Archive | August, 2021

It’s Been A Long Time aka It Was 20 Years Ago Today aka The Ups and Downs of (Running) Life aka Just What the Doctor Ordered

29 Aug

Well, I think after 2 months without a blogpost, I’m entitled to struggle to choose between 4 different titles. You can probably guess that the 2 month gap was not because things were going swimmingly. I guess the couple of weeks after the last post weren’t so bad, although I was a bit disappointed about my Cotswold Way Relay leg come race day. Other than that, and slightly tired legs, things were ok. And then, on a slightly damp Tuesday morning in mid-July, when I was 3.77 miles into a planned 14 mile hilly training run, I went over on my ankle AGAIN. It was much worse than the last one (of course, because the ankle was still slightly weak), and I went sharply to the outside of the ankle, then rolled back in. It was really sore. And I had no real option other than to hobble home. I did consider flagging down a passerby to borrow a phone and ask T to collect me, but was pretty sure it wouldn’t save much time, as the rush-hour traffic was just starting to build. There was no flat way home, and it was a dispiriting and painful hobble. I’m pretty sure the accident was on or shortly after the 20th anniversary of my first ever run/walk, although I don’t think I realised it at the time. And 20 years ago I wouldn’t have imagined being distraught that I couldn’t run for a few weeks!

The ankle stayed really painful for days (I can remember walking to the pub with T on the Friday evening, and wincing simply because my foot came down onto a slightly slanted piece of pavement). By the Sunday I could swim, and the only really good thing that came out of the whole thing was a Sunday morning swim at Clevedon Marine Lake with T. Perhaps things have been going swimmingly, really?!

I tried to make the best of a bad situation, and cycled as much as my quads could bear (chapeau to the cyclist who stopped to mansplain gear choices to me: I womansplained that I had deliberately chosen a big gear to try and get my heart-rate up to running level). I joined a local gym and made use of their pool, and I also cycled out to Portishead Lido a few times. I did ankle rehab exercises every day, and extra glute and core work when I could. After just over 2 weeks I was able to attempt a 5 mile run/walk, and repeated that on alternate days until I could see my sports masseuse. She felt the recovery was going pretty well, and cleared me to try running non-stop if I wanted. I was a bit apprehensive, but all the prehab I’d done last year and this spring had obviously stood me in good stead, and I was able to do some steady runs, albeit they felt a bit hard work. Usually I would cross-train on the cross-trainer as that is a pretty good running substitute, but I didn’t feel comfortable going to the gym and exercising indoors: needless to say my ankle sprain coincided with Bristol’s Covid rates absolutely rocketing. I’d only just had my second vaccine and was conscious that it takes several weeks for the vaccine to provide its best protection. The last thing I need is Covid followed by Long Covid!

As this screenshot of my August training to date shows, it’s been a moderate increase in mileage over the last few weeks:

You can see another gap of 3 days in there: that was getting ‘pinged’ after a lovely weekend in London at T’s sister’s wedding, and deciding that the socially responsible thing to do was wait until I had had my PCR test and then results, especially as T’s initial lateral flow test was positive. I’ve tried to keep away from Covid rants on this blog, but let’s just say that – to my layperson’s mind – it is an utter nonsense that simply because I am now double vaccinated, even if T had Covid, I no longer had to isolate to protect others from the possibility I was asymptomatic but carrying the virus. Once T and I had both had negative PCR tests, normal training resumed, and my 1 mile reps that Thursday were remarkably spritely.

If you’ve scrutinised that screenshot very carefully, you’ll see I’ve just come back from 3 days of “Cornwall Running”. My first attempt at time off work didn’t go particularly well: I’d decided I wanted to be able to watch the athletics at the Olympics properly, which (given the time difference with Tokyo) meant ensuring I wasn’t in court for those days. However, because T’s idea of fun is not spending 10 days watching hours of athletics each day, he opted to work. Which is understandable. Except that it meant that once my telly viewing stint was over, I tended to decide to ‘get ahead’ with some reading for the lengthy hearing I had coming up, and somehow ended up working most days (to be fair, there were something like 3,500 pages to read, so I would normally allow quite a few ‘reading days’ for that sort of case preparation), and feeling completely unrefreshed at the end of my ‘holiday’. So when another week’s hearing came out of my diary, I booked the time off. And T, who is a wise man, pointed out that – even though he couldn’t take that time off, because he was on call – I really, really should book somewhere away from home so that I couldn’t possibly be tempted to head over to the laptop each day. I was lucky enough to find a cute one bedroom cottage in a vineyard just outside Looe, and had a lovely stay there Tuesday-Saturday this week. I view the 50 miles I covered running as being worth a bit more than that, because I walked a fair few miles each day as well, including some rather hilly chunks of the South West Coastal Path. The weather was absolutely perfect for being outdoors and active: sunny, fairly still and crystal clear for all those breath-taking Cornish views, but not so hot that you simply wanted to lounge around. If I felt (rather selfishly) that I was due some good luck, it arrived in time.

As for future running plans, I’ve decided I’m not doing the London Marathon: it’s a mere 5 weeks away, which even with a 2 week taper would only give me 3 more weeks to train, and that’s just not enough. I’ve got a place in the Newport marathon (Gwent, not Isle of Wight) 3 weeks later, and I’ll take a decision about that once I see how the next few weeks go. At the moment, unless my legs are very fresh (see above), I’m not hitting any particularly amazing paces in training, but that is to be expected after losing about 5 weeks of proper running training. Let’s see what I can pull back in the next 6!

I’ll finish with a few shots of beautiful Cornwall. Most of the time I was away from the crowds, either running up and down hills or walking up and down them, or simply sitting and enjoying the views (and possibly the odd glass of the vineyard’s finest produce).

The view from my cottage
Walking back to Looe from Tallant on the SWCP
More SWCP beautiful views