Only a hurricane stops training

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Training for Rome Marathon (for real this time)

Week 3 of 10: Day 14

54 days to go

Track tonight. Always anticipated with some trepidation. All that running around the field, supposedly to warm up, that has my eyes bulging and my lungs rasping as I gasp for air before we’re halfway through ‘warming up’. Then there’s all that skipping and galloping and grapevining that they call plyometrics before we get to the actual track session, which usually involves something like running as fast as you can for one minute, walking for a minute or 90 seconds, depending on the coach’s mood, and repeating that about ten times. This is washed down with another few laps around the field before we’re released back into reality.

The rule is that only a hurricane can cancel a training session. Well, I’m pretty sure that what was raging out there can definitely be classed as a hurricane.

The branches of the palm trees whipped about in the wild winds, looking as if they would come loose and be blown across the sea at any moment. Massive sprays of white foam stood up from the churning waves fighting against the gale to make their way to shore. Runners walking from their cars looked like John Wayne as they tried to steady themselves against the force of the wind.

The Cape Doctor put on a spectacular show in Camps Bay this evening.

The Cape Doctor put on a spectacular show in Camps Bay this evening.

So track was cancelled. But training wasn’t.

We would run 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back instead. I was feeling quite tired by the end of the day today, struggling to keep my eyes open while waiting for the kid’s saxophone lesson to end, and was hoping for a little nap before heading out to train. And I was nervous about how I would cope after Sunday’s tough run. But I’m always nervous about how I’m going to cope.

That little voice of self-doubt was nagging at me again. And for the first ten minutes of the run I almost believed her. I was struggling to regulate my breathing from the first few paces already, and the slight incline that leads from Maiden’s Cove parking lot to Victoria Road had my legs shrieking their protest. Various body parts joined in the chorus – my calf muscles said ‘Foolish idea, this’, my knee said ‘See, now you’re going to injure yourself’ and my Achilles tendon said ‘I’m going to hurt you all the way there and back’.

And then it all kind of settled down. The wind shadow waited for us just around the bend, at Clifton, and everything became peaceful. I stopped checking my watch to see how much of the required 20 minutes had passed and how much torture I had left, and appreciated the evening light on the waves down below instead. My breathing settled down and my noisy mind went quiet. Some runners passed me, of course – actually, quite a lot passed me – but I passed a few myself, even on the way back when the gale hit us head-on.

I ran 40 minutes. And, again, running surprised me. I had expected to really struggle. I had expected to hate every step. I had expected to walk a few paces. No, I don’t know why that annoying negative voice in my head keeps feeding me this crap. But it does. And it was wrong.

I looked like a crimson-faced, sweaty madwoman at the end of the run, with my eyes wild and my hair standing straight up on my head, but I felt good. I managed to clock up another 6.4 km today. The first kays of this week.

Lets see if I can shut that negative voice up again tomorrow

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