After a week of solid rest with no running (not even a jog to the corner shop at the end of my road!) I figured that I would give it a go on Saturday.
The previous 2 weeks had seen my mileage drop off a cliff as I buckled to the pain from my knee injury. Whether its ITBS as the physio suspected or another it doesn’t really matter. Rest, stability, strengthening and core work has been my mantra.
A week of solid gym work and barely any running over the last 3 weeks had left me itching to get out. My knee felt ok and so I chanced a run on Saturday. Deciding to take it easy and just see how I went I considered doing several loops close to home that would keep me on the flat (relatively) and be easy to get back if I needed to. But the sun came out and I was able to ditch the winter gear and so threw caution to the wind and headed out towards Dartmoor on my favourite route.
It starts with a 4 1/2 mile uphill climb rising over 500 feet so definitely challenged my knee. I took it slow and steady keeping to around 8 min/mile pace. As I turned off the main road and headed down the country lanes to meet up with the Plym Valley cycle path I felt ok. The knee was a little tender, even a little sore at times but there wasn’t too much discomfort and I was happy to have passed 4 miles without breaking down.
The Plym valley was unusually quiet and it felt really good to be running in the sunshine. The path itself is shaded by plenty of trees but in winter the trees are bare so the sun shies through creating a very picturesque pattern of light and shade. Already I could smell the wild garlic coming out and in a month or two the woodland section will be carpeted in bluebells.
As I ran down what was once an old railway track and as I ran over one of the viaducts I passed a National Trust look out spot constructed to monitor an protect nesting Peregrine Falcons. Visitors get the opportunity to take a look through telescopes and binoculars but as I ran past I could clearly see the two birds perched on the face of the old quarry.
At the end of the trail and after 11 miles I crossed the A38 and chose to carry on with my National Trust tour by running through the grounds of Saltram House and along the banks of the River Plym. As a tidal river it was fortunately high and so looked fantastic in the sunlight whereas the mudflats can get a bit whiffy when the tide is out!
Taking the opportunity to test things out I had brought a couple of SIS gels with me (they don’t need water apparently). I had brought with me an orange flavour and a blackcurrent gel. I tried the orange at 7 miles and the blackcurrent at 12. Both of which seemed easy if not a little weird to take but I did prefer to sip a little water afterwards. I’m not sure if they gave me any energy or not as I was taking things slower and never really pushed my heart rate above 155. However, there were no ill effects so I will give them another go on a longer run and see what happens.
By this stage my knee was beginning to get quite sore but my route had begun to take me closer to home so I was never more than a mile or two away. I thought I might be able to battle on but the knee started to stiffen quite quickly and by 14 ½ miles it had stiffened so much I could barely bend it so called it a day and walked the mile home so as not to damage it any more.
A good icing, some stretching and another gym session this morning seemed to help and the knee doesn’t feel too bad. Going to give my mid week run another miss this week and focus again on the gym in preparation for the weekends long run.
Overall much improved as managed 14.5 miles at an average pace of 7:50/mile. Just need to get the knee to go further over the next 3 weeks before tapering and will see how it goes. Not out of teh woods yet but progress has been made!
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