As many of you know, I've had a love/hate relationship with running over the last year or so. If you're unfamiliar with that, you might want to re-read the opening post of this blog and the one describing my finest hour (but don't feel obliged).
Tonight will mark my penultimate run of 2012, with my grand finale being the Great Yorkshire Run on Sunday. It's a difficult decision to turn my back on it for a while, but it's the right one to make.
In truth, I've not felt right since the marathon in April and I've held on to the notion that having races like the upcoming 10km at the weekend will keep me fit and solve all of my problems. The reality is much different.
Without rehashing old ground too much, I've found myself back at almost the exact same place I was a year ago. I'm not as fit as I was in March and my inability to find any kind of consistent exercise has meant I've piled on about 2 stone since the end of April. I'm probably a bit better off in the sense that my diabetes is more controlled than this time 12 months ago (though it's still be no means perfect).
I'm also battling quite severe shin splints. No matter how much I try and convince myself it's not a problem, I know deep down it is. I'm at the stage where a long drive in the car causes me pain from holding my foot on the accelerator in the same position. Fortunately I rarely drive more than about 30 miles at a time.
The only real treatment for shin splints is rest and so I find myself in the situation where I'll be stopping my running adventure for this year when I cross the finish line on Sunday. I suppose if I was less stubborn, I wouldn't even bother on Sunday, but I've paid my entrance fee and with the opportunity to get a medal as well, I'm not prepared to give up (I'm all about the glory really).
Instead I've turned my attention to a low impact form of exercise and I've bought an exercise bike which is currently in front of the TV in my living room (much to my wife's disdain). I'm on a mission to lose around 35lbs by Christmas all being well and I'm hoping that 2 bursts a day on the bike will help with that. It'll be more regular exercise than I've had in years so I'm hoping the "little and often" approach will work.
Of course I'll never manage twice a day every day, but if I keep my targets realistic then I'm confident I'll start to see a difference eventually and I'll allow my body the time it needs to properly recover. I managed 7km before breakfast this morning and hopefully that can continue alongside a longer burst in the evenings.
I know I'm going to have a certain amount of jealousy when I see other people out running but I'm trying to look at the positives and come back fighting fit in 2013. The date of the Sheffield half marathon is 12th May 2013 and I'm determined to finally beat the distance. I'm aiming to start training after the New Year so I've got 4 months of cycling and dieting to get me into the right position for that.
My sponsorship page for the Great Yorkshire Run is still open and you can find it by following this link. I've not actually raised anything yet, and I feel a bit cheeky asking people to dip into their pockets again given how incredibly generous people were at the start of the year, but if you have two quid spare, then The Children's Hospital and Diabetes UK would be really grateful of it. I'm going to stagger over the line come what may and I'm optimistic of beating my 10km time from three weeks ago (68 minutes).
Before I go, I should wish Dan and Ben all the best for Sunday as well. I know they're both running and will do a much better (faster) job of it than I will. I'd also like to mention Sam who's running the Berlin Marathon on 30th September for Children With Cancer. I'm sure Sam will attest to the fact that distance running isn't without pain and suffering and you can follow her journey on her blog.
Thanks to everyone who's supported my running/fundraising efforts this year - I do appreciate it all so much. Hopefully I'll be back next year asking for your money and support again. The blog will continue in the meantime...