Monday, 11 February 2013

Kafka & Marathon Running

In the last forty-eight hours my body has undergone an amazing transformation.

I know sounds slightly overdramatic but it’s true and the more I think about it the more amazing it is. Don’t get me wrong it is the kind of metamorphosis that happens to runners every day all over the world but that doesn’t make it any less remarkable.

This morning I am faster and fitter than I was before and it all happened over 48 hours. At the age of 41 I challenged my body and it literally changed. If I was in a Kafka novel I would be Gregor Samsa and a beetle right now.

Here is how it happened:

On Saturday morning I went for my usual long run. This run is normally a trail run with different terrain and most importantly hills. I try and run it at a comfortable pace without it being too easy. This time I decided to make sure I ran roughly 5minute kilometres and ended up averaging a 4minute 50seconds per kilometre pace. With the hills this was not exactly “comfortable”, in fact at the end of the run I was destroyed.

I wasn’t limping or injured but I could feel my body was in shock and if I pushed it at all there was a high chance I would injure something. For the next 48 hours following the run I just took it easy. I didn’t push my body at all ate loads of protein and slept more than I do normally. It felt as if my body was literally telling me what it needed.

This Monday morning I gingerly went to the gym to do my treadmill speed interval work, I say gingerly because I was worried that my body had not properly recovered and I would injure something. I shouldn’t have worried, I blazed through the speed interval session and ran stronger and harder than I had ever done before.

After putting tremendous strain on my body on Saturday, breaking down the muscles and ligaments it had rebuilt itself and made itself better and stronger.

There are hundreds of interpretations of what Kafka’s surreal novella Metamorphosis really means. For me the last 48 hours has given me a new insight. Our bodies can change quite quickly and dramatically. Normally we don’t even notice these changes. If I wasn’t exercising and so focused on my running I wouldn’t notice that I could complete 15km 30 seconds faster than I could previously. But maybe that was Kafka’s point; we undergo dramatic changes all the time that would we even notice if we turned into a beetle?

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