Bit of an unexpected turn of events.
On 2 October, I unexpectedly ended up in hospital – first in a resusc. unit and then on a cardiology ward. I spent eight days out of commission in hospital.
Eight days. Not only could I not run, but for most of them, I barely left my bedside – first because of wires and tubes, and then, in case I missed a visit from one of the doctors.
There were a few minutes at the weekend when the ward was quiet and I was allowed out locally. It was lovely to amble round the market, but I probably walked around 800 metres that day. The rest, virtually nothing. In the darkness of the ward – curtains closed for much of the day because some patients needed to sleep virtually round the clock – not only did I not see daylight, but my imagination couldn’t see much beyond the wall opposite, either. As time went by and it became obvious that my stay was to be longer than I thought, I seriously considered binning the whole endeavour.
But anyone in this position thinks very, very hard about this option. Not only because of the months of training that have already taken place, not only because there’s charity sponsorship at stake (I’m running for AgeUK) but because the goal becomes so overwhelmingly important in its own right.
I didn’t want to sieze up completely, so a couple of times I did some basic bodyweight squats, lunges and planks. But that was my lot.
This time is gone. There’s nothing I can do to bring it back. It’s time that should have included my last long run and then begun my taper, but having agonised over this, I’m not going to play catch-up now.
Today, the day after I left the hospital after eight days of virtually no activity whatever, I ran a very gentle six miles, essentially as a loosener, and then did some basic stretches. All the taper plans I’ve read are for experienced marathoners after a decent time, and emphasise speed work in the last two weeks. This approach isn’t relevant to me, a novice marathoner attempting a notorious hill marathon – especially now, after a period of compromised training.
I’m going to give it a couple of days and then work out how best to spend the remaining time. In the meanwhile, I keep reminding myself of the three goals I set myself for this challenge:
Finish the marathon. Enjoy it. Avoid injury.
I can manage that.