It would appear that I have turned into something of an obsessive in regards to exercise in 2013. Its pretty much always on my mind, from planning when to go for a longer bike ride to even dreaming about a 10k race the night before, but is it healthy?
Surely its unhealthy for me to have such an obsession about thinking of middle age, (usually) slightly porky men in either short shorts or lycra? Especially myself when I go on an early morning ride or run. I mean who in their right mind would get up at 4.45 on a Tuesday to ensure that they could fit a 30 mile bike ride in before work, whilst it still being cold enough for snow to be on the ground and dark enough to require lights / high vis clothing?
Well. It turns out I am. What’s more troubling is the fact that I really enjoyed it – although I doubt the lambs appreciated my singing as I powered through the darkness.
What made the early morning dash even more rewarding is that it came 48 hrs after a local 10k event which I entered after getting advice about my knee. From the failed marathon attempt where my knee rather uncomfortably ‘popped’ and I had to abandon the attempt at 17 miles, I did minimal training in the hope that doing shorter runs would mean that it fixed itself but that plan only worked to a point – it was still tender come Sunday morning and being 100% honest I wasn’t sure I should enter and race.
But with it being so local and the chance to hopefully improved my only other official race PB for a 10k of 50:43 which I set in October 2012 I thought I would give it a go, hoping that the knee wouldn’t give me too much grief.
Happy to say it didn’t; a few twinges at the start and around 5 miles in but other than that it was quite close to ‘normal’ for the first time since I fell over twice in the space of 10 seconds a couple of weeks earlier. My pacing was strong – although this was more luck than judgement as I forgot my watch and as I entered the stadium, last 400 metres was on a track, I caught a glimpse of the time and thought I could sneak under 45 minutes, alas I had no final sprint in me and ended up at 45:06.
I know many went faster (I came 77th out of 398 starters) but to be honest when I finished I don’t think I could have been any happier if I tried. The fact that in the events I enter in for I am not coming last is enough to please me, but the fact that I wasn’t especially out of the breath and wasn’t suffering to badly at all was cause for a lot of pride. When I completed my only other 10k prior to this it was my first ever event and at the end of it I was a complete mess – mentally and physically wiped out and I remember sitting on the floor at the end thinking I could never run faster or further than that.
But this time I was bouncing and full of energy and so he headed for the pub which is also now a nice little tradition.
One of the best things about the family getting healthier – apart from the fact that my wife is looking even more beautiful than ever at the moment – is the effect its having on my 3 year old daughter. Seeing her getting excited about me going out on my bike whilst she is going to bed, or the clapping and verbal encouragement she has given when she attends an event is fantastic (I had to stop myself bursting with pride when I saw her waving at me on Sunday) but also she had a developing interest in sport.
She wants to run around the garden and chase the dog, she wants to master her bike so she can come with me, she wants to swim to chase me in the water and she is already talking about doing an event with me in the future. My only hope is that this effect lasts long term.
In terms of events and training – I am attempting to step up the brick work going forward. Even if I don’t have the time to do a proper run at the end of the bike I am running round the garden for 5 minutes just to get used to the jelly legs, which is such a strange feeling still.
Still – its all good!