Monday, 16 November 2009

Nothing to see here......

Still resting up the achilles, so no running done at all this week. Not one single step :-(

Instead, I've been out for 3 decent bike rides. I'm getting a wee bit more confident on the bike, but still a comparative wimp! Enjoyed my trip out on Friday though, coming back along London Road and getting thrown off a few times as the tyres got stuck in boulders.

It's still not running though,is it? And the general mood reflects this. I need a good few hours out on the fells to shake off this cloud that feels like it's hanging over me.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

One step forwards, and two steps back!

I guess that's how it is with fellrunning!! Although, to be fair, it's more like two steps forward and one back.

The steps forward? A good training week, back somewhere near what it needs to be.

The step back? I decided I couldn't ignore the lump on my achilles any longer. It's had long enough to settle down now but still hasn't. So a trip to the physio recommended by various Toddies, some painful massage and frictions, some ultrasound and a "suggestion" that I shouldn't run for at least a couple of weeks otherwise it'll turn into a chronic problem.

And I've decided to follow that advice (subject to one last long run over Pendle last Sunday), so the bike is out, the turbo trainer is ready and the fell shoes are placed away in the cupboard (metaphorically speaking!).

But first, a decent training week and some reassurance that the climbing legs are still there.

Monday started with a trot along the canal in the rain. Felt the need to go out and do something, so after trotting a couple of miles, put in some efforts on the way back, using towpath bridges as a marker for starting and ending. Surprisingly good fun! Only 3.5 miles, but enough to shake any lethargy out of the legs.

Tuesday I made a very rash first speedwork session at the club, and the first time I've done speedwork in over 6 months! I decided I'd take it easy....yeah, right! The competitive edge kicked in and I pushed as hard as I could to stay out front...leading to completely knackered legs on Wednesday and Thursday :-) Good stuff though, I enjoyed it..especially when the heavens opened in a torrential downpour during my warm-down, leaving me soaked!

Wednesday night was the Tod Fireworks bat run,a damp evening for the event. We plodded up to Stoodley Pike in drizzle and a cold wind, my legs watch the fireworks being launched into the night sky from a bow and arrow!!

Thursday I tried to go out and run, but the head just wasn't there at all. First time I've felt that low in the last few weeks. A combination of factors, all of which left me on the floor, lacking motivation and so, after only 3.5 miles, I decided to call it a day and head home.

Friday was a better day and I headed out for a long run on a nice morning. Up from Brearley, over Scout Rock, down into Mytholmroyd and then up over Erringden Moor towards Stoodley Pike. It was lovely up there, the mist clinging to the top of the monument.

A trot up Dicks Lane towards the monument and then I dropped down through the trees to Withens Clough reservoir, before following the path back up to the stoop then heading out to run a complete loop around the head of the reservoir to descend towards Cragg Vale.

At this point, I had no map and no idea where the small trod would lead me...which turned out to be a bit of a problem because it ended at a wall! So I turned right to follow the wall, ending up nearly at the top of the Cragg Vale road.

I was late by now (appointment with physio!), and had to really push on to climb over Scout Rock and back home. By now it was drizzling and turning into a wet, grey afternoon but I'd had a lovely time.
And autumn is such a lovely time of year to be running, the colours are beautiful. As I headed down through the woods, the leaves were glowing on the floor.

Although things have been a wee bit difficult since moving here (master of understatement!), I do love it and don't regret it. Running is fantastic, and the vast majority of people are great, welcoming and recognise someone like themselves in me.

Friday afternoon saw me take a trip to the physio in Haworth for an assessment of the achilles. The good news is she thinks it's not in too bad a condition. The bad news is that it'll need some rest to get it right. But now's the time to be doing that, so fingers crossed it doesn't take too long.

Saturday was a "rest" day, acting as 1st Aider at the Shepherds Skyline race. I expected little apart from the odd cut knee...but instead ended up sprinting along London Road to pick up a runner who'd fallen heavily on her shoulder. A definite reminder, if one was needed, that proper kit should be carried at fell never know when you might need it!

Sunday was my final run before resting! A recce of the Tour of Pendle, organised by Chrispy. Seven of us set off on a cloudy, cool morning for a fantastic run. For various reasons, I started the day feeling down and with a scowl on my the end of the run I was beaming and on a high! Wonderful running, splendid views, lovely company...what more could you want.

So in total, I think the week was 47 miles and 9,000ft, which isn't far off what I want to get back to. And the good news is that, apart from the soreness from speedwork, no after-effects on my legs at all. The climbing legs were clearly still there on Sunday, and I felt fine at the end. It all bodes if I can just get this achilles right....

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

New beginnings.....

2009 saw me finally pluck up the courage to have a go at the BG. I'd been thinking about it for a couple of years but, despite having walked on the fells since I was a wee small lad, I didn't have the confidence to consider myself a serious contender.

June 2009 changed all that.

Despite not completing (I baled out after 4 legs, at Threlkeld), I gained so much from that day. I then knew I could do it. It isn't beyond me at all. I learned some very harsh lessons, mostly about nutrition and about the need to stay mentally strong at all times.

The truth is I COULD have done it that day. I talked myself out of it at Dunmail. It certainly would have been close and it wouldn't have been pleasant, having felt sick most of the day. But I could have done it. Put me back at Dunmail again now with just over 9 hours to go, and I'll do it. The BG, I know so completely now, is as much in the mind as in the body.

I did some things right as well. The training was nearly spot on (a few tweaks this time, but nothing radical). The old "10,000ft a week" rule certainly works. And regular sports massage in the weeks leading up to the attempt also worked.

I have a couple of leftover niggles from the summer. Most noticeably, a lumpy achilles which still troubles me at times, but seems better when I am training harder.

I actually set off on another attempt in mid-July, knowing I had the achilles problem and I had a whole heap of personal change going on. Mind you, as soon as we headed out from Keswick, all that seemed to melt away and the 1st leg passed by so easily and 15+ minutes up on the previous attempt. I thought it was going to be my day.

But coming up Great Gable, I felt the first cramps in my calf and the tightening of the achilles. By the time we were heading over Kirk Fell, the achilles felt like it was going to snap at any moment. I decided to call it a day before I did more damage. I shouldn't have started, I knew things weren't right. But this BG does funny things to you, and I tried to put it all aside for the day.

So 2010 is THE year. I will complete the BG this year. The summer has been more relaxed, easing off the mileage. More unsettling personal upheaval, but the test is whether you can bounce back from knocks and lows in your life. I will.

The calendar is out, the training programme being constructed....and I CAN'T WAIT!!!