Category Archives: Reading Half Marathon


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.

The time has come

It’s Sunday, just coming up to lunchtime, the car’s clean, i’m just packing for Jogblog‘s birthday visit (differentiated from other trips to see her by the items being taken are not all edible. I hope she’ll forgive me when the contents are discovered.) and i’ve run.

Yesterday at work, I was despairing of ever getting another skydive in, what with work and weather headaches, so as 12.30 arrived and the sun came out over Hastings, my brain calculated it was time to send everyone home (well, the 4 people who were left, anyway) and get to the club.  I had been contemplating a last run then, just to be fresh for marathon training that starts in earnest on Tuesday, but a jump seemed more fun. And I arrived to a lift going up, asked Pete what refresher training i’d need after a 10 week absence, pestered Clem into doing the honours and found myself on a lift 20 minutes later, heading for the clouds. It was windy. All my thoughts were on staying into wind, tracking that way, being stable and landing in the PLA. So I was a bit annoyed that line twists on deployment sent my good heading into a bad one, I got the twists out but was now level with the DZ and about 300 yards to the side of it. And going backwards. Balls. So I climbed my front risers for a thousand feet, still hoping I could make progress with altitude and thus wind loss, felt knackered at about 1500 ft, realised I needed to get out of the runway approach, carried on backwards as the wind fancied and selected a field that looked big, flat and comfy to land in. Then re-assessed as I drifted back past this one. Then cursed as I slowed my backwards progress and was heading for a line of trees and decided to put a swift turn in. Then another, just to be sure. Well, the field I selected was huge. It meant no harm. And my landing was perfect, so it was all good. Shame so many of the club seemed to think going backwards was somehow a result of me not jumping enough. Admittedly, the line twists are probably a result of not pulling cleanly, but the distance travelled is almost certainly due to 220square foot of canopy and strong wind. I’ll get down there a bit more hopefully and drop a canopy size. That’s the plan. Still, Pete was happy enough, he’s the important CCI, I had a ball and all’s well.

So, today was my last chance for a run. I was about to give up the idea when guilt got the better of me. So 2.5 miles around the village back lanes was outed, my calves feel crisp and nice, which is possibly the last time I’ll say that until May, but my toe is sore again and has started cracking around the joint once more, so that’s annoying. Ah, well. Annoying I can handle.

But yesterday’s news about Sorelimbs and his missus doing the Reading Half is great. It means those two, Jogblog and myself, Leighsa from the mountains, Redbucket and Irunbecauseilovefood can all see how things pan out. I’ll be shamelessly aiming for steady 8.45 to 9 minute miles, the time will almost surely be a personal worst as a result, it being between two 20 mile runs as part of my marathon schedule, and most likely means i’m not going to do the Hastings half, which also falls on a 13 mile weekend but is a hard hard hard 13 miles when all I want is journeys under my trainers, not injuries above them. I’ll aim for the Hastings half next year. And i’ll target 1.35 as the time, to see if I can achieve it. I doubt it, but a man’s got to dream. This year is all about the marathon and trying to do under 4 hours so i’m not tempted to do it again. Well, ok, under 3.40, but i’m afraid that isn’t realistic first time out, so i’ll keep that to myself.

Right, lunch. Then London.

Can someone hurry up and invent the time machine? Please?

Busier than a bumble bee

Ok, work has officially gone mental, I don’t even have time to think any more and have now taken to turning off computers and stuff to allow me to get on with things. The phone will be next.

Still, i’ve entered the Reading Half marathon to spice up my routine of long, slow runs in the run up to London as well as to encourage Cathy into a pb, meet Red Bucket and his associates (with luck), bump into whichever of the three peakers Cathy manages to talk in to going and almost certainly post a personal worst time in my striving to keep my pace down to about 9 minute miles. Man, it’ll take a long time to get around. Still, better than injury, I guess.

So, tonight saw a 4 mile seafront run, complete with a strange pain in my right rear thigh area and still stinging calves. Still, it was ok, with added fun in the police pulling two random vehicles on the seafront to help take my mind off things.

And then to shopping, clothing washing sorting, cooking, eating, washing up, putting the bin out, making lunch for tomorrow and now blogging. I wasn’t going to, but Cathy insisted.

And I think next year, I will count my mince pie consumption. Two years ago, there were only 3 weeks when I couldn’t get any. Last year wasn’t quite so good. This year, I struggled in May and October, early November time. Next year, I guess i’ll be changing shops as my site location changes but still, mince pies are essential – i’ll be disappointed with fewer than 100, to be honest. There, the marker is set!

Oh, and the sheep look fat, i’m guessing pregnancy. Smart, might be more next year. And not just for a few weeks, either!