Hello Buzzers 😊
A few things to write up and what I hoped would be a short catch up turned into another long babbling ramble written over several sessions before I knew it 😂😂 Life has been so very busy this past few weeks with barely time to sit down but at last I’m finally caught up on reading blogs at least 😊
Four days after the London Ten Mile, it was ‘Back to training’ and our first long walk since the Shropshire Way 80K four weeks beforehand. We really should have been doing hill training for the Jurassic Coast 100k (which is now only 6 weeks away 😬), but the troublesome joints were still being a pain so we decided to do a canal walk. Long story short, perhaps a little long for a first session back but 17.22 miles done in 4:28, averaging 15:36 minute miles. When I hurt, I walk faster and I just couldn’t wait to get that one done. The muscles were fine the next day but the joints were seriously underwhelmed before, during and after 😕 Still, good ‘pain training’ I guess! This one helped me to decide that after the Westminster Mile, it would be a good idea to take a couple of weeks off training and just stick to short daily walks.
26th May saw me marshalling at Homewood Parkrun as it was the day before the Westminster Mile and I didn’t want to risk turning an ankle so close to the event! Besides, it was my 25th time volunteering so I’m looking forward to a nice purple shirt soon 😀 Next day dawned bright and warm. We’d packed our kit the night before and when we reached the local station, there were already other runners waiting for the same train. I love that feeling when the excitement starts so early - everyone exchanging smiles 😊
Last year, the weather for the Westminster Mile was sunny and hot and this year was going to be pretty similar. Last year it was only four weeks after the 107km (110km walked) Isle of Wight Challenge and I was still pretty broken with a stress fracture in my right ankle but still managed to run my first mile (it wasn’t intentional, I meant to walk but got caught up in the atmosphere). This year, I was (and still am) carrying several as yet mostly undiagnosed injuries. I know what’s going on with the ankles and left foot now but the custom orthotics I have are instruments of pure torture. Instead of increasing the daily wear, I’ve had to drop them altogether as they’ve made the pain worse every time I’ve worn them plus caused Achilles pain into the bargain (fortunately short lived each time). I don’t think the podiatrist will be too impressed with me when I see him for a follow up!
I digress (as usual 😂😂). We arrived in London with enough time to walk to the start, enjoying the early morning feel of the city. I wanted to see Marc run and he was in one of the first waves starting at 9.30. We decided to head to the finish line area as it was almost 9.30. Stupid here didn’t realise that each colour of start had several waves 🤪 After we watched the first wave and didn’t see Marc (though we did see quite a few from St Albans Striders) we assumed we’d missed him so headed off into the park to try and find him - this wasn’t a good start. We failed there as well so went to grab a coffee as we knew Yve and Alan wouldn’t be arriving for a little while yet. Then walking down the central path, we bumped straight into Marc! He’d been in the third wave and I still can’t believe I was so dense about the multiple waves!
After that, we decided we’d better go and get changed - changing tents provided which was good 😊 It wasn’t long before a Yve texted that they’d arrived and we soon met up, big Buzzer hugs exchanged and smiles all round 😊 Because of the timing of the waves we wouldn’t be able to see Yve and Alan start or cross the finish, which was a pity. We’d already tried to find the Parkrun VIP tent several times where our final instructions e-mail told us we could leave our bags. It wasn’t marked on the map and we must have asked at least half a dozen officials where it was but none of them knew. Time was running out so in the end, we went to the bag drop where there was some confusion. Although there was an area designated for the Parkrun Wave, the tags sent out didn’t match anyone’s running numbers. Fortunately, the chap taking the bags just had us write our running numbers on a tag and took our bags 😊
Off to the warm up pen we went and that’s where we met up with our speedy superstar Nick who was also running in the Parkrun Wave. More Buzzer hugs and big smiles 😊 Nick pointed out the Parkrun VIP tent - right next to the warm up pen! Ah well, next year we’ll know 😂😂 We warmed up a bit, though to be honest I was already way too hot! I really hoped I could run this years Mile a little faster but my joints weren’t exactly having a brilliant day and was very hot and bothered so I wasn’t confident at all. In typical Parkrun spirit, everyone got together in the warm up pen for a photo.
Then into the start pen, soaked my cool scarf and wrapped it around my neck (those things really help when you’re too hot) then went for a last trip to the loo (very thoughtfully placed handful of loos within the start pen). This year, I started about 3/4 the way down the pack and made sure I was close to the barrier on the right hand side of the course so I wouldn’t be have to worry too much about dodging people or being jostled. Richard was right by my side but I knew that wouldn’t last long - he’s much faster than me! We could see Yve and Alan too in the crowd and gave them a wave 😊 The countdown started then we were off- a slow shuffle at first, picking up speed as we crossed the start line.
Still from Yve’s video of the start
What a feeling running down that flag-lined section of of The Mall! It’s all a bit of a blur now, but I can remember thinking that I’d set off too fast, remember what HD told me about pacing and eased up a touch. Thankfully, most of the course is in shade otherwise I think I would have melted! By the time I reached the 200m to go sign, I knew there was one last corner before the finish line. I honestly didn’t know if there was anything left in the legs but when I went round that corner, I gave it everything I had, hoping that it would be enough for a PB. Finish line crossed, didn’t even look at the timer on the gantry because I was concentrating so much on that line. It’s a very very long time since I’ve run that hard and I’m sure I positively wobbled my way across to where Richard and Nick were waiting beyond the finish - I was absolutely melting and dripping sweat in a most unladylike fashion 😂😂
I had no idea of what time I’d run as being a bear of little brain, I started my Garmin at the end of the countdown, not when I crossed the start line so I thought it would be very close. My official time came through really quickly and I was absolutely over the moon that having run it in 10:27, I managed to knock 1:28 off my PB 😀 I’ll be back again next year to try and improve that some more and this time, hopefully with some training for it beforehand! Once we’d collected our medals (fantastic bling and with only an £8 entry fee, exceptional value!) and goody bags, we all met up again.
Time then to watch the Olympians wave before Nick had to go. Always worth a watch 😊 After that it was great to have a nice relaxing coffee with a Yve and Alan before we parted company. Richard and I sat under shady tree in St James’ Park and ate our packed lunches before having a wander around the lake, admiring the gardens and all the waterfowl. It really was a tremendous day out 😀
Back to Parkrun the following Saturday and I was so downhearted with my last attempt (when I ran all but the short steep hill) being 66 seconds off my PB and at how sore the ankles, knee, hip, neck and shoulder were that I decided to resort to the walk/run strategy and take it a bit steadier. On the last lap of three I was felt seriously disheartened as someone I’d overtaken the lap before overtook me - time to give myself a good mental kick up the rear end! As I emerged from the woods and jogged towards the finish line, I could see the lady who’d overtaken me nearing the finish line - she does have a good finish though. Then I heard Richard shout and I knew what that meant - there was someone coming up behind. From feeling there was nothing left in the tank, I went into a full on sprint, easily the fastest I’ve run in many a year.
I was so surprised that a run/walk that felt so rubbish was only 10 seconds slower than my course PB. Lesson learned - run/walk works better for me and don’t be disheartened by it, stay positive 😊 I had to miss last weekend’s Parkrun as it was NASS Members Day in Twickenham so in a couple of weeks, I’ll definitely be having a go at cracking that PB again!
The last two weeks have been so insanely busy, mostly supervising a tree surgeon and his crew as they work their way around the Open Space that I’m a warden of. They wouldn’t usually do any tree work during nesting season but an awful lot of deadwood has been falling onto the footpaths in the last few weeks and the decision was taken to remove the rest on health and safety grounds. It’s a huge job - 27 acres of woodland with many many paths. The first job was to work on the paths around ‘Soggy Bottom’ - the pond and wetland area we’ve established over the last few years and oh yes, the name has stuck and is now official 😂😂 Unfortunately, on day 1, this meant that a lot of wood ended up in the water and being a kind soul (and knowing where the shallower bits are) I volunteered to don chest waders and retrieve it all. That didn’t help the increasingly sore shoulder one bit!
We also had a volunteer day two days after that and used a small amount of the cut wood to build two new habitats for Stag Beetles and well as clear more brambles and sycamore saplings and do a big litter pick. That helped the shoulder even less (not to mention the currently problematic neck, hip, knee and ankles/foot). Last week with the tree fellers (and yes, there are three fellas, but they’re not Irish 😂😂) I was mainly stacking cut wood into habitat piles, so lugging large chunks of oak around. I really don’t do myself any favours eh? This is the shoulder that had the capsule surgically tightened a few years ago as well as the long head of biceps relocated. I’m just hoping that when the rush is over, it’ll settle down a bit. Before that though, there are another two days of work with the tree fellers this week, plus the planting of marginal plants all around the water. Looks like I’ll be arriving in Hawkesbury like KT Tape woman again 😂😂😂
I saw someone about my hip again last week. I thought I was seeing a consultant but apparently not and I’m still not sure who I saw. Still no diagnosis but I’ve been referred to physio (currently a 12 week wait minimum) and still no mention of the MRI that was recommended by the chap who did the ultrasound scan 😕 Yesterday I had a follow up with the podiatrist (I did try wearing the custom orthotics a couple more times but the pain was just too much and I really don’t need Achilles pain as well). To be fair, he was wonderful, said he was sending them back and I should get a refund. To recap, I went the private route with the foot and ankles as my GP said it would be a 12 to 15 month wait to see him and with a couple of big challenges still ahead, I needed to know that I wasn’t going to cause any more damage. He’s still very concerned about the left foot and reckons there might be a sub-clinical stress fracture of the 5th metatarsal as well as the ongoing peroneal tendinopathy. About the chronic tendon damage and arthritis, it’s just a case of live with it and what ever helps to lessen the pain, do it. He wanted to send me for an ultrasound scan (£400 😬) but to be honest, we really can’t afford to spend any more on this, so he’s going to ask my GP to refer me to him through the NHS and says his waiting time is nowhere near the time I was told. Fingers crossed my GP is in a good mood when he gets the letter!
I wish I could say that the couple of weeks off training has helped things to settle down but there’s not a lot of difference. With the Jurassic Coast 100k only 6 weeks away, I need advice. In my position, would you rely on muscle memory being in the legs and take things easy in terms of mileage, or, restart the long walks? We’d usually be doing a back to back every week (10 miles one night, 20+ the next day) by now but I suspect that would make things worse. I’d do more static bike work but the knees often don’t take that too well either 😬 Any advice gratefully received!
Whatever the joints are up to, one thing’s for sure, I can’t wait for Saturday and the HU5k - I’m so looking forward to meeting up with a few of you again and Richard is running this time too - it’s going to be fantastic! 😀
Happy training everyone 😊
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