The (hopefully short) road to recovery

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Well the good news is that the calf responded really well to the RICE treatment and it’s definitely only a grade 1 strain. I’m hoping my decision to stop my run when I felt the strain developing will mean I have limited the damage. The bad news, if you could call it that, is the swelling around the area seems to have impinged on my nerve, leaving my foot numb around the outside of my ankle and along the outer edge of my foot, but this has improved during the day.

Today I kept my calf-guard on all day to provide some compression and support and keep the blood flow up, which seems to have helped. I mean, I couldn’t exactly walk around the office with an ice pack strapped on, could I!

Tonight at home I’ll do so light stretching to assess how it feels. Given that my nerve is still impinged I figure there must still be some swelling so I’m going to continue the RICE treatment until tomorrow at least. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to swap over to heat treatment and start massage and stretching. All things being well I’ll be able to start light exercises on my calf in a few days and hopefully a light jog on the weekend.

Fingers crossed!

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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Finding a spanner on my long run

I’m currently writing this post sitting on the tube, dressed in enough hi-vis that I should be handing out sunglasses, slightly sweaty, probably smelly and attracting some weird looks from passengers. That could be the limp though…
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I very rarely need to abandon runs but near the 6km mark of my planned 21km run I had to stop running and make for public transport thanks to a developing calf strain. I don’t really know what caused it, all I know is that after stopping to help a cyclist with directions for about 30 seconds I set off and immediately noticed a tightness in my calf. Five minutes later I knew I had a problem and two minutes after that I knew I’d strained it. Luckily for me where I had stopped was only about a half-mile (limping) walk from a tube stop and, being prepared, I’d thankfully brought my travel card.

Time now to get myself home, get the ice and compression going and get my leg elevated. I’ll assess tomorrow how it pulls up, but with my next race being a month away I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok.

Actually, just realised, I’m *definitely* smelly. Maybe a shower first before the RICE…

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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A plan is coming together…

It would seem next years racing schedule is starting to take shape. Well, at least the first part of the year.

Two weeks ago I registered for the Benfleet 15, a 15mile trail race through the mud and snow of Kent, in the middle of January. I’m doing it as a ‘warm up’ for Ragnar Relay Florida, though it’ll be anything but warm!

I also received news last week that I was lucky enough to get a London Marathon charity place through my work, raising money for Shelter, one of our nominated charities. I’ve wanted to run London for years, but never got through the ballot, so I’m pretty stoked to have been given a charity place. It’s a lot of money to raise but its for a very good cause so I’m sure I’ll get there.

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After the Mudd…

I felt like I slept in the washing machine, but who knew Obstacle Course Races could be so much fun?!? I certainly didn’t.

12+ miles, mud, freezing water, 26 obstacles, more mud, electric shocks, electricity and mud combined. It all sounded like a *really* hard way to not even run a half marathon. But it was loads of fun. Running in a team was part of it, but also the camaraderie with other runners at each obstacle. Being helped and helping others through/under/over obstacles comes with a gift and receipt of kudos that you don’t get in road races.

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I’ll certainly be looking to enter tough Mudder again next year. Maybe with a double Mudd challenge – two times around the course in a day. Marathon distance obstacle course, sounds doable, right? Or idiotic…

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To Mudd or not to Mudd?

That is the question…

Well, ‘was’ the question when I was asked last week to fill in for a friend who had suddenly been sent on a work trip to China. Despite having not trained specifically for it, and only having two weeks notice, I chose to Mudd. I mean, why not?

How awesome I think I'm going to be...

How awesome I think I’m going to be…

I figure I’ve got enough residual fitness from my ultra and my return to base running, plus some upper body strength from pushups, pullups and burpees to get me through 12miles of obstacle course race. He says without actually having done an OCR before, let alone a Tough Mudder which is almost half-marathon in distance…

What I'm more likely to be...

What I’m more likely to be…

I may well end up eating my words alongside all the mud I’ll be ingesting come this Saturday, but hey, you don’t know what you can do unless you try, right?!?

Anyone got any tips for an OCR newbie?

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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Thames Path Challenge 50k race recap

My first ultra is in the bag and I’d have to say I’m mighty pleased. All in all it was a steady, normal race where pretty much everything clicked into place nicely. B. O. R. I. N. G. I know. No tales of superhuman feats, no stories of crawling over the line with shredded feat, no fable concocted about channelling my spirit animal to push through adversity…
But maybe, just maybe, for a first ultra ‘uneventful‘ is where it should be…

Sure, my legs were trashed on the Sunday, and Monday was spent trying (and failing) to move faster than grandma on a winter morning, but I’ve been worse after shorter races.

Yes my ITB played up and I needed 20 minutes of physio at the half-way point to get it working, but I was able to keep running so it wasn’t that bad.

And no, the toilet paper I’d (cleverly) stashed in the outside pocket of my backpack didn’t remain unused…

But, it pretty much all worked. I say pretty much because the only thing that went awry was the battery going flat on my heart rate monitor. Real schoolboy error that, not replacing a HRM battery before a 6+ hour run. Sheesh! Luckily I was already well and truly in the zone when it went flat so I just ran on feel.

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A lot of my night was spent with this for a view. Trail seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Luckily my Petzl NAO reactive headlight has a mean output…

All of this leaves me in a unusual position – I don’t feel like I have a race to recap? Certainly not in the blow-by-blow sense. Instead, I thought I’d list out some of the highlights, lowlights and tips I learned throughout a thoroughly enjoyable, but uneventful, 50k nighttime ultra:

  • The Thames Path Challenge is a multi-distance, ‘single effort’ event, built around a 100km walk from Putney in London to Henley in the West. Participants can choose to undertake 25km legs, 50km legs or go all out for the 100km leg, and can walk or run their chosen section. And the best part;
  • You have to be raising money for charity to enter, with minimum sponsorship amounts, so the whole event is about supporting others while achieving a personal goal.
  • As a runner used to half and full marathons where water and energy drink is about all you can expect, being presented with aid stations complete with hot food, snacks, tea and coffee, first aid and dedicated blister and physio stations was just something else.
  • Sitting around before my 10pm start time I’d got a bit cold, and consequently misjudged my attire, so there I was at 5km stripping off in order to remove my base later. Not an uncomplicated affair when wearing a backpack and head torch, and no doubt bemusing for the walkers I had passed just seconds before!
  • A nighttime trail requires a lot more concentration than daytime. A few stumbles in the first 10k taught me to pay attention. I was on trail afterall. Mentally it was a lot tougher than normal trail just because of the lack of light…
  • When your ITB blows out 20k into a 50k race it is a godsend to find a free physio station at 25k that will work on it for 20 minutes to get you back into race-completing shape. And when that starts to fail at the 40k mark you chew even more ibuprofen and thank your past self for popping the two Solpadeine tablets in your first aid kit.
  • If you know that every junction is marked by two reflective arrows and confidence markers before and after, do NOT continue to run across the bridge and into suburbia for a kilometre when there are no confidence markers. Instead, take the trail to the side of the bridge which does have confidence markers. D’oh!
  • It’s really eerie to round a corner and find yourself in a cemetery, past midnight, with only your head torch lighting your way. Funnily enough you increase your pace…
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Yes, this is a cemetery. Yes, it really is on the trail. Confidence marker can be seen in the left of shot. Slight increase in pace through this section…

  • Cows that are eating at night do not like having their photo taken and will shy away. Jog away slowly.
  • Cows that are sleeping at night definitely do not like have their photo taken and will stampede. Run away quickly.
  • No matter which way you look at it, running 50k at night after an entire day of eating high-carb, high-fibre food is going to leave you needing a ‘comfort break’. Unfortunately it may not come anywhere near an aid station and making like a bear could be your only option. Always take toilet paper on big runs like that
  • Remembering to take toilet paper on the big run
  • Being given a glass of bubbly at the finish, to go with the beef, cheese and bacon burger inside the kitchen tent. So much better than a Gatorade and protein bar!
  • Packing my sleeping bag into the backpack I sent to race finish…

 

Anyone for seconds?

Would I run this race again? Yes?
At night? Maybe…

Running at night was pretty cool and a great change from normal ‘dark’ running (like pre-dawn or after work). Starting close to 10pm and running well into the early hours of the morning brings with it a different sort of fatigue and pain level, but also being in the dark with only your personal bubble of light, and virtually no crowds, provided a freedom of ‘spirit’ like no other race I’ve done before. It was literally six and a bit hours of solo time. I finished the race feeling completely zen. Spent, empty, centred, but at the same time full of energy. I know I’ve just slipped well and truly into ‘new age’ but that is truly how I felt…

But would I run another night race? I’m not sure. I really loved the solitude, but it also missed the ‘racing’ component of normal daytime races. But it was still awesome.

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Happy finisher. Prior to rapid champagne consumption…

Anyway, moving on, I’m now recovered from the race and trying to focus on building my strength and pace back up. I’ve still got another week of so of easy running, then it’s into preparation for the Ragnar Relay. Gulp…

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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410 Error – An internet connection is required for this blog…

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Well, after a month of no internet I am back online! Please expect a resumption of normal service shortly…

In the meantime, Happy Running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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Thames Path Challenge: Done!

First ultra is in the bag. Detours, a little bit of getting lost, startled cows and a little sojourn into the bushes for an (unplanned) comfort break, but I made it to the end without too much trouble. I need two new ITBs though…

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Thanks to everyone who has commented and liked along the way. It means a lot. I’ll catch up with the comments soon, but right now it’s 5am, I’ve been running all night and I’m a wee bit tired. And the champagne handed out at the finish line has. Gone. Straight. To. My. Head…

Race review coming soon.

Did anyone else race this weekend?

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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Thames Path Challenge 50k: still going…

Just passed marathon distance and now into the unknown. Literally. Where the hell is the course?!?

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Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

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Thames Path Challenge 50k

HALF WAY THERE.
‘Strong’ is not quite the word I’d use to describe how I feel. But push on we must.

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Thanks to everyone who has ‘liked’ or commented. I promise to get back to you after I finish.

Happy running everyone!

Bernie

Get Going, Get Running!

On Facebook? ‘Like’ my Facebook page and keep up with my day-to-day happenings, hints, tips and shares
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