Sunday, February 03, 2008

I need a rest

Over 200 miles covered in the last 3 weeks and it's starting to take its toll.

On Tuesday I did a 12 mile trail run, once again armed with my head torch as I ran through local fields, hills and woods. There was around 1200ft of ascent in the route.

On Wednesday morning I had to be up at 4:30 to catch a flight to Belfast where I would travel to Londonderry to work for the next couple of days.

After work I then faced what I dreaded the most; having to run 12 miles on a treadmill. Given the choice I wouldn't run 1 mile on a treadmill, but in a strange city at night with no map I was forced to. The hotel was quite nice, but the gym was poorly equipped. There were three treadmills; two looked older than I did with frayed belts and notices that said "this machine must not exceed 8kph". 8kph? useless. The third machine was more modern but was in use. I had to use one of the old machines for 10 minutes whilst I waited for a girl to finish. I jumped on it and just set it to start; a nice steady pace of 10.5kph, but foing the last couple of k's at 12.5. I can't tell you what mental torture it is looking at the clock knowing that the best part of two hours would be spent in that one spot. Half way through I started to get a tight Illio-tibial-band (ITB) on my right side. I've felt this coming on for a few days now, but it started to get sharper. I thought to myself I'll stop at 18km, but when 18km eventually came I forced myself to stay on longer eventually clocking up 13 miles.

I'd only had one small cup of water, which obviously is not enough for 2 hours running. Also the gym was too warm so I had sweated a lot and had lost a fair bit of salt. I had a few more cups of water and then went back to the lift where there was a tray outside a hotel room, with the remains of someone’s dinner and also a salt pot. Much to the horror or passing guests I pulled off the top, emptied salt into the water and drank it. I felt better though not long afterwards. Me and a colleague then went into the town for an evening meal. We found a Weatherspoon’s pub, and I loaded up on pasta as usual.

On Thursday we finished work a little earlier than expected and took a slightly longer route back to the airport. We stopped off at the Giants Causeway as neither of us had seen it. I wasn't too bothered to be honest, but I was the driver, so I agreed. We arrived and it was literally blowing a gale. A bus takes you down to the causeway and we both got off the bus took a handful of photos and were back on 2 minutes later. I feel obliged to post these photos, despite having nothing to do with running, because I froze half to death taking them!

My flight was delayed because the pilot had to abort his landing, only just making his second attempt. He was going to give up and go back to Manchester. The take-off and first 15 minutes of the flight were pretty scary. It was only a small jet, just 3 seats in each row and only 20 rows so it got blown around all over the place. Thankfully the landing, though blustery, was not as bad. I drove home straight away but didn't arrive until after 9pm so I decided it was too late to run.

So, I did Thursdays run on Friday. I did 11.5 miles with around 1100ft of ascent on the trail. My ITB was aching, and my knees and hips a little sore too. I don't think running on the treadmill the day before had agreed with me.

Due to those work commitments I didn't do my usual two trips to the gym for strength and stability work this week.

The gales and severe weather hit on Friday, but we got off lightly with only a dusting of snow on Saturday morning.

I had a 14 mile run planned, but added an extra mile and did 15. I always carry my full backpack at weekends, and was wrapped up in a waterproof jacket, hat and gloves. This is what I wear for most runs at the moment. I took a couple of photo's during the route. Clear, crisp and cold would best describe the day. I took the opportunity to run with my buff over my mouth, as much to fend off the cold wind as to practice to see what it will be like running with one in the desert. When a sandstorm hits I will be wearing one, so I had better get used to it. Surprisingly it did take me about 5 or 6 miles to adjust. It's not very pleasant at first, so I recommend any other 2008 MDSers having a go to. Better to have trained with one on that to use one for the first time 'in anger' in the desert.

That white circle visible on the horizon in this second photo is the 250ft high Lovell radio telescope at Jodrell Bank.

There was around 1500ft of ascent in the run. I completed at a good pace, considering the full backpack weight; around 5.7mph. However, the extra weight did makes all the bits that ache, ache more! No sooner had I arrived home when a photographer from the local newspaper, The Evening Sentinel, arrived to take my photo for an MDS article that will be featured soon to help boost my sponsorship funds I hope. I looked a mess. I was just back from a run (literally!) and had not shaved for a couple of days. Still, all publicity is good publicity they say!

On Sunday I was forced to do my own route, after contacing the LDWA event I planned to do and told that it was full. So instead I did 20 miles with 1800ft of ascent, again with a full pack as planned. It was harder work today. I felt tired earlier, and was getting ITB pain and knee pain too. I was glad to finish the run, averaging 5.3mph for the route.

71.5 miles covered this week.

I am thankful that next week is my planned recovery week. My mileage was due to half; down to 35, but depending on how I feel I may even scale that back further. I have also booked a appointment to see my uncle, the chiropractor, on Tuesday evening. I know that my pelvis is twisted and rotated again, and that is the cause of the pains. The problem is that the muscles at the side of my spine tighten up so much that they pull my pelvis up and around, stretching all connecting muscles. This is typically why I get ITB pain. Usually I will see one of my uncle’s clinical sports massage therapists first who spend 20 minutes softening up those muscles so that my uncle can then make chiropractic adjustments to bring me back in line. I have not seen my uncle since early December, so I have lasted fairly well this time, despite the increased mileage. Other areas need attention too. I know my Plantar Fascia in both feet, but mainly my left is very tight. I do usually sort this out myself, but I know my uncle will look at it, and usually manipulate both feet and ankles. I must remember to take some leather to bite down on this time! Seriously though, I am so thankful for my uncles expertise. Yes sometimes it hurts, but its good hurt! That good old phrase - pain is just weakness leaving the body comes to mind.

I know that after the week’s lighter miles and treatment that I will be fixed, and better rested and ready for the week after when my training mileage peaks at 85 miles. This is mainly down to the Thames Meander 54 miler a week on Saturday. After that week I have a couple more weeks doing mid 70's miles, then my final taper for a couple of weeks before the big event.

Off to rest and recuperate. Enjoy your week.

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