A step away from London

After a cracking weekend, and a fantastic ride on Saturday to celebrate my son’s 21st birthday (with lots of attacking and no hip pain whatsoever) -( – tonight was all about a trial run test my hip.

I am sorry to say it was not great. After a 5 minute warm-up (which is included in the strava profile), I gently started running- and it hurt straight away.

It was nice to be running again after nearly 3 weeks, and I am pleased to say that I am noticeably stronger in my stance, with little scuffing of my foot. I kept going, and the pain never got any worse- nor did it get any better. After 30 minutes I cooled down (again, included in the strava).

Back to the Physio tomorrow night, for a decision. But right now, it is not looking good for a run around London in 3 weeks time. (Cue sad music and montage of me running for the last few months, with perhaps some puppies in the back ground).



Oh dear.

After lots of stretching exercises, I wanted to try a gentle 5km tonight, to keep my hand (legs?) in.

Not good- my hip started to hurt after half a mile, and I had to stop after 2 miles due to the pain.

I think I need to visit a professional now.

Types email frantically…..

To be continued…..

Constantly Learning/ Responding

Yesterday was my long run day. I had to work in the morning, so it made sense to go straight from work (I work in a town 10 miles away).

The plan was to run 17 miles, and knowing that I would be unlikely to want to do a loop when I got back home, I started by doing 2 times around a 3.1 mile loop down there before I started on my way home. Also, I was aware how sore my hip was the previous week so I popped a couple ibuprofen an hour before I started, hoping to keep it at bay.

I can honestly that the first few miles was the most fun and happy I have ever run. I felt great, the running was easy, my heart rate was low, and I really did believe I could keep running forever. My smile was large and my hopes were very high.

My hip started to twinge at about mile 2, but it was enough to ignore and think about something else. As all the advice says, your long run should be about 1-1.5 minutes slower than race pace, so I managed to slow down to 13 minute miles whilst still actually running. My heart rate was low 130’s- this was going really well.

Then mile 10 came, and things went to pot. My hip started really hurting, and this meant I was dragging my right foot- I could bearly lift it off the ground. From the earlier highs I hit a real black spot. I switched from eating nuts and soreen to eating energy gels which lifted me mentally, but the physical side was still dreadful. I was walking/ running but with longer walking and shorter running.

I arrived at mile 13 and knew that another 4 miles was going to be hard but I was determined to do it. My leg was dragging so badly now that I could not even lift it over debris on the tarka trail (I actually tripped over some mud- very embarrassing!).  I turned and headed towards home, by now it was 100 metre running/ 100 walking.

I was still determined to do 17 miles, and I felt positive that I could tick it off. However, when my garmin ticked over 15 miles,  I just stopped. I was mostly walking, and when I did run, it was running with my right leg 2 steps behind me. So I did the sensible thing- I called it. It was not doing me any good, I was not getting better because of it, and I was getting cold.

So- things I have learnt from this-

-There is a place for energy gels etc- they made a real difference to me mentally.

-I am sensible enough not to keep going when I should not.

-I can run slowly! Really slowly.I mean, I could have timed myself with Halley’s Comet, not a Garmin.

-London is now looking like a run/ walk strategy.

– I need to balance my runs ahead of the day. I have got 2x 20 miles run planned- this now does not make sense. I need shorter strength building runs and sensible distance runs.

In truth, when this all started I thought it would be my heart which would limit me. Now it seems my body has other ideas. I know looking beyond London, running longer distances will not be something which will matter- but in the meantime, I need to do what is right for me to get me to the end of the Mall.

More miles

Back on it today. I am pleased to say that I feel fine after Sunday’s run and pottered my way around these miles easily.

Looking back, I can see why I struggled on Sunday. I have been training to run at 12-minute miles, so the fact I made it to mile nine before blowing up is actually progress!

With 45 days to go now, it will be a case of teaching my body to tick off miles at my steady pace. If I can stick with the 5-hour pacer then this will mean average 11 minutes 27 sec miles- which feels achievable right now.

And if I can’t? Then never mind. It’s London- the grandest of them all- and I will be running there. That is in itself amazing- especially from where I have come from.

4 miles? Done.

Will I ever learn?

We started with a plan. A very clear plan. 12-minute miles for the first 5 miles; then gradually knock it up and finish strong. Easy. Do-able. Sensible.

So when the blower went off, and we started running, I threw the plan out the window. Totally.

Like an idiot.

Early miles were too fast. I caught myself about 200 metres in running at 8 minute 45 second pace- ludicrous. I eased back and eased back but still the timings were too fast. I tried to justify it to Ian- ‘I feel fine’, ‘It feels comfortable’.

I started to suffer from about mile 7, with a sore hip. Had to switch to a walk/ run strategy at mile 9. All very ugly.

I would love to say that I nailed it, that it has given me strength and there is lots to be positive about, but I would be lying. I am very disappointed that I am not further down the line, better, faster. It so clearly is what it is, and I need to plan now for London knowing this. My end time was 2 hours 25- five minutes slower than my target, so on the timings, it can be said I dodged a bullet; the thing is, I need to learn from all this when I get to London, or else it will break me.

I suffered chest pains in the final mile, which is not good. If I ever was going to get them it should be in the last mile, but it is worrying how they came when my heart rate was above 160- something which has not happened before. I guess I was just tired from the earlier stupid-ness. This is something I have to monitor, though.

When I get there I aim to find the 5-hour pacer and stick to them like glue, mainly for the reason it should slow me down at the start. If I loose him half way then I do- but it will not be from starting too quickly.

So what should have given me confidence and a spring in my step has left me feeling flat and knackered. But it is all learning, and would only be silly and pointless if I ignore the lessons from it.



50 days to go

With just 50 days to go- where did that time go?- today was a stiff couple miles to turn legs over ahead of Sunday’s Bideford Half Marathon.

Pleased to say that I am carrying no tiredness. Felt a little clumpy, but a decent first mile (once my heart rate monitor caught up and started to shout at me, it was too late to ease off so I just kept it up until the end of the mile) helps me to see that I have progressed.

Once again, today was about my newer way of tapering- still running hard but with shorter distances, instead of doing nothing for the week.

Feel ready for Sunday- I wish it was tomorrow to be honest, in case I go off the boil by Sunday.

Back again

An interesting one tonight.

After the failure of Saturday’s run, I have taken a break. A few days away from running, without thinking about it once. It has been nice, and I feel all the more fresh for it.

Tonight I wanted to try something. Tonight I ran- I ignored my alarm, and just ran. I wanted to see if I enjoyed it or not; is it something I am just doing, or is it something I like doing? Dare I say it- do I love doing it?

The answer is yes, I do like it. Really like it. I enjoyed tonight, and felt no tiredness at all, both whilst running, and in the 2 hours since.It was nice to be out in the wind, pacing away. There is something about harder exercise- where you are breathing hard and in some type of rhythm- which is therapeutic and relaxing, despite it clearly being anything but relaxing.

2 miles became 3, which became 5km.  I even snuck a cheeky PB on a Strava section in there, and I got home with a sweat on and a smile.

It’s the second of my tester events on Sunday- The Bideford Half marathon. I am aiming for sub 2 hours 20 minutes; feeling slightly uncomfortable with this- which is good.

Just Ugly

I can think of little to be positive of about today’s run.

Ian and I set out to run 14 miles, but my own gastric problems within the first mile saw a restart.

From here, it went downhill (both literally and figuratively). We both found it hard- although Storm Doris has gone, today was windier than Thursday by a fair way. We set out towards Braunton to mix it up but the headwind hit us straight away.

Frequent walking sections, accompanied by even more frequent swearing followed. We turned at Braunton (the Salt rock roundabout) and found it easier but by then the damage was done.

Further gastric problems, the wind, the cold, the rough surface… the run had it all. My nice Saloman rain coat I have now found out is not breathable, meaning that by 10 miles the sweat was running out the ends of my sleeves. My Camelbak felt like a small child on my back. What else…mmm….. Donald Trump. Let’s blame him a bit.

Put simply, it was not our day. I have taken consolation in that Ian was struggling today (although not as much as me). I know Ian wanted to keep going but by 11 miles I was freezing and the amount of walking we were doing meant that really we were just wasting our time, so I called it.

14 miles in all (including the restart), and strangely, not much slower than last week, considering. The 17 miler will have to wait- today running was the victor.

Blowing up a Doris

(Actually- I did think of a much worse title, so think yourself lucky).

I was planning to go out Tuesday but on the walk back to my car after work, I found my legs were still sore and tired from Saturday. I guess this is something I have not factored in yet- longer runs require more rest, as I just don’t have the scope to carry over too much tiredness from run to run.

It was nice to be back out again, no matter how nervous I was beforehand. I ran smoothly and lightly, and managed to mix the route up from an ‘out-and-back’ to ‘I-fancy-going-around-this-way’. This made it interesting.

I soon found a rhythm. After the first always erratic mile, I settled in with rough 10min 53 miles. This felt comfortable and relaxed, and I could have done a few more miles at this pace.

A 17 miler on Saturday is planned- so very excited by this- can’t wait not only to do it but also to know that I have done it. The confidence it will give me will be needed.

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