Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A big 'if'

I’ve been slowly putting myself together again after the toll taken by the Lakeland 100. Almost five weeks after the event I’m still struggling to feel comfortable in my running again at any distance. My regular Serpentine RC 5k race last Friday was my slowest for a year at 23.05 – and almost two minutes slower than the one I did the week before the Lakeland. The BBC 10k race a day previously took me 49.42, about five minutes slower than I’d have expected. And the marathon distance in yesterday’s Enigma ultra on a flat course round the lake at Milton Keynes took me about four and a half hours – more than 45 minutes slower than my time on the hilly marathon around Lake Windermere in May.

The good news, though, is that my left foot seems to be okay(ish) and my neck, for which I have my first physio appointment next week, is only tolerably painful. I’ve clocked up a further 65 miles in the above-mentioned events and the Sandwell Six Towns Marathon (in which I navigated the 1.75 miles of the Netherton canal tunnel without a torch), so I’m now up to 1,145 for the year. I’ve got 336 miles lined up in the 15 days from 8-23 September, including the 156-mile Trans-Britain stage race and the four marathons in four days Great Barrow Challenge. If I complete that little lot without mishap, the 2,012-mile target might just start to look achievable for the first time since I took it on. But that’s a very big ‘if’ . . .

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My left foot and Mo

Twenty-two miles into the Herts Stroller, my left foot let it be known in no uncertain manner that it hasn't mended and that if I continued to run on it today I would pay for it later. So I hobbled into the 24-mile checkpoint for a disappointing retirement.

The reward for being sensible, though, was immense: I was home in time for Mo Farah's 5,000 metres victory. Running doesn't get any better than that.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Moving again

I've been meaning to write up a proper report of the Lakeland 100 but what with recovering, catching up on work, going for my medal presentation and being totally taken up with these extraordinary Olympics (when did I develop an interest in rowing, for goodness sake?) I just haven't found the time. I did my first couple of post-100 runs this weekend, though, so I'm back chasing the 2012 in 2012 target and I thought I should mention them here.

The first was a slow, painful parkrun: 5k in a little under 26 minutes. And then, this morning, a 10k in London's Regent's Park, that was a good 20 minutes slower than Mo Farah's gold medal effort last night. I'm moving again, though, and my left foot and neck are holding up, and that's what matters.

Coincidentally I reached the halfway mark on the 2012 miles at the halfway stage (in terms of time) on the Lakeland 100. I've now done 1,055 miles in events this year. Next weekend is something called the Herts Stroller. I'm hoping it lives up to its name.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Medals, Team GB, my grandson and me

For the first 48 hours after I finished the Lakeland 100, it was all I could do to get to the toilet; on the Sunday night I was reduced to wriggling there on my bum because my legs had all but seized up.

Even on the Tuesday, when I first ventured out of the house where I was staying at Ambleside, it took me the best part of an hour to hobble to the shops and back.

Aside from the stiffness, my left foot was getting me back for running on an injury that first made itself felt about 30 miles from the finish. Walking on the flat was just about possible but any slight variation in the surface was a challenge and any incline out of the question.

The human body’s powers of recovery are staggering, though, and by Wednesday morning I’d got enough mobility back to make the 300-mile journey back to London, brave the public transport system to the Olympic Park at Stratford and take up an unmissable invitation to receive a Gold Challenge fundraiser’s medal at a special presentation at Team GB House. I was there for Britain’s first two gold medals of the Games, including Bradley Wiggins’ victory in the cycling, when the whole building seemed to be about to take off. 

There were times when I even felt a bit like a proper athlete myself, swapping tales of what it’s like to run a 100 with Olympians. I wouldn’t have minded some of their physio facilities, though, as much as I appreciated their hospitality.

Mt grandson Stanley (pictured) was impressed.