Monday, 31 December 2012

my year in brief

Well ... the end of another year and for me it was a year of three parts.

The first part was spent recovering from a broken bone in my foot - falling down a flight of steps at home is not a good idea.

The second (and best ...) part was training for, and taking part in, two long ultra distance races.  The first was the ULTRArace 100 mile event around the Cotswolds in England.  Really enjoyed this race in stunning scenery and good weather.  It was good to have Hugh Pearson (Otley AC clubmate) crewing for me and hopefully we'll be able to continue that relationship as his running and coaching experience is invaluable.  My report can be read here.

The second - and most important - race was the World 24 hour Championships which were held in Poland at the beginning of September.  The first 21 hours of that race were fantastic as I was on schedule for well over 240 km .. and feeling good too.  The atmosphere was terrific and the crewing was brilliant (thanks go to Eleanor Robinson, Richard Brown, Adrian Stott, Rory Coleman, Marco Consani and Andy Smith).  My brief report can be read here.

The third part of my running year began at 9:00am on Sunday 9 September.  Injury struck during that 24 hour race as it did for about 10% of the runners.  I've since learned that the IAU considered moving the race to a different part of the park because of the poor condition of the road surface and sharp corners.  This report by US runner Jonathan Savage explains ...

Although I seem to have now recovered from that badly sprained ankle I was also struck down by gout in late November and early December which delayed my return to running somewhat.  Thaings are now progressing nicely though and today's 20 minute run scored an encouraging 97.5 % although the abysmal weather made it very hard work.

That's a brief account of my running year but there has been other highlights too.  Most notably Keir successfully passing his A levels and getting into the university of his choice - Ulster - to read History.  That's been his plan for a few year's now and I'm pleased that it's come off for him.  I'm so proud of his achievements too.  He's worked hard for that and he deserves it ... I remember spending about an hour a day for three or four years helping him with speech therapy exercises.

And next year ... more races of course ... have fun and take care.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

rehab notes

I hope everyone has had a good Christmas.

I spent a very enjoyable day with Fay and Keir.  Following our family tradition of alternating cooking responsibilities on 25 December it was Fay's turn this year.

While she was in the kitchen I went for a run, the last of this stage of my rehab.  I had been alternating 5 minutes running with 5 minutes walking, beginning with a total of 10 minutes and building up to a total of 70 minutes.  As many of you will know, I score these type of runs according to how 'injury free' I feel whilst running.  100% is perfect.

So far the training has gone:  90%, 92%, 90%, 98%, 90%, 95%, 90%, 97%, 97%, 98%, 97%, 96%, 97%, 97%

That's a small but definite improvement over the two weeks so I'm pleased with that.  Especially as most of the aches I'm feeling seem to be because I had such a long enforced lay off rather than because of the injury itself.  And illness.

Today's run was the first of the next stage which involves running without the walking breaks.  Starting at 10 minutes and building up to an hour.  Non stop.

In this morning's 10 minutes I ran 1.95 k (1.21 miles) but distance isn't in the least bit important at this stage - it's time on my feet that counts.  At 96% the run was perhaps better than I expected considering I hadn't run 10 minutes non stop for more than 15 weeks.

Day off tomorrow then 10 more minutes on Friday.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

too busy recently

After work and training I seem to have had too many other things to do recently which has left no time to update this blog ... apologies for that but things should be back to normal now.

Visiting far flung relatives ... being a volunteer postman with the local scouts ... having the gas fire repaired ... meeting Keir at the airport ... a couple of Christmas parties ... and attending an awards ceremony at which Keir received a shield for best overall year 12 student from his old school.

The ankle seems to be holding up well to increasing training loads and I'm hopeful of being able to actually enter a race next month.

Still keeping up with the rehab exercises three times a day (which are not detailed in the 'training' tab above) and remembering to ice the area at least twice per day - although I suspect that is not really so important anymore.

Interesting to read about last weekend's Barcelona 24 hour race.  Fantastic result from Matthew Moroz who finished third with 234.893 km and Robbie Britton in third with 231.392 km ... both have now qualified for the UK team at next year's World Championships in Steenbergen.  WELL DONE TO THEM BOTH.

I suspect John Pares may have learned the hard way that he wasn't quite as fit as he thought he was, despite immense training in October and November.  He was sixth with 222.638 km.  I have no doubt he'll be ready for a good one next May.  Also well done to (not so) new mum Vicky Hart who ran 164.125 km which is a new pb.

I'd like to end this post by saying that typing this hasn't really been easy after injuring my index finger this afternoon.  Doing some DIY for my mother in law.  She wasn't impressed to have my blood dripping all over her new carpet.  I wasn't impressed by her worn out tools and lack of first aid knowledge.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

damn cars

Running was bad on Thursday ... and I ended up in hospital.

At about 8:20am whilst out running, about a mile (1.6 km) from my house, I had a little accident - not my fault though.  A short distance ahead, and travelling towards me, I saw a car skid on the black ice.  As the driver lost control I stopped running to watch where the car was going to end up.

Well ... it came to a halt by pinning me against a wall !!!

Luckily there was no physical damage done because, at the time of impact, the car had almost stopped anyway.  I was badly shaken though and went to the local  minor injuries hospital department just to check things over.

Ran again on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with nothing more than an aching thigh ... and that is almost non-existent now.

And the microwave oven has stopped working now.  Porridge now takes twice as long to make.  Need a new one soon.  But the fire will be repaired tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

so far so good

Training so far has been very good.  I know all the running is rehab stuff really but there's been no problems at all and that's encouraging.

It's a bit cold here at the moment though.  Sub zero temperatures when I've been outside ... and inside too !!!

The gas fire here is broken at the moment and won't be repaired until Monday afternoon.  Just in time for Keir coming home from university for a couple of weeks.

Brrrrrr ...

Saturday, 8 December 2012

ready to go ...

Right, now that that's out of the way and the pain and discomfort has subsided (and the sprained ankle is better too) I now feel able to run ... tomorrow.

Two weeks of ibuprofen seems to have done the trick although for the next year or more I'll be having regular tests to assess the level of uric acid in my system.  This is normally excreted by the kidneys but for gout sufferers it isn't.

So the long term aim is to reduce uric acid levels by dietary changes which, in my case, will mean consuming less of the following:  turkey, mackeral, sardines, herrings, marmite and beer.

That really comes down to no poultry, oily fish, yeast extract or beer.  Which means I'll also have to be careful about where I get my B vitamins.  I'm sure I'll soon learn to manage all this but if not there are drugs available to help.

But tomorrow morning I'll be out running and I feel confident that it will be a pain free experience.  That's the first time I've been able to say that since early September.  I'll only be out for ten minutes or so but it's a good start and if all goes well (which I expect it will) I'll be able to begin training properly by mid to late January.  And racing next summer.

Over the past few months I have been doing an increasing amount of cycling and strength work.  The cycling appears to have paid off in terms of my aerobic fitness. During August my average waking heart rate was 44, by mid November that had risen to 53 but over the last couple of weeks it is noticeably falling again.

One last thing ... I'm going to post all my training on this blog and you'll be able to find out what I do by clicking on the 'training' tab at the top of the page.  It won't be in great detail though [I wouldn't want to give away all my secrets  :)  ].

Saturday, 1 December 2012

result ...

Well, at least I now know why my right ankle has taken so long to recover from the trauma sustained at hour 21 of my last race.

And the answer is ...

for the last few weeks I have been suffering from gout.

That has been causing pain when running (and at other times) but, unusually, it is not the big toe joint which is affected but the ankle joint - very strange.  But that's typical for me I suppose.

I haven't been running for a week or so to get this sorted out and now I have another week to let the drugs do their work before I can resume.  Cycling and gym work continues though.

At this point I should say that I was quite worried at possible diagnoses which included cancer but ... now I know what's wrong and how to manage the situation I seem to have recovered my mojo.

Now I'm really looking forward to racing again next summer.