiasco.

Little did I know what was to come. Working in food retail as Xmas approached the store got busier and the weekly hours grew. I tried to train as much as possible but I was starting shifts too tired to run and not getting the runs in and on the mornings I had free the guts would play up.  i was slowly losing fitness. The last week before Xmas there was just no way I was able to run. Do not underestimate how hard the people in your local supermarket work during this period.  It is the most energy sapping time mentally, physically and emotionally.  So, Xmas day I planned a short run but again I failed and ate the usual seasonal fare of junk and crap food.  The lack of training had got me down and the Black dog of my depression hit me as hard as it ever has around the 27th. I was so low and struggling to control my rage.

 i managed to get out for 10miles on Boxing day and another 10mile a couple of days later on the 28th followed by a 5k on NYE. Ending the year the right way at least if not touching 13stone and with an increasing plump belly. New years day was the usual special Hillsborough parkrun. A nice easy effort to start the year correctly. A couple of days later I went to Sheffield running clubs Tuesday threshold run. After starting well I stopped for a wee. I continued on but the usual easy 6.50mpm pace felt like a struggle.  confusing and possibly due to the weight i was carrying?  I was 13st 1lb, the heaviest in over a year since my weak glute/hamstring year of 2015.

No, it turns out it wasn’t.Emma & Lucas had both had this bad cough that was/is going around  over Xmas and somehow I had managed to stay clear of it….. until now.  I could feel the scratch of the throat and with Yorkshire Xc champs that Saturday I rested in the hope it would be a warning rather than  an attack. It wasn’t, come Saturday I had managed to loosen it enough to think I would get around but not at full race effort.  Still close to 13st It would always be an effort.  i was picked up by the minibus at 10am after skipping my run director duties at Hillsborough parkrun . By the time I got out of the mini bus at Lightwater valley I had deteriorated quite a bit.  I managed a 1mile warm up but that felt tough in itself.  put on my spikes and it was time to line up in the pen for the start of the race.  Me and John Doherty joked about who was going to have the worst race. Off went the gun and after the conga line of the first corner I felt strong.  A surprise and the first little lap was quickly dispatched. I planned to slowly get quicker and finish strong.  A nice tough warm up for the Brass monkey.   Unfortunately halfway around the first large lap of 4 I started to lose energy, places and the will to live.  As soon as I made it to the top of the short sharp climb for the 2nd large lap I pulled out.  I had nothing left and there was no chance I would finish without doing myself In.


I hoped I could put it down as a bad race and train a little the following week but the cough worsened on the Sunday.  I knew then the Brass Monkey was a no goer but Emma reminded me a week was a long time. Unfortunately It wasn’t long enough and obviously I didn’t make the journey up to York. Both A races have been complete and total letdowns.  I also knew this was a chance to do something Ive been thinking for a while.

Pre returning to running via football and getting fat at 30 I used to spend a long time in gyms lifting weights and getting strong. This has served me well.  In the races I feel I have excelled and fell racing It has been this strength of body that has been the difference between me and my competitors.  Now in 2014 I was running well with week after week of 50miles keeping me strong. Also I was doing lots of body weight resistance training.  Not only was I light & fit I was strong.   It was only when I dropped weekly mileage and stopped the resistance work did the hamstring problems start.  During all my trying to return to running post 2014 I haven’t done any real strength work.  I have noticed that after runs before work It doesn’t take long for my hamstring and back to stiffen up.  It finally dawned that i had become physically week and all I have done when Ive picked up my training is strengthen certain muscles while weakening supporting muscles.  There is a belief purging on fear by runners of getting too muscular and that time training that isn’t running is a waste of running time.  I aim to prove that, especially in my case this is wrong.  Ive joined a local gym that is open 24/7. This means I can run when the weather is poor resting my lungs.  I am also weight training a lot.  I forgot how much satisfaction I get from sore DOM affected muscles.  I am enjoying the change of training and feeling the motivation to train hard flooding back faster than if I had just gone back running solely.  For the next few weeks especially  I’m not going to worry about how much muscle I pile on or what pace I run.  Its been nice to run on the treadmill using the VR screen but why is it harder to run on one than the road or trails outside?.  I have ran through Los Angeles, Venice, the Canadian Rockies and the Swiss alps.  It been a breath of fresh air.  Ive been on the bikes, doing lots of Ab & core work and done lots of leg presses and Hamstring curls.  I am concentrating only on the Blackpool marathon in April. By then  I will be lighter, fitter stronger and hopefully faster.   If It doesn’t go to plan on the 23rd Apr it wont be because I wasn’t strong enough.

Anyway, Bye For Now

94days till the Blackpool Marathon 2017

”I’m holding on and getting stronger, because I know it won’t be long before everything is alright.”


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