It’s now three weeks since London. I still haven’t recovered from the effort of that marathon. Not even close. I attempted to kid myself that I had – by taking part in my local 5k park run in Brockwell Park today.
The race mirrored my post-marathon return to running: slow, stuttering and a little erratic. After London, I took 10 days off, then proceeded to run 40 miles in the subsequent four days, including 18 miles on one of those days. That was a bad idea. Then, after a ‘rest day’, which entailed 30 miles on the bicycle, I forced myself to run 800 metre repetitions around a track. My bones ached after.
So I gave myself a few more days off, then ran up a trio of big hills (big for south London, anyway) on Friday night, leading me to today – the 5k race. Two laps of Brockwell Park at well under six-minute mile pace is no easy matter. So it proved; I felt decidedly uneasy: empty-legged and one-paced. My time was 17,52. No disaster, admittedly, but 30 seconds slower than two months ago and just one minute faster than the first 5k split in my marathon. It just didn’t feel right – and every runner knows that feeling.
Runners who tackled London three short weeks ago are preparing to take part in marathons tomorrow or during the next fortnight. For me, such a feat is, at present, inconceivable. Frustratingly, my recovery is taking a little longer.