Blog: Running Through My Mind
It occurred to me recently that I am not a machine.

Now this may seem a bit obvious to others, but, as a runner, I think it is something I need to remind myself from time to time.

I am not a Machine

26/08/2014
It occurred to me recently that I am not a machine.

Now this may seem a bit obvious to others, but, as a runner, I think it is something I need to remind myself from time to time.

I am guilty of believing that if I keep doing the same things, then I should be able to keep going; like a machine. Given the right maintenance and fuel, a machine should keep running, at the same speed, indefinitely. However, the human body and, perhaps more importantly, the human mind do not.

A few niggles and a feeling that I had lost my pace, my natural running rhythm if you like, made me think about what had changed.

Often you think nothing has changed, that you are still doing the same things, in the same way. But it is the subtle changes that matter; the ones you wouldn't even give a thought to, the ones that slowly creep up on you, the ones that are gradual over time and the ones that are outside of your control.

I realised that I had found my pace over the winter months. In the winter, I was regularly running on roads, usually between 5 and 8km at a time. With the lighter evenings and drier weather, the Sussex Downs have been sending out their siren call and I have spent most of my time either on long, slow runs of between 10 and 17km on top of the Downs, or running up and down them for some serious hill training. All on chalky, bumpy terrain, with rabbit hole booby-traps, sheep poo-dodging (and occasionally lazy sheep-dodging), all whilst carrying a bio-mechanically inefficient, hand-held water bottle. My only other runs have been flat out parkruns. No wonder I can't find my pace.

Then there is the weather. I am expecting to be able to match, or better, my winter running achievements, but it has been consistently 25 to 30 degrees centigrade, with high humidity and sometimes poor air quality. Why would I expect my body to function at the same level under these conditions?

I expected to be able to run a recent parkrun at or below my previous personal best time, but took no account of the fact that my right ankle was feeling weak and a bit painful. Why would I expect to get the same propulsion, just because I am able to ignore this and run on it?

So you see, rather than questioning whether I am truly cut out for running, I should be reminding myself...

... I am not a machine.

(Besides, even machines break down from time to time.)