Quieter times

Posted on: 21 Feb 2017

Hello Realbuzzers 😊

Well a much quieter week for me! I shook off the minor cold of the previous week quite rapidly, then started just over a week ago with the dreaded coughing virus that seems to be doing the rounds. Just to make life interesting I had some digestive troubles as well (never a good combination 😂😂) which led to my pain meds not being absorbed. I didn't enjoy the few days of a return to the constant aching but a long walk still got done, just not as long as I'd hoped. The new magic meds can lower your immunity and make you more susceptible to infection but I don't reckon that's what's happening at all as there seem to be so many things going round at the moment plus I'm fighting these things off really well. Glad to say I'm pretty much back to normal already. 
I'm getting a bit concerned about Richard though. A couple of weeks ago when we did 16 miles quickish on the Thursday, 6 miles quickish the next day and Parkrun the day after that, he thought he'd developed shin splints in his left leg. By the Saturday evening he had a bright red 3" long x 2" wide slightly swollen area about two inches above his ankle on his shin and it was painful for him to flex his ankle in either direction. I've had shin splints (but always in both legs at the same time) and know how painful they are but I've never seen any redness or swelling associated with them. He's just a bit stubborn and refused elevation and ice to try and help but finally took some Ibuprofen and applied topical Voltarol. Within 24 hours the redness started to fade and it was less sore. He didn't go for his usual Tuesday run as he didn't want to provoke it, deciding to try and rest until our weekly training walk. 
We were going to walk last Thursday, but I really felt rough so we went on Friday instead. I still felt just as rough to be honest but the miles needed doing! We were also supposed to return to the hills but that plan went out of the window as well and we decided to walk a section of the Thames Path we hadn't yet done. The idea of gradually walking the entire Thames Path is really starting to appeal so there could be many more of these yet to come! The idea was to start out at Henley and head upstream. Because neither of us was that great a shape, we decided to take it really steady and go for time on the feet rather than distance. 
It was a lovely day, with much more sunshine than forecast and warm enough to strip down to a thin top. Must admit it was more pleasant when it clouded over a litle as the sun wasn't continually in my eyes. We parked up at Henley station - nice and convenient and at £4.80 for a days parking, not too bad compared to some places. There were free loos at the entrance to the car park and following Billy Connolly's advice of 'never pass up the opportunity', I availed myself of the facilities. The door was so heavy I really struggled to open it but once inside it was huge! The walls were a continual poster of the Thames riverside but the biggest surprise was when piped Strauss waltzes began to play 😂😂😂 Never quite been in a loo like that one and remain impressed! 
I have to admit the slower pace didn't sit well with the bones but it certainly seemed to help Richard's shin and it did give us much more time to appreciate the scenery 😊 We walked upstream from Henley, first passing Marsh Park - the finish line for last year's Thames Path 100k. It certainly looked very different in the sunshine than in the thick cold fog of a September morning! Just out of town there's an incredible walkway built over the Thames (never seen one as long as that!) that passes the flood barriers halfway. Although the water levels aren't that high right now, the water flow was impressive nonetheless. I can imagine canoeists would have fun in that lot! 
 There was one section of the path which I found quite disconcerting. Between Wargrave and Lower Shiplake, the path goes through people's gardens!
 I felt quite uncomfortable as these were large houses, each with their own moorings, docks and lovely summer houses and garden furniture down by the water (and I must admit we were ever so slightly tempted for a moment to stop and have coffee from our flasks 😂😂). One lady was in in her garden and was so pleasant, bidding us a good morning and asking if we were enjoying our walk and I thought that was wonderful of her 😊 There were lots of water birds to be seen and lovely riverside meadows all around - even the skylarks were singing. We eventually reached Sonning Bridge, a striking eighteenth century construction that replaced a much older wooden bridge. It sits on the boundary between Oxfordshire and Berkshire and is very photogenic. It's rumoured that Dick Turpin once used the bridge to evade capture! 
We walked up as far as Sonning lock, past the start of the grounds of the Reading Bluecoat School (£5.5k a term and that doesn't even include lunches!). That seemed like a reasonable point to turn around and start our walk back. All in all 14.4 miles done in a very slow 5:39 but some good hours on the feet. One of the highlights of our walks is on getting back to the car, sitting in the boot drinking coffee and eating the cake that I always carry in case of 'emergencies' 😂😂 We had a lovely sunset to watch on this occasion too 😊 
 Richard did well with his shin and it didn't bother him too much until the last mile but it's been sore again since. Given what we've got lined up this year, any thoughts/similar experiences and advice would be very welcome! 
We didn't do Parkrun last weekend as neither of us felt up to it after the long walk. I must admit I was disappointed in myself but on reflection it was a good decision to ease up a bit and let the cough run its course as I feel 100% better now. We offered to volunteer instead but they had all the bases covered by Friday evening. I'm really not sure what's going to happen with training this week. If Richard doesn't feel up to it, then local loops it will have to be. 
We've also added another challenge to the list, the Extreme Energy Chiltern Challenge (50k) on 15th July 😊 I've also got some high altitude training booked as of yesterday  😜 Richard said he'd go skiing with me again this year (having officially retired two years ago). Even before the shin thing, he'd changed his mind so I'll be going with my eldest (Rhys) this year instead. Fingers crossed there'll be plenty of snow left in the French Alps by the last week in March 😊
Happy training everyone 😀

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