Back in training.

January 23, 2011

It’s a beautiful frosty Sunday morning and I’m just waiting for my breakfast to digest so I can go out for a run. For as long as I’ve been a runner (about 6 or 7 years now), Sunday morning has been my favourite time for running and when I’m training for a marathon it is when I do my long runs. Today the training plan says 8km which is the longest I can manage at the moment.

These days when I meet someone who I haven’t seen for a while they often ask me if I have started running again. Those of you who have followed my blog will know that, in fact, I never stopped. Recently I did some sums and calculated that, during 2010, I ran a total of 988 km. That was despite 4 months of chemo and 17 x radiotherapy. Not only that, but it was also despite having a very annoying ankle injury for the first 5 months of the year which really limited my running. In retrospect I suspect that the reason I couldn’t get rid of it was because I already had cancer at that point. Anyway, just in case your mental arithmetic isn’t up to it I can tell you that this was an average of 19 km per week for the year which, even though I say so myself, is pretty damn good under the circumstances! There were only 3 weeks in the whole year when I didn’t run at all. The first two were in February when my daughter broke her leg on ski holiday and I was in hospital with her (oh yes, 2010 really was an annus horribilis for the Ejlskov Jensens!). The third week was when I was in hospital with septicaemia in September. What amazes me about that is that I only had one totally running free week at that point, despite the fact that I was in hospital for 10 days and was very ill indeed. I will be honest – the fact that I managed to run through all the tribulations of last year is one of the things that I am most proud of in my life to date. It took reserves of willpower that I didn’t know I possessed, but I also believe it paid off both physically and mentally.

The reason I can quote all this data is that I keep a running diary where I meticulously record every run I do – distance, speed, pulse and general comments about how I felt, the conditions etc..

There is however a down side to this. I also have a meticulous record of the deterioration of my physical condition. Before my diagnosis my average tempo in training was 5 minutes per km (+/- 10 seconds) and I probably could have pulled off a half-marathon at any given time. At the moment, despite my efforts to keep on running last year, I’m averaging about 5:50 m/km and can’t manage more than 8 km. Mind you that is a huge improvement on a couple of weeks ago when I was doing about 6:20 m/km with max of 5km. But while, for the most part, I have avoided sinking into despair or frustration throughout my cancer treatment (I believe partly at least thanks to the running….), I find myself now really, really frustrated when I think of far I have to go – how hard I’m going to have to work – to get back into my pre-cancer running condition. IT’S NOT FAIR!

Luckily I’m not alone in the struggle (no loneliness of a long distance runner for me!). I have an amazingly fantastic trainer, Coach B, who schizophrenically manages to hold my hand and crack the whip (and make me laugh) at the same time! I also have a bunch of friends who run and who create challenges on which take my mind of the pain and make it all fun again.

 So, while I never stopped running, since the beginning of January I’ve been back in serious training with a view to increasing both my speed and my distance. The goal is Berlin Marathon in September. Assuming I don’t have problems with illness or injury before then, I’m sure I can go the distance. It remains to be seen if I can get back to my previous speed by then, but if I don’t, it won’t be because of lack of effort!


4 Responses to “Back in training.”

  1. olekassow Says:

    Kirsten, you never cease to amaze me 🙂

  2. […] with my hand, but hopefully that it is going to be fixed at some point. The running I have already written about. And the hair? Well I think I will save that for a separate post in its own […]

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