Sunday, 12 July 2009

Now what have I gone and done ...?

I probably should have left it at that: all four of my original 365challenges completed, with even an extra one thrown in for good measure (climbing the 3 Peaks in the flesh, remember ... keep up!), within 10 months of starting. That's not half bad, now, is it? I should have just left it there, really, don't you think ... I'd done enough to earn all of your sponsorship, hadn't I?

But over the 10 months, clearly I've gotten fitter (and stupider), and, me being me, I couldn't just stop with still 2 months of my 365challenge year to go. So I've only gone a settled on a final challenge - to run the width of the island!

It's not complete lunacy - I've chosen Hadrian's Wall as my route: it's probably the narrowest part of the island (I'm not a complete numpty), but, the thing is, I've not been able to run much for years because of an injury I picked up - running! The Dublin marathon! (and I can hardly believe this next bit ...) 25 YEARS AGO!!!

It left me able only to run about 3 miles/5 KM at a time (I was used to regular long distance runs of 10+ miles for several years up to that) before my hip would sort of "twang" and that would be me floored for days or weeks before I could run again. As you might imagine, that got old (and painful) very quickly. So ... I gave up running! You see, at that time, 3 miles was just a warm-up and having to stop at that point just was so very, very frustrating, I couldn't face it any more, so pretty much stopped running at that point. I made a few efforts again over the years, but then my hip would go again, and, well, it just wasn't worth it.

So ... although I've been back in the gym for the past year, I've not been running - look at my original 365challenges: no running for me, no sir! I'm certainly fitter with all that cardiovascular exercise I've been doing over the past 10 months on the bike, step machine, rower and in the pool or on the mountains, but running? Nah, nothing.

It makes sense then, clearly, that I chose a final 365challenge that means I have to run 84 miles/135 KM! WHAT WAS I THINKING? And ... with the 59-odd days I had left to complete my 365challenge year when I chose it, that meant I had a lot of running to pack in! I'd tested the water (or should I say, hip) with a few 1 KM jogs, followed by a 3 KM run last week, which seemed to go okay. I guess with all that leg-work on the other challenges, I've got a certain level of fitness in my legs and lungs to be fit enough for this part of my 365challenge, but ... damn it, it's running 84 miles/135 KM, YOU IDIOT!

This morning, after a few days away with family in Ireland to celebrate Brenda's life, a year after she lost her battle with cancer, I had to get back out there and get going with this challenge. So it was off to the gym at 8 am, and after some stretching (which does help my hip a lot), I managed to run 5 KM (3.1 miles) in just over 32 minutes! My first run over that distance in probably 10 years! And, apart from a little tightness in the legs, my hip seemed fine (touch wood), which was great.

So now, with 50 days (or so) left of my 365challenge year, and 124 KM of the distance left, basically, I have to run at a rate of 5 KM every other day til the end of my 365challenge year on August 31st!

Well, it wouldn't be a challenge otherwise, would it? Wish me luck ...

And if my hip goes, I can always drive the rest of the way, can't I?

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