“I’ve always done whatever I felt like doing in life. People may try to stop me, and convince me I’m wrong, but I won’t change.”
― Haruki Murakami,
I thought that was an appropriate quote to start this post with because I am losing track of the people who have told me that the running I did over my holidays wasn’t smart or clever. But I am getting ahead of myself here so let’s go back a bit.
This year we holidayed in my native Finland; 10 glorious days of sunshine (yes!! EVERY day!), family, food, drink, sauna, swimming in the lake.. Amazing, amazing time. However, I am always very nervous when I go off on holidays as I worry that it pushes me out of my regular running routine and I end up coming back lazy and puffy. I did my best to eat everything and anything in sight over the holiday; I put the men around me in shame with the amount I could stuff down my gob. But everything I had was a treat! Karelian pies, rye bread, Oltermanni cheese, pickles, Finnish mustard, Finnish sausages, decent meat… And let’s not even go into the pastries.. It also took me a while to realise that I was drinking way too much coffee – something the Finns consume by the bucketload and well into the night. Usually I only have one cup a day and even that is decaf. Yet there I was having a cup after cup of the proper stuff. Stupidly it took me ages to put 2+2 together and understand that the coffee might be why I was still awake at 2/3am each night and having massive issues with my heart. Towards the end I cut the coffee out altogether and felt much better for it.
Luckily the area we stayed at is just made for long runs. The weather was hot and the route was very hilly but so beautiful. I was evangelising about this 2 years ago when I last went there and ran in the same scenery but I just can’t get over how lovely everything looked. Especially in the beautiful August sunshine. Blue skies, blue lakes, fields with harvests at different points of green and yellow… Just gorgeous.
I had a 25km route mapped out but on a few occasions I gave myself the permission to the the shorter way home and cut it down to 20km. Well, on one of those occasions it was my stomach that made that decision for me… That hadn’t happened in a while!
So the running; we spent 10 full days in Finland I ran on 7 of those. A total of 160km all in all. During the first 7 days I had run 115km. My body felt fine if a bit tired. I have to say that there was one bitch of a hill in particular (from 19km to 20km). Hooooly mother… It was one of those gradual but steep enough hills to zap every little ounce of energy you had left. Did I mention the it was sunny? And the whole route was hilly?… Did I?
At first glance it doesn’t really look that different but If you look at the pace, you can see I was much faster in Finland as well. Something that really surprised me (and made me pretty happy in equal measure!).
We got back last Wednesday (it’s now Tuesday of the following week) and I was pretty happy to be going to the gym on the Thursday to give my legs a bit of a break from the running. It was also good to get back to my set of exercises I do at home; just various strength things for legs and arms.
And then Friday – I was all ready to get to work and attack the million emails that I had been sent over the previous few weeks. Except when I woke up at 6am I knew something was up in the Merry Land of Hysterical Runner. I swiftly made my way to the toilet and proceeded to spend most of the day there. Not going to go into details but let’s just say that it was sometimes tricky to decide whether to sit down or to kneel down. And then the fever and headache started along with lower back pain. And my throat was swollen, which it was already before my stomach contents had been forced past it. I was one sick puppy.
Saturday morning when I woke up, I still wasn’t feeling great. My throat was still swollen but I had no fever so I thought I could do my run (“Ah, I can do a 25km run standing on my head” said the arrogant HR). I admit, I knew pretty much straight away that I was being stupid. If I had to do a workout I could have gone to the gym but no; had to run. And it was one of the most miserable runs ever. Also one of the shortest I have done in years. I was forced to cut it short at 13km; splitting headache was back and I was sure I would pass out. So mad at myself; not because I ran but because that’s all I could muster! (Let’s take a look at that quote again….)
Sunday I did my 2h at the gym and that was fine – clearly on the mend.
So today is Tuesday and I got up at 4.30am to do my 25km run before work. My throat is still swollen but I actually had a very good run and managed to keep to the Finnish pace. And it was reassuring to know I could still run. The weird thing is that I could do 500 amazing, record breaking runs but just one bad one and I am ready to believe that I have lost all ability to run. Nuts, I know, but I am sure you are all the same…
So that’s pretty much it. You’re up to date (more or less) with what’s up with me and my running. I just looked at the stats and I have done 1826.97km so far this year. Average run is 23.73km – I really fecked up that average with my short runs. Average run time 2:12:20. Not bad from someone who just does what she wants, how she wants to do it… Just don’t expect that to change. 🙂