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Monday, 31 January 2011

"You look ill"

The old saying amongst us cyclists is that when your friends and relatives start saying that you look ill, peaky or like a hard labour camp victim, you are going well......

But there is a small difference between looking lean and fit, to looking slightly exhausted and anaemic with sunken eyes! I'm not sure where I sit at the moment, probably somewhere between the two thanks to (finally) a bout of the cold virus that almost everyone else i know has had over the past month or so.

Both Dan (Burgess) and I had busy weeks, working away for the bulk of it, searching in vain for decent hotel gyms to keep the training up on our travels. I eventually did find a gym in Braunschweig, Germany which although holding their weekly over 60's aerobic session, kindly let me join in amongst the bemused older folk who looked on as they walked briskly on thier treadmills to me doing all shapes trying to maintain marathon pace for 40 minutes!

Dan and I did manage to get out for a steady 5 during the week. Again in cycling, the term for someone going slightly better than their training partner is 'half-wheeling', and so Dan half wheeled me for a good portion of the session, leaning back to chat to me at 7 o'clock, or was i just trying to get him to crick his neck??

He certainly seems to be running at a nice pace and the moment, seemingly handling the runs with relative ease, despite a few missed sessions which we are both guilty of. Lets hope his form continues.

As for me, I'm struggling a tad. Dans pace is the pace we need to be at, but I'm not quite up to speed just yet, I'll put it down to the injury and the fact its week one of the heavier schedule. Yesterdays long run was a lovely 11 miler to Wallog and back with great views across Cardigan Bay, we meet at 10am at Plascrug and plan to again next week if anyone fancies coming along?

As we finished the run, which took about an hour and forty minutes, one of us said "Only 15 miles to go..!" maybe it was me actually, it was only a joke, a true one at that but we're hoping that all will be different on the day and the crowd will give us a few free miles with all the cheers and atmosphere.

Here's hoping. 

Monday, 24 January 2011

R.I.C.E.S (Strapping!)

One week in to my return to training and the legs feel...tired!

I started the week with a couple of 40 minute runs which didn't feel too bad, the ankle holding up quite well. I still can't turn left, just like Derek Zoolander, (or was that right?) but straight line running on smooth pavements is ok. The ligaments at the outside top of the foot are the main concern now. They didn't kick up much of a stink at the time of the injury, but they have now decided to join in the fun!

So the 'injury sweetcorn' (nee peas) are still in use but I'm hopeful that everything will hold up to the punishment that I am about to dish out to myself. My programme proper starts today with a lunchtime 5 miler with Mr Burgess. Yesterdays long one was cut at 8 miles when I couldnt really do much more, so much so that I spent the evening in a motionless state on the sofa, so there is alot of endurence work ahead. If only marathons were five miles long!

I've managed to find a corker of a hotel for the event, not that I'd usually describe a Travellodge in this way, but it's the location, by the London City Airport which is the point. It's a stonesthrow from the ExCel registration hall and not too far from Greenwich, I may even make the start on time at this rate!

One last point, Its time to buy my trainers that wil take me through to the race. My current Asics shoes are a year old, and even with my lack of mileage this last year, they are now overdue for a change. What to buy? I've always gone for the same Ascis every year the 2150 (or whatever thay are called). Any recommendantions for a lighter faster trainer? I'm probably going to go for the same agaim so as to avoid any potential niggles over the next few weeks to be honest.

Time to meet Dan for that run!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? %^$&" it's Dai James!!!

Well, its good news all round, (i think), and the training shall commence this week after my ten minute trial on Friday evening.

Despite the odd moment of searing pain when my ankle is pressed in some unnatural position whilst lying on the sofa(!), it has gained strength over the past week. The physio instructed various exercises of which many I've forgotten but luckily I've remembered enough to carry out a pre-bedtime ritual each night. He told me that once I can hop, I can try a run and so after a glorious yet painful looking leap last Wednesday night, I past myself fit enough to try a jog on the tenth day since the physio's words.

So strapping myself up with tape and a compression sock, I donned the dusty Asics trainers and scooted down the road and onto a small circuit comprising of Myn y Ddol, San Bruiec bridge, cycle path & return. So far so good and there was no sign of a limp.

As I stared into the distance along the straight section of cycle path I could see a swarm of runners coming towards me. 'Jeez they look fast' I thought. 'It must be the elite crew from up top' was another muse, bearing in mind that I use glasses when driving and watching the TV. Just as the group were about hit me, I recognised the main protagonist as one Dai James, followed closely by all the usual suspects - Bash, Dai Rob, John etc. There was a quick exchange of greetings but something wasn't right...they were running efficiently and not chatting about the football, that's right, there was no sign of Adriano!

So no more than five minutes into my first run for a while and I see the AC crowd on full steam ahead mode. I didn't turn around to join them, I just trotted around the course and back to the house, seeing them again at Myn y Ddol, so I guess they were doing some circular efforts or were maybe doing a reccy of the 10k course.

Result - minimal pain, no extra swelling.......same again Monday night then!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Still in the pits

Three weeks after the ankle 'crack', I'm still sitting on the sidelines looking on bitter & twisted as the evening trainers run past the house in prep for the Aber 10k.

After a second visit to the physio, it looks like I have damaged this - Posterior Tibial Tendon, plus some minor ligament damage. Worst case scenario is that it is completely snapped, which will result in the loss of my arch in said foot and a long time out, the best case is that it will continue to heal and i will be able to run in about 10 days time.

It will come to the cruch soon as to whether to carry on with this marathon idea this year or defer til 2012. I don't want to delay it, and will be quite happy just to do this years edition and forget abot timings, maybe doing a second marathon later in the year, but I will need at least 10 weeks of prep, which gives me only 3 more to heal.

I can now stand on tiptoe and i walk without a limp, but running is a different ball game and my calf muscle has reduced in size a little.

On the plus side, cycling doesn't hurt! This means I have been exercising on the turbo trainer and with the Ystwyth CC I've also kept the weight down. I managed not to put any weight on over Christmas which was tough on discipline but will hopefully speed up my return to running form when I start. Hopefully I will be able to try a run this Friday as this would be 10 days after the physio's 10 day curfew.

Good luck to all Aber AC guys & girls this Sunday for the 10k. I'll be marshalling somewhere out on course and cheering you all on :-)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Stupid Stupid Stupid!

Well I'd like to start this instalment of the Marathon Diary with news of long, enjoyable beachside runs in the surroundings of the Playa Blanca promenade in Lanzarote amongst the other people who escaped the UK ice & snow and headed out overseas for Christmas.

Unfortunately the day before travelling, with itchy feet the previous week due to prolongued days of no runs thanks to the treacherous ice, I decided to head to the Penweddig fields for an easy lunchtime session in the snowy field. The rest is comedy...

After getting ready in the car at Plascrug car park, which took a good 10 minutes due to the shear amount of layers needed not to freeze to death in the -4 temperatures, I trotted off past the Leisure Centre and around the back of the swimming pool and on past Penweddig School. I remembered there was an access gate to the field somewhere, oh there it is I've gone past it, stop, turn, slip, CRACK, ouch, really ouch!

After feeling sick for a second, I'd realised I'd slipped in front of a window containing a class of schoolchildren and thought better of rolling around in agony which is what i wanted to do, so I got up, put some weight on it and pretended to be OK. I was more annoyed with the fact that I'd taken so long to get dressed, and now, 1 minute into my 'run' it was over.

The bus drivers who were parked up waiting to take the kids home were looking at proceedings with interest as was the class. Bugger it I thought, I've come this far, I'm gonna try and run.....So I climbed the gate and hobbled into the field.

I realised that I could just about put weight down if I landed on my heel, so thats what I did for three laps. The generous snow dropping cushioned my strides and the adrenaline I guess hid the pain a little. In hindsight I suppose this was a stupid thing to do, especially as I heard the crack, despite wearing an i-pod shuffle playing Metallica, later the physio would tell me that cracks are often heard 'through the body' in these situations. Great!

Driving back to work was difficult, my left ankle was the one I hurt and so clutch control made me laugh for some strange reason. The pain was a kind of 'i stubbed my toe' pain which although bad, just gave me the giggles. I know, thats weird!

Touch wood I've never been proper injured before, and after a distress call to fellow crock Helen Marshall, I managed to get an appointment with her physio the very next day. The pain wasn't actually that bad when I visited him but he diagnosed a grade 1 or 2 ankle ligament tear, on the inside and outer ligaments. I hobbled home feeling sorry for myself. We were flying out to Lanzarote the next day where I had planned some serious marathon mileage.

Running was definately out (and still is two weeks later), and so I located the hotel gym and strapped myself in to the gym bike in true Kevin Costner putting his boots back on in Dances with Wolves style.

I was limping like a good un, but thankfully the motion of pedalling wasnt too bad and I got some good bike sessions in.

So all is not lost. The marathon training schedule was supposed to start in earnest on Jan 1st, hopefully I'll be able to manage a trot in a weeks time. I'm off to get that confirmed with the physio now.