Walter Payton, one of the best players in the history of the NFL, missed ONE game in his 13 year career. A record in reliability. If you youtube any of his highlight videos, you can see the brutal hits he took every game. The American Football league is the most ruthlessly competitive sports league in the world. Walter Payton was no stronger or fitter than his rivals. He figured something out in his mind,
“When you have pain, what you do is you focus on non-pain, on soothing. I’ve had injuries that for some people would have taken them three or four weeks to heal from, but with me it would only take three or four days. I didn’t dwell on the pain.”
He played through broken ribs, dislocated shoulders, sprained ankles and flu.
My foot is killing me Monday morning, and I am exhausted after massive weekend of racing (read about Saturday here, and Sunday here). Walter Payton has been my hero since I was a little kid. I need to channel some of his positive mental attitude if I am going to have any hope of racing the Manchester Half this weekend.
Go to work. I can’t work today. Make a deal with myself, if I can just stay on till Pop Master at 10.30am, then I can get myself a cappuccino and a protein bar. Then, well, if I can just get to lunch…
There are some things that really help me recover this week…
Sleep. I sleep at least 9 hours every night this week
Red meat and spinach, every night
Positive self talk all day long; “It is getting better, I can feel it getting better, you are doing amazing”
And, the most important one, rest it don’t test it
That last point in more detail:
I know that if I squeeze my foot onto the ground like so, it will hurt. So I don’t do that.
I also know that if I run a 6 minute mile on Monday morning, it will be excruciatingly painful. So I don’t do that either.
This seems to be ridiculously logical, but is the exact opposite of what many athletes seem determined to do:
“I know, why don’t I hop up and down on the bad foot and see if the pain goes away. Nope. Well then, why don’t I run 10 miles at 6min miling and see if that helps. Oh shit.”
I run 3 miles on Monday, at 10min miling. So slowly it doesn’t hurt at all, but just gets the blood flowing through the area. I run on a treadmill, which is cushioned and consistent, unlike roads and trails. I try to complete every day without doing anything at all to make the pain flare up. Get through one day with no pain, then another day. Added to sleeping well, eating protein, and telling myself how amazing I am…it works.
Saturday I go to Manchester for a meeting with ON team. We discuss the year we’ve had, and rough outline for next year as ON grows. It is really motivating and I am thrilled to be a part of it. The hoody they have lined up for 2019…oh man can’t wait (if I make the team!).
We stay in a very comfy boutique hotel. Much nicer than the white van of last week. Sunday morning, I am lining up for Manchester Half and it is pissing down with rain. I have doubts about my foot, but now is game time. I try and keep up the positive talk. It will be fine, you have done everything right. The start is delayed about 10minutes, I have a foil blanket to keep me warm. When we do get underway I fall in with a great group of guys. All experienced runners, all know how to keep a tight formation but avoid tripping each other. The pace is abit hot for me, and I am slipping on the puddles that stretch right across the roads. The course is really fast and the spectators are great.
I am hanging on for dear life. My legs are tired and shocked by this pace. I could use last week’s marathon, and/or the foot injury as an excuse to slow down. But I don’t, I want to see how long I can keep my hand in the fire. We pass through 10km in bang on 32min, which is PB pace for me, but I don’t know if I can do the same again, so I just hang on for one more mile. One more, then one more again.
I make it to mile 9 when our group splits. A tall guy who I don’t know, and ON teammate Ben Fish, are falling off the back. I can stay with them, or try and keep up with the other guys in front. When you are operating at 99% of your capacity, you have a split second to decide. I feel like I’m going to get burned if I keep up this pace. So I let myself slow it down slightly. Then, Ben Fish runs off, and I let him go too. I spend the last 3 miles with the tall guy, the pace is slightly too comfortable now. But I tell myself, this is good enough. With just 15 minutes of running left, I am on for a time of about 68 minutes, and my foot is not hurting me at all. If you had of offered me 68 minutes with no foot pain earlier in the week, when I could hardly walk, I would have ripped your hand off! So I let myself settle abit. The finishing straight is about 600m long, and I manage to kick past the guy I’ve been tracking to beat him by an enormous 1 second margin.
I finish in 11th place, one place off the prize money. But I am inspired after having watched those 10 other guys speed off ahead of me, I mean it. A domestic field of British athletes, all know the words to Wonderwall, all would cringe if I mentioned Theresa May and the Robot, all say Love Island is shit and then secretly watch it. They are not so different from me then. And if they can run those kinda times, then why can’t I?
Very proud of my body and my mind for getting me turned around and ready to go within a week. Have ice bath with Ben Fish after. For the record, I manage to stay in there longer than he does. Few photos and hugs with ON team and then rush to catch a train down to London…
Non-running related highlight of the week
Wembley Stadium, Sunday night football, Raiders vs Seahawks. With Jess Glynne singing before kick-off. Brilliant evening with my dad and brother-in-laws. Massive thanks to Patrick for getting the tickets, and even massiver good luck for Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday man! Keep taking care of business.
After game have to drive back to Wales in terrible weather, arrive home 5am, 2hrs sleep and up for date with cement mixer Monday morning.
Best thing on the internet this week:
Thing I’m digging this week:
|Monday||REST||3tm @ 10min miling|
|foot very tender to walk on. Warms up through day|
|Warm up with Track Tuesday squad|
|Wednesday||5 @ 10min miling||REST|
|foot feeling bit better|
|Thursday||REST||10tm @ 7min miling|
|foot much better|
|Friday||6tm @7min miling||REST|
|Saturday||1 mile @7min miling, 1 mile @6min miling, 800m @5min miling. All tm. 3 miles total||Train to Manchester|
|Sunday||Manchester Half Marathon. 11th place. 68.27. 15 miles total||Train to London. Watch NFL game. Drive back to Wales, arrive home 5am|
|long long day. Foot tender after race, but not nearly as bad as after marathon|
|TOTAL:||48 miles||tm = treadmill|