Archives for News category

First Run of Winter, As the Summer ends…

Posted on Oct 30, 2011 under Easy Runs, Health, Injuries, Jogs, Milestones, News | No Comment

Well, British Summer Time officially ended at 2am, so thought it was high time I kick started my running and blog again!

The day after the City of Salford 10k, I woke up hardly able to walk. There was no sign the previous day, apart from a twinge half way through the race – nothing afterwards, no sign. And then I was suddenly hobbling around wincing as pain shot up from my left lower leg/shin.

This lasted a good while, in the meantime I took up swimming, which was a nice change and a way of keeping up some fitness. After a few weeks the pain subsided, but I was very wary of running again, and wanted to make sure the running injury was fully healed, being unable to afford physiotherapy for running injuries at the moment! Before I knew it, 2 months had passed and the clocks were going back, so seeing as it was a nice day, quite bright, and not too cold, and I got up too late to go to the pool anyway, I thought I would try a run!

Didn’t feel like almost November, so put shorts on and my long sleeve thin top, and went out to let the Garmin wake up from its 2 month doze, which took a while. Set off and within 200 metres a little dog tried to savage my legs and trip me up with its lead, which was quite funny, and then I settled into a slow pace and just felt curious about how I would feel.

At 2k I felt confident of being able to run 5k, and perhaps even in under 30 minutes. By 2.5k I had to stop and walk, and then kind of stop started for the next 1.5k until I ran the last 500 metres until staggering to a stop, gasping for air and with my legs feeling like jelly!

Gosh it took a while to recover from this comeback! 4k in 27:19, with walks. At least I felt the swimming had maintained some fitness, but even thought I’ve been swimming up to 70 lengths and doing multiple front crawl lengths, nothing seems as pulse-raising and generally knackering as running! Hopefully I will get back into the swing of it, but will continue to mix in the swimming for now.

Meanwhile I had a blood test a few weeks ago, and the results were that my cholesterol is fine, my liver is fine, my kidneys are fine, my blood pressure is fine, and I have a less than 2% chance of dying from heart disease in the next 10 years… At the same time, I have put weight on since I stopped drinking and started running 4 years ago, but think this may be down to consuming entire packets of custard creams after runs – I thought the running would allow me to get way with this, alas not, so I will be paying a little more attention to my diet in future, and the running and swimming will be part of a whole holistic health package.

Meanwhile, my counselling course is going fantastically well and I can’t wait to qualify and maybe even earn some cash, which is in short supply!

Happy Running!

A 3k Comeback!

Posted on Feb 05, 2011 under 3k, Easy Runs, Health, Jogs, News | No Comment

Yet another comeback run, this one consisting of 3k in the pouring rain. Had been 2 weeks since my last run and my cold seems to have largely gone away – with busy times coming up, and the running habit not entrenched into my schedule, I thought I’d better bite the bullet and at least get out there for 20 minutes.

Was puffing hard after half a k and getting very wet, but that helped me keep cool. I did feel very rusty especially in the lungs, but they’ve been battered by the viruses lately so was to be expected. I managed to hold on and complete a short run that was satisfying just because I’d got out there, not let the rain put me off, and achieved my modest target.

Hopefully that will be the end of my colds for the time being, and I can think about the Salford 10k perhaps – though with only a couple of months to go, I might be better off looking at the ones closer to home later in the summer, especially as finances are an issue 🙁

2 miles and a Happy New Year!

Posted on Jan 01, 2011 under Easy Runs, Health, Jogs, Milestones, News | 4 Comments

So 2010 will go down as the year I got my sub 50 10k, and didn’t really do a hell of a lot else runningwise! First it was the shinsplints, and a slow comeback, followed by the PB – then the massive injury at Bolton 10k, a long layoff, physiotherapy, frustration, and then a nice gentle comeback, just getting really back into it, upping the distance – then snow and flu hits and suddenly 2010 is done and gone!

Decided to do my comeback run on the first day of 2011 and hope it sets a trend! Was worried I would have lost all fitness again after a layoff of over a month, and of course losing some fitness is inevitable – but I kept to a gentle pace and completed two miles without feeling under significant duress, which bodes well. Two 10.5 minute miles is not bad to start with considering the time off my feet, and since I usually find the first few runs back really hard, I am quite pleased that I wasn’t feeling half dead! Looking forward to getting back out regularly, and building back up to some nice long runs. As spring approaches, am thinking of entering some more races – will just have to be careful with my frayed finances!

Happy New Year to all readers of this running blog! 🙂

Still not running :(

Posted on Dec 16, 2010 under Health, News | No Comment

This cold is lingering as badly as anything in living memory. Is still on my chest and if it weren’t for the Oxymetazoline nasal spray, I would hardly be able to breathe at all…

Hopefully another week and I can try a run, but it’s amazing how many things have come along to scupper my running plans this year! 🙁

Running and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Coping with the Winter Blues

Posted on Nov 20, 2010 under Health, Misc, News | No Comment

That I haven’t updated this blog anywhere near as much as usual, is not only a sign that I haven’t been running much – it’s also a sign that I’ve not been feeling as enthusiastic about running, and if I’m honest life in general, lately. Not coming to the blog to update a run is typical of my general “can’t be bothered” feelings lately. Through early November, I had a fit of really bad insomnia, and now, for the last 2 weeks, I’ve been sleeping almost double my normal hours, and yet feeling tired and lethargic during the day.

I am in the grip of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Or SAD, as it’s often, perhaps unfortunately, known.

I’ve always felt “bluer” in the winter. Less active. I guess most of us do. For some of us, it can be worse than feeling a little down in the dumps – SAD can run the whole spectrum from mild “winter blues” to major clinical depression.

I fall somewhere in between. It can depend what’s going on in my life – last year I was in the throes of an exciting new relationship, and the winter blues passed by practically unnoticed. This winter I have a few stresses and strains on my shoulders, I am back at Uni doing my MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and with the recession, and the cuts, my freelance work and website affiliate sales have been hit hard – so things are very uncertain financially, and there are one or two other things going on as well. I find at this time of year my mental health can be a bit like a house of cards – keep it in a draft free room, kept safe by positive things, and it’s fine – but open the door to the wind of a bit of stress and strife, and the whole thing can come tumbling down. But I will survive… I just long for spring!

So what has this got to do with running? Well, as far as I know, exercise is supposed to be the number one symptomatic relief for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Perhaps not surprising when you consider that exercise for ordinary mild to moderate clinical depression has been to shown to be as effective as chemical antidepressants.

But the problem is, getting out there in the first place. When my general motivation is at its lowest for the year, and when the weather outside looks so utterly miserable, it is hard to convince myself that donning some running gear and going out into the rain/cold/sleet/dark/snow is going to actually make me feel better. When the heating is on, and a swaddling bed beckons… Even though rationally I know that the chances are a run WILL improve my mood, my emotional self does not wish to recognise this. All it can see is the burning lungs and the pain, and tries to tell me it’s not worth the effort at all.

But I force myself out. One step at a time. On with the running clothes, the running shoes, and then out of the door. Walk till the Garmin finds a satellite signal. And then run, slowly, just 100m at a time, with a vague target in my head, and see how I go. It used to be I would do that, and at some point I would start to feel good, and be glad I got out, but lately that isn’t happening so much. These are my latest runs:

4/11/2010 – a 4k run which was supposed to be a 5k. I felt chest pains at 2k, slowed down, and just didn’t feel up to completing the run

7/11/2010 – a 5 mile, yes 5 mile run, the only run I have felt at all good on lately. Yet I got chest pains again at 2k – eventually I tracked this down to a bit of a muscle strain over near my armpit – as I naturally sped up at 2k, my arms swung more, and hence the pain. Not really a bad pain, but enough to be a slight worry for a while. The 5 miles gave me high hopes of getting back to form – despite the horrendously slow time of 52m 50s!! 🙁

11/11/2010 – 5k in 32:30. Struggled, felt too warm

19/11/2010 – 5k in 33:03. Struggled. Not sure if it was just because I hadn’t run for over a week.

So even when I do get out there it’s not as if the running is setting me alight. It’s like the majority of my mind, and certainly my body, just don’t want to run.

But I do feel a bit better after the runs, even if it is a bit short-lived – and I realise I am running somewhat intermittently. A friend suggested to me, that if I can just get out twice a week, and run 3 miles, and run it slowly, it will keep my fitness ticking over and will give me at least something of a physical boost. If I can do anything more, that will be a bonus.

So I am going to be stalwart, force myself to get out of the door twice a week and run three miles (more, if I magically feel up to it, but no pressure to run any more than 3), and just keep it going. And just accept that for now, my body just doesn’t want to work on going faster, so I just have to work on keeping it going for the time being.

Would be interested to hear comments from anyone else who has eased the symptoms of SAD (or standard depression) with exercise, or if anyone else is feeling that seasonal affective disorder is affecting their running routine.

Roll on spring, light nights, and maybe a few races to get me motivated and out there again – I am entered for the Great Manchester Run – yippeeee! 🙂

My first run as a 40 year old – 5k in 31:15 – slow, but a veteran PB!

Posted on Sep 16, 2010 under 5-10k, 5k, Easy Runs, Jogs, Milestones, News, PB's, Slow Runs | No Comment

I apparently became a veteran of some kind yesterday – in more ways than one. I turned 40. They say life begins at 40, but I wonder how that applies to runners? Certainly, my category positions may go up a little now, but there are plenty of people 10, 20, probably even 30 years older running a heck of a lot faster than me! Still, I had to get out there and prove I can still run, now that I am middle aged officially!

I don’t know if it was the general busyness of the last few days, and a birthday of mixed feelings yesterday (no alcohol, btw) and just generally being in a transition period, together with the fact I hadn’t run since last week, but this run was tough, and that is reflected in my time – very slow, really, but I felt if I’d upped the pace, I wouldn’t have managed the distance. I was teaching my new writing course later in the afternoon so there was no space for heroics.

Still, I got my first PB (in training) as a 40 year old – is a running milestone I will easily surpass! The run also helped me focus on my group work later and helped settle my jitters over starting something new – which helped me get back in touch with the reasons why I started running in the first place 🙂

A brief update from the comeback trail!

Posted on Aug 25, 2010 under Injuries, Milestones, News, Swimming | No Comment

Well it’s been a while but I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth! I’ve just not been keen on updating the running blog everytime I’ve run a couple of k’s – hardly seems worth the trouble!

Still, I have managed to keep running with no re-injury problems so far, fingers crossed. It has been proving quite hard to claw the fitness back but I am slowly getting there, increasing the distance in very small increments.

I am now up to the grand old distance of two miles. I ran this last week in 19:43, and then this Sunday just gone, I went out and ran the 2 miles in 18:56 – so my speed and endurance are very slowly coming back and the plan is to persist with the gradualism and not try to do too much too soon.

I have also been swimming on and off, though my discipline for getting to the pool isn’t great at the moment, what with all the kids throwing beach balls around and being annoying.

Onwards and upwards!!

Gasping and Wheezing Like A Dead Man walking on a green mile

Posted on Jul 27, 2010 under Easy Runs, Injuries, Jogs, Milestones, News, The Mile | No Comment

Title aside, felt good.

First run since Bolton 10k on April 25th. Ran 400m, back felt a bit odd so walked for a bit, then ran the next 1200m. Actually ran further than I thought, could have gone further I expect, but didn’t want to push the legs in any way. That I’ve run a mile is a miracle. Ten minute mile seems to be my absolute slowest possible pace without walking!

Will try another in a few days.

No knee pain, so far. Fingers crossed, eh? 🙂

An update on my knee injury.

Posted on May 29, 2010 under Injuries, News, Physiotherapy | No Comment

Well, after my daffodil exploits were over, it was time to take stock and take serious steps to find out what’s going on with my leg. So I finally booked a trip to a sports injury specialist, pyhsiotherapist, call them what you will – we shall hereinafter refer to them as “physio” to save typing long words 🙂

To recap – prior to the Bolton 10k, I had a trapped nerve left shoulder, which was going away, then had bad lower back pain for 24 hours, which vanished, and then ran the Bolton 10k with no problems until the last k, where I started feeling pain in my groin area and had to limp to the finish line. After the race it was hard to walk with the pain, and the pain seemed to move down the thigh and into the knee subsequently, where it has remained ever since, apart from occasionally seeming to move back up to the groin…

So a month later, there is still some pain on walking, so I took myself off to the physio. I went in and gave him an account of what happened, and also explained that I have a long standing issue with that knee from when I was 21 – once, while playing cricket in a drunk state, with a crazily inappropriate action, my leg collapsed under me with a blaze of pain – and this happened several times, once when jumping over a wall, and in fact the worst time was actually just turning over in bed. I went to hospital, they X-rayed, etc. Didn’t have a clue. I went to my on campus doctor. Didn’t have a clue, so I left it… And every now and then the knee would still “lock” if it got nudged at the wrong angle, and I would have to really pull my heel back against my backside in order to “pop” it back into place.. When I started running I came across the concept of meniscus tears, and my symptoms seemed to fit 100% so I figured I have one of those… And was extremely worried upon hearing that untreated they can cause bad arthritis (NB I tried twice to get NHS treatment at the onset of the problem and it was not dealt with very cluefully, let’s say…)

In any case, my new friend the physio did some tests involving me moving my leg and placing pressure on different places, and did what he called a patellar apprehension test – and pointed out my leg was like rock, compared to the other one, as my brain was doing its utmost to prevent another episode of the “locked knee” problem. I wasn’t quite with him at the time, having been convinced for years I have a meniscus tear – but he said he was 95% sure it wasn’t a cartilage problem, ie not meniscus, as those seemed OK – but that I could keep dislocating my knee cap – eek! He also said that my current issue could be caused by some kind of scraping of the knee cap, which is solveable… Anyway, he then did an ultrasound and I am due to go back in for the results and further instructions next week.

I looked up the knee cap displacement thing and it’s called patellar dislocation or possibly subluxation (not as severe as dislocation but can lead to it). It makes sense to me that this could be it, and looks like the symptons being similar to a layperson, it was easy to mistake for a meniscus type injury (especially the “locking” that was fixable by moving the joint/stretching/bending the knee). So looks like that could be it – and the current pain is possibly chondromalacia caused by something in there scraping together.

I guess what still worries me, until the ultrasound results – is that a) the injury had a very sudden onset rather than something that appeared as overuse over time b) I built up very slowly and at 15 miles a week was not doing very high mileage c) it’s stuck around for a long time now, after no running…

I guess I will just have to wait and leave it in the expert hands of my physio therapist, sports injury expert, medical type new friend and keep my fingers crossed he will be able to give me positive news and get me back running sooner or later. Even if it’s later, I’ll take that! 🙂

Great Manchester Run 2010 – Race Photos and Report…

Posted on May 20, 2010 under 10k, Fun Runs, Injuries, News, Races | No Comment

I wandered lonely as a daffodil – is that how the poem went?

I had been aware of the fact, ever since the Bolton 10k, that my season’s preparations were in tatters, and that the next race, the Great Manchester Run, being a bit of a ritual for me, and for charity, could be in some jeopardy 🙁 So at some point my twisted mind gave birth to the idea of joining the fancy dress fun runners, and not long after, the concept of running it as a daffodil sprung up (pardon the pun!) – I was running to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care after all! So I started sourcing the goods to make it all happen! I got my race pack, and was in the white wave, but on the day just had to elect to run in the pink wave. Well, walk in the pink wave, with my right leg buggered to buggery, there was no way I would be running 🙁

And so it was not going to be a day for fast running, PB’s, or anything serious – but a day to savour the atmosphere of Britain’s premiere 10k, the Great Manchester Run, and just enjoy being out and running with 36,000 other runners. My eve of race ritual was a little different, concentrating not on eating well or resting, but making sure my daffodil head fit! And then the day itself came, up a little late – and then I braved my neighbourhood streets in my green tights, tutu, and yellow top – saving the daffodil head for the race itself. But I was not to get away with it! There were another bunch of pink wavers at the bus stop – girls – and they insisted I put on my daffodil head for a group photo, and then we piled on the bus and I got admiring comments about my legs. As we arrived in town, I jumped off at Piccadilly and went to get daffodilled up in the loos, and finally emerged resplendent as a bone fide daffodil.

I went to join the pink wave, and got someone to take a photo with my camera, so I could text various friends who had sponsored me. And then it was time for the off and I finally got to the start line mats! It was an odd experience having to walk, I couldn’t even have managed a jog with my knee – yet I knew on a good day uninjured I would have been flying past all these people… But this soon wore off and I just resigned myself to walking. The 1k marker came up pretty quickly, but without my Garmin I had no idea how long it really took – and it would turn out I was in for the long haul in this race! Along Chester road I was overtaken by a caterpillar and accosted by a mad woman shouting “Ray, Ray, Ray!!!” at me – it would later turn out this was someone off Runners’ Forum who had recognised the daffodil outfit but had forgotton I go by the name of Road Runner Rob and not Road Runner Ray 🙂 It was amusing that I just didn’t click at the time!

great manchester run old trafford pics daffodil rob

Towards old Trafford I decided I needed to use the loo, so looked out for the portaloos – there were some of those weird public urinal things, but decorum insisted that I didn’t stand at one of those as I would have to pull down my tights, skirt, shorts and underpants in public, so I waited for a cubicle. I have never “been” in a race before, so it was another novel experience! So much so I would avail myself again later! This was becoming more like a leisurely sunday walk than anything else, particularly so as the runners thinned out and the roads were sparsely populated. At the 5k drinks station I asked if they had Baby Bio for me but am not sure if they got the joke – and then at the 5k timing mats my sister texted me to ask what time I had finished in 😆

At about 7k Bats off RF started texting me encouragement and said he would wait at the end for me. Poor soul had a long wait but his e-cheerleading text service was appreciated! I gave the showers a miss! And then it was the final walk down towards the finish. I joked with a couple of people proferring vaseline coated rubber-gloved fingers, that although it may look like it, I wouldn’t be welcoming of such attentions – and then finally into the finishing straight, which although less populated than it would have been earlier in the race, still had a good crowd showing – the good thing was I had it more or less to myself, so raised my hands, waved to the crowd, and even managed a flowery little bow as the cameras clicked away, and even got my name announced by the commentator as I crossed the line waving my petals about.

after great Manchester run 2010 picture - courtesy of bats

Then I met Bats briefly, before going home to get changed, then going back to catch some of the Great City Games and hooking up with Bats again – both of us ending up on the telly as two shady looking characters standing in a doorway.

So no PB, not even a run – but in a way probably one of the best things I have ever done. You just have to take what you’ve got and do your best with it, is my philosophy. And so I had a ball and wandered lonely as a daffodil 🙂

Here are the pics – I will post the video of my Great Manchester Run finish in a subsequent post!

With thanks to Liz, Rachel(s), Janine, Neil, Dawn, Dave (bats), the mad woman, Ray (whoever he is) and the entire daffodil support team 😀 Oh and my time? 01:45:50 ➡