Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Catching up

Been meaning to add to this blog for ages - just looked and see it's over a year since I last posted. So, a few notes to catch up to present date:

I joined London Frontrunners in March 2012 as first claim club (still with Vegan Runners and 100 Marathon Club as 2nd claim). I've continued to be plagued by injury - mainly hip flexor and related niggles I guess - preventing me from doing as much running as I'd like. I checked my spreadsheet and  I've only done 20 marathons/ultras since I last posted (plus a couple of 10K events with Enrichment student groups from college).

Running highlights include going to the Stort 30 organised by Lindley, meeting up with 100 Club members and other running mates, doing my 200th marathon at one of Foxy's Enigma events (where Steve Edwards was celebrating his 500th sub 3:30 marathon), going back to do Country to Capital again and doing one of Dave & Linda's run around the reservoir events. I ran in the Paris marathon at the weekend - always a pleasure to run in one of my favourite cities. I feel I should write more about some of the events above and others that I've missed out, but this blog would go on and on if I did that...

I moved house - still in North London - and am about 5 miles away from college, so the journey to work is usually a run or cycle (I sold the motorbike).

I was part of the organising committee for the Pride Run 10K. It was fascinating to see a race from the other side. I'm on board again for this summer's event too.

And finally, my big brother has entered his first marathon - Shakespeare. It would be churlish not to join him... though he'll be way ahead of me, going for sub 3:45 while I pootle round at a more leisurely pace.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Running a bit, walking a lot

Having spent all of February not running (a combination of plantar fasci-f**king-itis and lungs not coping), I decided to try a bit of plodding this month. At first I just did a few four milers before work. Seemed okay and nothing felt any worse, so I figured that while I had a lost a lot of fitness and was nowhere near capable of running a marathon, I could enter one anyway and just mooch round walking a lot and putting in the occasional burst of slow jogging.

So I did. I had a lovely day doing the Boundary Run round Cambridge on the 4th. Went with Sue (excellent company) and it rained on us the whole way, turning to snow in the last mile or so. Wished I'd worn more than just shorts and a T shirt - brrrr!

The following week I did one day along the canal to Grantham (one of Rory's ULTRArace events). Ran with Travis and we chatted away merrily with the time slipping by quickly (and actually jogged the first 11 miles or so, before putting in more and more walking in the second half of the 29 miler).

Then came the Brighton trail last weekend. 27 miles over the hilly South Downs on a glorious sunny but cool day, providing stunning views from the hilltops. And there was a nice glass as the race memento.And finally it was a the Charnwood marathon in Leicestershire yesterday. This was my first ever LDWA event 3 years ago. A great course and after the misty start (making instructions like "cross field to kissing gate" (which is written of course as "X field to KG") hard to follow, as the other side of the field was just a foggy blur) it turned into a beautiful sunny day. I even found the TARDIS!So it's great to be getting back out there and seeing my running mates, even if I am spending more time walking than actually running. Average marathon time this month has been well over 5 hours! My feet are intermittently sore. And my lungs are still not right, but hopefully the respiratory specialist might help with that in a couple of weeks...

Sunday, 29 January 2012

By the canal again

It would seem that the 45 miler a couple of weeks ago really took it out of me. Must get fitter before trying to run so much!

I went to the Northampton to Tring ULTRArace, a pleasant canal side 47 miler the following week. (A brilliant event, as all of ULTRArace's runs are.) Within the first twenty minutes I realised I didn't have much energy so figured it would make a nice enough walk, with the occasional bout of jogging. I was very fortunate to meet up with Ian at the first checkpoint. He's training to run JOGLE (John O'Groats to Lands End) in April and was using the day as practice at moving very slowly for a prolonged time. It was great to chat to him (for hours) as he's got lots of great stories from the faster end of running (2:39 marathon, pacing at NY and Brighton for the 3:30 groups, lots of ultra and multi-day wins) and tales of his partner's adventures running with huskies. We took well over 10 hours, but it was a brilliant day. Usually I'd have run back to N'ton on the Sunday, but there was no way I'm up for a double yet. I spent the following day relaxing with Jim, which is what I've been doing both days this weekend. Just watched Midnight in Paris - fantastic!

My feet seem to be gradually getting better, though still very sore at times. Breathing properly remains a skill I haven't been able to master for well over a month now. Trying various medication but nothing that appears to have helped yet.

February soon and they say it's going to be cold this week. Nice.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Country to Capital #4

Ah, a brilliant weekend - the Country to Capital ultra yesterday and a day of sitting about relaxing (and recovering) today.

My first ever ultra was 4 years ago at Country to Capital, a 45 miler with a self-navigating cross-country first half, then a trot along the canal into Little Venice for the finish. Beautiful conditions with the frost making everything pretty as well as keeping the mud at bay, providing instead perfect conditions underfoot. Sunny too, so not too cold during the daylight hours despite it being around 4 degrees. And no, I'm not really well enough for ultras at the moment. But my feet didn't hurt any more than usual and my lungs didn't complain excessively. It took a little over an hour longer than last year.

As ever, the GoBeyond team were as superb. Brilliant atmosphere, still one of my favourite ultras. And yet another new souvenir shirt design - a short-sleeve wicky polo - nice.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

2012 begins

It's always good to have a break from work, so I appreciated a couple of weeks off at the end of the year. I didn't appreciate my frequent inability to breathe properly, nor the plantar faciitis that makes my feet so unhappy. So, ongoing tests for the lungs (nothing has showed up in the results so far) and I've been doing everything anyone has suggested for my feet - including massage, tennis ball rolling and wearing a silly bootie at night to stretch it.
Having not run more than 4 miles since the beginning of November, I figured it would be foolish to go to the Enigma marathon on 3rd January. But Jim pointed out that it would be good for me to get out and see everyone (and besides, I am a fool...). So I did go and had a brilliant day out seeing lots of running mates and (mostly walking) completed the course of 7 1/2 laps around the lake in the park near Bletchley. Very slowly. I didn't feel great, but no worse than recently and it didn't seem to do any damage. Dave's events are always good, plus this time there was a mug as well as a medal!
So then I did the 100 Club AGM marathon on Sunday. It took me nearly 5 hours, but again, it just felt really great to be out running (and walking a lot too) with friends.
A pretty good start to the year then. Now if I can just get my health sorted out...

Thursday, 22 December 2011


Hmm, an entire calendar month with no running. Well, no races or events anyway. I did stumble out for a few desultory short jogs, trying to ignore my variously screaming feet and lungs. I'm not sure if the orthotics are doing any good - my heels are still very sore. Apparently definitely not a chest infection though. Had a couple of tests at the hospital, so hoping the results of those might shed some light on the cause of my inability to breathe properly.

I wouldn't say I'm defined by running, but it's certainly an important part of me. I guess when it's taken away, it means I get more time to explore what else there is. While trying to fend off the inevitably encroaching stress and insanity. Also, I hadn't really thought about the fundraising thing, but recently was contacted by the charity I usually support - I won't be able to commit to helping them next year, as I have no idea if I'll be doing any ultra events, let alone the sort that are good for sponsoring. Seems a shame.

But I remain optimistic that it will all sort itself out soon and normal service will be resumed. I like winter and there are plenty of reasons to be happy.

Saturday, 10 December 2011


Since running a couple of road marathons gave me very sore heels, I've hardly run at all. Morning runs at this time of year are on hard surfaces (no well-lit trails locally), so I've only intermittently done a few miles here and there. Plus I seem to have been knocked down by a lingering virus that's just annoying enough to make me feel rough, but simply won't go away.

I did try a couple of trail runs in early November - the 36 mile Marriotts Way ultra in Norwich was a lovely low-key event. I shouldn't have done it on my tender feet, but I knew from past experience it would be an easy out-and-back trot along an old disused rail line. And it was lovely.

Then there was the first day of the Druid ultra. This was just 29 miles along the Ridgeway. Seemed odd to be doing just part of this trail and in the autumn - it all looked different from when it is just the start of doing the full 85 in August. That was on a Friday, which was a rare day off from college (to make up for having done a Saturday Open Day the previous week). I enjoyed it, but was feeling really quite unwell. Nice to be out in the fresh air though.

The day after that was a 10K with 26 students. It was the Movember run in Greenwich Park so plenty of silliness ensued. I even managed to win the fancy dress prize! It was great to see the teenagers out doing it, plus they raised well over £1000 between them for various charities.But I haven't really run much since then. Saw a foot specialist though and am trying orthotics now. Early days but it might be working. I'm hoping to do the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon next weekend, but not too sure yet.

On the upside, while the lack of running is getting me down, I did have a fantastic birthday. Jim got me a brilliant selection of shiny presents, including a Kindle.

Having just read that, I realise I really need to cheer up! Off to Brighton tomorrow which might do the trick.