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?

How is this happening?

Serious question. Needs to be asked in all caps.

HOW IS THIS STILL HAPPENING??

I’m still suffering from pain in my glutes and hamstring. That’s a year. An entire year! 52 weeks, 365 days – a bloody year!!

Yes I still managed to hobble round a 100km race and a 33 miler but they weren’t exactly stellar performances! Quite frankly they were borderline embarrassing. In fact, let’s not talk about them. Given a baby could crawl faster.

I had a few weeks of next to no running – just 2/3 days. Slight improvement. I mean, I can run a few miles before the pain hits. I no longer care about my pace as my focus is distance so if I’m doing 9 minute miles than so be it. Even if it is just a 5 mile run. But I would prefer it to be closer to 8 let’s be honest.

I’ve been back to physio who discovered I had no reaction what so ever to being hit by a hammer (very strange as I was immensely worried my leg would fly up and kick her in the face but nope, nothing). Are you doing any stretching or exercises to help your legs she asks me.

Ermmmm

This is the odd bit. You see I very much know exactly what I should be doing to help build up my incredible lack of muscle (sometimes I wonder how I’m able to walk my body appears to be that pathetically weak right now) but for some unknown reason I’m just not doing them. I have no discipline what so ever. It’s insulting. The drive and thirst has gone. I can run. It hurts like a mother f…. but I can run. Therefore the arrogance – or could it be laziness – in me has decided to go f@ck it. Run slow, run in pain, but don’t try to fix it.

I would love at this point to say ‘well enough is enough!’ Or something equally as self righteous and poignant but I know it would be a lie. So I’m not going to. I’m not going to declare some huge master plan of how I’m going to fix myself and get back to the goal of a 3:45 marathon. Nope. I’m just going to honestly say – bleurgh.

2 days ago I had planned a 10 mile run. I should be running further just now but 10 miles fitted in to the days schedule. I forced myself to 7 and phoned to get picked up. I was on my way to my parents and Joe was bringing the car anyway so it was more of a ‘don’t drive past me pick me up please’ request. It hurt. It hurt really bad. I carried on and just as the garmin said 9 miles our car pulled up in front of me.

The old me, the me a year ago, would have said ‘it’s only another mile, doesn’t matter, I will see you there’ and forced that last torture. Not now. Not that day. And I’m so glad I didn’t. It didn’t stop hurting until the next day. I couldn’t sit comfortably, couldn’t lie in bed easily, it just hurt all the time.

So after reality hit me on the head (or arse to be more accurate) I decided I have no choice but to stop running for a solid 5 days.

I’m on day 2 and it is KILLING me. I’ve been to the gym, I’ve been swimming, I’ve bought 2 more books to read and countless magazines but oh my god I’m bored!! And restless.

But every time I think ‘maybe just a few miles’ I remember stopping at mile 9 of my 10 mile run. I don’t do that. That isn’t me. So something was killing me.

I’ve booked an ultra for the end of March. I can’t really afford any time off training. But if I can’t really run it what’s the freaking point?

I also have another race in which there is someone who is going to try their damnedest to beat me. I am their target, I am their goal. If I’m honest, it’s that that has maybe finally made me get up off the couch and do my stretches. It’s pee’d me off I won’t lie. Yes I pick people to try and beat in a race but not people who are injured! That’s not a win! Have some respect.

Do I have a grand master plan? No. Are they going to beat me? There’s a high possibility. The ultra – at the moment – is my main focus, not that piddily wee race. So if I have to slow down to prevent further issues I will (I say that now but on the day…. who knows).

As you can probably tell I’m just a bit frustrated right now. Im fed up of my arse hurting and I just want to run. Pain free. I’ve found an entertaining pod cast that helps keep my sludge of a pace even so I’m ready for Saturday to lace up the trainers and get out there.

Will I last it out until Saturday? Who knows. Will I completely fall out of love with running if I don’t run until Saturday? That’s a fear, I won’t lie. What if I decide to just stop altogether? (I’m starting to have a panic attack now).

We will see.

P.M.A – Focus

Positive Mental Attitude. That’s what I’m focusing on.

Desperately focusing on.

Just about clinging on to….

On the grand scale of things, really, the weeks been, well, not awful. If you take the whole week.

Monday I had the chiropractor and I also went to see Steve who is a PT. he had offered to see if there was anything he could do to help me get running again. A few ‘Steve style’ exercises later and it felt better when I was running round the car park. Result! This left me feeling really, really positive and there may just be light at the end of the tunnel.

So I went for a run on Tuesday with Lorner. And had to stop. Twice. I even had to walk up a slight bump. (It wasn’t a hill, I won’t insult it). The 10 mile race I’m meant to be doing is totally out the window. As is the Summer Series the club does. I’m going to miss one of the races of the series due to one of Joes races so it wasn’t worth pushing it for Wednesdays race.

Wednesday I was back at the chiropractor, back in my depressed mood. No running for a week she said. She suggested swimming to keep my fitness up and to keep my mental health where it needs to be. I like her. She understands.

Thursday was our wedding anniversary so I was getting my eyebrows threaded and my nails done. Yup. That one time a year I remember I really should make an effort to look more like a wife and not a Lycra clad 8 year old boy. I’ve always gone to the same place to get my eyebrows done but it was a different person there on Thursday. A little taken aback that the same person who did them last year wasn’t there this year I paid my money and sat in the chair, awaiting the pulling to start. She gets the thread out and starts.

Oh my days!! What are you doing woman!! I just want a tidy up. I don’t want to be bald! She was skinning me alive I swear. That wasn’t hair being pulled off with that tiny thread but half my face! Of course she couldn’t tell how astonished I was at this because I had no more eyebrow to raise!

She kept going.

Make it stop, make it stop, please – I begged. I’m happy telling myself I’m beautiful on the inside, stuff being beautiful on the outside if this is what it takes! He’s already married me. Contracts signed. Deals done.

Once she was finished she handed me a paper tissue. Pretty sure she kept my skin tissue as some sort of trophy.

Next up was my nails. I sat down and apologised for looking like an extra from the Walking Dead with my half eaten face. She just laughed. Although did point out it looked like there maybe bruising. She wasn’t wrong there. I was tempted to go back round the butchers and give her some bruising. Hmmf.

Thankfully I had a good laugh at the nail place. She told me how she had re-trained a few years ago to do something she actually liked and she had the same sense of humour as me (ladies day at the local races can look an awful lot like My Gypsy Wedding vs The Royal Wedding) so I had a much better afternoon. And that night we went out for dinner to the place we got married. I still love that view from the restaurant each and every time, no matter the weather, and the owners always welcome us with huge hugs.

Which takes me to Friday. We were meant to be away but we had to postpone it to the following week as my appointment for my MRI came through quicker than expected. I’m in two minds about describing my experience of this as I really don’t want to put anyone off who has to have this very common, very routine scan done. So I’ve written it up separately and may or may not post it at a later date. (I might just keep it for my book).

What I will say just now is that the nurses/technicians were absolutely fantastic! Unbelievable at managing me and getting the job done. I was pathetic to say the least. So much so in fact that I did very little the rest of the day. But it has left me with a stronger will. (Apologies if that sounds cryptic, it’s really not meant to be). If I can force myself through that then things aren’t that bad.

Saturday there was no parkrun – no running for a week. Instead I went along to cheer on Lorner at her half marathon. Go Lorner!! Took the kids and my youngest loved getting high fives. It was awesome.

Then it was packing for a trip away with Joe. Just the 2 of us.

Next week I’m doing something new, and I’m absolutely bricking it. I have a pre-course test tomorrow and there’s no reason I shouldn’t pass it unless I freak and panic. There’s a possibility!

No! No I wont do that. It will be fine. I can do this.

Training Update

As promised (mainly to myself) a training update.

A fellow roadrunner suggested Hal Higdon and one of the websites plans fits well in to my already 'brief' schedule so I've gone for that. It will need tweaked I don't doubt but it's given me a good starting place.

  • Monday – 5 mile run
  • Tuesday – leg workout, club run
  • Wednesday – 5 mile run
  • Thursday – core workout, hills/track
  • Friday – rest
  • Saturday – long run
  • Sunday – rest

That's the gist of it. There's a few more details to each run and I'm still swimming etc but yeah, that's it.

And oh my god my legs are killing me!! First time I did my leg workout I couldn't walk for days. Days!! And it's only really lunges and squats! Clearly torture moves designed by those who don't like running.

Evil, evil I tell you.

And I'm back to a longer run. Which I love, I truly adore. Just start running and keep going and going and going.

However……

Saturdays long run didn't 'quite' go to plan. And by 'quite', I really mean not at all. I put on a podcast to try and keep my pace slower, this worked good. What also seemed to be working was my bowel movements. Shame they didn't choose to work before I went out running however (and believe me, I tried everything to get them to move!).

I was barely 3 miles in, enjoying listening to an interview on Toughgirl when that oh too familiar feeling appeared. I tried to block it out, hoping it would go away (because that happens all the time – yeah right), but alas no. I ended up banging on my parents door at about 7:45am hopping from one foot to the next. As soon as the door was unlocked I went screaming past them 'I need a poo!'.

They were least impressed although I suspect they also found this not too abnormal now. Pretty sure I may have done this before.

Back out and I turned the podcast back on. Within minutes they were talking about embarrassing things that happen when you're out running. Naturally, the subject of needing to go came up. I was still laughing a couple of miles on.

My stomach wasn't great though and low and behold I needed another emergency pit stop. This time it was the start of Parkrun which thankfully is a sports centre so does have toilets. I had intended on a few more miles after Parkrun but it was time to call it a day. On the walk home my friend pointed out having fast food the night before probably wasn't the best idea.

The penny dropped again.

(I mean the metaphoric one just to be clear!)

So basically training is going to plan but I need to stop these rookie mistakes. My legs hurt but I'm thinking they will get used to it soon. I probably need to up the track sessions or review my 5 milers – try and make them more speedwork specific – but it's going good so far.

I will get that 3:45.

A Week On

Back to proper running this week – and I feel so much better for it!  First couple of runs were a little weird in the sense they were slower and felt harder but all is ok. I joined a faster group with the running club and that really pushed me on Tuesday.  If I stay in that group I won’t be running Tuesday lunch times as well.  I also stuck a quick bike and rowing session in on Wednesday as I wanted to give my legs a rest from running.  I can’t remember the last time I was on the rower but I don’t remember it being so hard! Truth be told I will be back on it, I need to improve what I did.  

Speaking of which I now have a lunch time route that is the new goal to improve on.  Reversed my favourite route and it was a killer! I struggled with it.  So, naturally, half an hour after finishing, I wanted to go back out and do it again (but obviously I didn’t).  I plan on doing it once a week and hopefully I will see an improvement.

I have had an easy session though.  Last night the running club did a tribute run to Ben from the 401 challenge.  If you don’t know who he is you really should google him!  He was in Perth earlier this year but I couldn’t run with him as had my youngest but I did see him at the Edinburgh Marathon.  He has ran 401 marathons in 401 days to raise awareness of bullying and money to support 2 charities he is close to.  There were about 30 of us last night and we went all together at the same pace along some of the route he ran when here.  It was really nice having the opportunity to chat to people you wouldn’t normally and getting to know a few more Road Runners.  


And that just leaves me with my last activity – swimming.  Yup, I’m back in the pool.  Both the hubby and I are doing the New Years Tri in January so I need to up my game.  My goal is simple – faster than last year but ideally a very good improved time.  So it’s sets and drills 3 times a week.  Oh the joys. It’s not a great distance I have to do, I just have to suck it up and get on with it. 

(Doesn’t stop me having the odd moan about it though ha ha).

Weekly update Рback on track 

Feels like I’m back on my training plan now.  The little doesn’t get his cast off for another week but I’ve managed back to work and to set out a good plan.  Wasn’t easy mind you – the husband and I had, how shall I put it, a ‘great debate’ over the schedule.  He thinks I’m doing too much and I don’t need to do it all and I don’t want to ease up on any of it.  After a tantrum or two (yes from both of us) I finally agreed to sit at the table and re-write it – pencil firmly in my hand so he couldn’t physically score any of it off!  We have come to an agreement, and I am slowly beginning to accept that it may very occasionally be OK to miss a session.  The difficulty I have is that the exercise replaced the depression after having my youngest and I’m scared I fall back in to it. For now though, it’s agreed.  And I doubt I’m the only one who has these issues! 

So on the swimming front it’s going ok.  Been back in the pool a couple of times and got the lengths in.  Next step is buying a swim aid so I can practise strokes etc to become stronger.  I went early one morning and met the best group of people.  It’s mainly the retired that go at that time but my word are they welcoming and funny! Tried to get me in to trouble with the receptionist but she clearly knew their games!  

 I’ve pulled my hamstring ever so slightly so running isn’t at its best but I’m still getting out there.  Really looking forward to a long run soon though – there’s no better feeling than that! 

Now that I have my weights at home I’ve been focusing on squats and deadlifts to build my legs in strength (not size! Body buildings not my cup of tea!).  That’s how I’ve pulled my muscle though – too many too soon.  I was sensible and had my form checked at the gym though and my daughter videos me from time to time to keep me in check.  

Getting Stronger
 So what’s happening this weekend? I’m going to LONDON BABY!!!! Super excited about this as longed to go for ages now.  Looking forward to early morning runs round Hyde park and other iconic places – can see the photos now!! There’s also a gym at the hotel so I’m completely sorted! 

Can’t wait! 

Stressing Out – Before the Moonwalk

its not been a great week to say the least.  As predicted I haven’t been able to get out on my runs as usual.  Got my long one completed on Sunday so that was good but on Monday my legs were hurting so I decided to use the cross trainer instead and finished off with weights.  Tuesday I took the youngest up Moncreiffe Hill with a buggy that had a flat tyre.  11km up and round and boy were my shoulders hurting after! Felt like an intense weights session ha ha.  I went back up later that night with my daughter (she’s 10) to do hill sprints as per training schedule.  Got a little scared though as there were 3 very suspicious looking men there and the first thing that came to mind was child trafficking! Don’t ask me why.  Wednesday I managed circuits class and a little 7km walk and Thursday was a 14km walk.  

That takes me to Friday, and waking up with really sore legs at the side at the top.  Get out of bed and I’m walking like an old lady – not good when the moonwalk is the next day.  Tried to ignore it and walked in to town and back so I could measure myself on a machine in Boots (interestingly I seem to grow one week then shrink the next ha ha).  Not the best idea.  It’s now Saturday afternoon and the pain is not going – how I’m going to manage 26 miles tonight is anyone’s guess.  

The girl I’m doing it with has been in frantic contact though so does look like she is coming – that’s a bonus.  Typically though I haven’t finished my bra:-( Hence why I’m so stressed.  Oh, that and the fact I’ve not managed to reach my target of a measly ¬£150 – this makes me very sad:-( 

I will keep going though, and I will complete the 26 miles.  After I will badger anyone and everyone to get to target. 

And next week…… it’s back to running more…..and then Tough Mudder!  

Top Hat is done at least