Bob Graham blues?


Bob Graham blues? Is there such a thing? If there is, I think I have developed a bout. I feel rather empty; my Bob Graham Round, successfully completed a fortnight ago, has left a mental and physical void yet to be filled by other distractions. I am running my first mountain marathon, the Saunders, in July, and I’m rowing the English Channel as part of a team of four in August, but neither has captured my imagination in the way the solo hardiness of the Bob Graham did.

Once home from work today, I decided on the antidote to this low: go for a run. This was despite a promise I’d made to myself during my round. While trotting over the Helvellyn range, I said aloud that after ‘this’ was over, I would rest – for a month. No running for a month. Rest, recover, enjoy the memories of success. Feeling as desperate as I was at this particular point in my Bob Graham, I was pretty happy with my decision.

A month? I lasted 12 days – until today. And I discovered something concerning today: in these 12 days it seems certain my legs have been stolen and replaced with another, alien pair. The initial steps I took felt like the first I had ever run. My legs creaked into action with extraordinary reluctance. Within a minute of what was impossibly slow jogging, my right shin started to throb, then the troublesome left ankle, then – in sympathetic symmetry – the right ankle.

I thought carefully: left ankle – pain or discomfort? Pain, I conceded. At the end of the road (I didn’t even get round the block), I turned round and ran home. I was out for about seven minutes. So that’s the extent of my mileage this week: less than one. How long does it take to recover from a Bob Graham Round, from almost 20 hours of continuous running? Who knows? For me, not 12 days. Patience is what I need now; impatience will not get the better of me again. Maybe now I will keep that promise made on Helvellyn.

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