Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Clarendon Half Hanging By A Thread




It's the Clarendon Half Marathon this weekend. On the one hand, I am really looking forward to it (not least because I'm meeting up with a bloggy friend for the first time who is also running it- hello Small P :o)), on the other, my knee flared up again on Monday night after perhaps over-doing it with two races back to back over the weekend and a fast club session on tarmac on Monday. I managed two brisk kms before the knee started really complaining and I decided it wasn't worth carrying on so stopped. This has (mentally at least) thrown the Clarendon back into uncertain territory. The run up to this HM has been a real rollercoaster of emotions. I'm just very glad it isn't my first one because I think I might have collapsed under the 'will it hold up, won't it?' stress of it all by now :o)

I'm dealing with the uncertainty by doing what lots of competitive runners do, adopting a 3-point strategy for the race. 1) is the outcome you'd be thrilled with, 2) is the outcome you'd be happy with and 3) is the outcome you'd accept. 

1) for me would be getting round the whole course with no knee pain in a respectable time. 2) would be getting round with knee pain but being able to finish the race and 3) would be having to stop at some point and get a car back to the finish. Right now I'm thinking 3) is not unlikely, 2) is possible and 1) would be astonishing.

I have learnt from the awful experience that was the Beast a month ago that it's important to have your race strategy in place in your head before you start, so you're prepared for whatever happens and don't end up a sobbing gibbering mess at the end. Unlike at the Beast, I'm not planning on getting round this race at all costs and keep telling myself the sensible option of stopping means I can get straight back to running and racing the week after with no need for a week off to recover.

To distract me from all this and to focus on something more positive, I spent a chunk of yesterday working out a marathon training plan for next year which starts this November. I've earmarked three long-distance races I'd really like to do in 2018: one is the full Grizzly (20 miles of gnarly cliffs, bogs, rivers and beaches in March in Devon), one is the Neolithic marathon in April (26.2 miles between Stonehenge and Avebury, raises £10k for wiltshire wildlife trust and funds a lot of chalk-based ecological projects especially blue flutters, so that one is very close to my heart) and the other is Stroud marathon in May, which runs through gorgeous Cotswold countryside. 

But I honestly don't know whether any/ all of these will happen. The positives are that I have got the knee strengthened now to the point where it can cope with 6 mile races and three runs a week mainly off road, so the worst case scenario would be consolidating that gain by shelving all thoughts of distance running next year and spending 2018 working away at the 10ks and conditioning the muscles further. By the end of the year, the knee will either be strong enough to tolerate the move up to distance running for 2019 marathons, or it won't. Either way, I'd still be able to continue running and racing next year.

Of course, the only way to tell all or any of that is to run the Clarendon on Sunday and then start the training in November.

I am fairly indebted to friend and all-round hard-as-nails inspiring distance runner Brenda, who has emailed me regularly over the past month with tips and words of encouragement. She's currently training for Abingdon marathon and hit the wall in a half last weekend (which is where you run out of energy and fall over), so she and I were commiserating yesterday. She told me not to despair just yet, that the Clarendon could still come good, so I'm holding on to that as a mantra to at least get me to the starting line on Sunday.

I'll leave you with a text conversation L and I had earlier this week which made me smile. He has mild dyslexia which mainly effects his spelling. I first suspected this when his reading age at seven was five years above his actual age, and his writing age was three years below it. The school weren't particularly concerned about this (in fact I was told at one parent's evening I had contributed to it by reading him books that were too old for him, making him struggle with spelling complex words on paper that he knew in his head, and that I should stop and start reading him simpler texts. Grrrr. I feel vindicated now as his vocab is brilliant). We were lucky we had the resources to do the screening ourselves, and his next school were fantastic at putting extra help in place, as is his current college. 

L is the grey bubble on the left, I'm the green one on the right.



I do love his sense of humour.

Hope you're all well?

CT x



29 comments:

  1. Oh CT what dilemmas. Good that you have plans in place and such a shame that 'The Knee' is such a pain, literally! I will be hoping for outcome 1 next weekend for you, but you are wise to have 3 in mind. As for L, I have known many students like that with a huge mismatch between reading and writing. Great that you have generally had good support although I cringe for the teacher telling you to dumb down his reading! Sounds like he is doing fine. Who needs to spell anyway! Keep doing those knee exercises. B x

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    1. By the end of this year I should know whether a marathon next year is a reasonable aim :o) xx

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  2. Fingers crossed the knees perform on the day. x

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  3. Oh, your poor knee - I shall be crossing my fingers for a good outcome this weekend. Love the text conversation between you and L. I can remember a similar conversation with my daughter's teacher who suggested that she just used simpler words that she knew that she could spell in her creative writing. We ignored that one too! xx

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    1. The dumbing down of education. Did you see David Mitchell's piece on it a while back? Xx

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  4. Fingers crossed your knee will be OK, and you do well.
    Amanda xx

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  5. feeling you on the knee issues but i think you're marvelous with it -- the best of attitudes and that's going to carry you far!

    chuckling at the text exchange...rolling my eyes at the opinion of the school my youngest niece had a teacher who told my sister and b-i-l that they needn't be concerned about her spelling as that's what spell-check was for. :O xoxo

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    1. Shocking! Hope your knee is easier now? Xx

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  6. Hey CT,
    Smiling and nodding with great empathy here my friend. Three runs this week, and suffering the agonies of shin splints. Look after that knee, go forvoprion 3, plans for those marathons, but content yourself with biulding strength in 2018. I nearly fell over today, although it may have been the gale force winds coming off the Atlantic that did it for me, loving the text. Me and Sam have similar convos.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Atlantic sea wind. Bracing! Hope the splints ease off xx

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  7. Having youngest with dyslexia I recognise that conversation! x

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  8. Really looking forward to Sunday. Only hoping it doesn't rain like it did last night when I was out running! Love the text, made me laugh out loud xx

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    1. The forecast last night looked dire. Rain all morning! Ran today. Four miles. Sore for first 2, fine for last 2. I think I may have a sore throat coming. Arghhhh! See you Sunday, come hell or high water :o) xx

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  9. Ha, love the text - I usually get a 'k' because typing 'ok' is too tiresome :-) Good luck for Sunday, hope your knee holds out (be sensible!) x

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    1. I get 'kk' for same reason, which amuses me no end xx

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  10. Your son responds to your texts??!! Who cares about spelling ... your son responds to your texts!!

    I don't think I could handle the stress of the competition rethinking all these options. You know yourself better than anyone, so I hope your reasoning keeps you safe but happy at the end of your race. Best of luck!
    Wendy

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  11. Love the text conversation, made me smile. I'm pencilling you in for Stroud in May, it's just up the road from me and I shall come and cheer you on. Good luck with the race at the weekend if you do decide to do it. I know you are good at taking care of your knee so I'm sure you'll make the right choice. CJ xx

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    1. Well the good news with Stroud is there's a half and 10k option, so may well be there regardless of distance. Will let you know xx

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  12. You will screw your knee up if you keep pushing it. I have knackered my back, my shoulder and both knees by doing stupid things. Now I can still walk and look forward to going to the highlands next week, and I can still keep fit and active. In a few weeks I hope to start running again once my ankle has recovered. If it hurts stop. If it still hurts do not start.

    Take up gardening to fill in the boring bits.

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    1. If you read back through my posts you'll see my knee situation is under close medical supervision, including the amount and frequency of running I do on it.

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  13. Gosh what a mess. That knee is very naughty ! Hope it is not as bad as you think.
    Did your toenail ever fall off ?

    Huggles to the fluffy ones !
    cheers, parsnip

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    1. It's really about working out how much the knee is capable of. Only time will tell. Yup, toenail came off last week. I've kept it :o). Dogs send a snuffle to Winston. Loved that vid of him attacking the tin can! X

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  14. Ah, spider webs in the autumn sunlight. How wonderful to see them. Maybe they hold the secrets of the universe.

    Yeserday I massaged my calf with a glass bottle. Today I've booked a physio session. The thing runners like to do most apart from running is talking about my injuries.

    The man who performed my arthroscopy and cleaned out my knee with saline solution about 20 years ago instructed me to keep on running. I've been pleased to follow his advice.

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    1. I agree- following advice from experts is usually the soundest way through. Dewy spider webs with autumn sunlight slanting through them are things of beauty and mystery for sure.

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  15. I should have read this post first, sorry that your knee wasn't good after the race. How have you been getting on this week? Love the test messaging, it made me smile! Sarah x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x