Inside and out

I had lunch with FRB yesterday. He said, you look really healthy and well. And yet it was one of the black days. They happen every┬áthird day, at the moment, either because my HRT patch runs out, or because the dosage is too low. When the HRT patch is working, on the other two days, I feel positive and great. But on days like yesterday, though I looked fit and well on the outside, inside I had that catch in my throat that you get when you try to stop crying. And a deep, inexplicable sadness that is almost grief. It feels biological, fundamental, but I know it usually passes by the next day. I meant to get up at 6 and run to breakfast yoga, but I didn’t. I meant to run to make up for that, but I didn’t. I thought maybe I should sow some seeds, or tidy my office, or keep my mind occupied. But I didn’t. I took a sleeping pill and chose knock-out instead.

And today is another day. In the post this morning I got OL2, an OS Explorer map of the Three Peaks. And I’m rather scared. I may look fit and well, but I also feel bloated and crap every third day. I don’t know if I’m fit. I know that I’m better at hills, and that I have many many miles in my legs, but does that make me ready to run 24 miles and climb 6000 feet, and do two-thirds of that in under 3 hours 30 minutes? I still don’t know. I don’t feel streamlined or super-strong, though we did a recce of all the Peaks the other week and I was OK. I got up Pen-y-Ghent in 55 minutes, and just made the made-up cut-off at Ribblehead. I think I may manage it, but it will not be easy, and I will not be able to relax until I get to the final cut-off at Chapel-le-dale. Meanwhile, I’ve started doing an altitude spin class once a week to try to train my lungs. And yesterday I saw Lucy the physio, as my left knee has been persistently sore for a while now, and she said, as she was massaging my legs, “you’ve got quads!” So the 100 squats a day and the spin class may be doing something.

I’ve learned lessons. We ran 12 miles around Ilkley moors at the weekend, and I realised, when I felt awful, that I’d had hardly any carbs the day before. So even though I’m smiling in this picture, I was hurting:

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Does it feel any easier, when I’m running up a steep incline? Not really. I think the difference is that I keep going. And that even when I walk a bit, my legs seem to automatically start running again. I am better, definitely, at “running off the top,” so doing a steep climb and then being able to run on jelly legs. I ran the Baildon Boundary Way half marathon last week and did well. And we’ve been doing lots of moor and fell running. So perhaps I’m stronger than I think, and I’ll stop focussing on the Third Days and take my strength from the other two. This weekend I’m going to run up Whernside. That is, run what I can and crawl the rest. And I’m looking forward to it, to getting outside the house and outside my head.

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