Thursday, 28 February 2008

2.. 4.. 6.. 8.. is it too late?

How many miles can I run this evening? I didn't have a set plan. I kind of wanted to run for an hour, but would have to take it as it comes. I used a hot water bottle to thoroughly heat my knee beforehand, and I set off slowly, and kept running slowly. My knee was uncomfortable, but not hurting. I managed a mile in 14 minutes, pleased with my deliberate slow pace. Mile two seemed easier, my knee felt like it was loosening up. A third of a mile into mile two, and I'm thinking of doing six. Half a mile in and I'm feeling good.

3.. 5.. 7.. 9.. I'm feeling fine?

Then two thirds of a mile into mile two, and it hit. My lower knee hurt. Not really painful, but some definite discomfort. I slowed down, it felt a bit better, so I slowed down more and started walking, thinking I could walk it off on this mile, and then still carry on. Perhaps nip home to pick up a drink (which I'd forgotten to take out with me, a bad idea on any run over 30-45 minutes). But it hurt more to walk. So I tried running again. But it hurt even more to run. This is ridiculous. Another aborted run this week. Back to the physio tomorrow. I'm not feeling confident about Sunday's "long" run. It was supposed to be 14 miles (actually it was supposed to be 16 by now).

Mile 1 - 14m13s
Mile 2 - 17m19s

On the plus side, my running pack for the Silverstone Half Marathon has finally turned up 10 days before the run. Fingers, toes and anything else I can find to cross that I can finally get on top of my knee problem.

2.4k is a long way from a Channel Swim

I swam another 24 lengths today. 2 breaststroke, 20 crawl, 2 breaststroke.
This adds up to about 2400 metres in total that I've swum this week. I don't think I've been swimming 4 days in a row since I was about 12, and back then I wouldn't have been swimming any distance. Swimming lengths wasn't much fun at school (especially since I was never much good at it), instead we used to throw small pebbles to the bottom and dive down to fetch them. That or swim widths underwater.

So despite the fact that I've been swimming loads this week, and am really enjoying it, it's a long long way from the 35000 metres (plus a bit) you'd need to swim across the channel. And although it's not great swallowing mouthfuls (or rather nosefuls!) of water in the pool, it's nothing compared to the taste of sea water. Yeurgghhhh!!! I think I'll stick to running...

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

750m in 40 mins...

More swimming this evening. 30 lengths today: 2 breaststroke, 10 crawl, 2 breaststroke, 16 crawl. I'm really getting the hang of the breathing now, I just need to stop the water going up my nose! I'll have to get one of those nose clip thingies... Can I make 1k next week?

Saw the physio earlier. My left quads are really supple now, so my leg has improved a good deal there. However, now another part of my itb is too stiff in the area just below my left knee. It's the bit where part of the itb joins my knee-cap. Ouch. More massaging, more heat to get the blood flowing through it and a gentle run tomorrow, then back to the physio on Friday.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

600m (almost) in 30ish minutes

My leg is still sore today. Which is very frustrating. So rather than skipping today's 4 mile run and having a day off, I decided to skip today's 4 mile run and go swimming instead. I was much more focused this evening, and managed 24 lengths of crawl, and my breathing is getting much better, and much easier. It's odd to think how easy I find it now to swim face down in the pool, breathing out and not being able to breathe in for several strokes. The only downside is that I seemed to be getting water up my nose!

I went for a check-up at the JR today, and the doctor was pleased to tell me that there was nothing to worry about, my recent blood tests are still clear. Although I have PSC there's no indication that I have any symptoms, and there's every chance it will stay that way. I was weighed, as per the norm at the gastroenterology clinic. And they have me down as being only 89.8kg (2.8kg less than my GP did a couple of weeks ago!). That's more like it...

Back to the physio tomorrow, and back running asap. I really can't afford to drop too far behind in my training plan, otherwise I'll be overtaken in the marathon by a bloke in a diving suit!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Another several hundred metres in the pool

I lost count today. Somewhere between 16 and 20 lengths, I think. Mostly crawl as my leg hurt to kick out for breaststroke. However I lost count as I bumped into someone, who was really rather irate with me. It was an accident on my part, I'd veered across into "his" lane to avoid a couple of people having a lesson, and hadn't cut back enough into the lane I was in. It was a bit congested today, and there were some slow people in the laned off section already, so I didn't want to make it worse for the serious swimmers there and add another slow swimmer, so I did my best to find a lane in between other people swimming. Anyway him shouting at me kind of threw me, and I had to keep stopping between lengths to make doubly sure I wasn't swimming in anyone else's way...

Back to the running tomorrow (if my knee is up to it) and back to the physio on Wednesday.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Ouch - another setback

I spoke too soon. My leg, which has been pretty much fine all week (until Friday) is now playing up again. It hurt on and off for most of today's run (planned for 12 miles), and after mile 8 I decided it was just too uncomfortable to carry on, so slowed to a walk, and when I tried to run again after a few hundred yards it just hurt even more. The problem with going out in the countryside for a long run instead of just running laps of the village is that when you have to give up on a 12 mile run after 8 miles - you still have 4 miles to walk to get home again.

Mile 1 - 12m05s
Mile 2 - 12m52s
Mile 3 - 13m41s
Mile 4 - 14m02s
Mile 5 - 12m12s
Mile 6 - 13m48s
Mile 7 - 16m11s
Mile 8 - 15m24s
Mile 9 - 19m02s
Miles 10 - 12 about an hour.

So now I'm behind plan again with my training. Why did I ever start this?

Friday, 22 February 2008

Blinded by the light...

Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night

Not an easy run this evening. The plan was six miles, and the first half seemed to be going ok, but each time I went along the main road, I was constantly blinded by the oncoming traffic, and couldn't see the pavement. Then on mile 4 my knee decided to tell me that it was a bit fed up with having run 22 miles this week, and really didn't want me to carry on to do 24. I argued with it through mile 5, then made the mistake of walking when I crossed the road instead of jogging about a third of the way into mile 6 and my knee upped the ante. Odd that I can jog through the discomfort for 2 miles, but slowing down to a walk then makes it hurt. I relented and quit at the half way point, and walked off the pain back home.

Mile 1 - 12m51s
Mile 2 - 12m51s
Mile 3 - 12m17s
Mile 4 - 13m09s
Mile 5 - 12m54s
Half mile - 7m29s

It's so much easier to run in daylight. A good day's rest tomorrow, and I'll be fit and ready for Sunday's 12-miler.

PS. Hello to Simon (of the hedge). It's always nice to hear shouts of encouragement when I'm out on a run round the village. Some of the best things I've been asked:
"Did I see you in Van Diemen's yesterday?"
"Have you been round the village already?"
"Are you ever allowed to stop?"
and the best one from my brother-in-law (upon seeing me starting the 6th mile of my first 6-mile run having been running for 59 minutes already):
"Stop slacking and get running!"

Thursday, 21 February 2008


Phew, all this running it pretty tiring. Sometimes I wonder when it'll ever stop. Not in April, that's for sure. I've invested so much time and energy in this pastime that I'll have to keep it up afterwards!
I may say "never again" once I've crossed the finish line of the London Marathon, and I might never attempt a 26.2 mile run again. But I'm sure I'll be up for some 10k races, they sound easy in comparison...

Today's run brings my total since last Thursday up to 27 miles, a marathon (and a bit) in 8 days.

Mile 1 - 12m17s
Mile 2 - 11m25s
Mile 3 - 10m53s
Mile 4 - 11m09s

The pain in my knee was little more than a dull ache, so with more physio treatment tomorrow - I think I've finally got on top of it.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Last swimming lesson

I had my last lesson of my swimming improvement course at tfd today. Now I'll have a few weeks break from lessons, but will carry on swimming on a Monday to keep practising all I've learnt. I've come on in leaps and bounds (or is that strokes and glides?) since I started six weeks ago, and my crawl has improved loads. I've even (just about) got breaststroke right. Almost. When I think of Charlie Chaplin - I can turn my feet out. Once I've got better, I'll be going back for a three week stroke development course to fine tune my swimming. Hey - you never know I may be up for a triathlon next! I'll also be spending a few weeks in the gym to tone up my body in preparation for the marathon.

Out tomorrow night, so I'm swapping this week's 6 mile run for a 4 mile one, and will be off for 6 miles on Friday evening instead (after my physio). 12 miles planned for Sunday...

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

I've run the equivalent of 13.1 half marathons since October

Since I started this mad fool plan to get fit enough to run the 2008 London Marathon, I've clocked up 171.67 miles. That's 1.24 miles a day, or 8.7 miles a week. And the average is only going to go up as I work up towards an 18 mile run next month in preparation for the big 26 miles 385 yards in April.

Today's 4 mile run went well. My knee didn't hurt, just a mild ache to remind me that it's not 100% fit, but much better than the pains it was giving me last week.

Mile 1 - 12m46s
Mile 2 - 12m24s
Mile 3 - 11m51s
Mile 4 - 11m11s

Last swimming lesson at tfd tomorrow, then a break for plenty more practice swims on my Monday recovery day, and in a few weeks' time I'll go back for some stroke improvement lessons.

Monday, 18 February 2008

22 lengths, and I only swallowed half the pool

22 lengths, so almost 550m (Faringdon being a bit under 25m remember?).
2 breaststroke
8 crawl
2 breaststroke
8 crawl
2 breaststroke

And I did about a third of the last two underwater. The breathing for crawl is getting there, sometimes it's quite good, sometimes I have to stop as I feel like I can't breathe! I guess it'll all come good with more practice.

Back to running tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Good weather for a ten mile run

Today I've hit a bit of a milestone, I've finally made it up to the magic ten miles, a target I've been itching to achieve for a few weeks now. And one I'd have reached sooner if not for my knee giving me a set back. Still, I've made it now, and it's onwards and upwards from here. I'm running the Silverstone half marathon in just three weeks, and the big one is now only eight weeks away. So that's just five weeks of build-up before the three week tail-off. How time flies when you're having fun!

In preparation for today's long run, I decided to take the advice of Daniel Bateman (Australian 200m & 400m Champion):
"I wear Skins ™ to bed between rounds at competitions to assist recovery and I wear them for warm up and to prevent injury in the lead up to competitions"

I wore my Skins to bed last night, and it seemed to make a difference, my leg didn't feel sore when I started my run today, and despite a bit of a grumble as usual around mile 3, it settled down quickly and I made it through the ten miles with no further pain.

Mile 1 - 12m41s
Mile 2 - 12m37s
Mile 3 - 13m39s
Mile 4 - 10m28s
Mile 5 - 12m02s
Mile 6 - 12m35s
Mile 7 - 12m36s
Mile 8 - 13m26s
Mile 9 - 12m49s
Mile 10 - 13m08s

The mile points where I took mylap times are approximate, but the overall distance is the same. Ten miles!

Back to swimming tomorrow and then running again on Tuesday.

Friday, 15 February 2008

All systems go!

The physio is still very confident that I can do the marathon. I'm doing all the right things to get through my injury. And, no, I'm not going to do myself any long term damage by running, and no I haven't torn a ligament. There is a little lateral play in both my legs, which isn't necessarily how the human body was designed to work, but nevertheless nothing to worry about. I need to keep on warming my quads before a run, icing my knee after a run, cross training (such as cycling or rowing) to keep exercising my leg muscles when not running, use ibuprofen gel to alleviate the discomfort being caused by the swelling (which is tiny, but what it causing the pain), stretch gently after a run (never before), and keep increasing the mileage, to make sure I'm fully prepared to run 26.2 miles in 8 weeks' time. Compression may help, but the massages are vital, so it's more time with the fitness roller and back to the physio next week, and maybe twice a week thereafter as necessary to really get my knee back to fitness.

Today's plan - four miles. It was cold, and it hurt (a bit), but with the added confidence that I'm up to the challenge and my knee is not going to spell a premature end to my running "hobby", I kept going, and upped my pace a little from the last couple of weeks, nothing too strenuous, but an improvement all the same:

Mile 1 - 12m43s
Mile 2 - 12m12s
Mile 3 - 12m01s
Mile 4 - 11m57s

A day off tomorrow, and then a 9-10 mile (2 hour) run on Sunday.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Running is my true love

Today, capitalist commercialism is the biggest aspect of Valentine’s Day. Hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on chocolate, confectionery, flowers, dinners, hotel rooms, jewelry, and other gifts used to celebrate February 14th. There’s a lot of money to be made from people’s desire to commemorate the day. Only Christmas and Halloween come close in the way that modern commercialism has transformed and adopted an ancient pagan celebration.

Ok, so it's valentines day. I've been feeling pretty fed up this week, with my knee still bothering me. I don't know if a problem with my collateral ligament is any more serious than whatever I thought was wrong with it before I saw my GP, but it sounds a bit more serious. I've been kicking myself for not running on Tuesday and doing "non impact aerobics" instead, as I should have been running. Or should I have been resting altogether? I don't know. Do I get a second opinion? Do I need any more opinions? Everyone seems to have one; from resting altogether, to not worrying about it, to going ahead and doing the marathon despite being injured and walking it if I have to. I need some plain simple help. Will my injury get better? Will my injury get worse? Am I risking long term damage by carrying on running? As long as the answers to the latter questions are both "No", then I can cope with a "No" to all three... I shall be asking the physio tomorrow for some straight answers, so I can stop worrying, or stop training.

Today's plan was a five mile run. I took it steady, and then took it extra steady when my leg started its usual grumbles around mile 3. But I persevered, and I made it round five laps of the village (it seems a long time since I last ran these).

Mile 1 - 12m29s
Mile 2 - 13m15s
Mile 3 - 14m27s
Mile 4 - 14m10s
Mile 5 - 13m27s

At that pace I'd be doing a marathon in a little under 6 hours. If I can keep running for all 26 miles. I shall keep going for a few more weeks, and once I've done the Silverstone Half, I will know if I'm up to the London. Given the euphoria of running 5 miles this evening, I have every hope and expectation that continued physio treatment and the right exercises will get me both to the start line in Greenwich and the finish line in The Mall come April 13th.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Getting better

Well my breaststroke is improving, slowly. I can almost turn my feet out, but it takes a lot of concentration, and I can only really get it just about right if all I'm thinking about is my feet. The downside of that is that I still need to remember to breathe... once I finally get the hang of it, and it all comes together naturally, then I should be able to have a reasonable kick. I'm never going to be great at breaststoke though, as my feet simply don't want to point out sideways.

My crawl is improving greatly, I just need to practise more, and get it all together in smoother movements.

Last lesson (for now) next week, then plenty more practise and then I can go back for some stroke improvement classes.

Running tomorrow, a 5 miler.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

As seen on TV

So I went to the doctor, and guess what he told me? No he didn't say "Girl, you'd better have fun, no matter what you do!" (I don't think he's a fool). He said he thinks the problem with my leg may be related to my collateral ligament, and it should get better with exercise! I'll be asking the physio on Friday what the right kind of exercise is to fix my leg. I checked my weight and my blood pressure. My weight's down (just!) to 92.6kg which is still on the obese end of the overweight side. Despite me running between 14 and 19 miles a week for the last month - I've still only lost 400 grammes since I started in October! The weight should come off when I continue to up my mileage... (or stop eating?!) My blood pressure is 126/90 which means my Systolic Blood Pressure (the 1st number) is down to normal, but my Diastolic Blood Pressure (the 2nd number) is a bit up. Perhaps it's the worry of my ongoing leg problems?

It was not hurting today, but still was a bit uncomfortable. If it was bothering me a little to walk, I thought it safest to not venture out in the winter sun for a lunchtime run.

Instead this evening I dusted off my lateral thigh trainer and spent the time I would have been out running (40 minutes) burning off 285 calories by doing 2000 steps instead.

Swimming lesson tomorrow.

Monday, 11 February 2008

550m in half an hour

I managed 22 lengths today:
2 breaststroke
6 crawl
2 breaststroke
6 crawl
2 breaststroke
4 crawl
Two of the crawl lengths were perfect, I managed to swim really slowly, breathing every 8-10 strokes, and I made the whole way across the pool in one smooth go. Two of the lengths were all wrong, and I had to stop half way so I could breathe! The rest were somewhere in between... It would be easier to swim if I was the only person in the pool, then I could concentrate on swimming slowly, and not worry about getting in other people's way.

Back to running tomorrow.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

A third of the way there

Well I'm now two thirds of the way through my training. 130 days gone and only 63 to go until the London Marathon in 9 weeks' time.

Today I headed out on the road to cover an eight mile circuit from Stanford to Charney Bassett and back via Gainfield.

Mile 1 - 11m27s
Mile 2 - 11m27s
Mile 3 - 15m01s
Mile 4 - 12m43s
Mile 5 - 13m42s
Mile 6 - 13m49s
Mile 7 - 14m20s
Mile 8 - 12m23s

A bit up and down, as my leg hurt a bit on miles three and seven, but I'm glad I kept going. I think if I'd have been running laps of the village I may have been tempted to stop before running so far. Once I'd run 8 miles, I kept walking for another 15 minutes, to take the time on my feet to 2 hours. I'm a third of the way to doing the marathon distance!

Yesterday I decided to invest in some Skins™ long tights. The half tights don't cover the knee, and I want to give my leg as much benefit as possible. They are very comfy to run in, and I hope they will aid the recovery of my leg, so that I'll be fully fit to run the Half Marathon in 4 weeks...

A day off running tomorrow, so it's back in the pool to see if I've learnt any more about how to swim the front crawl.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Ouch ouch ouch ...

A three mile run today. And it hurt after 1½ miles. So I walked half a mile, then ran most of the last one, walking at the end again. I think I shall invest in some Skins™ and see if I can speed up the recovery of my leg. It's fine to walk, and mostly fine to run and feels fine afterwards, but occasionally now it hurts a bit, and that's not good to run on!

Mile 1 - 10m00s
Mile 2 - 13m11s
Mile 3 - 12m43s

Despite walking, I still covered the three miles in 35m55s.

A day off tomorrow.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Why is it so hard to run?

I'd planned a five mile run this evening. I left work in good time to get home in good time, to allow me an hour before dinner. I should have been out running by half past six, but by the time fully I'd warmed up my leg, and been to the loo and this and that and... oh come on, stop putting it off and just get out there and run, are you a man or a mouse!?!

And then, despite some pain in my leg, you know what? It felt great. Running is fun! It really is. I always feel great after a run, so why is it so hard to get going? Why do I feel so much like putting it off before the run? Why does my brain play tricks on me, I know I'll enjoy it once I get going...

Today I forced myself to take it slowly, by breathing in for 5 paces and out for 5 paces for the first half mile, then in and out for 4 paces for the next three miles, then 3 paces per breath for the last mile and a half.

Mile 1 - 12m20s
Mile 2 - 12m51s
Mile 3 - 13m33s
Mile 4 - 12m50s
Mile 5 - 12m48s

Tomorrow another run. A bit shorter this time. 3 miles? 4 miles? I'll have to go look it up. Then Saturday is a rest day (although I may do some light cross training), and then on Sunday I plan to head out on the road for an 8 mile circuit, not boring old laps of the village.

More tomorrow. Oh, and Simon - if you're reading this, please leave me a message! Come to think of it, anyone who's reading this - it would be nice if you left a comment. The next 9½ weeks are going to be long and tough (building up to 18 mile runs in mid march), so all words of support and encouragement are most appreciated!!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Back on track

Well, I'm back at the physio for more deep massaging, and have another session booked next week. He's still confident that I can manage my injury toward a pain free marathon. He suggested I may consider getting some Skins to wear, as this may help me. Sheesh, this running hobby is turning out to be a bit expensive!

Mizuno shoes - £75
FLM Entrance fee - £50
Santa Fun Run entrance fee - £15
Yellow hat (to compliment my Chelsea top that I run in!) - £10
New watch with multiple stopwatch - £20
adidas Half marathon fee - £15
Running socks (2 pairs) £19
Physio - £110
Fitness roller - £18
adidas FLM 2008 running shorts - £25
adidas shoes (BOGOF) - £75 (to last me over 1,000 miles of running!)
Several gallons of lucozade sport
... Skins Half Tights Men's Compression Clothing (if I decide to get some) £40
Swimming lessons & practice sessions, gym... carrots... brown pasta...

Talking of swimming lessons, I had my 4th lesson this evening. It seems I will need to spend a long time practising splaying my feet out in order for me to get my kick right for breaststroke. Crawl is coming along, although I claimed I was incapable of doing 4 things at the same time (being a man). It's hard to kick with your feet, fully extend them out, remember to breath every 4 or 5 (or 6) strokes, and keep my arms in a slow motion with the hands hitting the water thumbs first. I can do all of these things, but doing them all at roughly the same time? My instructor told me to get on with it and stop making excuses! Plenty more practice needed there too.

Back running tomorrow evening (before a well earned relaxing sit down in front of Ashes To Ashes).

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Oh dear, it was going so well...

The niggles are definitely back. I think I'll have to ring the physio tomorrow.

Today's "speed" run started off ok, but by the third lap my leg was playing up again.

0.6 Mile 1 - 5m41s
0.6 Mile 2 - 5m26s
0.6 Mile 3 - 5m43s
0.6 Mile 4 - 6m01s
0.6 Mile 5 - 6m50s

Swimming lesson tomorrow, then it's supposed to be a 5 miler on Thursday...

Monday, 4 February 2008

Several hundred metres in half an hour

I completely lost count in the pool today. I started off with a few breaststroke, my feet (esp the left one) obstinately refusing to turn outwards to kick properly. Will it ever come right? Then a few crawl, where I kind of got the breathing about right, but found it easier to breath every 4th stroke, when I'm supposed to be able to glide further and only breath every 6 to 8 strokes. Another breaststroke length then a couple of crawl, then alternating between the two to finish. 16 lengths? I don't think it was 20. Lets say it was 18 and then I would have done 450m in total. I couldn't quite get the hang of the goggles either, they kept steaming up! Didcot pool is very warm, I'd highly recommend it!

Back to the run tomorrow, a short "speed" workout. Well, that's the plan...

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Running for 95 minutes

Having had a day off on Friday, as I wasn't feeling too great (it's ok to skip a day once in a while), then a normal scheduled day off yesterday (when I was in London at the FLM Golden Bond Seminar), this evening's plan was a slow steady 90 minute run, for about 7 or maybe 8 miles. I managed 7 miles, and I stayed out running for 95 minutes, but it didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd hoped, as my itb was playing up again. I feel great now, but it was really niggling on miles 3 & 4, so I stopped off at home for a breather, and decided to change my shoes for a pair of brand new Adidas Supernova Cushion 7 running shows that I bought at the show. I headed out and managed 2½ more miles before my leg started moaning at me again, so I walked and jogged the last section home.

Mile 1 - 11m55s (Mizuno)
Mile 2 - 12m43s (Mizuno)
Mile 3 - 13m55s (Mizuno)
Mile 4 - 14m15s (Mizuno)
4 minute break
Mile 5 - 13m16s (Adidas)
Mile 6 - 13m56s (Adidas)
Mile 7 - 15m04s (Adidas)

The good thing is that I made it out on my feet for over 90 minutes, and it's all about time on your feet now. The weekly long run doesn't have to be long in miles, but it does have to be long in time. I need to be able to stay out on my feet for 4 or 5 hours in April, so today's milestone of over 1½ hours (albeit with a very short break after 52 minutes) was a good achievement at this stage.

I'm off to warm and massage my leg, and tomorrow I'll be cross training in the pool again, hoping to be fit on my legs again for Tuesday's "short" run (4 miles?!)

Running 13.1 miles in memory of Carl

I ran the Silverstone Half Marathon on 15th March 2009. I managed the 13.1 mile course in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Not a bad effort for my first Half Marathon! I returned in 2010 to run it in 1 hour 54 minutes, and plan to do it again in 2011. I decided to run this in aid of The PSC Trust and PSC Support in memory of my brother Carl, who died from liver failure in November 1997. If you'd like to sponsor me for this - please email me at PSC Trust
PSC Support Or visit my Justgiving page for PSC Support at PSC Support - Justgiving
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