I can’t believe an entire year has gone by since my last post. For some reason 2017 turned into a fallow year when it came to my running, such a pity after my accomplishments in 2016. The year just got off to a bad start in late January as I managed to put my back out by going down a water slide at the Doncaster Dome. It is always the silly things that end up causing the greatest damage.
That slight jar to my lower back meant a trip to the doctor and then about 8 weeks in rehab to fix my back. The only thing I wanted to know from the physio in that first session, was ‘would my back be fixed enough to allow me to run the London Marathon?’ After waiting nearly 10 years to get into the London Marathon I didn’t want to lose the opportunity now.
The main issue was that I could only do strength and conditioning exercises so I wasn’t putting any miles into my legs. I took a risk and ran a half marathon as this would give me a good gauge on whether I could run a marathon. It was a struggle, and painful at times, but I managed the half in just over 2 hours; I decided then that I would run London.
Marathon day was soon upon me and quite frankly my training plan had been non-existent due to my back. I was feeling strong, probably due to the excitement and adrenalin, and ended up enjoying the day and just going for it. I eventually crossed the finish line in just under 4 hours 15 mins. The lack of miles in my legs caught up with me at around mile 22 when cramp suddenly set into my calf and no matter what I did I just couldn’t shift it. Up to that point I was still on for 3 hours 45 mins and I actually felt ok, apart from that cramp that just would not ease. The run, walk, hobble motion for the last 4 miles was so demoralising, and I still remember that feeling as I approached Big Ben and the 4 hour pacers, Susie Chan and Paul Addicott, went by me…. Noooooooo!!!
Given the virtually non existent training, I have to be happy with my time. I know not many people could run their first marathon on no training in that kind of time. But that sub 4 hour time was so close.
Anyway after London I completely lost my running mojo and I think I only ran four time between Apr and Dec, with the longest runs being two 5km treadmill runs when I was on holiday in Cyprus in Oct.
This leads me to 2018 and how do I relight that spark to go running again. The first target is just to get the motivation to get out of the door and the best way I can achieve that is to set myself a challenge. The last time I set myself a running challenge was in 2016, which lead to me having one of my best ever running years.
I was reading about the remarkable Nick Butter who has set himself a mammoth challenge of running a marathon in all 196 countries over 550 or so days. I could not emulate this, but it inspired me to come up with a more modest idea that would lead me to about 1500km for the year. This is my plan. I have 197 countries and I want to run for each of those countries. The length of the run will be decided on how many letters there are in the name of that country. For example, SPAIN has five letters, therefore that would be a 5km run. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC has 17 letters so that would be a 17km run. You get the idea.
In case anyone is interested my longest run will be 28kms! Not once, but twice as their are two countries with 28 letters, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The most popular distance is 7km, with 41 countries, and 10 counties only have 4 letters in the them. I will be saving these short runs for when I really need them. By my calculations if I successfully complete this I will, as a minimum, have run 1640km.
As I am a sucker for rounding up my distances I can see me rounding up the 15 countries with 9 letters to 10km runs! It will just grate on me if I don’t do it.
This challenge at least got me started as I was out on the 1 Jan 18.