Monday, 28 November 2011

not much to report

Being injured at the moment I don't really have much to blog about.  I am taking a very professional attitude with the achilles and calcaneus and, although still painful at times, I am doing what I can to maintain fitness and repair the leg.  It isn't always easy though as rehab exercises for the achilles can be quite painful for the stress fracture.  Got to be very careful.

At the moment an average day goes something like this:

before breakfast - achilles rehab and massage
mid morning - cycling (50 mins to 135 mins)
afternoon - weight training
early evening - achilles rehab and massage
late evening - stretching

At the moment that lots seems to be account for more than 16 hours per week ... not bad for a runner who cannot run at the moment.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

a bit of medical stuff

Congratulations to William Sichel on his recent win in the 8 day race in Monaco.

My new exercise regime continues with much more cycling for the next few weeks.  I imagine that, on average, I'll soon be up to an hour cycling per day.  It's not all at a steady pace though, there are a few options:

- after a suitable warm up alternate 8 mins hard with 2 mins easy.  The hard work to feel like mile pace
- after a suitable warm up alternate 15 mins hard with 5 mins easy.  The hard work to feel like half marathon pace.
- once a week I'm cycling for at least 2 and a half hours.  The equivalent of a long run , I suppose.

At the moment I'm cycling every day when I should be running.  I'm also doing the normal weight training and stretching.

I don't expect to notice any improvement in achilles and heel pain (which is not severe at all, except when I run !!!) for a few weeks yet.  In the meantime though I feel that I'm doing all I can to maintain as much fitness as possible whilst treating the injury.

This morning I happened to catch a news item on BBC about cancer and how survival rates in the UK are much better than they were 10 or more years ago.  Reading around this story I also found out that that the important drug in my chemotherapy regime, cisplatin, has a number of side effects:

(1) kidney failure.  When in hospital the staff made me drink lots and lots of water, the theory being that if I urinated lots this could be collected and analysed for early signs of damage.  I remember one particular night when I passed 14 litres of urine between 11pm and 6am.  Without much sleep.

(2) hearing loss.  This explains quite a lot.  For a few years after cancer treatment I suffered with tinnitus but gradually that disappeared to be replaced with a different hearing disorder which has two symptoms:  (a) there is a narrow range of frequencies which I just cannot hear at all - car alarms, mobile phone ring tones, smoke alarms, etc; (b) I find it difficult when there is background noise to hear things which I would otherwise have no trouble with at all.  Having said that I can have a normal conversation over 90% of the time.

(3) electrolyte imbalance.  I already knew about the above side effects but this one is new to me.  It particularly effects magnesium, potassium and calcium levels apparently.  I wonder how long that lasts, is it short term during treatment or is it long term like the hearing loss ?  And does the severity vary from person to person ?  Could effect ultra distance running ...

Does anyone out there have any thoughts ?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

injury update

Yesterday morning's visit to the physio was quite revealing to say the least.  After an X-Ray, another ultrasound scan and some prodding, poking and manipulation (by three different doctors) we now know what the problem has been.

It all started when I fell down the stairs at home four weeks ago.  I mentioned it on the blog at  Apparently I definitely injured my achilles tendon as mentioned before but I also picked up a stress fracture of the calcaneal (heel bone).  Apparently X-Rays often don't show stress fractures until they start to heal - a couple of weeks (or more) after the original injury.  More details about that at the virtual Sports Injury Clinic.

So, lots of rehab then for the rest of the year.  Eccentric calf stretches and massage with Deep Heat for the achilles.  Lots of rest for the stress fracture which means walking around as little as possible and when I do walk I've got to use a sorbothane heel pad (or similar) in my left shoe.

I am allowed to cycle though.  Yippee.  Looking forward to that (not).  So, at least I'm able to maintain a modicum of fitness for the rest of the year and beyond.  I'm back at the physio on 21 December (the day after I get back from Italy) and then, hopefully, I'll have some idea about returning to training.  At this stage I guess I won't be able to resume full training until February.

Which means changing any racing plans I may have been considering for the first half of 2012.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

still not good

Since starting rehab stage 2 a few days ago I've been running four times and each time there has been quite a bit of pain in my left ankle.

It now seems obvious to me that there's more going on than simply achilles tendinopathy.  Going back to the physio tomorrow because there's something he missed when I was there a few weeks ago.  In the meantime I'll be carrying on with the weight training and cycling.

Probably even more so now.

Friday, 11 November 2011

rehab - stage 2

I've just spent the past two weeks cycling, cycling and cycling.  With a bit of strength work, stretching and cycling thrown in for good measure.  The old achilles has been fine for the past seven or eight days so now I plan to take a risk and move onto the second stage of rehab.

This basically entails adding some actual running into the mix.  At first the running must be interspersed with walking but gradually, over the next four weeks or so, the amount of time spent running increases and the amount of time spent walking decreases.  All the while the total time spent running and walking per day also increases slowly from about 30 minutes to about an hour.

So, at first I'll be alternating 5 minutes walking with 2 mins 30 running for a total of half an hour.  This will eventually change as above so that by mid December I'll be running for 60 minutes.  Without walking.  And at that point, if all is well, I'll be able to resume normal training.

Been doing lots of strength work for the achilles and I've also put lots of strength and flexibility work for my shoulders into the weekly routine.  Hope it all pays off because I wouldn't want to race ever again whilst in so much pain.

Still doing some cycling too but for the next few weeks it will be only about 80% of what I've done in the last fortnight.  Cycling is no fun at all compared to running.

Ah yes ... finally, all the best to William Sichel and his helpers as they embark on another multi day adventure - Monaco this time.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

an incredible 77 days

Congratulations to Chris Finill and Steve Pope who, at about sunset yesterday, dived into the Atlantic Ocean in New York.  Today they are taking part in the New York Marathon but I don't expect they'll be actually racing.

Chris has taken part in every London Marathon and completed them all in less than 3 hours.  He has also represented his country many times in ultra distance events around the world.  Steve is a decent runner too, having won various ultra distance races in the last few years (Barry 40, Thames Trot, Tipton 12 hrs).

Anyway the reason they won't be actually racing today is due to the fact that they've only just arrived in New York ... having run there from San Francisco, emerging from the Pacific Ocean on 17 August this year.

Their original plan was to arrive at the Atlantic Ocean on Friday 4 November but I'm sure we can forgive them for being one day late after running over 3100 miles.  Especially if they run today's marathon in under 3 hours!!!

Their incredible journey was also their way of raising much needed funds for the Help For Heroes charity - have you donated yet ?  If not you can still do so at

A big well done to them both.  And also to Julia and Ben without whom the journey would have been almost impossible.

The official Run Across America website -
Chris & Steve's blog about their journey -
Details about the few people who have run every London Marathon can be found at
Help For Heroes -