"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Wake up...

I peel my eyes open and look around; my best friend is standing over me, and I’m on his living room floor. It was our school friend’s wedding last night. I remember getting in, ditching my clothes at my feet, and collapsing onto his couch – obviously during the early hours I decided the floor was the more comfortable option.

It was 7am on a Monday morning, we’d got in at 2am and I was tired. Fortunately, I’d booked the day off work to recover, but, as my mate works in a school, he couldn’t. So, what would any other person in my situation do? Go home, and sleep it off of course….

…What did I do? Go home, get changed into my running gear, and go for a 10km run! Running it off really is the best way to recover from a drinking session!

Weddings always bring you together with people you haven’t seen for a long time and one of you always utters (often in a drunken state) “we’ll have to keep in touch – I’ve missed you”. Of course this happened, but, pushing closer to 30 than 20, you realise that, in reality, you’re not going to, and you are somewhat set in your ways. This is especially the case if you have an ‘other half’ – and this is fair enough, everyone has their own priorities, but it never ceases to amaze/disturb/worry me how easy it is to drift apart from people you thought you would always be around and spend time with.

I won’t veer off onto a long rambling “what if…” set of scenarios of how all the decisions I made meant I lost good friends and relationships, but it did get me thinking about something I wrote on 31st December 2011 – I wouldn’t call it a set of resolutions, more a set of reflections on different aspects of my life, and where I wanted to be over the year.

I’m not going to go into them all, as some are very personal, but there is something I wrote about my health, and my knee. “I’ve undergone physio treatment for strained medial collateral ligament damage, for iliotibial band tightness and strain. Despite these, and seemingly overcoming them, pain just under the knee cap occurs when running – as usual, left knee. I’m booked in to see a private knee specialist in 2 days’ time (2nd January of this year).”

Since then I’ve had an MRI scan, ultrasound, and physio… Here I am today, having run 6.5 miles on Saturday, 12.5 miles on Sunday, and a quick (2.5 mile) jog around the block this morning.

I’ve come a long way, and I’m very happy about it, but I still feel there is a long way to go; but that’s ok, because I love a challenge, and pushing myself. This week I’ll be going back to train with Liverpool Running Club for a track session - I can’t wait, having never done anything like that before! I’ve also got the Mersey Tunnel 10k on Sunday. I completed this last year in about 41:30, so I’ll be looking to better this and my Manchester 10k time from last month. I’m really going to try for a sub 40 minute 10k; this would signal a noticeable improvement, and marker, in my fitness. It also gives me a chance of a PB; 39:48 is my current best, so it would be nice to deliver a new one before the first half of 2012 is out!!

I’ll update after the race, hopefully with a good report (and time!) to boot! Until next time… The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle :)

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