Saturday, July 28, 2007


The photograph above is one of a series I took on my big three hour walk on Tuesday afternoon. The significance of this image is more symbolic for me than anything. This is the start of the 2.4km time trial route from Frank Kitts park to Te Papa. The guy in the blue shirt running in the centre of the shot is at roughly the start line. From there you run between the two chain link fences, then straight down the promenade to Te Papa, where you then hang a left and keep running to the lamp post with the rubbish bin attached at the end of the wharf. You then turn around, run back to the beginning, then repeat. I need this shot to remind me that not that long ago I ran the distance in 10.36, and that I will be fast again.

Tuesday's run, Balance and walk left my calves absolutely rigid for the rest of the week. I missed intervals with the Squad on Wednesday because I was stuck at the hairdresser's. On Thursday morning Duck put me through a series of lunges and squats and ab work. Highlights included walking lunges the length of the gym floor while holding a 10kg straight up above my head, and lying on my back with my legs lifted at a 45 degree angle, with a medicine ball balancing on my shins. This workout consisted of a number of contained moments of intense pain.

My calves were still sore, my archilles niggling, and Hamish and I were off to the Wairarapa for the day. My homework run went out the window in favour of lunch in the sun on the terrace outside the White Swan, then wine tasting around Martinborough. The weather Gods shone upon us and the day felt so decadent that I found myself sitting outside the French Bakery at 3.00 eating a pain au chocolat. Devine!

Friday was the diarised Jog Squad day off. I was considering running anyway, given that I hadn't run since Tuesday, but my calves and archilles were still aching and I was in the midst of holiday-induced lethargy. In fact, but the end of the week I was wondering again whether there was something else going on. I know I've had a bit of an infection, and I suspect they knock me about more than I realise. I know I've been stressed and I know that being pulled out of my normal routine, even to go on holiday, can make me feel worn out. However I was surprised by how little desire I had to run. In the end I compromised by walking into town, taking Ohiro Rd down to Aro Valley, then cutting through onto the bottom of the Terrace for a rolling hill walk to my office. All up it took around an hour.

I don't usually worry about Addison's Disease having an impact on my ability to train, particularly since I came across a couple of Addisonian ultra runners. I've read some research lately that reported a general decline in quality of life rankings around the age of 50, but there seems to be no obvious reason why that would be. It's not so much that I feel Addison's would affect my quality of life, but I do sometimes fear developing yet another auto-immune disease. In particular diabetes would pose a real challenge. However I then remind myself that by staying healthy I'm giving myself the best possible chance of living happily to a ripe old age. I was wondering whether there was something cortisol related going on this week, but given that I'm generally slightly over-medicated it seemed unlikely.

Given my general state of lethargy I knew that this morning's run was probably not going to be the sudden return to form I was hoping for. I ensured that by stupidly drinking most of a bottle of pink bubbly and eating far too many chips and slices of pizza on Friday night at a colleague's leaving party. Stupid, stupid. How could I expect to have a good run dehydrated, queasy and hung over?

So no, this morning was not easy. I guess i can take heart that I did it, and that each kilometre back on the pavement will contribute to the sudden changing of gear I've experienced in the past. My body seems to need high mileage to operate effectively.

Today we were supposed to run for an hour. We headed out along the waterfront, up Bowen, down Tinakori, along Thorndon Quay and back onto the waterfront to the gym. If we got there in under an hour we were supposed to continue running up Taranaki Street. I held my own until we got to Bowen, and then I just faded. Ann has come on in speed amazingly, and she flew past me today, followed closely by Felicity. The bonus of running at my reduced speed was the opportunity to run with Rose, who has the right kind of 'mad dog' attitude to take her a long way with her running.

If I were honest I probably didn't feel as bad as I thought I did on the way back to the gym, but it seemed pretty ugly at the time. My quads just didn't have anything in them. It got me wondering about people who go from no physical activity to running their first half marathon in under two hours, and then musing glumly about my own comparative snail-like traits.

Then I think about that tiny little kid in primary school who was always at the back of everything. And it reminds me of how far I've come.

Having a series of bad runs does not make a runner a failure. Continuing on, pushing through the hard times and emerging stronger and mentally tougher makes a runner a success. Perseverance is the key to getting myself back on top.

NB: Nic and Leonie are flying from San Fran to New Zealand as I type this. The next week and a half or so may well be a little mad. It will be good to have them back in our lives in the physical, even if just for a short time. The coffee is brewing!


Kate said...

Yup- I saw you! Well, I didn't actually recognise you- though I looked out. I think I saw everyone, from Sarah and the speedies to the last woman. Speedies were coming up to Freedom when we saw them, slower runners were further back by some of the furniture shops on T Quay.

Sounds like you had a blissful day in M'borough. Last week was a brilliant week for an "at home holiday"!

Sass said...

I didn't realise N&L were coming back for a visit- yay for you! Make sure you relax and chill out with them rather than worrying about running;p

You'll get to read about my crap-ass run yesterday on my blog v soon - you weren't alone in having a bad one and I don't even have the night-before excuse!!

Lisa said...

"Having a series of bad runs does not make a runner a failure. Continuing on, pushing through the hard times and emerging stronger and mentally tougher makes a runner a success."

Ah, words I need to hear, thanks! Had some foot problems and some bad runs followed by some scared of foot pain fueled lazy days. Then pulled myself up tonight and did 10 miles, not sure what that is in metric, but it's a few miles shy of a half marathon.

And I sure did feel pretty successful after that :)