Friday, 15 April 2011


There are things that John forgot to mention about Lazarus: the Bible is long enough, proverbially long in fact, and it was obviously never going to be possible to tie up loose ends with all minor characters. But when Lazarus was resurrected things just weren't quite the same as before. He'd been lying in the grave for a few days; and the things that had resulted in his death were still affecting him anyway. So there he was, alive, but with a body that just didn't work quite right.

It's a bit like coming back from injury. Just because my torn hamstring healed doesn't mean that I'm an athlete once again. Since the horror of being in Scotland ... this mortal coil has been patched back together and once again acquired the semblance of what might be called, at a glance and in a dark alley, a body. But it doesn't mean I can run.

Ok, let's be clear. I have lost my Mojo. If you are an endurance athlete you will know what I mean.

Since that fateful May of 2009 my comeback has been halfhearted. My hamstring healed; I damaged it again; it healed again, but only sort of. It turned out that my problems were neurological, and there was stuff going on in my spine that was generating pain without actually doing any damage (it's only pain, so that's fine). Then I tried to do the Tour Ride on 5 September 2010. The crash left me with a salad bowl of contusions. Sleep wasn't easy, but I got back on the bike and quickly overcame my fear of speedy descents. In fact a few weeks later I rode the Oxford-Cambridge bike ride, and a few days afterward that discovered that I had a broken hand. Again: it was only pain, and I could operate the shifters just fine.

But still, nothing like a training schedule: a few causal runs, no speed, no real distance, no Mojo. Soon, I said to myself, soon. Then it was March and the week of the Boundary Run. In past years that's been a training run for the London Marathon, one of five or six 20+ mile runs. This year it was my first and only long run in preparation. While others were looking at a schedule that said "This is the week to: Give your routine a check-up: As you embark on the heaviest four weeks of marathon training (the 'Monster Month') it's a great time to check over your training routine." I was asking myself: "where are my running shoes?" In fact my running shoes were worn out, so I bought a new pair. Nike had adjusted the model slightly, and I twisted my ankle. Another injury, another blow upon a bruise.

I ran it in a killer four hours, the longest time I've ever run for. Some of it was ameliorated by a rather lovely triathlete, who chatted for a while about training 'n stuff, before she took off. Her name was Rose. I never saw her again. Then I was alone. The photographs are just hideous. My legs are practically plaited. Running was clearly not the way to train for the next marathon, so last weekend I went out and cycled 133 miles around Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire in an audax event, also without training. That was surprisingly easy.

And that's my training, with London in two days' time. It's just as well I've taken up drinking, as it numbs the anxiety. My last-minute preparation plan: I'm going for a shave. And I'll probably try to get an early night. Maybe. Just me and my worn-out shoes a bottle in a hotel in London. Being back from the dead is not enough; benefitting from the Resurrection and the Life isn't enough. A man needs his Mojo. Lazarus lived on for a few years with a dodgy hamstring, a significantly reduced VO2 max, wasted muscle, an expanded waistline, and a poor attitude. Jesus was no longer his friend. Pray for me, to any god that will listen.


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