The Sixth Week Biteback

I don’t have a left calf muscle any more. I have a tight wee ball of pain and spite. I’ve given it love and care. Well, I’ve thrashed it to bits running a hundred miles so far this year and then tried to make amends by rolling it and stretching it. My calf and I are in a mutually abusive relationship. I took it out for a few miles on a cold night at the beginning of the week without socks or calf guards and it’s been moaning and sniping at me ever since.

My Monday night group started again this week so I ran into town for some extra miles. Coach B and I split coaching the session between us and I ended up running 1k reps far more quickly than I’d intended then ran home afterwards.

Tuesday’s session turned into a bit of an ordeal. I ran to the track just in time to take the session. That was a bit of an effort, leaving home just a few minutes too late for an easy run. The session was long hills on Storey’s Way. I did the first rep up the hill, 600m of lung-racking, heart-tormenting, snot-churning nonsense. It was stupid. It was also good fun. I was coaching with Neil who started the athletes off in groups of four or five at the bottom of the hill. I was waiting at halfway to offer words of advice and encouragement. I ran in with the last group and while the very quickest of them scorched past before I could get going, I was able to chase in the last two or three in the group. I was pleased to be able to do it but more pleased that the athletes responded when I asked them to kick on. They just dug in, found a bit more and caned that bloody hill.

I got cocky. I did another rep towards the end and went off with the second quickest group and ended up getting spat out the back quite quickly. They opened a gap of about 15m but I held it at that and then began to close it down over the second half. I hadn’t done all the hill reps but I had done quite a long run on the way to the track. I still had tired legs and sore lungs but I wasn’t completely destroyed by the group. I paid for it on the way home.

I still had to run home and I had no gels or water. I did 14 miles in total on Tuesday night without a safety net and it really, really hurt. Runner’s pride got me through the worst of it and I found some more pace over the last couple of miles.

Wednesday was my first rest day for ages, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t go to the gym. I didn’t run. I didn’t swim or cycle. I sat on my arse and vegetated. I massaged my calf and tried to pretend it wasn’t that sore, really. I did five easy miles on Thursday night and the calf was fine when I was moving quickly. I had to move a lot more quickly towards the end of the run when my need for a serious loo visit became quite urgent. I did more stretching and rolling when I got home and then again in the steam room at the gym.

I went out again with Julia on Friday for my long run. I’d intended to do 21 miles but I had to stop at 17. The calf had cramped completely. The run was bitty. Mostly, it was lovely but I had to stop for a loo break and to take on gels and water in places. The pain in my calf was there all the time because I never really got going quickly enough to move easily. Maybe I never really moved easily enough to go quickly. Once I’d decided to stop at Julia’s I found enough energy to have a bit of a sprint finish. When I was pushing on, the pain in my lungs overcame the pain in my legs.

I did 4k yesterday and 4k again today. Today’s run was truly horrible. I was too late getting to March to run in the Frostbite round there this morning but I was wearing my C&C vest, a pair of arm warmers and my new ashmei gloves, racing shorts and compression socks. I went for a run round Milton Country Park, using the long loop from the parkrun course. I wanted to do about 5 miles at marathon pace and managed less than two and a half before my calves, hips and determination gave out. I thought I felt some stabby groin pains as well but that might well have been my imagination.

So, I’m not completely happy at the end of Week 6. I’m going to take it easier this week. I need to give my calf a rest and I’m due to race in the Folksworth 15 next Sunday. I enjoyed this race last year but it was just a jog round. I want to give it a good, solid go this time. i ought to be able to break two hours. It’s slightly quicker than my proposed marathon pace and slower than my half marathon PB pace. I’m in decent nick so it’s eminently doable as long as I’m in one piece.

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