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Waiting for momentum

Part of the Terrigal Trotters track group going through
their early morning paces at Terrigal Haven
This is my 100th post in this blog, and I'm sure all readers are tired of hearing about my injuries and illnesses day after day.  Yet, this is the life of a runner, and I wanted this blog to be a true record of how I was feeling about my running and my journey towards a goal.  When I started, I optimistically thought it would be a tale of ever-increasing fitness, hopefully taken to a new level, on the way to a sub-3:00 hour Melbourne Marathon on 13 October of this year.  It has actually turned out to be a record of the setbacks, disappointments and frustrations that have been the more common theme of my running career, and many running careers.

With only five weeks to Melbourne, the best I can hope for is to run faster than I did at the Macleay River Marathon back in June (3:24), but I'm trying not to get too hung up on what is an acceptable time.  Instead, I will treat it as a long training run, and to that end, have entered some Australian Masters Games events (5,000m track and 8km cross-country) in Geelong during the week before.  It's a way of telling myself that what I run in the marathon is not that important.

To get serious about running a good marathon I need a few months where I have training and psychological momentum.  This isn't something that can be turned on with a switch.  My strategy will be to keep plugging away at around 100km per week, injuries permitting, and wait for a feeling of well-being to return.  With that, will come motivation and serious planning for the next marathon, probably in Hobart in January.

It was yet another beautiful morning on the NSW Central Coast, and I enjoyed watching the track group run their 300m repetitions on the grass at The Haven before setting out on my own regular 16.5km run.  My right Achilles was quite stiff and sore after last night's run.  It feels like it has set in concrete and doesn't have the flexibility to let me run properly.  In my early days, I would have forced it to loosen up, ignoring the pain and consequences, but these days, I try and modify my gait to avoid undue pressure and lessen the pain.  This means a shortened stride length and this morning's early kilometres, up the steep hills of the Scenic Highway, were run at little more than a shuffle.  I must have looked pathetic.....and old.  At the top of the hill, a girl joined my route from a side street just in front of me.  She seemed to be running very slowly, but I wasn't catching her.  This didn't help my mood.

As the Achilles gradually became more loose, my speed and form improved and I slowly passed the girl.  Although very tired from last night's running, my legs did feel a little stronger as I went further, and I felt lighter on my feet, almost enjoying the flats and downhills.  This lightness evaporated in the last few kilometres and I was exhausted when I finished.  Pathetic, really, for just a slow 16.5km run.  However, a week ago at the same time I could only manage a 6km run so I guess that's progress (from a low base).