Category Archives: London Marathon

Stressed. Broken.

Bah is a term that comes to mind.

I confess to having been a little bit in denial regarding my leg injury but my doctor visit this afternoon gave me a confirmed diagnosis that I’ve fucked things up for Juneathon, the Crisis square mile run, the London to Brighton bike ride, any motorcycling through the early summer, repairs on the house roof, intense gardening (like mowing a huge lawn with any enthusiasm) and just about everything else I rather enjoy.

I have a stress fracture. It’s healing but needs a lot more. It might take between 4 and 6 more weeks before I can begin to use it at all normally and it just about sucks as much as an Indian on open carbs (that’s a motorbike reference before the race police investigate!!)

All from trying to do a little jog in London in April.

Juneathon will, indeed, centre around weights. And press ups. And sit ups. But blogging them will be duller than my usual efforts, so I might just read and enjoy all your efforts. Both of you.

Ok, i’ve some intense healing to do. Must get on with it.

Knackered. Possibly.

I went for some professional advice about my leg today. A physio attached to the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford. Hopefully reasonably well versed in running injuries.

I’m still on a crutch for all but shuffles around the kitchen or site office and can’t put any weight through anything but the heel of the foot. But all but the swelling to the heel has gone down, hence the visit now the focus of the problem should be identifiable through all the supplementary symptoms.

So at the visit, I did the usual performance and demonstrated the confusion of having a large range of movement and that I can place surprisingly large forces through it when in anything but a vertical plane. I rotated it well. I demonstrated very little side force can be applied before pain. She was confused.

After 45 minutes, she recommended some exercises and the usual rest, elevation and ice (no compression – I explained compression is too uncomfortable after a few minutes and needs removing. She was cool with that). We made an appointment to monitor things next week.

Very good, if not too decisive.

Then, 6 hours later, I got home to a telephone message that she’s writing a letter to my GP so we can make an appointment to arrange further x-rays because she thinks it’s a stress fracture, despite x-rays on the day of the injury showing nothing. Probably wouldn’t show until up to a week later, she said.

Or did the internet say that, i’m wondering?

The hiccup is that I moved in December and haven’t changed surgery yet so the letter is going to a doctor who won’t be able to contact me when it gets to him. And won’t know who I am because he doesn’t know my new address and it’s not in his area. So i’ve got to stop the letter, register with a new practice, get the letter forwarded to them, see a GP, arrange an x-ray and then find out if it is knackered or just thinks it is to decide on a treatment.

I could be doing this for weeks.

Doesn’t my body appreciate the marathon was just a challenge but Juneathon doesn’t recognise injuries?

Will someone have a word with it for me?



I’ll remain optimistic for my planned activities through the summer – i’ve made progress.

From being in a right state on Tuesday, the crutches undoubtedly helped no end through the week by allowing me to avoid any loading onto the leg at all. Since it couldn’t take any pressure whatsoever, things were frustrating to say the least. And I guess it’s a sign of progress that by Friday I was annoyed at still having to either go through the palaver of getting the crutches up the stairs or simply crawl around where the skateboard wouldn’t take me when there.

So this weekend, i’ve been easing myself down to one crutch.

And simply being able to carry a cup of tea and walk has been such a good feeling, I never intend hurting myself again. Ok, I didn’t intend to do it this time, but you get my meaning.

Anyway, the ankle joint swelling is much reduced, the foot is back to normal size and the heel can take some weight.

I can still put zero pressure through the front of the foot, much less roll it, but I can rotate it in the air with little distress. Which i’m doing to try and get it a bit flexible at least. The ongoing amusement is my swollen shin. Periostitis, apparently. On my left leg, pressure on the bone makes the skin go white for a second then return to normal, as you’d expect. My right leg, however, is still swollen enough that it goes white and dents nicely, then stays dented when the pressure is removed. It hurts like hell in the process but is worth it for the freak factor. Shin splints to the max!

Hopefully it won’t be long until I can walk. The grass needs cutting and Juneathon is around the corner. To say nothing of Crisis in 6 weeks. And a 54 mile bike ride on a BMX in 8 weeks from London to Brighton.

I’ve no time to be hurt. Will it get better now, please?

Oh, and the London ballot opens tomorrow. Shall I apply?!


Up until mile 11 things went in a blur of first mile 8.44 in traffic, two miles well under 8 minutes, average of 8.06 and all going well.

At 11.5 miles, just short of Tower Bridge, something in my right shin made a crack (not sure if it was internal or audible) and a world of pain stopped me on the spot. I hobbled over Tower Bridge to a St. John ambulance doctor (not remembering one of the race highlights on the way), was advised to stop but had some strapping and a massage and that’s how things continued.

I shared mile 13’s ambulance stop with Gordon Ramsay who pulled out (shook my hand as I left after a brief chat, though), missed everything until Canary Wharf where at least I looked up and saw some buildings, couldn’t find an easy way back to the finish so walked most of the time, shuffled when walking became too painful, saw Cathy, David and Gary at mile 23, and can remember nothing but the frequent stops and massages beyond this.

Garmin says I was stopped for over 39 minutes. It felt more. I don’t know how I made the finish but 3 of the 4 medics suggested hospital, NHS direct said the same after I explained I can put no weight on it at all now, but X-rays show no cracks so they’re either so minor they don’t show or it’s some indecipherable tissue damage (he said the words but I forgot what they were. Oops) that, like all others will heal. Occasional pins and needles aren’t good at the moment, though. It wasn’t helped by a 15 mile walk, apparently. Bah.

So now i’ve proved i’m fragile and the slowest marathon runner in my circle of acquaintances. Great.

And i’ve wasted 2 winters and am as skinny as a rake all in the interest of feeling shit about myself. Greater.

I’m sure it’s not my last run ever but at the moment it feels like it might be.

If memories and anything worthwhile comes back into my head when the pain subsides, i’ll update again. Until then, the Crisis Square mile run seems a long way away.


I ran.

It hurt.

2.6 miles was done, mainly to make the legs work but also to get a gauge on how bad it remains. Much wincing around the lower leg was felt but by way of experimentation I discovered it hurts least when the pace is held at 8 minute miles. Unfortunately, I reckon the tiredness at 17 miles may overcome the ease in the leg.

So ibuprofen will be the key.

Still, by way of consolation everything hurt less than my right index finger which has throbbed steadily all day after I did my best to remove all the skin from the tip, as deeply as possible, in one swift accident. Best thing was it didn’t hurt until I saw I was bleeding and looked to see what was up. And I was wearing gloves, despite them no longer being part of the “uniform” – shows how little they do when you need them!

I guess if the legs really start playing up I can pinch my finger end and make it all seem reasonable again…and the quantity of juice seeping from the wound at least means that by sucking that on the way around I won’t need a water bottle!!


After the attempt at a recovery jog, I did actually go for a run on Wednesday. Well, I say run – more like runtypething, I think.

Every. Single. Step. Was. Agony.

From the first (limped) step, my right shin/ankle bit was letting me know it was royally fucked. I hobbled around a very slow 2.5 miles, stopped at home to a dull throb from the entire shin area and felt a bit downhearted, to be honest.

I rested on Thursday (well, as rested as a 29 acre building site on a hill allows) but felt I needed an outing when I got home so did 8 miles on the pushbike in half an hour just to keep the heart beating. Not ideal running preparation but better than nothing, I surmised.

Since Wednesday i’ve been massaging, kneading, stretching and cursing as often as I can, keeping a strap bandage on the sore area while at work. It’s not getting any worse but i’m not entirely comfortable putting any stress through it, let alone thinking of a jog.


So, come Sunday, it looks as though i’ll be two weeks since a proper run; not used to the sudden spring warmth; injured; worried it’ll last; nervous about being surrounded by so many athletes.

Ah, well. I can prepare no more, just hope the coming week allows it to improve enough for a jog at least, even if it is strapped to hell and I opt for the Ibuprofen challenge (substitute jelly babies for tablets and see how I fare come 18 miles!)

Cathy thinks i’ll cripple myself. I’m enough in doubt that I think it’ll be interesting. You know the idea that when you’re running out of petrol it kind of makes sense to go as fast as possible to reach the petrol station before you run out? I’m wondering if I got at sub 8 minute mile pace whether i’ll reach the finish before the real pain starts? More likely i’ll run out of energy, I think.

Ah, well. Less than a week to go. Anyone know any shortcuts?


I decided that, since the race is on a Sunday, then the last two proper runs would be too.

This had nothing to do with my leg still hurting as well as having a greenhouse to glaze yesterday in the sun or anything, honest. No, really. But that did contribute to a bit of colour appearing in my arms, which was nice.

Still, today meant I had no excuse for slacking so at 9.30, I was gone. My right shin is still very sore – sorry, was. As I set out, it improved after about 2 miles and got worse again after about 8. But now it keeps lulling me into a sense of security, then stabbing a pain up my leg which reminds me it’s not right at all. A bit worrying, but tough. I’ll sort it.

The second and third miles, in fact, were awful. I’d already seen 5 runners by this point – whether the sun brought them out or they’re always there on a Sunday I’ll never find out, I guess, but it was a busy run. 8 runners in 12 miles of country lanes. But at mile 4, i’d slowed considerably and was feeling sorry with myself for feeling tired. It took a bit of self chastisement to bring myself around, but a strong 5th mile and regular checks on the virtual partner did the discipline trick and all the other miles sailed by easily enough – only about 10 seconds up on the slow miles, but they seemed much more fluid and have convinced me the pace i’ll set the Garmin for the race (the clear miles, at least!). No hints here, we’ll find out if it works in two weeks.

So the rest of the day eased past okay. The leg has only just started really stabbing the pain so I hope it’ll be okay – it’s strapped at the moment, hopefully a night in bed will sort it out.

I had a great ride on the motorbike – about 50 miles of hooliganism was just what the doctor ordered, even if the last few were a touch colder than i’d hoped for, but the leg felt fine climbing all over it, so i’m sure it’ll hold up to the race pretty well.

Seems strange that after the longest winter, i’ve less than marathon distance to run before the race itself but boy am I glad it’s nearly over. I’ve got a house to decorate, renovate and maintain after all!

Cock Marling

I believe i’ve run through the village with the coolest name ever.



Who, how, when, why and how anyone bastardised something enough to conjure that one up, I know not. But I like it.

My lower legs had been horrible all yesterday evening and during the drive to work; I was kneading them during the straight bits on the A259, gave them a bit more grief while doing paperwork, then eased them into the working day by measuring the perimeter of the site for fencing. 2100m. Yep, well over a mile. I then proceeded to go 700m around a load of shrubs, 1300m to the newt compound and back and 400 to see the fencing gang. About 2.5 miles in three quarters of an hour – all of it in rutted clay, on hills, in boots. And my legs felt a bit better.

So I massaged them more and decided a run was definitely on.

All helped by the great weather.

But I didn’t feel up to a big run so thought i’d go for about 3 miles. Leaving the site in a westerly direction, I exited Rye, went through the Parish of Udimore (finding 20p in the gutter as I ran out of pavement), marvelled at the view over the reclaimed marsh to the sea, enjoyed the sight of many lambs, oast houses, cottages and woods and then found the village I love.

Cock Marling.

It needs a Google map search to find but the image clearly shows the proud sign of the Plough pub stating it’s location clearly. Great. And during this, I forgot my pains and ran on to just over 2 miles before turning.

The view on the return was marred by a few idiot drivers making me lose enjoyment (buzzing me at speed, silly close, when there was nothing in the opposite direction to make them drive in the gutter. Idiots is, I feel, the right term) but I brightened to see the Brookland wind farm in the distance, a decent castle type building on the marsh (don’t know what it is yet; will investigate) and a stop at site after an improved 8 minute mile average. But with two throbbing shins and a pile of massage to sort them out.

But they’re sortable. And i’ve discovered Cock Marling.



My recovery run was postponed to yesterday, but not blogged owing to entertainment commitments. I would’ve tried to run on Monday but felt a day extra recovery would be nice, especially as it was my birthday.

Unfortunately my legs got more sore over the course of Tuesday so the run was still blighted by very very very sore shins. The bit where the muscle attaches to the bone, or so it seems (don’t think it actually attaches there at all but can see no earthly reason it’d rub there without!), on the inside. Perfectly symetrically on both legs.

No amount of massage or stretching seems to be easing it and the run did nothing to help. After about 2 miles it felt a bit more free, but on stopping after 5 it was nasty.

Nasty enough to stop me running today. But not helped by a few laps of the site – at 29 acres and on a slope on sticky clay and stodgy topsoil, this is excercise in itself so I don’t feel too lazy!

I’m hoping to be back out tomorrow but am unexcited by the prospect of making it worse, even if I am desperate not to slack the last weeks of training.

I’m sure time will help. That and a good kneading whenever I sit down.

Rye seems nice to run around, though. I ran along the canal inland and Easterly from the town centre – I think I saw some of the prettiest houses i’ve ever run past, all within 2 miles of each other. Of only I could convince myself they wouldn’t flood and weren’t all massively out of price range, I might have seen a retirement property or two! I’m looking forward to more investigation over the next two or so years.


Thanks for the comments that have been coming in regarding my ever spiralling descent into running depression and thoughts of failure regarding my abilities to run 26 miles in what I consider a decent time.

Thursday saw a new low in that I got home after a day on a windswept site, getting wetter every second, only to have a wind and showers to contend with for my 5 miler. So depressed did I get that after a mile I simply couldn’t be bothered to push on so I looped around and finished after 2.5. Talk of haircuts, giving up running and sore legs were bandied about, Cathy took all my moaning very well considering, and I couldn’t even be bothered to blog.

Not good.

The combination of more bad weather, cold winds and rain is still worrying me for the race but equally I hope it isn’t hot like last year – after no running warmth all year, I’ll simply sulk!

So plans were made for today’s run. Plans weren’t stuck to, though, as I did my poorest brickwork ever yesterday to completely mess up my greenhouse plinth (rain after the first course washing all the mortar over the brick faces was the final straw) as well as be bent over most of the day, resulting in waking this morning to very sore hamstrings and lower back. Oh, goody!

My own fault, though. So I stuck to my plan today of the worst run I could configure for 20 miles. Basically, a torturously dull out and back. No escape routes. No loops close to home in case of injury. I’d do 20 miles at whatever pace I could manage.

So I did a loop around the south of town and found myself, just over 4 miles in, at the junction with the A20. The London Road. Before the M20 opened, everything between Dover and Maidstone made it’s way up here if it wasn’t heading for the M1. And even if it was if the A2 was blocked. My history on it includes racing the old (1978) Mini past everything that overtook me on the motorway either near Maidstone or from Folkestone through the late ’80’s before the link of the M20 was finished, through using it as a fast link on the motorbike from ’88 to now because motorways are boring on two wheels.

It’s a fast, dull road but it has a footpath just about continuously on the north side. And it goes away from home perfectly to threaten me with a long walk if I fuck up.

So, every pace up to 10 miles took me further from home. It rolls up and down a bit without any proper hills but isn’t so straight that it looks as though you aren’t getting anywhere.

I was surprised to pass a runner in the opposite direction at about 7 miles, right between Hothfield and Charing, but otherwise it was a dull run out – basically watching the clouds rolling in and thickening, battling a crosswind and counting cars. But I felt fresh enough (apart from the hamstrings!) and the miles clicked in. Charing was a relief and saw 9 miles, so I left the village past what used to be the Little Chef and ran further away.

10 miles came not a moment too soon. The turnaround saw the wind become slightly behind me and, back at Charing, the opportunity to amuse the policeman who’d just set up a speed trap wasn’t missed as I asked if I was indeed doing my targeted 7 miles an hour. His amusement was, unfortunately, too enthusiastic in a pitying manner, so I think i’ll stick to construction as a career.

I’d been eating a jelly fruit every 2 miles as energy and waited for 13 miles before eating my banana. It was horrible, took 2 miles to eat, but did boost flagging energy.

My last climb at 15 miles also made visible the end of the A20. My plan to convince my brain that there was no escape (instead of my usual create escapes in case of injury which plays with my mind as my legs start screaming for me to stop) seemed to be working as I knew I had 5 miles left in me, but my fondness of a mathematical calculation still told me how late i’d be home if I started walking and I couldn’t banish the walking thought.

Having eaten the banana on the trot, I was determined not to ease up at all and the last 2 miles were, to be honest, horrible. It was again on the routes I seem to have trodden a million times despite being here only 3 months. But the time was looking to be what I wanted, so I ploughed on.

And got home, 20.02 miles, in 2.48.52. 8 minute 25 second average miles, or thereabouts. Exactly what i’d set the Garmin to as I left. Only now I had a massive blister on my left foot and no energy at all with which to spend the day.

Since getting back, i’ve eaten, gone shopping and hoovered half the house. I intend finishing the hoovering but don’t know if i’ve the energy to either cut in another socket to the conservatory or build the greenhouse to the next stage. I’ll try but can make no promises – i’m merely blogging for lack of energy.

But it’s 20 miles in the bag. My last long run. The first5 miles average was exactly the same as miles 10 – 15. Miles 5 – 10 was identical to miles 15 – 20 overall. Very strange figures but consistent enough even if the times were seperated by 15 seconds. I thought i’d slowed considerably for the last 5 miles so it all goes to show how odd the brain is when it can’t use a virtual partner (rain at 11 and 14 – 16 miles made me lock the Garmin off so it didn’t go loopy).

I’m pleased it’s over. I can now get older on Monday in peace and look forward to two weeks with easier running before I bury myself in an attempt to put in a reasonable showing.

ps. My toenail has, for reasons it’ll keep private, decided to go all black and funny. That’ll be interesting over 26 miles when it’s deciding what to do with itself, i’m sure. Combined with my first blister for two years, maybe I got my sock choice wrong this morning!