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Back on the Road - Slow but sure


It's been 10 weeks since 'that crash' and I'm feeling a gazillion times better. This week I got back on my bike to commute to work on 2 days and I've had a couple of long walks to work. It's been a slow but sure road to recovery and I'm still learning loads in the process. 

I was due to be riding at Birmingham Velothon this Sunday and whilst I am a bit gutted to be missing it, I'm also pretty cool about not spending my day hurling myself around the West Midlands countryside. It just seems a bit much right now and I don't feel ashamed to admit it.

Today was a last chance to get some confidence back and to ensure I was going to be fit enough to participate in Birmingham Half Marathon next month. Of all the events I had to cancel, my entry to Birmingham Marathon was bugging me the most. Last year I had ended a series of 10k events with Birmingham Half, as the finale to prove my ability to get my shit together. It was previously the furthest I had ever run, but it had been over 7 years since I was last fit enough for the distance.

This year is the first time that Birmingham's biggest closed road running event, has offered the full marathon distance, so it was going to be good to finish the year with one last marathon in the bag. But when I knew that a full marathon would be off limits in time for October, the organisers very kindly offered a refund for the full course, then allowed me to transfer onto their half marathon route.

So being able to get back out on regular runs, has been a good indicator of weekly progress. From the first weeks of not being able to bathe or dress myself, I have been massively grateful for any small changes in things I can do, but also of the amount of rest I can squeeze in too. I've been working my way up slowly, from an initial 4km, to a 5, then a 7, then today a 16km slow jog. Its been steady but I've also enjoyed many many rest days. An important part of training that I had forgotten for a long time.

Over Training is easy to do, when you are trying to resolve problems relieved by running and exercise. It happens slowly. You seem to be capable of doing loads in the early days and when I found  some really nice people through the run clubs and cycle groups, I just wanted to keep up with them all. I went training 3 or 4 nights a week, maybe a long run at the weekend if no event was planned, then a swim and I probably cycled to work 3 days a week too.

Doesn't seem so bad, but my commute by bike is about 26 miles a day, so topping that with a 60 - 90 minute exercise session and a full days work, it left me permanently stretched out and over trained. My body wasn't able to recover, I had really bad insomnia and life just wasn't much fun any more. The thing I loved most, was being done to excess and I kept topping weeks off with one event after another. My physio was keeping my achilles and calves from having a meltdown, in between each event, but I still really didn't see the harm. Until I was forced to stop. 

Now I have finally caught up with proper sleep, I realise how much better I function without being completely pooped out the whole time. It's a state of mind I hadn't known for years and I don't really want to feel that puzzled by life again. So now I am trying a different method and going for quality training over quantity. I am either cycling to work, or taking a class, not both. I am walking some days, running on others, doing nothing on some. It feels better. It seems to be working.

So my goals for the rest of the year? Get back to Yoga, start doing some strength training and get my shoulder and arm back into good shape, and fingers crossed I will complete Birmingham Half. Take care to enjoy time with family and friends, make more time for creative days, visit a few more galleries.. or paint a few more ladies..

Just a few bits to cover xx

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