Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Stitches and fickle nature of runs

So I went for my long run - 14 miles - perhaps not that epic by some standards, but it was the longest run I have completed since the calf strain incident so I was very pleased. Though I am hoping that the marathon is a touch more scenic that my route as I didn't find the sight of an ancient smashed up cathode ray tube TV and a roadside strewn with battered coke cans, fag packets and other random detritus that uplifting at about the mile 12 mark.

I usually choose my routes to take in the prettier parts of the north London suburb where I live, or else run out towards Hampstead Heath via the neighbouring much more expensive bits of real estate, but for one reason or another on this run I decided to stay nearer to home and took a less salubrious journey. It made me realise how much your surroundings can influence your run.

When I did my last 14-miler it was into Central London, and I still remember the euphoria of cresting Primrose Hill at around the 70 minute mark. As I ran up to the top of this supremely posh park I could see all the landmarks of our capital laid out in front of me, the London Eye curving into the skyline, the BT Tower standing proud, the Shard still awaiting the final touches to its iconic design. How could you fail to be inspired?

Still back to my point which was that despite the less than inspiring landscape around me I managed to complete my long run without any problems. I was a bit achey once I stopped, but other than that there were no ill effects, either during or after the run.

Fast forward a couple of days to my 4-mile recovery run. The day was far more promising, blue skies, sunshine, birds singing - all you need for a great run. Off I trot and all seems well with the world until, at mile three, I feel a stabbing pain under my ribs. I am almost doubled over in pain with the worst stitch I've had since I started running. In fact I haven't even had a stitch since the early days.

I soldiered on for a while, gulping in deep breathes, slowing my pace and trying to recover my rhythm, but in the end it was no good I slowed to a walk and grabbed my side in pain. After five minutes of hobbling along looking like an OAP robbed of her Zimmer frame, I was able to shuffle home at a sedate jog. Just goes to show you never can tell with running, 14 miles might be a doddle, but that doesn't mean 4-miles can't trip you up.

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