I was pretty excited as a stepped out the door yesterday morning, as it was to be my first long run since coming back from NZ. I decided to do a bit of a street run, in view of the upcoming Great Ocean Road Marathon, which is barely a fortnight away on the 18th of May.
A couple of friends were attending an auction that morning in the hopes of buying a house, so my plan was to split the run in two – do around 13km or so and finish up at the auction site, and then wrap things up with another 7 after for a nice round 20.
Part 1 of the run went well – weather was nice and cool, with a bit of sun and cloud for the perfect mood lighting. I arrived at the auction site, meeting up with friends and family, and watched a bit of an exciting bidding war for the property. My friends didn’t end up buying – a good thing I reckon as I didn’t think the house was worth what the winner ended up paying – and so after a bit of a chat, I set back out to do the rest of the run.
Unfortunately, all my muscles had cooled down during the break, and I found it really hard to get back into coasting gear. I did get there eventually, but just as I had settled back into my rhythm, with only 2km to go, I felt an odd, uncomfortable pain in the back of my left leg, just below my knee. It seemed to settle down after around 2 minutes of jogging, so I just finished the run, but now, a day on, it seems like I may have put a grade 1 strain on my calf.
Bugger! It looks like that’s the end of the GOR marathon, and more unexpected (and very much unwanted) time off from running. What surprises me though, is that while I do feel disappointed, I’m not really all that upset by it, and I think it’s coming out of a bit of a revelation I had whilst running/hiking in the NZ fiordlands just two weeks ago: I’ve realised that racing isn’t really a critical part of why I enjoy running.
Don’t get me wrong – I think racing has its place for me – it’s good to have a goal to focus on, a milestone to look forward to every now and then. But what I’ve realised is that, above all other things, the main thing I like about running is just being closer to nature, being outdoors, and the feeling of freedom that comes with it.
So, it’s off to the physio this week to see what the situation is. If I have to miss the GOR marathon, then we’ll just have a nice family holiday down at Apollo Bay, no biggie. If that happens, I will probably also give racing a miss for this year, and perhaps decide to focus on TNF100 in the Blue Mountains next year – who knows. For now, I will just concentrate on getting better so I can get back out there and run!