Hello Realbuzzers 😊
Hope that everyone's training is going well 😊 As promised I'll try and keep up with the blogging a little more frequently, at least until Morocco is done and dusted! Mind you it probably won't make my blogs any shorter 😂😂
It's been a funny old week! A week last Friday we had to go and have our travel shots for Morocco. Technically only a combined Hepatitis A/Typhoid vaccine. The nurse looked at my records and also decided to top me up on Tetanus/Diphtheria and Polio at the same time so one in each arm for me (but at least not the backside, so that's something to be grateful for as well as the fact they were free courtesy of our fab NHS). She pointed out that if we wanted the Rabies vaccination as well we'd have to pay for that one. For 5 days I think I can avoid anything rabid looking and I felt like a pincushion as it was. She said that the Hep A/Typhoid might get a little sore.
What actually happened was I felt lousy by Friday evening, Richard was absolutely fine. Being a stubborn so and so, I went to Parkrun on Saturday anyway. I ran more overall than the previous week but my arms and legs felt like lead and it was just pure hard slog. I was really happy though to still finish with my second fastest time overall (still nothing to brag about there mind 😂😂). By the time we got home, even having a shower was a huge effort. I just felt absolutely wiped out for the rest of the weekend 😕 A week on and I still have quite large painful lumps on each arm. As they're as administered into the deltoid muscle, it's also made lifting my arms quite entertaining as well 😂😂
By Tuesday's gym session I felt much more like my old self 😊 I'd had my monthly blood test in the morning (have to have that because of the medication I'm on for the AS). Wednesday lunchtime I got a call from the doc - could I go and have another blood test as I had high potassium levels in my blood. Just a precaution as they thought the sample had sat around too long before being analysed. Richard was pretty concerned but I felt fine - high potassium level in bloods reflects kidney problems and I'm sure there'd be other symptoms if there were problems brewing.
Wednesday was a cross-training day, i.e. Several hours of hefty gardening. Our 82 years old Lebanese neighbour had already enjoyed some of the 93 figs our little tree had produced this year and asked if he could also have the small unripe green ones at the end of the season (in a warmer climate, they'd be the second crop but in this country they don't grow). At the end of the day I decided to pick all the green figs for him and ended up learning a lesson I won't forget in a hurry! As I picked the figs, white sap began to ooze from the branches everywhere I'd picked them. I kept felling stinging sensations on my forearms and figured that as I was in the middle of the tree I was probably being bitten by some small insect or other and thought nothing of it. Then one of my ears began to burn but not as much as a bit just on my collar bone. I ignored it until all the figs were picked and delivered to a very grateful neighbour. When I went indoors to get cleaned up I could see a developing red rash on my face and forearms then made the connection with the fig sap so had a thorough wash and brush up. I forgot about the one on my collar bone for a good 15 minutes when it really started hurting. I was a bit alarmed to see a 1cm wide blister with a 7cm wide red area around it!
Turns out that you can be quite sensitive to fig sap (including the indoor weeping fig). From Dr Google I read that it's basically a chemical burn and you can't do much about it other than wash it off and it then makes your skin sensitive to UV where the sap has been on it and it may worsen over the first few days (oh joy!). At least my arms didn't blister, just developed a red rash so I was thankful for that. So, be warned, never tangle with unripe figs 😂😂😂
Long Walk day on Thursday. The new socks (recommended by Ian Yates who'd just run the 200 mile Ultra GB in them) arrived literally 10 minutes before we left so on they went. We planned to do 20 miles along a section of the Thames Path we'd never seen in daylight (last encountered in extremely thick fog during the Thames Path 100k last year). Another late start courtesy of a bad night and dodgy guts 😕 We parked up at Runnymede, £6 for the privilege - it gets a bit costly this training lark when you add up all the petrol and parking fees! It was mostly cloudy and quite cool and when the strong cold headwind dropped after the first mile, absolutely ideal training weather 😊 Richard said he wanted to do a decent speed today so I didn't need a second invitation. I did keep checking that he was OK with the pace though. The sun did make the worst 'fig burn' more painful and my arms quite itchy but thankfully it's starting to settle now.
It was a wonderful route, mostly through riverside fields, woods and parks with a short urban section through Windsor and Eton. It took me all of ten seconds to spot the Costa shop just over the bridge in Eton 😉 Takeaway cups of tea in hand, off we went again and were rapidly back out in riverside fields. I'd drunk only a few sips of the tea before I started reacting to it (sigh). I can't tolerate much ordinary milk at all (allergic to the A1 protein in it). l felt gutted to have to pour it away as I'd been so looking forward to it. It made breathing rather harder for 45 minutes until the Piriton kicked in. Glad to say the splits show a faster pace for that bit. If something's playing up, I seem to push harder - that's the way I'm wired I guess.
The next section from Eton towards Bray held all the really interesting bits. I was going do a photo summary but the photo uploader doesn't seem to be working :( All the photos are on Facebook anyway :) Basically, apart from many great views of Windsor Castle from several different angles, we passed an astonishing 45x4m mural of face portraits under one of the bridges near Eton & Dorney. 'Talking Heads' was painted for the 2012 Olympics by Cosmo Sarson and is thought to be the only interactive mural in the world. I only found out after we got back that there is an app that you can download and each time you point your phone at a different face, audio and video clips are played - that's pretty cool and we may have to revisit that mural.
Next we came across a beautiful little old riverside church called St Mary Magdalene Boveney. The fabric of the church dates back to the 12th century with the tower being fifteenth century. It was built to serve the Thames bargemen but declared 'redundant' in 1975 and was going to be converted into accomodation. Luckily in 1983, it was taken over by a charitable organisation called the the 'Friends of Friendless Churches' (got to love that for a name) who lovingly restored it and now maintain it and keep it open for the public to admire.
After the church, we noticed that a lot of the riverside path was surfaced with Faringdon Sponge Gravels (apologies but we're both geologists by training), which not only make a fantastic compact gritty surface to walk on but are littered with fossils! It's an odd formation as it contains many fossils from the previous Jurassic era (about 1800 million years old). Every few yards one or the other of us was picking someting up - bits of belemnite and ammonite, sponges and coral, echinoid spines, but the jewel in the crown was my finding a vertebrae. When we got home, a quick check of the books suggests that it's likely to be a tail vertebrae from an ichthyosaur - a genuine dinosaur part :D I was very excited about that (I know, sad eh).
Coming back through Eton, Costa got another visit and this time I had a tea with very little milk! I also wolfed down one of their marvellous gluten free chocolate brownies with great glee 😀 Richard started to lose pace a bit over the last few miles so I did a bit of backward and forward walking while he caught up. I wish I could persuade him hydrate properly and fuel up but he drinks little and almost never eats while walking and I'm in no doubt at all that's the cause. For once I got the fuelling and hydration absolutely perfect and felt as good at the end as at the beginning 😊 35.05km done in 6:07:47 plus 30 minutes of stopped time (queuing for tea and looking for fossils 😂😂) - very happy indeed with that, especially as the ankle behaved really well. Very impressed with the new socks indeed - they're very comfortable and no problems at all and I reckon they'll be brilliant for Morocco 😊
I must admit I spent at least part of the walk waiting for another phone call from the doc but it didn't happen so I felt pretty relieved that the results of the previous day's repeat blood test must have been OK and it had just ben a clinical error 😊 On Friday I went down to the docs to pick up my results as I have to send them on to my Rheumatologist in Bath every month. The doc hadn't looked at the results from the repeat blood test by Friday and disappointingly, although the potassium level had come down a touch, it was high 😕 Personally I think it's likely to be related to the travel shots and how this daft body has reacted to them but doubtless there'll be another phone call from the doc tomorrow and yet another blood test. Fingers crossed!
We decided last week not to run any more local Parkruns until after Morocco - the course is just too risky with all the tree roots and uneven ground (I rolled my ankle twice last week but fortunately they're so loose I can do that without much consequence now 😂😂) so we volunteered instead. Richard marshalled and I helped with finish tokens. I'm glad it was a quiet week - wouldn't like to do that job at one of the huge Parkruns!
Right, that's me up to date 😊 Sorry it was such a long blog again! Have a fantastic week and happy training everyone 😊
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