I'VE been warned countless times about ‘hitting the wall’.
Apparently it happens around mile 20 on the marathon and is something to do with your body using up all its ready stores of energy.
So I am prepared for it happening in April. What I wasn’t prepared for though was hitting a wall at week five!
I am talking metaphorically of course – although the way I stagger around punch drunk after a run it could just have easily been literally.
The thing is I don’t know how to get past my own ‘personal’ wall - the stage of always wanting to stop and recover.
The first 10 minutes running is pure agony, everything aches and nothing feels in rhythm. My frantic gasps for air resemble a badly dubbed 70s ‘Swedish’ film (not that I have ever watched one, honestly!)
Now I already know I am not the most naturally coordinated of people, after all I spent 10 years in South America as the comic turn in the nightclub with my efforts at salsa dancing, so the lack of rhythm is nothing surprising, but it still feels like I am trying to run through a pool of sticky treacle! In a wetsuit, with my ankles tied together and wearing a vintage deep sea diving helmet.
The next 10 minutes are almost bearable; the last 10 minutes are still a mental battle to continue! So, each session is 30 minutes of agony in fact. And I am doing this four times a week right now.
Included in these 30 minutes of hell in the imaginary treacle mix you can add a dickie knee, earlier dark nights, it’s wet and miserable and, of course, we are talking about running, a sport I still most definitely detest, so you will understand why I felt the time had come to ask for help this week.
And boy, was I overwhelmed by the help I received.
Gill, remember her from the pub planning stage? Well she offered to do a run with me, and introduced me to a new 2.5 mile circuit – which I love.
It’s a lot prettier than pounding the estates at the top of Derby Hill as I was.
Her route took me from St Oswald's church to the Hanging Bridge, up Green Lane to Clifton and back via Marks and Spencers.
Sadly we didn’t get to visit the Royal Oak, the Cock Inn or Stepping Stones en route but perhaps I could work that in at a later date.
Of course if it was with the Hash House Harriers we would have been duty bound to enter all three for refreshment! It’s an honour thing!
Hayley, a personal trainer, also took me out on Sunday.
No, I haven’t gone all elitist on you, this was a very kind donation from a friend to help me get my right running pace and check on my style (I thought she meant my fashion sense and turned up in my best colour coordinated Jane Fonda style kit – matching lurid pink sweatbands, legwarmers, headbands, leotard over tights, only to be told she meant my gait, stride and breathing!)
She also wanted to try and get me doing more running and less walking.
The sad thing was my knee was playing up still, so I found it hard but I wanted to learn from her so I did my best.
She kept telling me to slow down but increase my step count.
Well that confused the hell out of me, but eventually I worked it out.
It’s a sort of moonwalking, baywatch running, slow motion bounce… But turns out it’s a lot easier on the lungs and legs than doing small, lazy shuffle steps.
Who’d have thought it?
I didn’t manage to run the whole way though. We did the 2.5 loop Gill showed us and I was slower (boooo) but then again it was that one hot sunny day we had and I was sweating buckets! Now, there’s an attractive thought for you!
I was very proud of my heart rate results after this effort though – I was solidly in the red zone for all 30 minutes!
Finally, Bill. You probably already know of him – he is with Ashbourne Running Club and only took up running when he was 64.
That was five years ago and he now runs marathons as part of his training for ultra events – think 100km non-stop runs! Nutter!
But a most fantastic nutter – he offered to help me build up my stamina and speed, and I met him on Tuesday evening to run up the Tissington Trail.
When I say up I do mean up, although yes, I admit it’s only a very slight incline!
I found that the hardest run of the three though – but I think it’s just because my knee is still not right.
He really gave me some good tips though – not only about running but also on fundraising for my chosen charity.
He is in the London Marathon next year too – I said he could probably complete twice in the time I hope to finish!
His insight into how he started though was inspiring – seems he had to also do the walk/run thing and I felt like he really understood how hard I am finding it.
I think by now I should be able to run. But he assures me it will happen in time and when it does then I will build up distance and speed. Roll on that day! PLEASE!!
Then sadly on Sunday when I had planned to increase my route to three miles I couldn’t run at all.
It felt like my knee had a little pixie inside mining away for hidden gems.
Every step I took his red hot pick axe dug a little deeper and a little harder and in the end, after just half a mile, I was forced to give up and limp home…
20 Sept 5pm 1.9 miles 25 minutes 15. Pace 13.14 min/mile Ave HR 134
22 Sept 1.30pm 2.5 miles 34 minutes 15. Pace 13.29 min/mile Hot and sunny 70* Ave HR 143 with Hayley
24 Sept 7pm 2.1 miles 28 minutes 2. Pace 13.01 min/mile humid 60* Ave HR 138 with Bill
25 Sept 7pm couldn't run at all – knee pain.
Finally, the old plea….but please, if you can, help me reach my target of £2,000 for the British Heart
Foundation it would be much appreciated.
I’ve made it really easy to do:
Donate on line at http://www.justgiving.com/cascita
NEXT WEEK’S BLOG – The knee problem gets worse - off to the physio…..