In the days after running a race…

hellrunner2008-smallWell, it’s now five days since Hellrunner, and despite aching like I haven’t ached since my last marathon, I thought it would be a good idea to go out and do a few miles today, just to try and loosen up a little.

Conventional wisdom has it that after a big race, you need a couple or three days off before resuming light training, but I have to say that I always need a little bit more than that. After most marathons, I’ll tend to take about 10 days off  – and even after the 11 miles of mud that was Hellrunner, I needed at least 5 days off, as I’ve been aching in places I didn’t know I had, since going Mano a Muddo last Sunday.

In the spirit of honesty, I have to admit to running with a slight cold last weekend, and I now fully understand why you’re always advised to defer or pull out if you’ve been ill in any way.

The race itself, while still being my favourite event by a country mile (which, coincidentally, is what I’m sure they measure Hellrunner in) was tough from about 200 metres out, and I just couldn’t dredge up the kind of pace I’ve been routinely achieving while running through the splendid dunes between Southport and Ainsdale.

Worse than that, while I enjoyed every minute of Sunday’s race, if I’m honest, I felt even heavier than usual throughout, and have struggled to get back to my usual sunny disposition all week – having obviously overdone it while in the clutches of one of my astoundingly rare colds.

I’ve deliberately kept the shot of me crossing the line fairly small – as I don’t believe that my legs should be inflicted on the general populace without some sort of health warning attached. Though even at such a miniscule size and beneath the thick layer of mud that is attached to my usually ruggedly handsome vizog, I think it’s possible to detect the face of a guy who should perhaps not have run that day.

It’s the eternal problem for runners though, I guess. Having spent months training towards just one favourite event, it’s pretty tough to make the decision to pull out just because you’ve had a bit of a sniffle for a few days beforehand.

But that, if I’m honest, is exactly what I should have done – as 6 days after the run, I’m still feeling a few degrees below par. It’s not big. It’s not clever. But hey, it’s still a hell of a race, and I’ll be back again next year – snot willing, obviously.

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