Lost and found

Posted on: 30 Aug 2018

Almost a month after Forest of Dean I’m finally starting to get my motivation back and knuckle down to some proper training.

For a while, I was struggling.  That marathon really shook me up and not just because of the physical exertion from the hills and the heat.  It was emotionally draining too, especially during my 20 mile meltdown and then having to force myself back out onto the course to finish the final lap. 

However, onwards and quite literally upwards because Snowdonia isn’t that far away now.  I knew when I booked FOD for early August that once completed it would only leave me 12 weeks to prepare for Snowdown. 

Now 12 has become nine, because unfortunately I haven’t been able (or perhaps willing!) to fit all that much running in lately.

I did manage two short recovery runs in the week after FOD and they were pretty solid considering the state I was in.  I remember for the Monday and Tuesday feeling particularly rotten with an upset stomach and very little appetite, probably another reason why my enthusiasm for lacing up was somewhat lacking.

Then I had to contend with a health scare for our dog.  He’s a King Charles Cavalier – not renowned for their fitness and resilience – and ours is a particularly special case.  He was diagnosed with a genetic condition at the age of two which essentially traps fluid along his spine and can, in some cases, lead to fitting and swelling on the brain.

Fortunately he’s never experienced any of the head trauma and the rest is usually controlled with medication.  But this time, presumably not helped by old age (he’s ten), he was clearly in a lot of pain and kept losing his balance.

Without an MRI scan we can’t be sure exactly what’s causing the problems.  His condition may have worsened, but equally it could be a stroke or something affecting his inner ear.  He also has a heart murmur, just to add to the fun.

Cue a handful of sleepless nights and repeated trips to the vets, coupled with trying to get to work and plan for a holiday I’d booked.  Running definitely had to take a back seat! 

Under less stressful circumstances, I’m sure a rest would have done me some good.  Sadly not this time and at one point it did look like the time had come to say goodbye.  And yet as things stand now a couple of weeks later, he’s responded well to the meds and appears much more comfortable.

He’s stopped crying and yelping and is sleeping through the night again – yes, they really are our fur-babies, even down to sleeping patterns!  I won’t be putting him through the scan and certainly not sanctioning any invasive procedures or operations, not at his age. 

As long as he’s comfortable and has some quality of life, things can stay as they are.  Here’s hoping that’s the case for a good few weeks and months to come. 

So, drama navigated and luckily no need to cancel the holiday.  I took Izzy down to Devon for four nights, staying close to Lyme Regis and the Devon / Dorset Jurassic Coast.  Good running territory, as our very own Kat can testify!

I did manage two runs, both about five miles navigating the country lanes near our lodge and the village of Hawkchurch.  Being in the Axe Valley, I was expecting a few hills – and there were plenty to contend with.  All good prep for Snowdon and a great way to do some sightseeing.

Of course holidays also usually mean a bit of overindulgence and it’s fair to say I ate and drank ‘well’ (!) for a week.  Nothing too damaging, but I’m pretty sure there are a couple of excess pounds that need shifting.

All the more reason to get back on it and sort out my training into something a bit more structured.  For Snowdown, my plan is to cut the mileage back compared with my usual marathon prep and concentrate more on the choice of terrain.  Lots of hills and leg work, plus I’m planning on joining Izzy in the pool while she has her weekly swimming lesson.

If anyone has any advice for the best form of training, then do please share it – I’m all ears!  I just don’t think bashing out the road miles is going to be all that helpful, especially with two full marathons (and all the training) already under my 2018 belt.

What was encouraging was this morning’s run to work.  I managed 14.5 miles in 2hrs 05 and it gave me a chance to road-test a new piece of kit – my CamelBak hydration vest with two soft bottle pouches on the shoulder straps.

It means I can carry more fluid versus my normal hand-held and for longer runs (including the marathon itself) I’m definitely going to fill one of the bottles with something sugary like flat Coke.  That made such a difference at Forest of Dean once I finally got hold of some, so carrying it and drinking before I bonk makes sense to me.

Happy running all and I’ll do my best to try and get cover so I can attend next month’s planned gathering in St Albans.   

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