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...