Squaring the circle.

Posted on: 05 May 2018

When the boys are away, the mummy will blog! And so I will start this post with the best news I've got going: the pain in my hip is gone gone gone. Like Dodo gone. Like bell bottoms and lambchop sideburns gone. Like this pint will be by the time I'm done writing, gone. Oh the joy is insurmountable! And all it took was a total blowout of my shoes in the middle of a marathon, who'da thunk it?

It's a bit of a tale, so I have to rewind a bit. (Best get the tea now...)

I will start in the aftermath of that startling cathartic Brighton Marathon, there I sat RICE-ing my poor burning arch and lamenting the possibility that I'd had in the start of the race. Lo and behold I then came down with some wretched throat infection three days later which I coined the 'throat of death'. Dare I say I don't think it needs too much explaining beyond its moniker, but having been blanked by GP and nurse practitioner it had reached the point where I could no longer even swallow my own saliva, and seeing as how I have diet controlled T2 diabetes it is essential to actually ingest some form of diet or said diabetes will run out of control. So six days after that triumphant finish along the south coast there I was sat in A&E with a drip in my arm, feeling less doolally by the minute and wondering when I could have a drink of water again without wincing. Running was the furthest thing from my mind until the following day when I wasn't able to partake in the VLM cheer squad of Team Realbuzz hugging sweaty Buzzers at 22.5.

Gutted isn't remotely strong enough word. I'd seriously looked forward to that for a year. But I surely enjoyed tracking everyone along with the fine online banter for the duration. We are Buzzers after all and we are shoulder to shoulder, no matter where those shoulders are actually positioned. This much I know.

So the magic drip did its thang and there I was a few days later feeling worlds better and thinking about the next challenges to come. First up, late May bank holiday weekend comes the return to Scafell Pike, that climb denied me by a dodgy knee and a pathetic excuse for 'mountain guides' in tandem. Truth be told, the knee would have actually got me to the summit on that night, but the pace required to get there in that company was too great a risk. I wasn't about to fall off a mountain in the dark to satisfy a 'challenge'. I do push to the limit, but there are...well...limits.

At any rate, that is a book missing a page and I need to close it - it's wasting my mental energy. So off to Scafell Pike we go and I cannot blooming wait. Which brings me to my 'come back' outing - last weekend's Ivinghoe Beacon Circular Walk with my friend Kate who was with me on that fateful night and with whom we are going to wrap this up. Holy cow was the weather heinous. Equally holy cow was the climbing...

...wait for it...


We were plowing along up and down hills, my poles tucked neatly in my pack, never to come out, when I asked 'hey did you notice how much stronger I am than the last time we were on Box Hill?' Not fishing for a compliment but mostly incredulous that I didn't feel shattered at the end of the first climb, nor the next, nor the next, nor the one where I was jogging up a hill to pass a tour group who managed to slow us down. I have been working so blooming hard and as I live and breathe, it really showed. And I supposed that is why I do any of this at all, to have a goal, and while I fire off those arrows and they skate past the target again and again, there is much less air between the tips and the outer ring with every shot. Hard work pays in droves, and my aim is improving.

We completed that walk, the wind still blowing us around, properly damp from the horizontal rain, and I'll be damned if I didn't actually feel good. And that was just the start of the week. Which brings me back to the hip (I know, it took a while, sorry!)

I had a good long think throughout that forced rest period about what could actually be causing this hip flexor to stay injured for so long. And the only element I hadn't changed was my strength training. I knew that with the next events in the queue - 50k of Race to the Stones, Chicago Marathon: The Revenge, and the epic Snowdonia Marathon, that I'd better sort it out and sort it quickly. I knew there is weakness in my feet and ankles, so added in foot strength work. I knew the benefit doing clamshells gave me going in to London (that dodgy left hip never gave me an issue at all for London and it had included clamshells in the training for the duration). So back in they went. I decided that having introduced single leg deadlifts to the program that I had what I needed for my hamstrings and glutes so I thought why not leave out the leg press?

And just. Like. That. The hip flexor has settled. I know it's worked because after all that difficulty training, here I am straight back in after a two week enforced rest, and my week has looked like:

Sunday: Ivinghoe Beacon circular walk 10.5 miles
Monday: 30 min jogging on crosstrainer with 60 min strength training
Tuesday: 6.1 mile run/walk
Wednesday: Physio / rest
Thursday: 30 min walking 5% grade on treadmill, bit of jogging at the end, 60 min strength training
Friday: Hill repeats 6 x :60 run out and back, 3.8 miles total
Saturday: 10.3 miles long run/walk 2:1 minute, roughly 2:10 at the 10 mile mark

Then I came home and spent the afternoon breaking down boxes in the garage. My hip feels fine. I mean I feel nothing at all in the hip. So long story sho-- no, sorry, it's still long. (My stories are always long I'm afraid!) I'm fairly certain I was activating my hip flexor in error during my leg presses, likely due to that old hamstring-and-glute-weakness chestnut. A few other changes to the strength program and I think I have designed a great plan. I always think that, but if you can't be positive, why bother?

Oh, and I also have four new pairs of trainers ready to rumble. Taken three of them out so far and they are all marvellous.

Physio and I discovered on Wednesday that I actually have a higher arch on my left foot than I do on the right. We also examined my Brighton race trainers (there was a wow and lots of mashing them about!) and they were completely pancaked with zero support left. So it's little wonder my arch was in agony. Her guidance now is when I'm questioning whether or not the shoes are blown, they are probably blown and I should get another pair. Which was music to my ears! Because I may not be terribly girly but let me tell you I love to buy shoes. Even if they are all trainers!

So the news from here is all surprisingly excellent for now. As always I will share the tale as it unfolds, but until then I continue drawing the bow. 

Guys, you've no idea how much I want to come back from a race shouting to the stars that I've found the target! But man alive, how confident I am that one day I will.   >>>

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