“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice
And to make an end is to make a beginning”
– Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot
It’s been a month since my last post, the longest gap since I started the blog, and to be honest I’ve lost my mojo a little, both for writing and running.
The running is easy to explain, as I’ve actually been injured since completely the Ultra at the end of October. I shouldn’t complain really, as it’s nothing serious, just an inflammation of the knee, and some kind of protest from my body was inevitable after Cappadocia. It is a very annoying niggle though, as it seems fine until about two miles in and then hurts for the next three days.
This also partly explains the lack of writing, so affected by a lack of exercise is my mental state. As I’ve said before, running is a big part of my coping mechanism for depression, and is also a bona fide addiction. I’m always a terrible patient, but the timing of the injury is particularly unfortunate.
This time of year is tough for many people, and is a common issue for sufferers of depression. For me, it’s a decidedly unholy mix of lack of light, miserable weather, pressured work environment, bad diet and too much mandatory socialising. Not being able to run off the stress, mince pies and booze makes me anxious and sluggish, both mentally and physically, which then makes me want to eat and drink more.
I think that I’m also still struggling with a bit of post-race comedown. Isn’t it ironic (to quote Alanis Morissette), that the thing that is instrumental in keeping me sane also contributes to my downfall. This is the inherent contradiction for me with running, as I tried to explain in my article for the CALM website; part cure, part problem, part symptom and part positive side-effect.
Before every race I’m fooled into thinking that a post-run break from training will be a relief, that not having to worry about miles and what I’m eating and drinking will be relaxing. I’m not sure whether it’s the same for everyone with depression in general, or bipolar in particular, or whether it is just a personal thing, but what I have come to realise is that I need the structure and the discipline.
Anyway, now that I have filled you with Christmas spirit, I have at least used this time to plan my races for next year. I’ve decided to go for the ultra and mountain marathon combo again, and I’m already excited about both races.
The first, on 30 April, will be the Endurancelife Pembrokeshire Coastal Trail Ultra. It’s 34.8 miles through the UK’s only coastal National Park. On the day there is also a marathon, half and 10km, and the event is part of a nine race series across the UK. Endurancelife has a great reputation as an event organiser, so I’m expecting big things.
The second race is the Marato Dels Cims, at the Andorra Ultra Trail Vallnord. Like the Marathon du Mont Blanc, it’s an alpine marathon, but with over 3,000m of ascent in the 26.4km course, it is going to be quite a bit tougher. It looks flippin’ beautiful though, which will hopefully get me through.
Before I go, I also wanted to shamelessly ask you to vote for me in the 2016 RunUltra Blogger Awards, which I have made the shortlist for. I’m very proud of this, as RunUltra is a fantastic website (check it out if you haven’t already), so thank you to everyone for reading this blog and helping me get this far. You can vote by following this link: http://www.runultra.co.uk/News/December-2015/Shortlist-for-the-RunUltra-Blogger-of-the-Year-Awa.aspx