(Not the) Oakley 20

Posted on: 18 Mar 2018

Thanks to the weather I have finally got some time to sit down and write this latest piece, and also try to catch up with your blogs too.

The weather does seem to have played more of a part this winter than the last few, I certainly was out on two wheels a lot more last winter.  Two weeks ago a combination of a sore achilles and snow meant my planned long run was abandoned but instead I got out on the mountain bike with a couple of pals.  The melting snow meant that off road was very sticky so we stuck mostly to tarmac and gravel paths.  We got out on some roads that even in summer aren’t particularly nice for a road bike so it made a change to be confident on them.  A route of around 30 miles with a stop at Emily’s Tea Room in the village of Whitwell for hot chocolate and cake.  I recommend this place should you ever be in the area, you can also buy locally produced watercress just along the road.

By the time we got back were filthy from head to toe and the bike took some cleaning!

It did mean that I still needed to get a long run under my belt though in preparation for the Oakley 20.  It would have to be next weekend come what may.

For part of the treatment for my sore achilles I was recommended to try some gel heel inserts, so I bought some and tried them out on the Thursday after work.  I looked after the newbie to the after work running group and we covered a comfortable 4 miles, the achilles was fine so maybe the inserts were the answer.

Saturday morning I met up at the club rendezvous, not many turned up and no one was up for a long one so I decided to join a couple of seasoned runners for their 7 miles or so and then would add on the extra mileage.

A small group set off and it was a loop through the Gorhambury estate, The Earl opens the drive way once the shooting season is over and it makes for an undulating route through the grounds and is pretty much traffic free.

The loop was completed and we were back at the park, time for a swig of water and then to set off for the second loop, I was accompanied by Zoe who was heading home but my route was the same as hers for the first mile and a bit so it was great to have company for a little longer.  Zoe is a strong runner and has been for ever.  She has won many local races over the years and is something of a legend at the running club, she really only races cross country these days (and I don’t) so it was a real treat to get to run with her today.

Once she left me I was then tootling along quite nicely but did notice some soreness in my right hip.  Not had that before…

My second loop over I had totalled around 14.5 miles, enough I guess and that hip was getting worse.

By the next day, Sunday, it was really sore, I had trouble getting upstairs.  Was this new injury a result of the heel inserts that were protecting the achilles?  I don’t know but I seem to be very injury prone recently.

The soreness did not get any better and I was worried for the 20 mile race that was now a week away.

I got a message from my step mother on Sunday that she had been asked to attend a meeting at hospital first thing on Monday morning with regard to my father.  He had been admitted during the previous week with suspected pneumonia and had been undergoing various tests.  She called on Monday morning straight after the meeting and it was not good news for him.  He had beaten cancer last year and was given the all clear in December but now they found that the cancer had spread into his bone marrow.  He was given between half a day and three days maximum.  He died at home that night.

I had booked the earliest possible flight which wasn’t until Wednesday morning, by the time I arrived pretty much all the funeral arrangements were in hand so I came home the next day, Thursday and planned a short run that evening to see how the hip was.

I was tired though by the time I got home so I put it off until Friday.  I only got to the bottom of the road and the soreness was back.  I stopped and took the heel inserts out to see if it made a difference.

It didn’t but I decided to carry on and see how bad the pain was and whether I could manage 20 miles on it.  I stuck to my plan of 5k and got home.  I struggled getting upstairs, this pain was very sore and I didn’t know if I was causing more damage.  Would it be sensible to try and race 20 miles?  Probably not.  I had to give it a go though, maybe this would be my first ever DNF?

I bought some Voltarol and the plan was to use this, Deep Freeze spray and ibuprofen tablets and then try a sensible 10 minute mile pace on the day to get around.  There were plenty of Striders entered and at that pace I would definitely have had company which would have helped.

I got up at 6am this morning to get ready to travel and checking email found that at 5.14 am the race director had decided that the event was cancelled due to the weather conditions.

I am relieved to be honest.

I am away for a few days now as I have the funeral to attend and this will allow more time for the hip to get better.  I guess that if the weather improves I should try cycling for a while as it’s less of a strain on the body.

I have entered only two more runs so far this year, the Westminster Mile and the HU5K which gives me plenty of time to get things sorted.  Should I persevere with heel inserts?  Should I try different running shoes? Should I not run long distance?

Plenty of questions to keep me busy trying to find the answers then!

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