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The Terrigal Trotters crew at last year's
Macleay River Marathon.

It wasn't a big deal, but it's always good when a plan comes together.

For most of the past week I have felt stiff, sore and lethargic.  My right Achilles tendon has been particularly painful.  I have been paying the price for last Saturday's harder run, particularly the fast downhill technical sections, and Monday's 25km trail run.  Knowing I wanted to run the ANZAC Day run yesterday, the 10km Handicap today, and the 47km Bus Bash tomorrow, I decided after Monday to maintain my regular running routine this week, but to avoid pushing the pace, to run on roads and to tie my shoes more loosely.

Even surfaces and straight line running impose less strain on the Achilles, as does a slightly looser shoe, and the no pressure running was designed to address the lethargy and stiffness.  Even yesterday, I didn't feel that good, though there were some glimmers of better form near the end of the run.  But today, from the moment I started my warm-up, I felt looser and fresher, and my Achilles was the best it's been for five days.

Getting my timing chip removed after
last year's Macleay River Marathon.

Four weeks ago, on the same course as for today's 10km run, my time was 47:36.  My allocated handicap time today, based on performances last year before my heart and lung problems, was 44:00.  This ruled out any chance of a podium finish, which was a good thing. It eased what would otherwise have been self-imposed pressure to run as hard as I could.  Instead, I started the run believing that any time between 44 and 47 minutes would be good and was very happy to finish right on 44:00 after a slow start.  The plan had come together, though I still have to survive tomorrow's 47km Bush Bash.

After the run, a friend was talking about the Macleay River Marathon which is on in six weeks time.  Last year, fresh from three weeks of hiking, I ran quite well for 3:24 without getting serious about the race.  I can hardly believe it, but I'm entertaining the idea of running it again.  Three months ago, I was wondering whether I would ever run again.  Am I being stupid?  Today's race, not taken seriously, resulted in a reasonable time for my age.  With a few more miles, and a few less kilograms, it's reasonable to think I could knock a few more minutes off the 10km time and run a comparable marathon time to last year.  But am I pushing too hard?  I don't feel like it, my heartbeat has stayed regular, and I am healthy.  Perhaps I should just treat the Atrial Flutter episode as a bad memory and get on with my running life.

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