Nonetheless, I love those 280s. I’ve had them for years and I’ve still not managed to put more than forty miles on them. They used to rub the back of my heel so I always passed them over in favour of my Walshies*. These days I use them without the foot-bed. They have been promoted - for Summer use only.
I’ve only a vague memory of the pain after the Beastly Feast. Once the euphoria had receded and I’d got over the contents of the finishers goodie bag, and I’d stuffed my face with junk and had a bath, I recall the exhaustion as substantial. But I can’t gauge it at all now. If I had to place it on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘no bother’ and 10 being ‘oh heck’, I wouldn’t be able to. Nature has its way of obscuring the recollection of past distress and discomfort that works independently of you and me.
I was still getting the same pain a week later, so I tried some different strategies in training and switched to doing hill runs on the bike.
I figured that the impetus behind running up hills at that time was to strengthen my leg muscles and improve my form, not simply to become better at running up hills. That requires a session of its own, as Kevin Shevels seems to suggest in ‘UPHILL TECHNIQUES FOR OFF-ROAD RUNNERS’.
The bike sessions meant that I could keep my heart-rate at the correct level for the entirety of the exercise. This had a great effect, both in terms of giving my legs a break and leaving me with enough energy to perform a couple of quality runs later on that week. There is no mention of pain at all in the Diary over the following few days, and so began the inexorable climb up Mount Increased Mileage.
I tried a Plyometric session. Something called P90X. An hour of leg lifting over imaginary tires, and make-believe baseball whanging, and other ridiculously exhausting stuff. I’m sure we had to play rounders at middle school but baseball simply does not compute. I might return to P90X in the Spring, if I can, but hopping across a football pitch on alternate legs and running backwards to the beginning is more my style.
The G and I did a few less weights sessions at that time, no doubt due to the Xmas build up. Eventually the festivities came and went. With a whimper, rather than a bang.
I spent a week down on the south coast at New Year, with some good friends and, as expected, the old demon was unleashed and allowed to ravish the local population; scrawled across four days of the Diary are the words “right off” and “got fucked up on booze and ‘ting’”. Sometimes the endorphins addiction looses out to less demanding options. I still managed to do 23 miles during a week of revelation, wonder and lung abuse. Running along that beautiful coast line, now in needle sharp rain and now in bright sunshine, got me thinking about a holiday.
Considering the weather that broke in the first weeks of 2010, eventually to cover the length and breadth of the British Isles with a fall of snow that, once more, saw local government and public transport providers accused of near incompetence, the thought of a weeks training somewhere hot and bright was, and still is, uppermost in my mind.
It isn’t going to happen.
*I regret leaving my Walsh PBs in a Hebridean rubbish bin. They had plenty of miles of running still in them but circumstances conspired against me and left they were, along with a stack of good books and surplus clothing.*