Mount St Helens and the bicycle

It has been a little while since the last post, so I’ll try to bring the blog back up to date.

I think it’s safe to say that 2015 has continued in its turbulent nature. I guess it was only a matter of time with the two deaths, funeral and injury which occurred in March actually sank in. Now I’m normally one for passively letting things run through me; occasionally they snag on something and that gives a bit of grief that needs resolving, but usually things are dealt with rather low key.

Unfortunately, pressures at work, borne out by there being not enough pairs of hands or hours in the day, combined with a somewhat unsteady foundation of issues in the home life – including no stress-relieve outlet of running due to the injury, resulted in something going pop. To be fair, the day prior at work, I felt that things weren’t great, I even commented at one point that I was on the verge of just going home. But I kept on as that’s what I do. Unfortunately, the following day, with another ‘drop-everything-and-do-xyzabc-as-well’ resulted in a moment similar to Mount St Helens in May 1980, occurring in my head.

It’s probably fortunate that I remember little of the day, other than lots of different people telling me that I really didn’t look well and that I should go home, which is, coincidentally, where I’ve been ever since.

Whilst the physical injury is still not completely fixed, it has abated enough to allow me to get out. When I say that I can ‘run my rage out of me’ it really does seem to be the case of doing that. I can feel the stress/anger/frustration almost seemingly flow around my body like a river of lava and it is relentless. The pressure value seems to be accessed via expending physical energy and over the past two weeks I’ve run 42 miles and cycled over 190 miles. Which for somebody ‘a bit crocked’, is something of an achievement.

The fact that he weather has been kind has been rather helpful, and whilst it would have been nice to have taken a camera with me on my travels, you’ll just have to accept my word that the views from the Cat & Fiddle last week were fantastic, and that I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else at that time. Even if, by the time I returned home that my legs were like jelly!

Cat & Fiddle route

Cat & Fiddle route

Not that it has all been straightforward. I decided to swap over to ‘cleat pedals’, where one clips into the pedal. This is good for maximising pedal power. But not so good when it comes to falling off the bike, which I have done on multiple occasions in the last week, sometimes with an audience, sometimes without.

Indeed, travelling up the aptly named ‘The Climb ‘o Doom’ where the gradient was sufficiently steep for me to unable to pedal, there was a definite Wile E Coyote moment where I stopped, looked at the camera, before plummeting earthwards with a loud crash.

Either way, I have a sore left arm and dented pride! I’m told this is a normal learning curve, it’s just I’m older and less wise than those who have previously made this transition I fear!

Running has been much slower progress, with the legs struggling to get up to the mileage they were previously comfortable at turning out. It looks like this will be the first month since June 2014 when a half-marathon distance will not be completed. A shame, but one has to look after the body and if it really doesn’t want to go, pushing it is only likely to do damage.

Sadly the early summer weather seems to have ended, at least for the time being. I’m currently 1 run short of getting my 10 runs in the month (the joys of SmashRun) and I’m itching for another bike adventure, albeit a little one. I guess I’ve been inspired by reading about James Brooman who is currently RUNNING ACROSS AUSTRALIA. Check out his blog and if you’re on Strava, you can follow his progress on there too. It’s the sort of crazy thing I’d love to be doing but the sort of thing I’d immediately talk myself out of, being a really stupid thing to do!

So that’s really been the last couple of weeks. Of course the plan is to get my mind fit again (or as fit as it will ever be) whilst my physical fitness also improves (gravity allowing). I’ll probably grab the highlights from the London Marathon later on tomorrow rather than listening to the commentary which tends to annoy me more than anything. I enjoyed a documentary about Paula Radcliffe today which really helped me to remember why I enjoy running but also that it’s part of a bigger picture, rather than the be all and end all.

Which, overall, is probably the thing I’m taking away from April 2015.

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