Monthly Archives: March 2009


So, in an update without running kind of way, the news I needed to hear can be shared.

Arriving at the sports injury/physiotherapy clinic this morning at 8am, it was with worry that I exposed feet, shins and knees to a young lady who could well unleash pain I wasn’t prepared for. Instead, she started by checking it wasn’t a bone problem.

It wasn’t. Hooray.

Then joints were checked, including a good bit of pain as my leg was bent through the knee, exerting sideways force and stretch on my calf, forcing me to make a noise like a small boy, whining for his mum.  After an explanation of why, though, she was happy it wasn’t a joint, either. Yippee.

Next, ligaments were evaluated and crossed off. Marvellous.

So, the diagnosis is torn muscle.

I could have referred her to my blog and got another hit, I guess, but settled for reading my hard copy running log, in which mileage is summarised with location, fun factor and pain. Which turned out to be supremely useful in diagnosing that while my ankle is tight, it’s not what has lead to the problem directly, more a combination of little niggles not being fully cleared before a new one starts, resulting in where I am now.

Which is a grade 2 tear, apparently. I don’t know if they’re standard scales, but 1 is a standard stage beyond a strain and treatable with rest and stretching and massage. 3 is fully torn, internal bleeding, long rest and recovery with intense physio. 2 is, as expected, between the two, and she’s hopeful that proper rest for 3 to 5 days, coupled with physio, ultrasound treatment, massage (looks like Cathy’s moving in a month too late…i’ll have to do it myself!) and as near normal use as possible (ie. roll through steps from heel to ball of foot in walking, not carrying it to keep the pain away) will see the worst of it gone. I won’t be running for at least a week (possibly longer, she’ll advise on my next visit), but if all goes very well, I may be allowed to put in a light ride on the bike (ie. spin up hills etc instead of crunch up them) or two. The next visit is Thursday and i’m already excited. But not entirely by the prospect of more ultrasound treatment, which feels just plain wrong. She explained what it might feel like. Well, it didn’t. It was odd. But if it works, i’ll have more, please!

And the best news is that, while the last pinnacle of training will be missed and i’ll have to settle for whatever time I can, THERE’S NO REASON I WON’T BE FIT ON MY LEGS IN TIME FOR LONDON!

I guess everything from about 18 miles will be a struggle of will over ability, but if I can still go, i’ll settle for that, to be fair. So, while I could use the money being spent on many other things (just been invited to go for the Megavalanche again this year…mmmm tempted. Must consult JB…), the chance to do London again means so much, it’ll be more than worth it.

I just want to be running again.

Oh, and I made 12 more mince pies last night. Yum.

27 minutes and a mince pie disaster

So yesterday was the Reading half marathon.
Another 13 mile run in the preparation for London, with the added bonus of meeting Phil and Jo for the first time (and Leighsa and Tracy, but I know them from the mountains!).

If only! I think Phil and Jo sum the race atmosphere up very well. It felt a touch strange setting out in a proper race with the intention of coming home to a pace, not in a race if you know what I mean, but London is the focus and that’s the goal.

Which makes it a double shame it all went wrong. Not the pace. Oh, no. That was perfect, if I was a little hot in the first half of the race.

No. At mile 10, my left leg started to hurt. At 11, I pulled over for a quick massage and tweak. At 12, it felt rotten, but I didn’t want to stop, my Garmin was showing 1.47.06 at 13.1 miles, my route was clearly varied (all the other garmins bleeping were at the same distance as me, so I guess they’re all reasonably consistent in calibration) and I crossed the line in 1.48 dead and 13.26 miles.  3700th place. Which made my leg giving up after I stopped all the more worrying.

The meal later was great, if tempered a little by some pain. Lots of it. And I wouldn’t want to scare Jogblog (the greatest person ever to live…putting up with all my moaning, getting out of bed at 6.00 on clock change day to come with me despite not running, everything really. Thanks, JB) but driving home is possibly the most stupid thing i’ve ever done.

The intensity of pain in my entire lower left leg made every gearchange a crunched affair, matched only by the pain in my mouth as I was grinding my teeth so hard to ensure the clutch actually went home and I didn’t use the vehicle in front as a brake. Every gearchange. With a traffic jam on both the M4 and Hangar Lane.

By Walthamstow, I was sweating. And trying to get my shoe off to have a look revealed some shaking with the pain. Ah, well, only 55 miles to home, then.

And when I got here, I honestly couldn’t even unload the car for the hurt. So I went to bed. And this morning realised i’d forgotten to eat a mince pie. Balls. But that was after i’d woken at 3 o’clock in such pain I needed some drugs. But having started to get out of bed, couldn’t move for agony, so rolled back in. Hands and knees on the floor beside your bed, in agony, not able to move for the pain getting worse isn’t a good look.

And on waking 3 hours later, took 27 minutes from starting to get up to finally arriving at the bottom of the stairs for the bandages and painkillers. I’ve broken some bones before, but nothing hurt like it.

Still, work’s work, right? So I went in. Don’t know how, but all I intended doing was turning up and going to hospital. Instead I got sucked into things, but got talking to one of the managers and he recommended a place not 400 yards from site for physiotherapy. So I popped along (well, crunched some more gears on the way down the road), found it to be a sports injuries and physiotherapy practice, went in and am booked in for 8 o’clock tomorrow morning.

At last, you’re possibly thinking. But after feeling genuinely painless on Saturday, I really don’t know what went wrong. I’m hoping they can point me in the right direction, because like this, London’s off.

I’ll update tomorrow.

Good race, but not worth that.

Well done to the others. If whatever’s wrong isn’t long term, i’m going to complete the marathon, ignoring my 3.36 dreams in return for a finish, then run below 1.40 for the Royal Parks Half to make up for things. How’s that for a mark in the sand?

Not slacking!

It seems ages since my last post. Mainly because it is. And while things aren’t going according to plan, it’s hopefully not all bad.

Since my 20 miles, things felt fine for the rest of Saturday. Sunday was fine, I was a bit sore, but a few miles on the bike eased that away, but then I awoke on Monday to a tight pair of knees and a lower left leg that had bits of pain darting around all over the place.

But nothing too bad. So Monday evening, I packed for Tuesday’s run, and Wednesday’s since I was staying out with my fantastic female friend on Tuesday to celebrate 9 months together.

As an aside, 9 months may seem an odd time to celebrate, but since i’ve had an odd life, it’s the longest i’ve properly been out with a proper girlfriend for (and the previous record duration was a mistake. Simply didn’t realise it had been that long. Oops), so thought it was a watershed worth celebrating.

Still, Tuesday involved plans for a run. And my left leg still felt poor, but even without any drugs, I set off for a plod. But experienced a fair bit of pain, stopped for a massage/stretch type thing when I got to the fishermens huts area and it was quiet and out of the wind, which didn’t help at all. So I carried on, wincing a bit on each stride, but completed the 5 miles quite nicely.

A quick stretch, 2 hours in the car to London, a mile walk for a pizza and I thought I felt surprisingly good. To the point of thinking it had probably got my long run out of the muscles.

Until Wednesday morning, when I could barely stand without pain, had to go down the stairs first time backwards since my legs just wanted to fold when bending to relieve the hurt (or maybe offset it with a bleeding face!), and wondered what had happened since going to bed. I couldn’t even massage my left leg, it hurt too much to touch.

But by mid morning, most of the pain had gone. Granted, I had more bandages than a mummy on my lower legs, but they were at least showing signs of recovery. So yesterday, I rested.

And today, i’ve been support-less. My right leg’s fine. My left winces from the ankle, left and right shin, and the outer knee with every pace, but it’s manageable as long as I don’t try to run (which, when the client is snagging the ground floor, you realise you’ve forgotten a bunch of  keys and have to get to the office and back before he spots too many problems, is easier said than done! It hurt, and didn’t look too good, i’m sure, but I made it!) and is improving by the hour.

So tonight, I sacked off a run (don’t want to make it a proper problem by abusing it with too many drugs) and instead did a 45 minute thrash on the mountainbike. Which left me puffing, so it did some good and my leg felt good. Well, for 4 or 5 paces, until the hurt returned!

Reading’s 13 miles is intriguing me as to whether i’ll be fully (well, ish!) recovered and will fancy a decent time or whether i’ll be sensible and go at a slow training pace as I should, or whether i’ll still be hurting and will hobble in somewhere beyond a personal worst. It’ll be fun finding out, anyway.

But Sorelimbs is out, it seems, and JogBlog’s come down with something this afternoon that threatened pizza consumption, so I hope she shrugs that off. I’ll catch up on the others when this is published and look forward to Sunday.

Self loathing and ibuprofen

Last week was a low one, morale wise, excepting a happy half hour on the mountainbike, and not wanting to flow into next week on a negative, I set myself up for plenty of gardening and the prospect of a Turkish restaurant in Islington as the potential high points of the weekend.

A bit of research on that internet thing, as well as advice from the font of all knowledge over such things, lead me down a path I fear treading. But the marathon means a lot to me. You see, about a year ago, when injured during training for the Hastings half, Cathy suggested ibuprofen for the inflammatory reduction effect. I dismissed it, knowing it also kills pain and i’m stupid and if something doesn’t hurt, despite the knowledge it’s still healing, i’ll abuse the lack of pain and kill myself.

I repeat, i’m stupid.


Those who meet me next week at Reading will be able to verify this fact for themselves.

Well. Ibuprofen plus a large dose of stupidity plus a huge dose of self hate and a small desire to explode myself equates to some nice counting statistics.

Today, I was passed by 172 cars. 5 motorcycles. 4 cyclists. 1 pedestrian. I passed 1 man fixing his gate. The same man who’s usually weeding his verge on his knees. I ran 20.04 miles in 2hours, 48 minutes and 51 seconds.

And now, i’m going to walk to the village, buy a paper and crawl home.

I’m in pieces, but have run 20 miles. Before, I felt I was in pieces, but hadn’t. I wonder how much i’ll hurt when the drugs wear off?

Oh, and Cathy – there were fields and fields of lambs, all chasing after the little stick man plodding beside their pasture. It was ace.


Instead of today’s run helping me forget a bad day at work and setting me up for the evening, I felt heavy, lethargic and slow.

Stopping at 2.5 miles to adjust my bandage to try and stop the pain didn’t help. Aches and odd feelings have moved around my leg from side of shin to other side, knee then down to ankle, but never anywhere I can pinpoint over the course of the day. The drive home felt comfortable, but now my toe is hurting.

I’m simply not in the mood for it-work’s shit enough without not enjoying my time outside it- and am going to have a rest.

20 miles might have to wait.

Marathon might wait if I don’t cheer up and enjoy running again, too.

And I didn’t think it’d piss me off that much in such a short period of time, but I guess when your job is walking up and down stairs for 10 hours a day, and every step reminds you things aren’t right, that’s what happens.

Sorry for a negative post. It seems there’ve been a lot lately. I think I need to re-focus.

Or find some fucking huge painkillers.


No, not me. My training.

Again, on a Wednesday, I decided my leg needed the rest (well I have been up and down to the 5th floor about 25 times today, a round trip approaching 1/3 mile and including 117 steps) after feeling sore, painful, sore, then aching over the course of the day. So this evening I went for another ride.

I decided it would be nice to check out a new loop on a known route to get ready for Saturday’s epic run, and since the sun had set but it was still daylight, I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Completely switched off, I found the answer to the question of which bike to get Cathy that satisfies her need for colour and my need for something good but not bank-breakable, which included remembering the name of a custom bike finisher who will tailor colour to requirement. Why this came to me on the ride, I don’t know. But it’s made me happy. Oh, and I also thought about France a lot. My last visit included a spot of this: . That’s a view of the Megavalanche downhill race. (Skip the first 90 seconds, but do watch the superb crash at about 4 minutes…epic!) I didn’t finish in the top 60 like that guy (who wore a cow costume, as you can see in his arms), but did finish nicely mid field and beat several well known journalists, despite having broken forks (only 2 inches travel) and enjoyed it like nothing else. It’s actually about 40km long and runs from Pic Blanc above Alpe d’Huez, so is rather steep. And fun.

And I must go back to France soon, if not for the race then for the mountains. Cycling on a glacier is maybe a bit much, so maybe the mountains of Morzine will do again.

Still, dreaming stopped after about 40 minutes when I got home, feeling rather happy and knackered.

Cross trained out. With only 3 wheelies to show for it. And generally relaxed at missing a run, since it is only a 5 miler and not as important as either getting better, or hitting Saturday with confidence about not getting injured worse than now.

Oh, and with news that next Friday will be my last in Hastings.

Hooray. Hoo bloody ray. Yip, yip hooray. And smucking fart.


Well, it’s Tuesday which must mean something else can occur in my messed up training plans, and I won’t let you down. But it’s not too bad.

I think.

Following Saturday’s run, all was great. Reasonable weather tempted me out for a ride on the motorbike, which resulted in a rapid cleaning session before my magnificent girlfriend came round, a curry was consumed, lambs observed (complete with umbilical chords still attached…something tells me they were fresh out of the sheep!) Sunday morning and, having got up early-ish, Cathy left  so early, I had time to get to the club and leap from a plane. Fantastic. It was the Islander doing lifts, so only 10,000ft, but still a great laugh, some fine tumbling and a simply marvellous landing. Splendid, I think sums it up.

So today, I awoke to a strange ache in the outside of my left leg – still the shin/calf area, but the other side to “normal”. I say ache, it’s really an ache/pain occasionally. But feels ok in work boots, so an easy day de-snagging did it no real harm.

A sunny Hastings tempted me into a lap of the park, then a lap of the seafront and my pace was surprising, especially considering I stopped for half a minute to massage my leg which, while running at least, was grumbling that the ache could develope into a pain. It didn’t feel bad enough to cut the run short (at no time is the loop more than half a mile from the office), but it wasn’t nice. And after a short weekend and on an easy run, it was frustrating.

Then I walked into the house, stepped up onto the door threshold and it sort of didn’t but sort of collapsed with a wince of “that’s going to hurt so i’ll stop you locking me out before it really does” pain.

Which annoyed me.

I remained calm, however. A beating and subsequent massage were delivered and instantly it felt perfect. Like nothing was wrong. Ever. Only after a while, the same aching sort of pain returned so something might be slightly up.

Very peculiar, not what I want, but nothing to scare me like the shin was 2 weeks ago. I’ll see how it feels before automatically setting off for tomorrow’s run, with my aim focused on Saturday and 20 miles. But it’s very sobering to think all these weeks of preparation are as fragile at this late stage as many, many weeks ago.

Give me a break, will you legs?

Not literally though, eh?

Sun, no rain and many mince pies. Oh, and some energy bars soon to be guest blogged on Planet Veggie. And possibly a mention in the Reading evening post half marathon supplement if the journalist who contacted me gets the article in. That’d be fun. If I ever get hold of a copy!