…You Think You Have Time…

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” – Buddha, maybe

Where did the last 10 weeks go? Admittedly, some of it passed in a drunken haze (hence Dry June for me) but seriously, it’s going to be 3 months before I know it and I have accomplished…F*** ALL!!!

The first few weeks I stuck to my routine. I was full of energy, aspirations, excitement about the vast amount of time in front of me…and then it all went to pot (that’s a British expression, meaning “everything went wrong”, I didn’t add weed to my list of vices).

I started staying up later and sleeping in later. I skipped my daily exercise (or at best I can say it was sporadic), and my 5:2 diet of 5 days of clean eating to every 2 days of whatever takes my fancy…well..I stuck to the ratio…just reversed the numbers.

My lower back started to give me problems and I can’t put my finger on whether it’s just lack of flexibility or a herniated disc. Either way, I can run and cycle, but sitting down for long periods and dead-lifting are out of the question.

On a positive note, I did grow that beard, and was proud of it…but no one was ready for me to look THAT old, so off it came, along with the mop of hair that had grown over the last 10 weeks.

I also plucked up the courage to speak to a couple of policemen about my novel – which was very helpful – and I have daydreamed a lot about the individual scenes…but write? No, I haven’t actually WRITTEN anything!

I even took a break from the blog because…well…why not? Why not? Why not? I seem to be saying that far too often, the further into the covid cave I get. It’s dark in here at the moment…and it ECHO-ECHO-ECHOOOOOEEESS!!!

Why not have some chocolate? Why not have a beer or some wine? Why not binge watch another Netflix series and turn off my morning alarm? Why not leave my writing, reading, studying, exercising until tomorrow, or the next day?

There are some bloody good reasons for “why not?” and yet they never seem to come to mind at the right time! So instead, as of the 1st June 2020, I’ve decided to mind f*** myself and ask aloud “WHY???”

Why eat some chocolate – knowing that 4 squares is never enough and will ultimately destroy my dreams of ever possessing a visible six pack?

Why drink alcohol – knowing that getting up to run is hard enough without a hangover (which doesn’t take me much) or that booze seems to send my resting heart rate skywards and ruins my heart rate training?

Why put off writing/studying/exercising – knowing that I’m already further behind than I want to be as a result of my earlier poor life choices and delayed arrival to the game?

I have plenty to be excited…(well, at least enthusiastic) about, even without a definite upcoming race or exam to focus on:

  • We have just bought a puppy, Ronnie – he’s a collie cross (border collie and a huntaway…a hollie, if you will…or if he’s been naughty, well…you can work it out. He will eventually be an ideal running partner and perfect answer to “why run this morning?”
  • The Paris marathon is 20 weeks away, as long as it doesn’t get cancelled. I plan to train as if it’s going to happen, and as if this is the sub 3 hour attempt that Berlin should have been.
  • The blog was doing well, lots of views, even if the likes and comments were few and far between, so I’ll go back to writing that on a daily basis, publishing weekly.
  • I have a great story to tell…right now I feel that way. Funny how the blinking cursor on the blank word document convinces me otherwise! One – word – at – a – time!!!
  • I have found so many books to read, films to watch, online courses to study…I have so many things I would like to do, I need to start them! And start them again.
  • I know a routine works best for me, so it’s back to waking at 04:30 and going to bed at 21:00, I’m far more productive that way.

Anyway, I can’t do anything about whatever time was wasted over the last 10 weeks. All I can do is make sure that the next 10 are far more fruitful. Some people only wake up and realise this after 10 months or 10 years, so I should count my lucky stars.

So thank you for all of those encouraging slaps and kicks up the backside. I’m back on both feet, soon to be back on track and into some sort of rhythm again.

Berlin Marathon Cancelled

So my plans to blitz this race are now kaput! It was supposed to have been my final race of the year, but its cancellation is not a complete shock in the current zeitgeist. Still, no less disappointing. September seemed so far away, and the hope was that Covid-19 would be firmly in the rear view mirror by then. Apparently not. Nein!

I wasn’t that bothered about the Paris marathon cancellation, or my sprint triathlon, or my Olympic triathlon, or even the 24 hour Spitfire Scramble…but Berlin has hit me. Like a wall.

Go ahead, you athlete-haters – you have my full permission to feel all of the schadenfreude you can muster. I am gutted.

It’s not just the cost of the flights and hotel, or letting down Prostate Cancer UK, the charity I would have been running for. It’s not even all of the training I’ve put in – because in all honesty, I hadn’t done more than my usual mileage yet. It’s more about the fact that this was supposed to be my final marathon, coinciding with my 40th birthday – a sensible age to say aufweidersein to marathon running.

I know lots of marathon runners talk about quitting straight after they’ve crossed the line (“NEVER AGAIN KAREN!”…signs up the following week for the next race), but the London marathon was a year ago and my decision still stands.

I want to swap some running time, for some writing time – so marathons are out. I’m also not convinced that marathon running is the healthiest of past times, and as much as I enjoy running long distances, I’m no spring chicken. Dr James O’Keefe’s TED Talk was also a serious wake up call.

The Original Plan

All going well with my training, I was going to break the 3-hour barrier and hang up my marathon running shoes content with a 2:59.

Achieving a 2:55 wouldn’t make me feel any better. Any faster just doesn’t excite or inspire me, so I wouldn’t enjoy the process of working towards it. For such a slight improvement, that would require far too much time and effort, I’m of the opinion that life is too short.

So on one hand, I’m looking forward to “retirement”.

No more 16 week training plans, or running too many days a week and feeling guilty if I missed a day. No more trying to stay as close to my racing weight (70 kg) as possible. For my height, you can’t even call me overweight until I hit 77 kg! POW! Bring on the bratwurst and sauerkraut! No more of those gels or glucose blocks…yuck! No more extra-early Sunday morning runs. Cosiness calls.

Retirement Plan

My retirement is by no means going to be sedentary. Yes, I want to spend more time writing, but I ‘m also planning on doing the following:

  • 30 – 60 mins of Maffetone-style, aerobic training, 3 or 4 mornings a week. Either running or on the bike, with an occasional swim.
  • Body weight strength training (air squats, push ups, pull ups, planks), 2 or 3 times a week.
  • Occasional, shorter distance races. Saturday morning Parkruns, 10km races or sprint triathlons.
  • Eat a low-carb high-fat, primarily plant-based diet, with some intermittent fasting thrown in. (SUGAR is my only weakness. I can take or leave alcohol and meat – blog post pending – the struggle is real).
  • Sleep as much as my body needs, and monkey mind will allow (INSOMNIA blog post pending), generally 6-8 hours a night.

I’ll Be Back? (F*** it, Austria’s close enough)

I feel a certain amount of angst about calling it a day with regards to marathon running. Forty is the new thirty after all and the following facts still remain:

Still stuff in the basement – I’m 99.8% certain I could go sub-3 to qualify for the Boston marathon and 99.9% certain that I’d regret not having tried.

Gene Dykes – 70 years old and still setting PBs!?! Who says it’s all downhill at 40 years old?!

Family and friends – I know too many people still involved in racing, and I have rubber arms. It doesn’t take much to convince me to enter a race or take on a challenge.

We shall see.

This by the way is the 2nd blog post of the “10 in 10 days, blog post challenge”. If I make it to number 10, I’ll go back to a weekly blog post! Hopefully the next blog will be on Step 4 of the Snowflake Method, I’ve been sidetracked with trying to convince readers to like, comment, share and follow the blog! The fact that anyone is reading this is still something I’m grateful for, so I’m indebted to all of you going the extra mile.

Danke shon. Aufweidersein!