Still cycling, still stretching, still icing

So another week has gone by, I’m another year older, and I’m still not running. Another visit to the Physio put paid to that!

Actually, there was good and bad news from the Physio. The Bad News is that I can’t run the Bath Half. Fair enough, its in just over a week’s time and I’m still in pain. As they put it, my focus is London, not Bath. I can easily run Bath next year (just need to pay another £39 – eek!)

The Good News is that she could tell I’d been doing my stretches, the pain has moved lower down my leg (apparently this is a good thing – but I’ll have to take her word for it), and is less than last week. This was apparent because I didn’t manage a vertical take off from the couch this week when she pressed on the sore bit. She was impressed with the bruises on my legs from where she’d poked me last week – “like a peach!” she remarked. After running on a treadmill with 2 Physios standing behind me, looking at me legs and making comments (a girl can get paranoid, you know!) the conclusion is that my running isn’t as bad as they thought it would be, over pronation isn’t too bad, and my back was stiff.

Back was solved by more pushing & grunting (the grunting was me!). I have to keep up my stretches, and have been given some more to do. I should keep up the cycling and aqua running (as apparently there are still one or two people in North Wiltshire haven’t had a laugh at me yet). Next week I’m going to be taped up – I tell you, these Physios are sadists!*

Anyway – out on the bike yesterday for just an hour, as that’s my bottom-pain-threshold. Past a lovely Victorian school building (I think!) Took a blurry photo, then promptly dropped my phone. Sigh!

Today I should be doing my cycle-aqua run-cycle combo again that I first tried last Friday. However, in a classic spot yesterday of ‘retail-therapy-is-still-therapy’ I am waiting in for a delivery which includes PADDING!!!

Maybe I should do some more stretches whilst I’m waiting …..

* So what does that make me, who pays to go and see them???

Last Chance – Thy Name is Bicycle!

I have been good. I have been following the Physio’s advice. I have been doing my stretches, I have  been applying ice and popping Ibuprofen. So I thought I’d better also get on me bike and keep my fitness up whilst I can’t run.
After dithering around (as usual), I made it out on my bike on Thursday. 12 miles in 1 hour and 6 minutes is not very impressive, but my backside was shouting at me by the end that it was quite long enough! Mental note – add cycling shorts and/or new bike saddle to my birthday list! I set off thinking I would hate every minute. However, after a while I cheered up, and was just appreciating being out in the fresh air again. Cycling certainly seems much faster than running, and I was amazed how quickly my watch was ‘beeping’ the miles. As I was riding on roads I often run down, it felt like I was on the wrong side of the road – a most disconcerting experience.
Following on from that success, I set off today on an even more unusual experience both for me, and for my local swimming pool. May I introduce my Flotation Belt? It was to enable me to go and do ‘Aqua Running’, a strange form of torture involving bobbing about in the pool, performing a ‘running’ motion, thus propelling yourself through the water.
If cycling felt fast moving after running, then aqua running was slow motion! I felt a total dork approaching the pool side with my attractive belt in my hand, but fortunately the pool was fairly empty (apart from the tots in the shallow end). Once I was happy that I was wearing the largest float in the pool, I slipped into the water and set off. Yes I felt stupid, and yes it was boring going sooooooo slowly, and yes people did have a bit of a stare at me. However, it was a good workout, and after 50 minutes I felt tired which is good.
My birthday weekend is fast approaching, so enough fun for today. Time to hide the grey hair and smarten up for a weekend of celebrating moving up into the next age category for races!

Meet the Physio

B&T, meet Mrs Physio. Mrs Physio, meet B&T.

Sadly, after my last despondent post, the Shin Splints have not improved. After a week’s NOT RUNNING, I could still feel it, so took a week off for some high altitude cold weather cross training. (Yes – I went skiing – hooray!)

Came home, and thought I’d just try a little trot round the block on Sunday evening, as all was feeling good. Put on my lovely new shoes and set off into the sunset. Sounds very theatrical, but the sunset soon became ‘night’, and the short cut through the field turned into a wade through a swamp (how much rain had they had whilst we’d been away???) On the down side, my leg started feeling sore after only a mile. Decided enough was enough, and on Monday morning booked an appointment with a local physio, as recommended by a good friend of mine.

Being a worrier, I now had 24 hours to panic in a “What will the physio do?” “Where will I park?” and the eternal worry –  “What should I wear?”. Kind friends on Runner’s World advised me, so on Tuesday morning I grabbed my shorts and running shoes, stuffed them into a bag and shot off.

What an interesting hour it was! I’ve never had someone poke, prod and then just stare at my legs for so long, whilst muttering “Interesting!” Turns out I was right, it is shin splints. Curiously though, my Physio thinks it my lovely new shoes which are to blame. Turns out my ‘wonky’ right leg, the one that wobbles all over the place when I run, has a lovely arch, so no obvious reason to over pronate on that side. My left foot, however, has a really flat arch, and is the one that would need the support. She thinks the new shoes are supporting my left foot okay, but giving too much support to my right foot, leading to the shin splints.My new shoes are stiffer than my old ones, so she also thinks I’m having to work harder to run in them. Sigh – sometimes you can’t do right for doing wrong!

Funniest (and most embarrassing part of the session) is when she asked to see my running shoes, and I pulled my hastily grabbed trainers from my bag. Remember that muddy field I ran through on Sunday? Well most of it was still attached to my trainers as they came out of the bag, but then proceeded to drop onto her desk, carpet etc. Fortunately she just laughed, as I shamefaced tried to sweep up the mud droppings.

So, she’s given me some stretches to do, and ordered ice and ibuprofen and NO RUNNING this week. Cycling and swimming have been suggested as alternatives …… hmm! Another appointment next week, when she’s booked the room with the treadmill in – my nemesis!

Week 5 round-up – Ice and RICE

After all the excitement of Slaughterford 9, I knew I had to take this week more steadily. Also my legs were shouting at me and creaking in unusual ways – always a worry. So Monday morning I set off on a very gentle Recovery Run. 4 flat-ish mile in 50 minutes – that’s taking it easy! It was also freezing cold, so I considered it a full immersion ice bath as well.

Tuesday – I missed this run (I was going to write that I skipped this run, but it sounded rather too energetic and I don’t want to give the wrong impression). Reckoned 3 runs in 3 days would probably be too much.

Wednesday – Still freezing cold, still feeling creaky, so 4.5M in 48 minutes. Felt looser after first 2 miles, and also ran a little faster in order to warm up.

Thursday – didn’t run again, as saving myself for my Long Run on Friday.

Friday – schedule said 2 hours LSR, so off I set. It was -5C when I set off, so I wore my cheap rustle-y sweatbag running jacket. Set off on the 1 mile short loop into town, and just happened to pop into the public loos there. Well, there was no way I would be popping behind a bush further down the trail in those temperatures. After 2 miles, I was passing the car so dropped my jacket off. Kept new attractive fleecy headband and gloves on for another few miles, then was amazed I’d warmed up enough to stuff them into my pockets.

I ran down the canal to Lacock. Really beautiful, they’ve done so much work on the canal, and most of it was frozen solid. I passed 2 swans swimming protectively in a hole in the ice they’d made – only about 1 metre wide, but just enough for them and no one else. I wasn’t going to argue with them – much too scary and too close to the tow path!

In Lacock my right shoe was feeling loose, so I stopped and tightened my laces. Only took a few minutes, but felt really chilled when I stood back up. I had to rummage in my pockets and put my gloves and headband back on. I was feeling tired and ‘heavy legged’ on the way back, but pleased that I’d run my 10 Miles in 1:59. Back home, I did my usual stretching and had a lovely HOT shower until I felt human again. That’s quite a lot of water!

By Saturday morning though, a particular spot on my right calf was really sore when I walked. So sore that I couldn’t walk without limping. the pain was a weird,sick-in-stomach type of pain. Fortunately I had nothing panned, so retired to the sofa with an ice pack and my laptop. Much Googling later, decided I have Posterior Shin Splints. Ow!

Cue the RICE part of this week – Rest Ice Compression Elevation. Not too hard to lounge on the sofa, watching the first snow of the winter start coming down. By Sunday I was rather bored, and started feeling quite sorry for myself. Pain was less intense, and I was no longer limping, but it wasn’t the magical overnight cure I’d been hoping for.

Today is Tuesday, and I’ve stopped rubbing in Ibuprofen gel and removed my crepe bandage. I’ve ordered a compression calf sleeve and am trying to be more positive. I can still feel it like a tightness when I walk, but am pencilling in a possible trot-around-the-block on Friday, but only if its totally recovered.

Sorry this week’s blog is rather down hearted, but I’ve been feeling quite down and despondent. Hopefully on the up again, and promise to only post when I’m feeling happier.

Slaughterford 9 January 29th 2012

I had been dreading this race for weeks, ever since I entered it in fact. I had wussed out of entering it for the past 2 years, and in December 2011 decided this was the year I would do it. It is, after all, the closest race to my home. In fact I regularly run part of the route of the race as one of my ‘short’ routes. 
 
So why so scared? 
 
Well, this race has a formidable reputation. Just beyond where I live is a very steep valley which I avoid when I run because its just too steep. And muddy. And I’m sure wild animals live out there. In fact the stretch of the route that I run is the track where I was attacked by a ‘psycho pheasant’ last year. Proof! The route of the race goes right down to the bottom of the valley, back up part way, even further down then practically vertically up to the finish. An uphill finish – how cruel! In between all these hills the route is mostly off-road, which at this time of year means lots of mud. Oh, and the 100 metres along the over-knee-height By Brook is, erm, refreshing to say the least.
 
So, it was with very mixed feelings I arrived at race HQ, and parked in a muddy field, with the temperature at 1C and gazed around at the fog. Not so much of the view-admiring to day then!

See – I did make it there – and I have a rather cool race number to show for it!

The race went as I’d expected. My family had cycled from home and cheered me on around 2 miles, complete with my hat which I’d inadvertently left at home, but which I no longer felt the need for. At about 3 miles we ran through Slaughterford itself, and on seeing my friend who lives there I managed to drop off my gloves as amazingly even my hands were warm by that point. After that, the hills started. My trail shoes were rubbish – I slipped and slithered up (and down) the muddy hills (although to be fair – everyone else was as well, so maybe it was just too muddy even for trail shoes!)

Although I was running on my own, there was a group of about 6 of us running at around the same pace so we did chat a little when we had the breath to do so. I was glad of the company, as the fog meant I completely lost my sense of direction and after Slaughterford had no idea where I was. I was extremely appreciative of the marshals. I’ve never been so pleased to see a hi-viz vest appearing on the far side of a field through the fog. They must have been freezing standing still for so long, but were all cheering and encouraging. Hoorah for them!

The stream-wading was breath taking. Literally. I’m not good at cold water, and the gasps I emitted as I got in must have been highly amusing for everyone else. It was a mud slide down to the brook, but fortunately the stream bed was stony so no chance of slipping once I was in. The limbo under the over hanging tree branch was a nice touch, but the quagmire as we got out of the stream was shoe-suckingly-tastic.

The final hill was nearly too much for me. Even walking up it I had to stop for a second to catch my breath. It was lovely to see my family again at the top, waiting to accompany me up the final hill to the finish line. I even managed to run this last bit (just in case there was a photographer at the finish line!)

So it is with pride that I am (still) wearing the T-shirt that I really did feel I earned. However I think I need to make an addition with a permanent pen under it, saying

“NO I FLIPPING DIDN’T!”

Is this Hilly enough?

So Week 4 Run 3 in my schedule said “40 Mins Hilly”. I chose this route – do you think that is hilly enough??

Pleased with 3.13 Miles in 33:50, as it really is a steep hill on the way back up. No more runs now until Sunday, when I face the notorious ‘Slaughterford 9’ race. That’s going to count as my Long Slow Run for the week, as although 9 miles probably isn’t quite long enough, I can guarantee it will be slow! Looking at the amount of rain we’ve had this week so far (coming down again now as I type) I’m thinking snorkel & flippers might be appropriate gear.

Still, keep thinking life’s all about new experiences so really have to do this race. Its certainly the race that’s closest to home, and will certainly be an experience. Not necessarily an enjoyable one, however. Another new experience I’ve volunteered for is writing a race report for Women’s Running magazine. Not for the Slaughterford 9 (don’t want to put anyone off) but for the Bath Half Marathon in March. Sounds less muddy and less tiring than Slaughterford 9!

I will return after the race and let you know I’ve survived … hopefully!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Come again another day.

Unfortunately I think that ‘other day’ was today, because it was pouring down this morning. Really heavy, “soaked-in-2-minutes” type rain. I did wobble briefly and wonder about switching my schedule around, but my new shoes were desperate to get out for a run so who was I to deny them?

Also, at the back of my mind was the thought “what if its raining like this on April 22nd?” I guess its better to know what its like to run in!

So off I set. It was wet. Roads were full of puddles. Not too many cars about, but huge thumbs up to the driver who waited for me to run past the ginourmous puddle before driving though. I think I would have drowned otherwise.

Whilst taking the photo of my new trainers on the edge of the road-spanning puddle, thought I’d do a quick self-portrait of myself. Particularly love the rain drops on my chin and nose – most attractive I thought! Still had 2.5M to go at this point, you can see how much I’m enjoying it.

Anyway, lots more ‘hardcore’ points for me, and another tick on my schedule. Week 4, Run 2  6M Steady DONE!

Noo Shooooooes!

Nothing quite like new shoes! I braved the treadmill in the Running shop, am pleased to say I didn’t fall off however I was told I have a ‘very odd’ running style. Somehow that doesn’t surprise me!
Despite this, I came home with a lovely shiny white pair of running shoes which will help support my feet (and legs!) as my runs become progressively longer. I though I’d better post a photo of them now before they set foot outside. Rain is forecast tomorrow for their maiden voyage …..

What a beautiful place to run. Week 3 Complete!

Well if you have to run a Long Slow Run every week you might as well run it somewhere beautiful, I say!After a frosty start to the week, I am pleased to report I managed all of this week’s scheduled runs, including today’s Long Slow (their words, not mine) Run. Schedule said 1 hour 30 minutes of running, actually ran for 1 hour 54 minutes (but I took the Slow bit to heart!). Covered 9.24 miles, including running through Corsham Court. Camera on my phone is not brilliant, but hopefully you can see what a beautiful place it is. There is a lake you can just see in the distance, with a huge flock of scary Canadian Geese which I gave a very wide berth to. Plenty of mud and hills to slog through, which will all be good practice for next week’s scary race, the Slaughterford 9. More on that next week!Good news is that despite this being the furthest run I think I’ve done since the Chippenham Half back in September, everything felt fine if a little tired. My shins behaved themselves, a combination of a soft surface (positively squelchy in places!) and running with a short stride. Feels like trotting rather than running, but my legs seem to like it which is the main thing.

So this week’s runs went as follows:-
Monday – 3 miles Speedy. I talked about this in my last blog, so won’t again!
Tuesday – 4.9 Miles. Even COLDER this morning! Was supposed to be 50 minutes Steady run, but ended up being 57 minutes as when I got to the big bridge over the by-pass I couldn’t resist running up & over it and then back again just to see the pattern it would make on Garmin Connect
Thursday 2.66 Miles (30 minutes) Hilly – I thought I’d run about a mile to a steep hill, then down & up a few time, then back home. Turned out to be a bit further downhill to the steep bit, and the steep bit was steeper than I’d remembered, so just ran to the bottom and then turned and ran back. Hard work, but hopefully all good practice for the Slaughterford 9 hills next Sunday!
Friday 9.24M Slooooooooow, but beautiful.

Roll on Friday night now, and Week 4’s training next week!