Monday, 18 January 2010

A bird set free...

The weather since I started my challenge of running 10km everyday has been exceptionally bad and nicely named “Frozen Britain”. In sixteen days I'd managed eight runs outside, one was the hardest run I had ever done – ironically it was 13th. Wednesday 13th Jan was “the big freeze” in the UK turning all the snow slush & any water, everywhere to ice – surfaces that looked a little wet were in fact black ice.

I had agreed to go running early with a friend that day, not knowing it would turn out to be the run from hell. We thought once we got going and the light got better we would be ok so long as we kept to the grass next to the paths, but nowhere was save. It took us 24mins to do 3km and I slipped on black ice to bang my knee on the pavement - so we ran in the local park, named Queen Elizabeth. It was not much better I slipped, slid and never managed to get a posture or pace to run, energy drained from us on every step and we completed the last 7km in 53mins - the same time it would have taken us to do 10km usually.

The following day I went back to the treadmill with my tail between my legs. In honesty my knee was sore and swollen, my confidence wilted, the careful planning flummoxed and all this in one morning. The banged knee ached and requiring more time to get going, as the joint needed more time to warm and loosen up – time I didn't have as fitting the challenge in generally was proving to be harder than I'd originally thought.

Running on a treadmill was torture and harder mentally with a distance like 10km. Your surroundings never change, the air stands still neither helping to cool or remain fresh and you're reminded of every second, every 100th of a km as it ever so slowly clocks up your distance. Each of the runs on the treadmill had lead to frustration a symptom due to the injured knee & monotony but caused by boredom - trapped for about 60mins.

The frustration & knee gnawed at me so when I woke Friday morning to find the drizzle over night had almost eradicated the ice & snow, it left me in a state of trepidation. Finally, I could go outside but how long would my knee let me run, would it get worse and would it halt the challenge.

Saturday 16th January was a landmark day, representing a distance covered of 100 miles; to me personally it represented completing the first challenge in the journey of 10k everyday – the weather with only a sore knee and bruised confidence to show for it.

Having completed and decided Saturdays run had gone better than I had anticipated, I stepped outside on Sunday with a sense of urgency. Yes my knee hurt but it soon loosened off and it seemed to getting better. Listening to my MP3 player and letting go to being outside after 8 days cooped up on the treadmill, I began to feel my quads in my legs hardening and swelling. I tried to pick up me knees but they felt brittle slow – I looked at my Garmin watch in search of some clues and answers which came in the form of the reading 4:05min/km. I'd been running free like a bird, careless to the surroundings and my embraced freedom which had flown me straight into a trap –I'd not controlled my pace. Having run for nearly 8km at an average of 4.05mins/km the Lactic Acid had built up in my legs, the very thing I'd planned to avoid had happened – I'd gone for too long at a pace that would inhibit my performance the next day. No matter how much I stretched or tried to work the lactic off, Mondays run was going to be hard and painful.

Well today's Monday and as I could not delay running to later in the day due to commitments, I ran early which always gave little time for my muscles to recover but after Sundays run and the excessive lactic build up – meant this morning was torture. I endured this morning with a plan to run as late as possible Tuesday thus giving the most rest before exercising again.

This weekend I walked away with some sore legs and a few lessons learnt:
[1] enjoy running free from time to time but keep an eye on how free you run, too free could jeopardise those freedoms.
[2] No matter the challenges or plans we make be careful with the activities that distract us from the purpose of them.

That's it for now, I'm going to soothe these sore legs of mine in a hot bath. The weather reports seem good for the coming week, so I'm looking forward to being out … as planned!

Please take the time to share the 10k-everyday idea and encouraging others to get involved -its as good as donating. If you're on Face Book simply type “10k everyday” in the search bar.

You can find micro blogging of this challenge at:, &

Send a friend request with 10k-everyday in it and I'll accept.
Good luck will any goals or challenges you have planned. Be well, Tim

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