Too much today?

I’m going to start writing about how I feel on a day to day basis as I haven’t been feeling well for a while now and getting it across to others is proving difficulty because I forget things and because I’m not the best at explaining myself.

I’ve got a race on Sunday, Windy Hill, a 12 mile trail race around ???? that I’ve done before. Today I decided to do a run from Mytholmroyd along the Hebden route as far as Old Town and from there up to High Brown Knoll. My original intention was to run the whole route in reverse but despite getting up at 5am and setting off on my run at 9am this proved unfeasible due to time constraints.

The idea behind this route was to get use to long climbs and long runs. I’ve been struggling with my running since having Covid twice in 2021/22 and chronic sinusitis in 2022. My ability to run dropped dramatically and the weight piled on, and on, and on, resulting in me weighing 17 ½ st or thereabouts today. I need to lose weight and fast but am I doing too much taking on a tough run? I’m motivated to do better and get back to something like I used to be before I had Covid, nothing special but able to get round most routes and enjoy myself out on the moors and fells without feeling like I’m a burden to anyone.

I felt good when I woke up. Yesterday I did some gym work, X-Trainer and stationary bike and felt better for it. My lower back on my right side has been aching, some days not too bad, others pretty much unbearable, but being a stubborn f**ker I refuse to give in to the pain and give up so I battle through it in the hope it will go away. Today I woke up and it felt ok, the stationary bike seemed to benefit it yesterday so whatever happens the stationary bike seems to be a way forward for me to lose weight and manage my lower back pain.

So I get up have 2 cups of coffee to get me going and 4 slices of toast so that I’m fuelled up for the day. The drive over is pleasant, it’s a cold but bright February day and the moors are looking stunning as they wake from their winter slumber ready to give pleasure and pain to all who venture on them.

At Mytholmroyd I set off looking forward to the day ahead. I’m feeling good running on the pathway, my stride isn’t to my usual pattern but it’s ok and I’m moving steadily along. Soon I cross the main road and begin the long, long climb up to High Brown Knoll via old Town. It’s a route I’m familiar with, although that doesn’t stop me going wrong and wondering where the bend came from and the familiarity doesn’t detract from the route at all. On a perfect sunny day like today is the views are simply stunning with a light mist refusing to be burnt away by the low sun.

My back is aching though. I’m barely 2 miles in and my back is causing me to shorten my stride preventing me from going at a decent pace. As I go along I spot places where I can shorten the route on the way back and save time instead of doing the whole route and making my back worse and my day much longer.

I get to Old Town and I feel that I’m maybe struggling too much to go up to High Brown Knoll. It’s now 11am and has taken me 2 hours to run/walk 4 ½ miles which is ½ hour longer than it should do. My lower back is preventing me from running as I normally do and consequently slower. I stop and have something to eat and drink while I contemplate whether to carry on or not. I decide to carry on. It’s so nice and I’m not constrained by time and who knows what will happen in the future? Life is short as I know only too well, people I know personally and people from my youth, pop stars, movie stars, are departing all too frequently and who’s to say I’m not next in line? I don’t want to go yet, I’m not ready to go, I feel that I have a lot more to do but it’s not my choice when I go, it’s out of my hands so I decide to go up to High Brown Knoll because I might not get another chance.

I cross the road and begin the ascent and for the first time today I feel like I’m running for the first time today. As the climb steepens I go back to walking again, I have run up here before but that is not happening today. I’m walking at a decent pace though so I’m not worried and High Brown Knoll isn’t far away. I make a mental note that I should remember this route as it’s a better one than my usual route up to High Brown Knoll. At High Brown Knoll the wind has picked up and I’m feeling the cold being exposed on top of the moor. I decide to not hang around and head straight back rather than stop and take photos.

I try to run downhill but it isn’t happening. My legs just don’t want to play today. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve done too much recently and my legs are saying they want a rest or if there’s something else happening in my body that’s preventing my from running as I used to. My concern is that this isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s happened a lot this year and it’s beginning to worry me that there’s something else happening in my body that’s stopping me running at my best.

I carry on though pushing as hard as I can. To my surprise I’m actually running faster than I thought I was and feels so it gives me a bit of a boost. I’m still running and walking even though it’s downhill. I’m still pushing myself but I’m also aware at the same time of the need to not overdo it. It’s all about trying to find a balance which is something I have difficulty with in most areas of my life. I make it to the final uphill section which starts at the edge of Nutclough Woods and takes you back onto the last section of road before the drop back to Mytholmroyd.

I’m doing ok here and feel good. My backache has calmed down for a bit and I’m able to enjoy that unique feeling of being out in nature and not having to worry about time. I’m able to enjoy the moment and appreciate how lucky I am.

Finally I start the long downhill back to Mytholmroyd. I try to open up my stride but once again my legs don’t want to play so it’s short strides to the signpost I noticed on the way up for a footpath I can’t remember having been on before. I go down the steps and soon I’m running or what passes for running for me on the trail. I do get a bit worried at one point as the trail takes me back in the direction I’ve just come from but then doubles back on itself and I’m heading in the right direction again. This is a new trail and all the more interesting for it. I’m going places I’ve never been before and it’s always an adventure when this happens as you see familiar sights from new viewpoints and it gives you a new perspective on what you thought you knew.

It’s a longer and more convoluted route than I anticipated but it’s all the better for it. I come out at the top of the woods that I usually run along the bottom of and I spy the metal gate that I go through for the Mytholmroyd fell race. I’m back. Yes I’ve got another ½ mile to go but I’m back and I’ve done my toughest run for a long time.

The drive home is as pleasant as the drive over but as soon as I step out of my car my lower back and legs seize up and I grimace as I try to stand. I’m in pain, a lot more pain than I’ve been in for a long time from running. Maybe I’ve done too much, I know I can expect too much of myself and forget how unfit I am. But I hurt. I have something to eat and go to bed. I’ve things to do but they’ll have to wait.

I get up around 6pm still aching and struggling to even get out of bed. I feel sick too. I wasn’t expecting this. I haven’t had anything that would make me feel sick, no alcohol, no milk or anything so I’ve no idea why I should feel sick. I reflect on how I feel, tired, sick, aching and wonder if eating bread is a contributory factor. Maybe I should go back to having fruit before a run and leave the bread for days when I’m not running. I’m sure my stomach is getting bigger despite my trying to lose weight and this isn’t helping my back or my mood.

I watch Dragons Den, there’s not much on TV I do watch these days, most of it is depressing even if it gets rave reviews like Happy Valley. No wonder everyone is on drugs if the so called Happy Valley is that depressing and you have Sarah Lancashire going around being so miserable that even the Devil himself would send her back up from hell.

Tomorrow I’m doing some research for a student over at Leeds Beckett and then a doctors appointment for the ache in my arm which is the last thing I want looked at but all the doctors seem to understand. I’m in two minds as to whether I’ll do Windy Hill on Sunday. I can’t see any cut off times so it’s a case of getting round but do I want to put myself through all that just to be aching, sickly and in pain? I’ll decide on Sunday morning. In the meantime life goes on…

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