A True Near Death Experience

After my disastrous unicorn run/walk/stumble last time I took to instagram to vent and it was mentioned that I may need more iron. My physio also explained because I had had such a long gap of not running it could have just been ‘runners stomach’. Either way, I went straight back on the iron tablets and headed out the following day for 8 miles.

As you do.

It actually went not too bad. The stomach subsided and the legs did hurt a little but not as bad as before. So the next day I decided to increase it to 10 miles.

I was sensible. I set off at a slow pace I intended to keep to. To help this I stuck to a pod cast and swerved the music. I again went along the river as Joe had been out just before me for a little tester run himself so I was following his route and adding some. I put on my hydration vest so I had water with me and a jacket as it looked like rain was imminent. And I do love a run in the rain!

Ambling along, listening to the owner of twitter talking about algorithms and how it actually works I was enjoying myself. Ok I’m no Mo Farah but I was moving and I was finally beginning to understand and ‘get’ Twitter (for someone who enjoys social media I’ve never bloody understood that platform). I stopped to take the usual arty/farty photos and carried on, telling myself this is good practice on trails for the ultra I’m doing.

Soon I see a familiar face too and yes it’s another stop but it would be rude not to and I’m not exactly going flat out. She tells me the route is 14km out and back from her house so I calculate I may have to find some extra to get my 10 miles. She also tells me not to run right down at the river as it’s not great for running and one slip will mean your in the water. Given that I am indeed that person guaranteed to fall in or be dragged in by the water I choose to heed her advice. I’ve still not forgotten the number of times water has tried to kill me! The bottomless puddle, the smash to the face of the water bottle – I’m lucky to still be alive honestly.

I see the fork in the trail and take the one away from the river. Oh yes. Today I have my sensible hat on thank you. Silently congratulating myself on acting responsibly I confidently follow the now tarmac path. Hmm. Didn’t expect to be going past houses. Thought it would still be trail. Ok never mind. I follow it round. And round. And round. And then stop.

I’m back at the fork. I’ve just done a circle. Bugger. Oh well, that’ll be some extra mileage then!

I finally find some more trail and decide to be a bit more adventurous so constantly pick the harder to follow route. Although with my sense of direction it’s not exactly my best plan. I pick my own way through thick, sharp branches and bushes and come ridiculously close to ending up the river but somehow I make it through! I head ‘back inland’ to get the extra mileage to make 5 before heading back along the same route to make my 10 miles.

Oh yes. I have a plan. And it’s bomb proof!

Not wanting to get lost I choose to run round the local park I have now found myself upon. I head round the edge and towards the play park where a couple are walking their dog.

As I get closer it spots me and starts running towards me. It looks friendly enough – ie it’s not frothing at the mouth – so I continue at my leisurely pace towards the park. The owners don’t react so I doubt it’s a ‘vicious killer’.

It gets faster towards me. It’s now bounding heavily, panting as it gets closer. I can feel the ground shudder with every thud of paw. Then all of a sudden it rears up on its back legs. It’s almost the same height as me now and this thing is big! It’s huge! The sun is blocked behind it’s gigantic figure. This dog is a tank! It’s front paws land on my leg and I’m stopped dead in my tracks. I try to stay upright because if I fall and this thing gets on top of me I’m going to be pinned. Think wizard of oz with the house landing on the winding witch. (Although not so sure why I am comparing myself to a wicked witch with a green face?)

I check my leg hasn’t snapped in two under the weight of the most solid dog I’ve seen. Still in one piece. Phew. I decide the best thing to do is to just carry on and get out of there – just in case it jumps up on my shoulders and tries the whole wrestle mania smack down on me.

What are the owners doing I hear you ask?

Laughing.

Not horribly or maliciously. But like the parent of a child would laugh at little John who just punched Sophie in the face. ‘What a scamp’ I can imaginary hear them say.

I decide it’s best just to keep running on, praying I can put run their little beast. When I get back to the river my glutes are hurting so I pause for a minute and glance down at my leg, praying I don’t see the bone.

There are 3 very bright claw marks across my leg. I immediately take a photo and text Joe.

‘You know that guy that killed a mountain lion when out running? Well I’ve just been attacked by a pug! No one died though.’

Yes ladies and gentlemen. It was a pug. One of the smallest and possibly cutest dogs in the world and I was ‘attacked’ by one. What followed in the next few days was torturous.

‘You mean to say you can’t out run a pug? How slow are you?’

‘How did that small and fat a dog manage to get you that far up your leg?! My word you’re small!’

‘I don’t understand. It’s a pug!’

It’s unclear just now if I will ever live this down but I’m trying to remain positive. I managed to continue my run after such a vicious attack from one of the worlds deadliest animals. I was able to get away without having to resort to taking its life. And I have lived to tell the tale. Even if it is a tremendously embarrassing one.

Who said running was boring?

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My Half Ironman Training 

‘May the odds be ever in your favour’


Well that’s not really happening right now is it!

After Fridays fall then Sundays ‘defiant’ half marathon (yes I can do this, I’m fine, the distance isn’t an issue, oh no wait, the pain!) I’ve had a rather quiet week so far.

Running is very difficult as the movement hurts my cheek a bit too much.  At most I’ve done the odd mile on the treadmill to keep me from going insane but I’ve spent the entire time gurning like your grandfather and checking every two seconds it’s not started bleeding again.  Good form it is not my friend.

I managed a session in the pool – which was one of those where I had to guilt myself in to going – and did an ok 2000m.  My swim buddy bailed on me because of the rain and a heavy weekend but I had a set written on my hand – and I made him feel suitably bad the next day. 

I also managed an open water session at Loch Ore again.  However this time the wind was against me and it was incredibly choppy.  At one point I was at the second buoy and every time I looked up – oh yes, my face was actually in the water! – I was getting further and further back from it.  I persevered though but again the third lap was very much a ‘force yourself’ lap.  Had Joe been finished his run I would have quit at 2 laps.  It did make me feel better to hear the stronger swimmers complaining of how hard it was though.  


Any form of weights, pull ups, push ups or even some yoga has been completely off the cards this week so far.  My hand has turned a lovely shade of black and blue (which I’m taking to mean it’s getting better) and reminds me quite often it’s still not quite right.  So it’s been impossible to apply any pressure on it what so ever.

So that leaves me with only one thing I can comfortably do – and it’s the one thing that landed me in this broken bodied state in the first place – cycling. 

I’ve stuck to the spin bike as we appear to be in monsoon season right now, not keen to have another crash I thought it the sensible option.  I’ve tried following it up with a run but as I said it’s still too painful on the cheek so thats been limited to a mile.    I’m dealing with it all not too bad though to be fair.  I mean, I haven’t hurt anyone (yet, however there have been a few moments that have involved clenched fists).  There have been moments I’ve gazed longingly out the window desperate to go for a proper run, U2’s With or Without You playing over and over in my head…..

But I’m ok.  I’m dealing with it.

I may have had to look the other way when I’ve driven past someone running down the street, getting their fix, wondering when I’m going to get mine, cautiously trying not to swerve in to them out of jealousy…..

Honestly, I’m fine.

In all seriousness I should be back to running properly again by Saturday.  And even though I’m working I can still get out for my 5 miles at lunch time – regardless of wind or rain I’m running!

Then it will only be 3 weeks until event day.   3 weeks to get that last long ride in.  That last open water swim.   That last long (ish) run.  

Plenty time to change the nappy as I will be well and truly ‘filling ma breeks’ by then! 

Is it Saturday yet?

Help! I need somebody

Actually what I need is someone elses body – if you get what I mean.

I’ve hurt my shoulder.  Don’t know when, don’t know how.  It just hurts. A lot.  I can barely lift anything with my left arm. I’m talking a few kg’s at best with the dumbells.  And 30 seconds is the most I can achieve on a one arm plank.  Clearly somethings wrong.

My left arm has always been my ‘weaker’ arm (is that a thing? It’s definitely a thing with me but is that normal? In fact, best not get into that discussion!).  Truth be told it’s my entire left side that’s weaker.  Hmm, weak would probably be a better description.  That’s where my Harry Potter muscle is that gives me pain too.  On the left side of my back.  Do you know I can just picture myself when I’m older – wobbling round in circles because the left side of my body has totally quit on me and shrivelled up to nothing.  There I am, middle of a car park, just going round and round in circles.  Probably wearing a really heavy skirt and a shawl.  Can you still buy shawls? If not I will have made it.  No doubt.

Not that I am over reacting.  Nope.

It does genuinely feel like my left arm has shrivelled up, become thinner, lost all muscle.  I’m frightened to look in the mirror in case it’s true.  I wonder if you can get like one side of you transplanted.  Swap it for one that actually works and doesn’t break down.  Like Will Smith in I Robot.  Is that the one where the opening scene is him showering? Nice! Although I wonder if his arm gets rusty though.  That wouldn’t be a good look. Or maybe it’s made from titanium.

Biggest problem (other than my over active imagination) is that I don’t know how to fix it.  I’m guessing more focused strength training in that area but if I can barely hold my own body weight on it where do I begin? 

First person to say ‘lose weight’ dies. 

I had to pick up my sons birthday cake today and I couldn’t hold it in my left arm.  It’s a cake! A really, really awesome Paw Patrol cake but still, a cake!  Ironically I had planned on running to the place to pick it up before realising I couldn’t run back with a cake but that’s just by the by. 

Or maybe a side effect of my useless left side? Is it the left side of your brain that makes you stupid? 

It’s not just my shoulder that’s hurting either.  Well why would it be just one thing when I have 3 weekends in a row of races!  One of which naturally is a just a little marathon, you know, nothing big.  Nothing I’ve been training for or aiming for, nothing I’m keen to get improvements on.  Oh no.  ‘Just’ a marathon.  It’s my calves as well.  Tighter than a politicians behind when asked about his expenses they are.  So I’ve spent over 3 hours stretching today.  I’ve spent more time on that foam roller than I have googling how to get a body transplant. And consequently have felt like I’ve done nothing all bloody day.

That’s probably why I’m ‘over reacting’ right now.  Boredom.  What do people do if they don’t run or cycle or swim? 

They go to car parks and walk aimlessly around in a circle because their bodies are f………..

Anyway.  That’s enough.  I’m going to parkrun tomorrow.  Going to do a gentle, slow 5k, ease the legs.  

If the left side of my body doesn’t actually die and start to decompose whilst I’m sleeping.

Hips don’t lie

Never a truer word spoken (or song sung ha ha).  I’ve had an ache in my hip since the Tay Ten.  It went away for a short period but it came back just before the marathon.  I was running ok and my last long run was fine.  At running club the Thursday before Edinburgh though it was niggling too much and I found myself skipping some of the drills.  It felt like I was almost dragging my left side.  

So after Edinburgh I knew I had to get it seen to.  I made an appointment at the physio and headed down, not really knowing what to expect.

Some typical questions ‘what exercise do you do’ , ‘what’s your occupation’ , past medical history etc etc.  I explained the ache and how long it had been there.  She explained that’s not my hip it’s my back (easy mistake if you ask me).  She asked what I was hoping she would be able to do.  I explained I didn’t really know what a physio does I had just been told I need to see one.  As you can tell, things were going well. 

I stood up and she looked at my hips and back and very quickly discovered I had a rotated pelvis.  ‘Oh I think I knew that, I had it when I was pregnant – could barely walk.  I presumed it had just gone though’.  She found this fascinating.  Unrelated to the problem but interesting to her.  She tells me I have one leg longer then the other.  Again I think I’ve been told this before but I had also thought pretty much everyone had this.  Turns out not to this extent.

On to the table and she gently pokes at my back.

I practically jump off the table.

This happened when I was pregnant.  I could have killed the physio then.  Had I not been too fat to move.

It turns out to be my Quadratus Lumborum muscle which is severely tight.  The next 10 mins are filled with my tears and screams as she tortures me claiming she’s relaxing this Harry Potter character in my body.  

She doesn’t by the way.  I walk out in severely more pain.

I’m told heat will help ease it and I’m met with amusement when I explain I have been using ice. ‘It’s not inflammatory’.  I don’t have the heart to tell her that – again – I don’t know what she means. 

A quick Google search when I get home and I educate myself on what’s wrong. It amazes me how it explains exactly how I had been feeling.  

Harry Potter deleted scenes

Amazing

It’s going to be a full week of lots of stretches so when I go back next week it’s not so painful! Hips don’t lie.  Not when it’s actually you’re back that hurts ha ha.