Monday, 16 April 2012
could it be that it's just an illusion?
I've been struggling to get much distance into my running at the moment.
A normal week for me would usually consist of three runs and a total mileage of 12-15 miles. When I was training for last September's half marathon, by the end I was putting in more than 25 miles a week, but recently, I've been struggling to get much more than about ten miles done in a week.
I realise that all these things are relative, and that ten miles is still a lot more than no miles at all, but what this means to me is that I've been dropping about a mile off the distance of my average run every time I go out. Even then, dragging myself round a comparatively meagre 3.25 miles has felt like a real slog more often than not.
The temptation is to blame my MS, but I'm pretty sure it's not that simple.
Yes, alright.... I do seem to have started dragging my left leg a lot more now than I used to, and yes - as I mentioned the other day - this has started to take its toll on the cartilage in my knee.... but I'm still reasonably sure that a lot of this struggle is in my head rather than in any great physical decline. After all, a simple look at the statistics of my runs tell me that I'm still maintaining a pretty good pace of under 9 minutes per mile (traffic light stops permitting!). That's pretty much as fast as I have been running at any point in the last couple of years and significantly faster than my pace before that.
This has been somewhat on my mind: I hate the idea that I might be allowing my MS to provide me with an excuse for slackening off... that simply is not acceptable. After slogging my way around a short lunchtime run at work on Friday, I swore that I would force myself to do a much longer run when I went out on Sunday.
I went swimming as usual on Saturday morning. Nothing too taxing: just 50 lengths of drills using paddles and a pull-buoy, but later on that afternoon, C. pointed out to me that she could hear from my footsteps as we pootled around town that I was dragging my left leg and scuffing that foot but not the other. I hadn't even noticed, but obviously that's a bit of a worry. The sensible thing then would clearly have been to give my body a break for a few days.
No. On Sunday morning, I got up and ran nearly 7 miles along the canal towpath. It was a nice day, if a bit breezy and chilly, but the run went pretty well. If I hadn't had to cross the ring-road (twice), then I think I would have gone round in less than 9 minute miles too. By the end, I was consciously picking my left leg up a little higher to try to avoid scuffing, but otherwise didn't have too many problems and -- in as much as you ever really do -- actually really enjoyed my run. I haven't noticed too much lasting muscle fatigue today either. It's all good.
I'll probably only do another short 3.25 miles at lunchtime tomorrow, but I think I've proven the point to myself: I will not allow my MS to be an excuse for inactivity.
One day it may stop me doing all kinds of things, but today is not that day.