Wednesday, 25 May 2011

a tale of two runs

Two long runs this week - originally planned for Monday and Tuesday but postponed until Tuesday and Wednesday because of the excessive wind speeds in Wharfedale (above 50 mpw around here on Monday ... gusts were much more severe).

For the first run (yesterday afternoon) I decided on 25.6 miles fartlek (on a hilly route).  Because it was still blowing a gale I decided to run three loops of 8 - 9 miles each which would minimise the time spent in a headwind.  After a suitable period of steady running I planned to alternate 5:10 hard with 3:45 easy ... although it was difficult, I persevered and was rewarded with a finishing time well under 3h 15.  The idea was to run the hard sections at about 10k pace.

The second run (this morning) was just a nice and easy 28.2 miles testing out different foods, clothes, pacing, etc.  The weather was much kinder - less wind and warmer too.  At the end the watch showed 3h 55 ... and it seemed incredibly easy.  Learned a bit more too which is always good.

Harrogate League race in Harrogate tomorrow evening.  Hope the weather holds out.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

a few minor things

Not enough time for a large post but here are a few short pieces:

The Commonwealth Championships website now has details of the course for the 24 hour race.  It seems excellent but I'm a little worried about the two tight turns.  There will also be a few open races and lots of other things happening between 23 and 25 September.  It promises to be a good few days.

I've now stopped using the ball of foot cushion mentioned in a previous post.  My left foot seems back to normal again.

Also mentioned in a post a few months ago was my weight.  At that time it was about 130 pounds but I'm please to say that now it's down to the more usual 126 pounds.  Pleased about that as the thought of carrying an extra 4 pounds for 100 miles or more isn't good.

It's Keir's birthday next Sunday and because I'd like to have that as a running free day I may take part in the Park Run 5k in Bradford on Saturday - running to and from of course.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Challenge 66

Fantastic achievement by Andy McMenemy over the past 66 days.  He been running 50km every day since 16 March ... in each and every one of the official UK cities.  And he's been raising money - lots of it, I hope - for ABF The Soldiers Charity.

I've been following his progress on the Challenge 66 website ... and reading about a couple of the more serious injuries he's endured which would have caused most runners to head to bed for a fortnight.  Ultra runners don't do that though ... instead, before the start of his adventure he made sure he had a very good team around him which included a top quality physiotherapist with specialist sports injury knowledge.

I'm sure he'll be the first to acknowledge that doing something like that is impossible without some good helpers. A big well done to everyone involved.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

good long runs

Before yesterday afternoon's long run (24.3 miles ... hilly ... fartlek ... windy) I was a bit apprehensive as my previous two long runs have ended in injuries of one sort or another.  I'm pleased to report that all went very well indeed and so I approached this morning's 27 miler in a slightly better frame of mind.

Left home just after 8.00am having had just a light breakfast.  It was hard work for the first six miles or so but ever so gradually it got easier and easier.  The weather hardly helped though, windy and showery.

Again, no problems at all except for the usual tiredness.  No injuries, no falling, no emergency first aid ...

Happy again.

Thursday, 12 May 2011


I'd just like to say 'thanks' to everyone for their 'get well soon' messages after my recent mishaps.

I'm still feeling a bit sorry for myself after Monday's accident.  My right hand is still very painful and the bruise on my arm is now less than half the size it was.  On Monday evening the swelling was so severe Fay thought I had a hens egg up my sleeve !!!!

Because of the location of the bad cut it took almost 48 hours to form a scab.  Not a pretty sight.

Missed no training this week though but holding a dumbbell in my right hand is difficult and showering isn't easy.  Using soap or shower gel with one hand is about all I can manage at the moment.

Well done and congratulations to William Sichel for his recent first place in the UNIX 6 day road race in Hungary.  He also set a couple more records I believe.  Well done too to Heather Foundling-Hawker who finished 3rd (?) in the women's race.

I am a tad jealous of the people who compete in these races but I know that my 24 hour race experiences will stand me in good stead when I eventually find a suitable 48 hr race that doesn't seem to clash with World and/or Commonwealth Championships and/or family stuff.  It will happen.  I would need a good crew though.

Monday, 9 May 2011

the good samaritan

This morning my foot felt sufficiently well for me to try a long run.  34.5 miles.  I decided it would be wise not to stray too far from home though just in case I needed to return quickly.

No problem, quickly decided upon a route and set off with different food stuffs to try at 3 hours and 4 hours.  At about 22 miles the worst happened - I tripped and fell on a short cobbled section of the towpath by the side of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.  The result was a badly bruised right knee and right arm ... and a nasty cut to my right hand from which blood was leaking badly.

I immediately knew first aid was needed, but where from.  If I had been going further afield I would have taken a small supply of first aid essentials but today the plan was to be never more than 9 or 10 miles from home.  I got up, dusted myself down and spent a minute or so deciding whether I could run or not.  I could but not without leaving a trail of blood behind me.  And I still had 12 miles or more to run.

Then I had an idea.  I ran into Ellis Briggs bicycle shop in Shipley and politely asked if they could 'patch me up so that I could continue my run'.  To my amazement the staff did exactly that and after about five minutes I was sent on my way.

After that my hand was still quite painful but overall my running style and pace was good, including up Hollins Hill at about 30 miles.

The different food seemed to cause no problems at all either.  A protein bar from PowerBar at 3 hours and two pieces of Turkish Delight (without chocolate) at 4 hours.  The Turkish Delight was a nice surprise - I wasn't sure about how easy it would be to digest or whether it would just end up like goo in my mouth.  Very good - that's worth adding to my list of suitable foods.  Especially as I know the exact nutritional composition of the stuff ... unlike Fry's Turkish Delight (which is also very nice).

Saturday, 7 May 2011

unusual week

Following Sunday's painful afternoon and evening I decided that there would be no running on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday but there would be plenty of ice, ibuprofen and rest for the old left foot.  I never planned to run on Wednesday anyway as it was Fay's birthday and also our wedding anniversary.  Yes, I know, we married on her birthday [her 21st actually] ... and we became engaged on her 18th birthday.  Had a good day relaxing, walking and eating out.  And I found some very unusual coffee in Bettys in Ilkley ... this stuff comes from Nepal.  Now I didn't know the stuff grew in the Himalayas and I've certainly never heard it mentioned by anyone.  It tastes good though - well worth a trip to Bettys - and the £7 per 100g

My foot injury seems to be settling down nicely now.  I find it hard to believe that I couldn't walk on Sunday afternoon without a severe limp.  The second half of Thursday's race was quite painful but by Friday morning it had settled down again and now things are now almost back to normal.  And the only training I missed was a long run (24 miles) and a steady 6 miler scheduled for the following day.

Back to Thursday's race.  It was the first event in this year's Harrogate League.  The new route organised by Thirsk & Sowerby Harriers was a flat 9.4 km and to start with I was a bit worried about my foot although all day it had been completely pain free.  In the race itself I probably ran the first half a bit quicker than I should have but overall I was pleased with my time of 37:25 (equivalent to a 39:48 10k) and my position of 57th.

On Friday afternoon I had a session of hill reps planned .  I didn't know how they would turn out as they were less than 24 hours after the race.  As it happened I completed them much faster than usual ... about 15s per mile faster.  With no adverse reaction to my foot.  I'm still using the ball of foot cushion though when running or walking for any length of time.  A very good training session but I'm not sure why it was so good.

Last night Keir took part in the annual Torch Race - a relay race between local scout groups.  The race starts in Otley and finishes at the top of The Chevin ... a climb of about 200m in about 2.4km.

In Keir's age group his team finished first and were presented with the trophy by Richard Nerurkar's mum.  Richard is a local chap or my age who represented Britain in the marathon and 10,000m at Olympic and World Championship level in the early 1990s.  I often ran against him as a schoolboy - but he always beat me.  We didn't race ultras though.

Recently come across various newspaper articles - the links to them are on the media page.  I think there are one or two inaccuracies but we can't have everything.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

quick update

Having sought advice on my painful foot (see previous post) ... and following that advice ... I can now report that ibuprofen, rest, ice and the use of 'ball of foot cushions' from Scholl are beginning to reduce the inflammation and pain.  Unfortunately the cushions aren't available on the Scholl website but I bought mine at Boots.

Very good they are too.  I'm now confident again about this year's major races.

The results are now available from last Sunday's Fountain's 10k.  They show that my actual time was 41:53 which represents an age graded time of 37:29.  Both of those times are my best since the Horsforth 10k on 27 September 2008.  This means that last weekend's race was my M45 personal best.

Further details of all my races are available on this page.

All the best to William Sichel and Heather Foundling Hawker for the 6 day race in which they are currently competing.  Full details are available on William's website.  Including live coverage of the whole event via webcam ... wonderful.

Monday, 2 May 2011

ouch ...

This is what happened yesterday:

Woke early, had breakfast, and left home at 7.30 precisely to run the 22.1 miles to Grantley for the morning's 10k race.

I took with me a hand-drawn map of the route because many of the roads I planned to run along were unfamiliar to me and, of course, I didn't want to get lost.  On this map I had noted the distance at various places and my expected time of arrival at those places.

The first timing point was Pool and by that stage I was two minutes ahead of my schedule.  But I was OK with that, at this early stage it would be easy to slow down fractionally.  I did and from that point on I was always two to three minutes ahead of my target pace of 8:30 per mile.

Between Killinghall and Ripley though something happened ... I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my left foot (fourth metatarsal head to be precise).  I limped for two or three strides and then continued running but all the while I was aware that something wasn't quite right.  I can't say it was painful though.

Arrived in Grantley almost half an hour before the race was due to start so I found Mick Jeffrey in the car park (he had agreed to give me a lift back to Otley) who later arranged for me to get a lift home with David Fox.  The 22.1 mile undulating run from Otley to Grantley had taken 3h 33:30 at an average pace of about 8:18 per mile.  Pleased with that.

The Fountains 10k itself also went well.  I enjoyed the sunny conditions (but not the strong wind) and ran well within myself to finish in about 42 minutes which is the fastest I have managed a 10k since September 2008.  The hills were quite hard into the headwind though but I did manage to run the final mile quite a bit faster than the previous miles which I'm pleased about.

At the finish line I received a spot prize of a bottle of Viking Bitter from Rudgate Brewery.  The bloke handed it over with the words "here, you look as if you deserve this".  Little did he know.

Thanks to Mick and David for arranging my transport home.  During the race my foot felt fine and any potential problem had left my mind entirely but when I arrived home and rested for a while I found it very difficult to walk and putting any weight on my left foot seemed very painful indeed.  I took some ibuprofen and iced my foot and wondered what to do as I knew it could be a few days before I could see a doctor because of the weekend and the Bank Holiday.

After a few hours with my foot in the air I realised that the minor injuries department at my local hospital would be open and so off I limped and after an examination and an X-ray it was confirmed, much to my relief, that there was no damage to any of my metatarsals.  It looked very likely that it is just a bad case of metatarsalgia and that R.I.C.E would be the best course of action.  Of course, without a sports injury specialist being available it was impossible to obtain a 100% accurate diagnosis.

As I write this, about 28 hours after the initial injury, the pain has almost subsided but I'm still icing and taking ibuprofen regularly.  I now feel a lot more positive about the next week or so.  I was going to run 24 miles this morning but before going to bed last night I realised that would be a foolish thing to do and so I've decided that my next run will be the first Harrogate League race on Thursday evening.  But I will keep monitoring the situation and will not jeopardise my ultra racing plans.