3 years ago today I did my first ‘proper’ endurance challenge, the Scotland Coast to Coast, which feels like a lifetime ago. But good to remind myself that I really haven’t been doing this running thing for very long, before that race I’d run 3 half marathons, a couple of 10k’s, a little dabble in adventure racing and that was pretty much it. But I loved the idea of taking on a challenge and where better to do it than the Scottish Highlands? I roped my little brother into joining me and that was the beginning of both of our journeys into the wonderful world of endurance sport. Since then I’ve run 9 marathons (with no. 10 in November), 2 ultra marathons and 2 half ironman’s. Plus of course multiple shorter races and lots of training adventures.
Almost exactly a year ago I was lying on the lounge floor crippled by the pain in my lower back, my mind full of worry about how serious it was, would I walk let alone run again? Am I going to need surgery? How they hell am I going to help with a 2 month old baby feeling like this? I’d been making great plans about the running I was going to do once I could start getting some more training in as Matilda got older. Those plans went very quickly out of the window.
Yet here I am a year later after a very long road of recovery that quite honestly still hasn’t finished, but it’s time to re-discover the running dad again. I’ve been running fairly regularly for most of this year and while still have some aches and pains on the whole feel ok. So now I’m starting to think ahead to the running challenges I want to complete in next 12-18 months. I need these goals and targets in my life to keep the motivation going.
I also finally realised last week that part of the frustration that has been building is because I haven’t been running. A self enforced break for the weeks following Henry’s birth where there just wasn’t time. But I started to feel the fog descend, the cloudy brain, the getting stroppy and angry, this isn’t me and running is the medicine I need.
So what about the challenges? Well my philosophy about running is that the adventure in completing is what excites me and motivates me. I don’t run for particular times or results and that reflects in my training. Sure I try and mix it up with different speeds and distances and I do throw in some speed training, but I don’t have an itemised training plan. I run for the enjoyment of running, that’s it. Just look at the photo to the right, 6.15am this morning on the canal towpath, an amazing morning so peaceful and quiet. That’s why I run, for moments like that.
But I do like to have a challenge, one that when you tell people what you are doing they look at you like you’re a little crazy. I take a sadistic satisfaction from knowing that most people wouldn’t even attempt let alone finish the event. So here’s the plan so far:
- Autumn/Winter 2012 – my favourite trail series kicks off again. Great races in breathtaking scenery and a choice of distances. I think I’ll start with a few 10k’s as I build my training, conscious of having 2 little children at home which restricts time to train. Then maybe attempt a half marathon. I doubt I’ll do every race in the series but hopefully 4 or 5.
- Spring 2013 – with luck I’ll get my entry in the London Marathon through the ballot. I think it’s time I attempted a marathon and where better than London? If this fails I may look for a smaller event elsewhere in the country.
- September 2013 – an event I have been dreaming of doing for a while and hopefully next year will have the time to train for it with the babies that bit older. It’s called the Scotland coast to coastand is a non stop 102 mile race from Nairn on the North sea down to the Isle of Glencoe. A mixture of cycling on and off road plus some trail running and kayaking. Looks truly incredible.
No doubt you are now thinking ‘I know why he’s called a fool now’! But what’s life without an adventure eh? Any events that you want to do? Seen something that might interest me? Or even better do you want to join me on one of these adventures? Then leave a comment why don’t you?