Slowly, slowly, slowly
July 26 2023
I started off my running training with a bang. And then a minor surgery had a much-longer-than-anticipated recovery time and the bang turned into a fizzle. But, the spark is taking note of the oxygen in the air and it is ready to ignite.
I’ll turn the clock back to when the fireworks began.
Day 1 – Saturday 24 June
I felt quite proud of myself to begin my training just after the winter solstice (surely there’s some symbolism in there – new beginnings, etc etc). I’d decided to enter my era of saying “yes” to things that I’d normally run and hide from. One of those included a sunrise winter dip in celebration of the solstice. Buoyed by a shot of whisky (or two…), a group of epic women sprinted into the icy stranglehold of Tassie’s winter waves. While it felt like all sorts of body parts were about to break off, it was also the most invigorating thing I’ve ever done. And it was really warming to be part of a small community all experiencing the same thing (madness). One straggler, who is now a new friend, arrived late and missed the group swim. So, I went back in to keep her company (and get a second rush of adrenaline – it wasn’t all altruistic).
I had every intention of then heading off for my first stint at Bellerive Parkrun, but the two shots of whisky put that plan to bed. Instead, I went to a friend’s house and had a sauna – another thing I’d normally say no to as I panic when I get too hot (I’m a riot!). Instead, I sat in the discomfort and let it soak in until it started to feel therapeutic. The added bonus was it drawing the whisky out of my pores so that I could actually go for a run.
With no training plan in place, and a misguided notion that the trick was to just “run as far as you can without dying”, I set off. I put my headphones in, failed to adequately stretch, and began to walk. I walked most of the way along a hillside trail, but on the way back (when I was on the flat), I attempted a run. While I was walking, I’d felt like I wanted to burst out of my own chest and just tear off in some gazelle-like endurance-extraordinaire fashion. The reality was not this. I honestly doubt that I was moving much faster than at a walking speed. A friend had once commented on my running style, saying “it’s confusing – you look like you should be going really fast, but you’re just not…”. That observation still holds true.
I wanted to stop after about 10 metres. My legs were questioning why on earth I was doing this to them, but I set my sights on a power pole in the distance and told myself that I would be running to that point. And I got there. I didn’t take note of the distance, and it can’t have been much more than 250m, but it felt like a good start. The first step – done and dusted.
Day 2 – Sunday 25 June
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day! This run felt different. Still a subscriber to the school of “run until you reach a certain distance and your lungs want to give up” I set off on my merry way. This time I’d told myself that, no matter bloody what, I’d be running a non-stop kilometre. And, I bloody did it. For the first time possibly since high school cross country, I ran 1.05km non-stop. I felt absolutely, completely invincible. It burned and it hurt and I wanted to stop, but I made myself keep going.
I felt like this dramatic improvement boded well for what was to come.
Two days later I had minor surgery. I’d expected a recovery time of a few days, however when I remembered to actually ask the doctor, I was told that I wasn’t allowed to run, do pilates, or swim for at least three weeks.
I’ve been doing lots of walking to maintain at least some momentum, and the running will begin in earnest shortly…
Since the first blog post, I’ve also had a couple of friends, and my Dad, reach out and say that they’re going to do the run with me. My little community is expanding and it’s heartening to know that I won’t be tackling the training on my own.
Until next time,