After last week's DOMS-fest, I gave John Wayne his legs back and welcomed my own after they were last seen functioning at Canary Wharf.
The first proper run back after a marathon is always a relief, mainly because it means you get to wear your race t-shirt!
Thanks to my colleague and friend Jo, I'm lucky enough to be a guinea pig for trainee sports therapists at St Mary's University in Twickenham. As one of the UK's top sports unis, the facilities are outrageously good, and the track was named after a former Teddington local (insert asthma / doorbell jokes here).
Being a guinea pig means free massage, which given the cost of living in London, is an opportunity you cannot turn down! That's definitely sped up my recovery.
The weather this week has been super sunny, which is always a mixed blessing for bald men like me. Actually rather than a mixed blessing, it's more like a shiny red tomato.
In other news, my Yuki-inspired race outfit for the Richmond Park Marathon on May 20th arrived, and it's both awesome and deeply disturbing in equal measures. As you can see, for some strange reason its eyes are bleeding. Now, I'm not entirely sure why this is, but I like it.
The only downside is that it is incredibly toasty with the suit on, so I'm hoping the weather will be kind, otherwise I might have some bleeding eyes of my own...
This week marked a rather unwanted landmark as I reached six months since my last swim. Yes, I am aware this is an issue, particularly when in six weeks time I will have to swim 2.4 miles without stopping (except for a sneaky wee or two) in Keswick's Lake Derwentwater, jostling with over 400 other people.
I'm definitely conscious how ludicrous that sounds, so you'll be pleased to know I am 100% going swimming next Sunday.
I didn't head out on any long rides this week so it was mainly time on the spin bike, cycle commutes, and travelling around west London.
One thing I have been giving thought to and researching quite a bit is triathlon rules. And quite frankly, they are terrifying. Honestly, I know it's my first triathlon and all sports have things you need to get used to, but I feel like this is more daunting than my dissertation.
There are so many. When you can put your helmet on, when you can touch your bike, when you can run, when you have to walk, where you have to get changes, when you can overtake, when you can follow someone. It's insane. Not getting disqualified is probably the biggest challenge of the whole thing...
The weather this week was utterly ridiculous. Monday morning in London it was four degrees, wet and windy. The only consolation as you can see above is that it gave me an excuse to put my beanie back on!
But literally three days later it was super toasty. Osterley Park has become my stomping ground of choice, mainly because it's completely traffic-free. It's also has a super flat, two mile trail loop where you can zone out and completely forget you are in London.
There's this one guy who is always there, every day - he doesn't run, he doesn't talk, but what he does do is simply walk up and down the steps of the house. Why is this interesting? Because he does it continuously (possibly forever). For example on Wednesday I ran five miles round the park and he spent the duration walking up and down the steps. He's probably there right now.
My running got better as the week went on so I decided that on Saturday I would go to parkrun and run as fast as I possibly could, and I was really, really nervous. Since being fitted for my orthotic insoles in October, I've been easy running - partly to be sensible, but also because I've been absolutely petrified of getting injured again.
For the rest of the week I repeatedly talked myself out of it, whether it be feeling mystery phantom niggles or overthinking the negative consequences of picking up an injury. But it was too late, I needed to find out what shape I'm actually in so I was going to bite the bullet, get back on the horse (and various other cliches) and go for it.
Coralie and I cycled to Bushy Park, the home of parkrun and a mecca for parkrun fanatics. The reason for picking Bushy was how pancake flat the course is, and with over 1,400 parkrunners each week you know you're going to have someone to run with.
Being my usual sensible self, I basically decided to start at the front, go off really quickly and try to hang on for as long as possible! After going through the first mile in 5:33, my chest was on fire, I was panting like a bulldog on a hot summer's day, I was absolutely soaked in sweat, and spent the next two miles checking my watch every 30 seconds.
Luckily I had five other runners to run with who dragged me round. One of them was about half the size of me, so my determination not to be beaten by a 12 year old helped me hang on to finish in 17:26. I hated pretty much every second of it, but I was so so happy!
It's slightly demoralising that I used to be able to run half marathons at that pace, but I'm a different athlete now. I'd definitely underestimated just how hard the mental and psychological side of recovering from an injury is, so it's given me a lot of confidence. It was also parkrun #44 and my 12th in a row.
We rounded off the week back at junior parkrun, where Coralie was Tail Walker and I was scanning barcodes for more than 100 children, all getting active with their families.
Given my hermit-like existence, next week actually looks eventful. Firstly, the weather forecast looks as ludicrous as my swim training so we have an action-packed outdoorsy Bank Holiday planned, then we're off to see Skid Row Marathon at the cinema on Wednesday. Yes - out on a week night. Crazy!
And next weekend, as well as my first swim, I'm also heading off for parkrun tourism in Kent to help film some parkrun videos with a legend and one of my running heroes. Expect to see a selfie-filled blog next Sunday!
Thanks for reading. Tom.