Blah: tales of the taper

Ugh, why do things always break when you slow down?

I did my last long training run in the Mournes 3 weeks ago. It was good. I’d planned to get another gym session in the week after but didn’t, so that was the end of that. I maintained the intensity and hills in my regular runs, even beating my climbing record up Cregagh Glen. 2 weeks out and I started to reduce the length of the runs, but made sure I sweated it out under the new found heat of the sun to acclimate. Apart from a week in February it has been like winter this year, but it suddenly went from 8 Celcius to 24 Celcius in a few days: quite a shock to the system.

Woodland stream

Last Sunday I missed my longer run as people were calling in throughout the day, but went out on Monday to do an easy 90mins. I went exploring in a part of Belvoir Forest I had forgotten about, taking every little trail I came across and trying to link them all together. It’s a great way to keep the intensity down as you contemplate where to go and look all about you at the new things! Unfortunately, after about 40mins of having fun, my insides tried to kill me and I felt decidedly unwell. I had to get settled and walk back to the house.

Sunny meadows

I’ve had poor appetite, bad breath, mild temperatures, and tiredness. I think this morning I’m starting to come around a bit from that, although last night wondered why my shin was painful to touch. It took very little searching to diagnose shin splint. I had done a very easy (28min) 5.5km that morning to turn the legs over, but they didn’t like the pavement obviously. I would have liked another short run tomorrow morning, but think I’m best to do nothing else now before the race on Saturday…the race is long enough and starts easy enough to warm up and work out any stiffness, but running beforehand will likely interrupt any healing that can happen beforehand. Ice, Ibuprofen, and rest are the mantras. I also have a hard, itchy lump of a spider bite on top of my foot which is very irritating. Chamois cream stops me scratching.

Feet - blood pipes and spider bite

Blood pipes & spider bite!


Other things to consider, other than organizing a house move next weekend, are all race related. I am doing a little carb loading over this week, eating wheaten bread, naan, fries, pudding, fruit pastels, real fruit, some beans, mashed potato, and instant oats. It is hard when you do not even feel like 2 meals in a day. My clothes are washed, and I’m planning my gels, drop-bag, and post-race recovery kit. I need to charge the ’emergency’ iPod shuffle and the Garmin; which also need to check is in ‘Smart Recording’ mode, as on ‘every second’ it will only last 3.5 hrs before over-writing itself! I was going to camp, but after the disturbance from the campsite last year I am just borrowing a car to drive down in the morning.

I am hoping that my immune response rebound will carry me on a wave of disease-induced superpowers, and that my shin splint is a mild irritation that will clear once I am warmed up. I had also set out 2 months ago to try and trim a bit of body fat, but after initial success have returned to exactly the same weight. Training took priority. I’ll just have to work 7% harder the whole way or be 7% slower.

I’m not aware of any nerves or excitement about the race, but to be honest have been mildly depressed this week. In some ways training for this race has been the only thing I’ve been capable of working on, or having control of the past few months, so perhaps the threat of having that undermined by illness or injury has me down. I have more events this summer, I’m excited about the house move (even if it was not asked for), but I do have a determination to complete this particular event much more successfully than last year. I know I’ll get the buzz as soon as I line up with the other contenders. Until, then I need to live in this moment, which is Thursday, and I have work to go to…

The weather this week is a washout. Thankfully, Saturday is set to get only a little rain, but it will remain cooler, topping out at 16 degrees: much better for running than the heat, and there will be loads of mud, which is fun 🙂

That’s the state of play. Injuries should be rested, but mere hurt doesn’t slow you down.

This is it. Fuck it. It is what it is.


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