Monthly Archives: March 2009

48 miles. 7 days. Phew.

I think that just about sums things up.

Having put off last week’s run until Sunday, it crunched things up a bit, I guess, and even though it’s only a day, the recovery time seems non-existent.

But today’s run was good.

A bit breezy, but my route didn’t have any long straights and was all sheltered by hedges and rolling landscape, sunny intervals kept my spirits up and the pace came easily. My first two miles was broken by a road full of trainspotters for about half a mile and I was granted a view of what they were waiting for just before the line went out of sight as a steam train (green, sleek with a familiar sign – maybe the Golden Arrow?) rolled past. It was pleasant enough to see, I can’t see the attraction in videoing it, but it takes all sorts and they were possibly just as bemused by my running.

Then it was a bit frustrating. There seemed little traffic, but every time some arrived, it was met by a vehicle in the opposite direction right where I was, so I had to keep stopping in the verge. Right through miles three and four, just when a nice rhythm was settling in.

Ah, well, they were all very courteous, at least. I added a never before run route to add 5 miles to my known route, which spiced things up well. One of the fields had a vast quantity of new lambs in it, so hopefully i’ll see the return of the sheep to the field behind my house before too long. The little linking road doesn’t look like it’d had a vehicle on it for years, so was well worth finding, and the run in when I knew the last 2 miles went by very rapidly, so all in, it’s looking very good for 20 miles next weekend.

13 miles, 8.20 average pace, time for a shower. Then a paper, some gardening maybe, a beer then a curry. Last night saw more energy bar baking, so hopefully a milk/white chocolate mix with no plain will be the nuts. Maybe Jogblog will let me guest write the baking on Planet Veggie sometime, if i’m a good boy. But there again, maybe she won’t want a good blog ruined by an idiot…

Mince pies to bake tomorrow night. If I hoover, too, will that make me some sort of domestic God? Oh, no. It’s called cleaning up, isn’t it.

Super smashing splendid great.

Ah, rest!

After far too little sleep (well, a normal 7 hours but I need more at the moment) and another long day, the prospect of a run wasn’t filing me with joy. But 5 miles was called for. And Jason had done a good job making me more streamlined (well there’ll be one thing I miss about Hastings if I ever get away, at least), so I guess I needed to go really.

So I went.

Setting out slowly was my only option. After last night, my legs felt good at work. Probably freer than usual on a Thursday which makes me wonder if i’ve been tying myself up a bit maintaining a slower pace to hope to avoid injury. But for the run tonight, there wasn’t much there. A bit of pain in the left shin wasn’t enough to cause a limp or anything, but a few detours on the grass around Alexander park helped keep things comfortable.

Still, when I got to the seafront around 3 miles in, it was a struggle not to cut the run short and head for home. But i’m a good boy most of the time, tonight was no exception, so I looped out to create the full 5, albeit with so little spring in my step, it felt like a shuffle.

But the home leg was good. A day to rest and then 13. Mmm. That’ll make 48 miles in 7 days if  I do it on Saturday as planned. No wonder i’m feeling a touch tired.

Good luck to the many racers over the coming weekend. I won’t miss the Hastings half, I don’t think. It’ll wait for next year. And i’ll do it at a decent pace then, too.

Done. Ish.

A hopeless day at work got worse at 5.15 when I was called to have a look at a door on the handed over building that wouldn’t close or lock. And after 10.5 hours already on site, I didn’t need that. Still, I found a few tools kicking around the drawers, bodged some things (well, it transpires the idiot window fitters have partly dis-assembled it in an effort to repair it, then walked away. Mongs.), fiddled the mag-lock and got it shut and (possibly…) secure. All of which wasn’t putting me in the mood for 8 miles.

So, late, late, later, I found myself getting changed wondering what run i’d find the enthusiasm for. And it was flat. My left shin has been sore over the day, but a bandage seemed to have sorted it, so I also decided it was going to be fast. Not race fast, I don’t want to hurt myself unnecessarily, but i’m bored with marathon pace. And it was meant to be a pace run, so I could justify it.

I didn’t enjoy the girl next door taking the piss out of my running attire (justified, but harsh!), but my Garmin got a signal quickly, so I set off for the sea. Promising my distance would be shorter if I was faster. Well, I did want to get home.

So. Mile by mile: 7.39, 7.50, 7.36, 7.42, 7.27, 7.36, 7.30. And 0.18 miles to ease down back to the office. The 7.50 was a conscious effort to try and convince myself I wouldn’t make 8 miles at that pace. In truth, I would have done easily (it felt an effortless run. Clearly wasn’t, but felt it) and the pace reflects it, but my yearning for home was too strong. It’s now bed-time, i’m knackered, so must go.

I’ll massage the left shin a load, am applying ointment to my left toe more than I think may be healthy in an effort to relieve some pain, but it’s not enough to cause concern until after the end of April. Mind you, Stelling Minnis (the best 10k in the world, ever) is 3 weeks later, so maybe it’ll wait until then.

Must bake mince pies on Friday evening, or i’ll be out on Sunday.  And Cathy will steal my mincemeat if it’s not in pastry by the time she comes over, so Friday it must be.

Slow run tomorrow. Promise.

It seems ok…

Just time for a quick post.

After a rushed day at work, following yesterday’s crawl while swapping strapping from foot to knee to other knee to ankle, depending on which was hurting the most, it was time for my 5 mile torture.

Now I was aching rather than painful, so a slow run would go one way or the other and a mix of hill and flat would keep my brain occupied, so that’s the route I took.

And the first mile was a struggle, to be honest, it all felt so laboured and difficult. But then, I found my stride, set a pace and went with it, my quickest mile was my third (but it’s all relative – none of them set the world alight, but I didn’t want them to – tomorrow is the speedy night) and a run was done. Surprisingly, the average was 8.06. Felt slower, but I guess Mr. Garmin hasn’t taken to lying, so i’ll go with it. If only since I can actually go 6 seconds slower tomorrow and still make my target pace. Yippee.

Not sure why my pace felt so awkward, but it was all fine. My toe is hurting loads as I write, but i’ll sort that in a minute, and i’m now back down to 1 mince pie a day, so clearly some confidence is coming back.

4.5mm of rain today (and drizzle in Hastings for the run), so the garden should go great if it warms and suns a bit.

Nice.

Confused.

After a worrying week with a leg that did 17 miles reasonably nicely on Saturday only to fall apart onTuesday and convince me London was not quite the sure date in my diary I thought it was, I approached yesterday with some caution. Lots of you have given me encouragement and, lately, advice on my leg and for once, i’ve been heeding it.

A bit.

However, a bit of thinking, a discussion with mum about tendons and that, a realisation that the toe joint I did in just after the mountains was really playing up, and I think i’ve found the cause of my ills. Yesterday was another rest day to allow time to recover if it was going to, with a plan to see if I could run today. So I’ve had the foot strapped, been really massaging my leg and today, having woken up feeling ok (well, a bit hungover and tired, but ok), talked my magnificent, splendid, fantastic girlfriend into joining me on a run to see how far I could get.

Well, I did put the pushbike together for her, since she’d already done 9 miles yesterday. And if it all went wrong, I could climb on, give her a backy and be home in style, instead of a taxi.

So a route was decided – an out and back past Tottenham marshes, with a loop of Hackney marshes to make the distance. Hackney being a 6 mile loop, that meant 12 miles out and back if I was to do 18. Which I decided to do first in case things went wrong. Well, 7 miles as the furthest point at the start of a run is better than at the end. But I hadn’t planned on the wind.

Man, the wind. It was behind on the way out and the couple of cyclists struggling into it told me the return wasn’t going to be nice. But my (strapped, deep heated) leg felt ok ish, so I was up for a struggle. And lo, I struggled. At one point, I was putting sprinting effort into just maintaining 8.42’s. My splits are varying by 25 seconds mile on mile on that stretch with the effort (well, and asking the way!), I had to loop back to find Cathy at 10 miles because I so needed a jelly baby and she couldn’t keep up into the gale, and I very nearly gave up.

Yep, I walked twice, sulked, swore and at 13 miles, had to stop because i’d got pins and needles in my left foot (the bad one) and was scared. But it cleared with a bandage adjustment, I struggled to 14 miles before another minor strop, walked a bit at 15, now so irate that I was still heading into the wind i’d have happily fought anyone, then had inspiration. And called Cathy back so I could use my time to eat a banana.

I’ve not used stolen time on target before, nor eaten while running, so thought i’d invest a minute of my virtual lead in trying it. And the banana went in fine, I set off straight after, and no ill effects were felt. Blooming marvellous.

But by now I was ruined, even the home leg only got the wind across instead of into me and my last mile pick up in pace equated to a miserly 10 seconds. Still enough for an 8.39 average, but horrible.

I never want a run as hard as that without the benefit of at least climbing some hills again.

But the last revelation is that despite the effort, my legs feel fine. Well, they don’t, they feel dead, but in an injury free way. Can anyone explain that?

Maybe London is still on, after all.

But maybe not at pace, if today’s effort is anything to go by.

Hope I wake up feeling ok tomorrow.

Oh, and just as we got in, it started raining. 1.5mm at home. Glad I missed that, at least. I was enjoying a meal of delights by then, which was good. And which is now to be rounded off with two mince pies.

Damaged

I don’t quite know how i’ll get to the bottom of this shin problem.

All day, i’ve treated it gently, eased my way up the stairs, drifted my way back down, had it feeling reasonable all the time and thought i’d give a slow run a go.

So I changed, strapped it up, limped down to the seafront (it’s downhill, so was a touch uncomfortable. To say the least.) and slowly trotted along. I stopped after a few hundred yards and massaged the most painful bit, ran a bit more, then stopped again for a good tweak to ease the pain, ran to a mile and then did the same. All along, it was hurting, but not painfully, if you know what I mean. No red hot poker being stuffed down the back of the bone, just a hammer being moderately swung in that general direction, that type of feeling.

So I gently ran back, doing a little bit of the run on the beach to lessen the impact. Got back to the office and kneaded the shit out of it, stretched it in directions it really wasn’t interested in, then walked to the car. Easily. Then massaged it a bit more in the car, then drove home, then teased it a bit more. Then sat down to type this and fuck me if it doesn’t hurt as much doing nothing as it did on Tuesday with every pace.

I’ve now no idea how to treat it, so am going to pretend it doesn’t exist. What you can’t see can’t hurt you, so I won’t look at it. It didn’t hurt like this last week, so it can’t do so now. Only a cast or an amputation will stop me wasting the last 3 months effort, i’ll happily sacrifice a decent time to get around and not have the temptation to defer until next year when i’ll probably mess things up again, so the next 8 weeks will be interesting.

I’ll call it an experiment in threshold training. Pain thresholds, mostly.

Ah, happy days. 2 miles. I wonder if I can hop for 26 and limp the 0.2? I’m going to up my dose to two mince pies for tomorrow and Saturday, see if that helps.

I’ll update when i’ve run again And ive a plan to do 18 miles this weekend which doesn’t want ignoring. Maybe i’ll hop.

Dog Gone

So today was a day to see if my leg would recover with much stretching, ointment and a bit of easy use up 152 stairs countless times, instead of running them as usual.

Well, the final escalation while locking up made my whole shin area ache enough to let me know it wouldn’t be sensible to run, but in a nice enough way to know it’ll pass. Hopefully quickly enough to do 18 miles on the weekend (might leave it until Sunday for another day’s recovery – i’ll see if I get that far first). Still didn’t stop me trying an experimental jog through the office in bare feet, though, just to see if it was still proper pain when pressed.

It is.

So I got out of the office with one goal. Well, two. One was to listen to all of I Haven’t Seen Star Wars, the other was cross training. The task was to get into the garage, put my supremely heavy downhill inner tubes in my heaviest tyres, add a small amount of air to create the heaviest wheels with highest rolling resistance I can, let some air out of the back shock to make the bike wallow and pedal inefficiently, and finally attach a light to the back to allow a short ride to involve the effort of a long one and at least get some energy spent over the course of the evening.

Well, it all went well. Except Dad phoned at 7 o’clock to tell me the dog (my brother Paul’s originally, but donated to mum and dad for the last 6 or so years) had to be put down. Poor creature hasn’t had the best final 6 months, but i’d hoped he’d at least see the spring. Shame I didn’t make the time to get down and see mum 2 weeks ago as i’d hoped to, but I guess it wouldn’t have changed things.

So it was with a touch of sadness that I got the bike ready, and was really a bit late when I got out, but any exercise is better than none, I didn’t fancy weights, and it felt good.

The roads are flooded after last night’s 17mm rain, so the low areas were a touch interesting in their dampness, but a loop was done, energy used, and some satisfaction gained.

The ache even seems to have eased a touch more as I rest here now. If I can’t run tomorrow again, the bike will get some more use, for a longer ride, but hopefully I can get out for a short slow run to remind the legs what they’re supposed to be up to at the moment.

Thanks for all the comments from yesterday, at least it wasn’t just me had an off day, and marathon experience is always nice to hear about.

It’ll all be fine before I know it!