9 APRIL 2013

Where have I been?……That is the same question my shoes asked as I laced them up on Saturday!
It’s been one of those fortnights where I could count on one hand how many nights I have slept in my own bed, how many meals I have cooked myself at home and how many runs I’ve been for. The weekend before Easter I had a great friend’s wedding in Wanaka. The kind of great friend and the kind of wedding where it isn’t a one day affair but rather a 3 day affair! Monday the 25th of March was Otago anniversary so I had an extra day to recover from the wedding antics and time for a nice big run. It was an awful run. A run where you are aware of ever step you take, every minute that passes and it feels like you just can’t get a rhythm. I finished by heading up the side goat track off Tobin’s and then down the main road. Whilst running down the main road my right leg around my quad muscle, just above my knee, started to kind of give way and collapse a little bit. I figured it was just cramping and I could run it off…..* Do NOT self-diagnose. Clearly, I am an idiot!* Back to work I went, a couple of usual weekday 8-10km runs and then I was boarding a plane to spend Easter in Auckland. I had purchased my tickets cheaply online not long after New Years, before the Routeburn was in my diary. If you have ever lived in Queenstown/Arrowtown you tend to do this 2-3 times a year, have a weekend south at the beach; a long weekend in one of NZ major cities because as lovely as it is living here sometimes it starts to feel like the mountains are closing in on you and you just need to get out. So out I got and headed to the Big Smoke!
So, Easter in Auckland = one run. One run and it hurt. Something was going on with this leg and I knew that perhaps it wasn’t going to get better if I kept running on it…..*Again, not my brightest move*
I’ve spoken before about how personal running is, people do it for all sorts of reasons, to get fit, achieve goals, lose weight, sports training etc. Running for me is all about me; it’s my selfish time where I call all the shots, I decide where I want to go, how fast I want to go, all the;” where’s, how’s and what’s” are up to me. I’ve had a bit going on at work in recent months and there is nothing better than doing up your laces and hitting a trail or pavement and taking yourself away from everything and everyone. On average, for the past five years, I would say that I have run 4 days a week. Much like I get Wakatipu ‘Cabin Fever’ and need to get away once in a while, I need my time running too. I really think it keeps me sane. So, as you can imagine, when things are not going my way during this “me” time – I am not in the least bit happy about it. We reach Saturday (just gone) and I assess my recent training: an average run in Auckland and one short 8 km run on Thursday. Not ideal. Panic sets in. My leg feels fine while walking around, it feels fine running up hills and on flats the problem only lies when I turn and start coming down hill. The panic is a classic sign for me about three weeks out from a race. It doesn’t matter how the training has been going – I still feel the same. Every time, without fail I find myself asking “can I do this? Have I done enough? What was I thinking?” I know I do this, it’s not something new for me and I know what I need to do, I spoke of it in an earlier blog, its call a confidence run! So at 12noon on Saturday I stood at the bottom of the Remarkables, fluid and food on back. The first 3km were hell, my leg hurt, the sweat was literally pouring out of me as I thought of the wine and food I had enjoyed at the wedding and over Easter. Then I found a rhythm, all you runners out there know that when you find that rhythm you could run all day! I made it to the top 13 minutes faster that my previous run up there 6 weeks ago. This was good, I was feeling good but knew I had a long way still to go. I made it back down, but it hurt at times. Prior to starting today’s blog I called and booked in to a physio. Running the Routeburn you need to be able to trust your legs and their strength in landing, both mentally and physically. Having recently spent a fair sum of money on return flights to a marathon last year that I never got to run, New York in November is my end game and I need to be mature and wise with my body to get it through to peak performance. This off road training for the Routeburn is making me a wiser, stronger and better runner so I will see what the physio has to say and make a plan to ensure I can achieve both races in 2013! Not long now till race day now. Any way fellow runners – keep training hard, hit up Tom for some nutrient advice and get in a confidence run if you’re having some doubts.