Last week I did nothing physical. Occasional walking. Some rising from seats and settling back into them. A little light breathing and digesting. Nothing troublesome in the normal scheme of things, and only modestly difficult in the current one.
It was Recovery Week on the training calendar, and I rested. Like God did on the seventh day. Except he didn’t do a night-time trail marathon on the sixth. Slacker.
With Dark Skies done, it’s time to start looking ahead to the next race, and that began with letting my body pick itself up from the surprising traumas of Kielder’s ‘undulating’ night trot.
While I was definitely beaten up by that race, it wasn’t the worst I’ve experienced. In fact no race has really hit me as badly as the first big one, the Mumbai marathon in 2013.
When I finished Mumbai I could barely move. The day after I stood at the top of a slight incline leading down to the hotel reception that I hadn’t even noticed when I walked up it the previous day (I suspect to this day that some hate-filled cretin constructed it in the night to thwart me), and wondered how I was going to get to the bottom because my legs weren’t functioning. I felt like I’d been in a car crash. Every movement was conducted with the most extraordinary care and pre-planning. Going down slopes and stairs felt near impossible – my quads, the big muscles at the front of the upper legs that do the work when you descend things – felt like mush. It didn’t hurt to try and go down things, it was more that those muscles wouldn’t hold me up at all. Descents were necessarily a sort of propelled collapse. I contemplated the prospect of the steps off the plane to the runway that waited later that day with genuine alarm.
Nothing else has felt like that day, except perhaps they have. I wonder if the first was the worst because I had no frame of reference for it, and no tricks to cope with the effects. Last Sunday, thinking about it, I actually was in pretty bad shape – but I knew in advance that I would be, and how. I was up and down the stairs to my study all day, and while it wasn’t easy it wasn’t a bewildering trauma either (the trick is to go down sideways, so your quads are no longer taking the load).
It’s amazing what you can get used to. Objectively I still felt like I’d been hit by a truck, but because I knew that going in it just didn’t trouble me very much.
By midweek I’d shaken off all of the bigger after-effects, but I waited until Sunday before going out for a little three mile trot in the Spring sunshine to see if anything fell off. Nothing did.
On to the next one then. May 21st, when the first ever Stirling marathon is being held. It promises to be flat. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to some flat.
Oh, and my time for Dark Skies was finally uploaded. 5:41:09, which is about five-ten minutes faster than I imagined, and which I can live with very happily.