Sunday 15th September 2013

Workout Soundtrack: –

0.25km 01:20

Workout Soundtrack: A Place to Bury Strangers – ‘Exploding Head’ (on the way to the pool) & Erykah Badu ‘Worldwide Underground’ (on the way home)

50m warm-up (freestyle)

65x25m 37:38 (freestyle) (40/1km 24:00)

50m warm-down (breaststroke)

Mentally it’s been a bit of a tough day to be honest. I had planned to get up an hour before sunrise and then set off into the fields with the dog. The plan was to power hike out and do a bit of a test run on the trails at an easy pace on the way back. Unfortunately I have only a vague recollection of waking up at 0530hrs, standing up and then deciding to lie back down – the next thing that I clearly recall is waking up at 1000hrs and looking over at my kit just lying out reading to be used. For some reason that really set me back! I thought I might even cry for a short while as I felt crushed, like I’d really let myself down. I don’t know because I’ve never done it but I imagine it would be how I might feel should I sleep through a race I’d entered! I lay there for quite some time listening to a light rain falling on my window panes and wondering how I could rectify the situation. My mind switched off and I feel asleep for another half an hour. Fail.

Eventually I did get up and after some breakfast I started to a feel a bit stronger in the head! I noticed that I was still feeling no pain, soreness or discomfort anywhere and then decided to get the dog on his leash and take him for a stroll to see my Dad. This is when my mental fortitude suffered another test for the day – on the rather steep downhill section of road that leads to my Dad’s I began to notice an odd sensation in my knee and this remained with me for the duration of my stay with the old man which was about an hour and a half. I tried not to think about it and instead talked about the football scores with and had a bit of lunch – I think subconsciously I had already decided I’d be going for a test run when I got back home.

Which leads me to my failed test run. Unlike the last test run I did on Tuesday I resolved to stop should I feel even an inkling of discomfort as I think pushing through the pain on Tuesday set me back quite a bit – I didn’t run, swim or do anything other than power hiking from then until yesterday! About 100m into the run I noticed discomfort in my left knee but as I was such a short while into the run I decided to carry on to the end of my road. Once I got there the discomfort/odd sensation was still with me so I stopped and walked back home. As I just mentioned, previous experience taught me that this would soon turn to pain either during or after the 3km test I had planned. For the second time today I felt like I might cry again but I held it together on the slow 250m walk back to the  front door. When I got in I sat in the entry hall and reflected for a short while – maybe it was a good thing I didn’t head out before sunrise this morning – my knee is still clearly wanting to cause some trouble and I didn’t exactly have the easiest of walks with Loki seeing as he slipped his collar when we were en route to my Dad’s via the fields! This train of thought seemed to put me right and I pulled myself together.

I grabbed a bottle of water and lifted weights and worked on my core for twenty minutes before deciding to head on over to the pool. It had always been my intention to swim both yesterday and today and a good swim usually helps to clear my mind and help me to think more positively once more! Regular readers will know that not every trip to the pool ends with me having a good swim, or even a swim at all sometimes. However, you can breathe a sigh of relief much like I did because when I arrived I noticed there were 3 lanes set aside for serious swimmers and only two people using them – I was already starting to feel much better about the day! I took it easy for the first 40 laps and went through the kilometre in 24 minutes flat, on seeing this I decided to pick up the pace a little and to see how I would fare over a mile – this wasn’t my planned session at all! Originally I was only planning on 40 laps but because the pool was so quiet and I’d got into a good rhythm I decided to take advantage of it. For the next 25 laps I may as well have been on my own planet! I completely zoned out and didn’t notice anything or anybody else around me, it was quite a surreal experience as I knew there were quite a few other people in the pool and that it was quite noisy but for me it was the opposite – no noise and no people – just water, my stroke pattern and my breathing pattern.

I got out of the pool after my warm down and I still felt completely disconnected from my surroundings. I honestly felt as though I was inside some sort of bubble and as I went up the steps to the sauna and steam room area I just knew that there would be nobody else there. After a very cold shower I went into the completely deserted steam room and ‘felt’ my bubble pop – my mind must have decided it was finally at ease and didn’t need to shut itself off from the rest of the world. I paced around for 15 minutes as I usually do but didn’t feel as pushed by it like I sometimes do, looking back maybe the steam room wasn’t as hot as usual or maybe it wasn’t as humid – I don’t really know, all I know is that I breezed through the pacing session which I normally find quite difficult during the last 2 or 3 minutes. By now, my mental anguish of the day had all but passed and I headed over to the sauna. As I mentioned yesterday I intend to increase my time in there incrementally over the coming weeks with my base starting at 12 minutes. Today I figured I’d try and add a minute on. I managed 13 minutes and 35 seconds before I just had to get out, drink some water and have another cold shower – I focused the fairly powerful jet of water on my left knee, ITB and left lower back for about 3 minutes before spending 2 minutes with the jet on my head and neck. Afterwards I figured I’d go for another round in the sauna and follow it up with another cold shower – hot/cold therapy has been recommended to me before and it seems to work so why not! This time I managed 1o minutes in the sauna before I started to feel a little dizzy and my stomach began to call out for some sustenance – I jumped back into the freezing shower for a full ten minutes and then sorted myself out before heading home.

So, here I sit at home, quite clearly carrying an injury that is stopping me from running. Obviously, as a runner, it’s fair to say that this is going to be playing on my mind quite a lot until I see a physio and have the opportunity to talk about it in depth, get some work done on it and be given exercises I can do to get back to full strength! I really hope that I don’t have too many days like today though as I don’t know what got into me from the moment I woke up. I have said before that I find relentless positivism a difficult state of mind to keep up but today’s feeling of helplessness and of letting myself down were much harder labours to bear – I’m just glad I managed to shake them off and have spent the last few hours thinking positively about the future and about how I’m going to get through this injury and be stronger for it! My natural resilience in the face of adversity will get me through this in the end, I guess I’ve just found out today that it’s not all going to be plain sailing on the mental front.

On that note I shall leave you dear reader – a more upbeat post will follow this one tomorrow, of that I can assure you!

Peace and Blessings x

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