From bizarre injury…

…to bizarre injury.

Last Saturday I did a nice steady 4 hours on my feet having gone north from my house to join the Greensand Way heading in a westerly direction. I got to 11 miles in a little over two hours and turned around for home. At Birtley Green I decided to divert away from the GSW and instead headed back to Cranleigh on the Downs Link. It was a stunning day for running really and I achieved a fraction over 21 miles in 3:53. Lovely Jubbly.

But then as the afternoon wore on I found a lingering pain in my stomach. I wasn’t overly inclined to eat very much throughout the afternoon, though it didn’t feel like a gut ache. Saturday night was very unpleasant though as I struggled to sleep at all. I lay in bed for hours trying to get comfortable. I couldn’t lay on my front, I couldn’t lay on my back as that stretched my tummy too much. Laying on my side meant that my belly pulled down by gravity was uncomfortable. I ended up having to wedge a spare pillow under my tummy as I lay on my side. Not nice at all. So on Sunday, not only was I tired, but I was also not feeling great. However, I could definitely eat so it wasn’t an internal issue – I felt like I had definitely strained or pulled something in my abs on Saturday. I don’t know when I did it, because I felt fine on my run and wasn’t aware of any moment at home when I did any damage. Sitting on the sofa did give me an excellent opportunity to watch the London Marathon though, and follow some of the amazingly inspirational twitter folks who I knew where running. The marathon websites tracker was brilliant at updating positions!

It was uncomfortable on Monday too, but thankfully that is rest day. On Tuesday I decided to give the track session a go and see how I felt. On the whole I was OK, apart from a need to pee that couldn’t be satiated in a 45sec rest period! We did 10 minutes at tempo pace. Although I should probably have been aiming for about 7:15min/mi I actually did 7 on the nose. We ran out for 5 minutes then turned around. I was at the back for the first 5 minutes, but then the pressure of being chased made me speed up a bit I think! woops! The next portion of training was 5x 1km with 45s recovery. I was really pleased to be able to maintain pretty even splits around the 4:03min mark, with my final kilometer being completed in 3:58. I was pretty happy with this, and thanks to Al who was running right behind me for that last lap and really pushing me on!

When I worked out that a 4 min kilometer would only provide a 2:49 marathon it puts the speed of the marathon winners into perspective. Even more so when I consider one of the guys at club did Boston in 2:36, then London in 2:47 with just 6 days between them!! Wow

I enjoyed a pretty steady 8 mile run home on Wednesday as the weather continued to hold up nicely for running. I decided against the Marathon Pace segment in the middle and instead I tried to coast home in a (relatively) low Heart Rate. I think at some point I need to do some proper base heart rate training for a period of time – maybe over the winter when I have less race training to do (unless I book something else in.) I managed to just about maintain an average of 147. According to the Maffetone Method I should be closer to 152, but it is tricky to push that high going downhill without then shooting up to the 160’s the minute the road levels or goes up again (it does that a lot around here).

Thursday was pretty miserable. Not the weather, that was glorious so I was really looking forward to my run home. However, the sunny weather meant that many of the students were walking home so I couldn’t dawdle along at an easy pace – I had to appear as if I was actually trying :-) However, just a mile or so in my legs were feeling so lethargic and I assumed someone had lined my shoes with lead. The run was so uncomfortable that I was pleased it was over just 3.5 short miles later. This didn’t bode well. I had to get showered and changed pretty quick-smart though as Thursday is pilates night. Another tough session with Dawn left me feeling a little better about things though, so I was happy enough. I also enjoyed a delicious fish and chip supper as a reward (I’m not sure what for).

Friday is of course rest day, so I shall move on to Saturday. I had been a little wary of the weather reports for the last few days as they suggested the lovely sun we had enjoyed last week was about to end for a weekend of misery. It was a little overcast as I woke bright and early on Saturday and deliberated about what to pack in my bag for a long North Downs Way recce with the guys. I was trying to sort out the best configuration for carrying food and supplies, so this weekend made use of the ability to join the OMM last drop backpack with the waist pack. It looked like I had absolutely loads on, but it meant that I could even the load a little more, could get the the pack to sit a little better and bounce less and thus enjoyed the run far more.

Lyndsey dropped me off at Shalford station and I met Rajiv on the train. Spots of rain seemed to be in the air, and it was a little cool as we got off at Merstham but we set off for Caterham from whhere we had left off on our last run together. We both had lingering lethargy in the first mile or so but happily we reported that this quickly cleared up. After agreeing to meet Bryan, Graham and Phil at 9:25 I was very pleased to get there just before my watch ticked over to 9:26, and that we hadn’t kept them waiting. Off we went, Eastbound along the NDW – our target was the finish line of the 50 mile route.

The weather was actually pretty glorious. Some dark and forbidding clouds in the sky hovered over us from time to time, but more often than not I was cursing that I had no sunglasses!

Just a few miles in I started to feel a little discomfort in my hamstring or behind the inside of my left knee. It was a strange sensation as whenever I stopped I couldn’t actually pinpoint where it was coming from. It was nice running in a group, chatting as we went along, and only once missing an arrow for the trail (well the lead two missed it and carried on for about 5 meters before we called them back.) By now I was starting to feel worse pain in my leg. This wasn’t helped by a very brief hail shower at Knockholt. Thankfully it lasted about 3 or 4 minutes and can barely be classed as a shower, it was such fleeting presence.

We got to the village hall in Knockholt and I started my assault on some ham rolls that I had made – I want to get used to eating proper food. I also tried to stretch out the mysterious muscle issue. Bryan was suffering a little too as he was on his longest run since the Thames Path Run chewed him up and spat him out!

Setting off for Caterham again I was in more discomfort almost immediately and wondering whether or not I might make it home. When jogging along even ground I wasn’t too bad, but as soon as the fields became rutted or cambered I really started to struggle. As we crossed a particularly badly cambered field just North of Westerham I noticed a bus on the lane we were due to cross. By the time I got there it had of course gone, but I had done enough calculating in my head to assume I could get the bus back home.

At our water stop – thanks to Phil for stashing bottles on his way to Caterham. Rajiv carried on up the road, and Bryan followed suit trying to build up a buffer now he was feeling a bit sore. I apologised to Phil and Graham and said I’ve have to bid them farewell – it was time to call it a day as I was never going to get a good pace going back up the avenue. I went and waited at the bus stop whilst setting my phone to work on figuring out the journey home. I’m not sure I can be bothered going in to detail about all that went wrong so here is a summary

Bus number one – Pilgrims Ave. to Westerham – Fine
Bus number two – Westerham to Oxted – Drove straight past the bus stop, next one not due for 2 hours.
Bus number two (number two) – Westerham to Oxted – discovered a different bus that could do the journey, phew!
Bus number three – Oxted to Redhill – bus number two got sidetracked weaving through parked cars in a village, so we missed connecting bus. 30 minute wait turned to 45 mins when next bus was late
Train number one – Redhill to Shalford – these trains only run once an hour, I missed the last one by 9 minutes
Bus number four – Shalford to Cranleigh – thank heavens I didn’t need to rely on this one. Everything else had been so delayed that by now Lyndsey had finished work and was able to come and pick me up!!

I was out of the house 11 hours in total on Saturday for a 4.5 hour run!!

On Sunday I decided not to do anything and we had a pleasant visit from Ma and Pa who had been in Sevenoaks doing the triathlon there. We made them some lunch and had a bit of a chin-wag. In the evening Lyndsey and I finally caught up with the end of season six of Dexter. We are almost in line with British telly! hoorah.

As a final note, I also made it into the London Marathon ballot this morning before it closed at about 10am! Fingers crossed for 2nd attempt from 7 applications!!

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