Nearly a year ago, while I was high on the reality of my primal based diet demolishing my depression, I was persuaded to join a friend to sign up for the winter Wolf Run: a mud, trail and obstacle 10k course. Now regular readers will know that I am at heart lazy and somewhat lacking in grit and my family must have oft despaired that my planning and sticking to schedule abilities are somewhat lacking. Friends have observed that I don’t like getting dirty and my doctor has diagnosed exercise-induced asthma. With this in mind can you deduce the amount of training I have done? It is now five weeks until the mud run. Would you like a laugh? Ok, I shall blog you a five week countdown…
So far my training has run (pun!) thusly:
November 14-January 15. Think about running a lot. See myself breezing through the course with much beautific smiling, balletic leaping and bona-fide flying. Attempt a couple of road runs. Wheeze. Bitch. Assume someone will wave a magic wand. Hopefully soon.
February 15-April 15. Read Kelly Starrett’s Ready to Run. Take on board a few key points, namely working on neutral feet, taking salts alongside my good hydration habit; and realising that my squat technique sucks. See a doctor for the wheezing and get an inhaler Question my obviously non-existant diagnostic skills for never realising that fighting for breath and chest pain weren’t normal. Do a few more road runs. Wheeze less. Bitch the same amount. Still awaiting that magic wand.
May 15-July 15. Read Katy Bowman’s Move your DNA. Start to, well, move around a bit more. I also do some of her foot exercises when I remember, spend some time hanging on our pull-up bar, get rid of one of my two pillows, try and sit on the floor more and wear some fancy toe alignment socks when I know nobody will visit. I’m not sure if I’m doing some really good running prep or just putting off the actual running itself but it feels good so I’m happy. I do head out for a few short runs but it’s tiring and I don’t like feeling tired or sweaty. Plus my legs feel heavy and useless.
August 15. Read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and am astonished by what is actually possible, albeit for runners who live and breathe running rather than just reading about it. Ahem! Walk a lot more – barefoot where possible but wearing nice flat soled converse shoes when not. Make a point of really noting how my feet touch the ground. How they adapt to hills, to gravel, to mud, to sand. Develop a huge appreciation for what my feet do and also for the the ground itself in its capacity as what Katy Bowman refers to as an “external force.” I note that barefoot walking is slower than shod walking but is also kind of meditative in that you have a hightened awareness for your environment. It’s less tiring. Calming but refreshing and somehow invigorating. Lots to ponder there! Meanwhile I hear about Erwan le Corre’s Movnat and get very inspired. Follow some of his unique and rather brilliant exercise routines on Breaking Muscle. Realise how domesticated I have allowed my body to become. Bitch internally. Resist running.
September 15. Start panicking. Do several more long and beautiful walks with a 4kg weighted backpack but only do a couple of runs because it hurts and I really hate my trainers. Order Vivobarefoot Trailfreaks with their zero-drop, uncushioned and non-built up soles and wide toe-box; and try to avoid looking at bank balance.
23rd-28th September 2015 Horizontal 24/7 with Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo. In English? Every time I move my head, turn over, lie down or try to sit up the room spins at a thousand miles an hour. If I’m sitting up or am on my feet when it hits I fall over.
29th-30th September. Attempt a few short walks staggering around like a drunkard at first but gradually building up strength and balance. It’s nice to be out in the sunshine though!
1st October 2015 (Today). Receive aforementioned Trailfreaks in post and head up to woods near home. It’s sunny but mild. The paths are muddy, rocky, strewn with tree roots and brambles. Fallen tree branches require ducking under or climbing over. The terrain is hilly. It’s perfect. I run two miles lightly, quietly, easily and happily. My feet are comfortable and relishing the challenge of reacting to the topography rather than just being rigidly plonked up and down like those pneumatic things we used to see people digging up the road with. (Help me out here if you can remember what they’re called!) I don’t need my inhaler. My thin-soled shoes keep me mindful of how I move so I don’t slam my heels down, stride out beyond my capabilities and try to push through pain. Instead my non-running training of late has allowed me to veritably bounce up hills using the springiness of me rather than relying on technology. This is a revelation! This is actually fun and it feels good! I’m hoping these shoes are my magic wand. Please let them be. Stay tuned folks…