Friday, 28 September 2018
So Here I Am
So normal blog service has been resumed. Thank you to everyone who suggested solutions. It turned out to be cookies. All gone now.
I went to see my physio, yesterday. In the absence of running I've been walking miles and my hip has been grumbling. By Tuesday I felt ready to explode with the lack of running so Pop and I went out for a gentle 4.5 miles round the lanes. It was lovely, but I paid for it later. Not the shoulder again, which was a mercy and reassuring, but all down my leg and into my ankle, it kept me awake at night. So I rang Steve and yesterday saw me describing the symptoms to him while he looked intently at me, before getting me to lift, press, push, twist, bend, squat, rotate. Finally he poked and prodded. At some points I yelped and nearly exploded off the bench, at which he nodded in satisfaction, other times I didn't and he nodded again.
In the end, his assessment was the shoulder/ arm was a trapped nerve in my neck from clenching every muscle I possess in order to run that stupid time at the NF half, and the hip was from an over-wrought hip flexor that had caused the piriformis to contract, probably begun by running a flat marathon when I'm used to hills, and made much worse by doing four short, fast races over consecutive weekends afterwards. As well as learning about my own psychology, I am learning about muscles I never knew existed and what they do. It is an education.
Anyway, after some pretty intense massage and some wonderfully tingly acupuncture, I was sent home with some neck and hip stretches and a stern instruction not to run until I've seen him again next week. He's confident he can fix it and that I'll be good to go for long distance next year, so that's good.
He did make me laugh. I think he is getting to know me pretty well having looked after me for more than a year and seen me through a couple of running crises during that time. At one point he stopped what he was doing and gave me a stern look: I think we are getting some pretty clear feedback that your body doesn't like running fast. If you don't want to stop the shorter races, you're going to have to learn how to run with a loose upper body and stretch out your hip flexors. Otherwise stick to the long runs. It was so much what I'd been thinking (not the short, fast runs, I've had enough of those, but the focus on long distance) that it made me grin. It felt like a final valediction to the short, speedy runs.
So, I am kind-of in limbo at the moment, trying to be good and rest my hip flexors, applying for a new part-time job which will change the way my week looks, helping L with university open days, clearing the diary of short races and making chocolate fudge cake and apple and cherry pastries for M who has been suffering with a cold this week. He's manfully persevered on at work including two trips to London and one work active day where they did drumming, juggling and ping pong (!), but has had to trim back his marathon training which is making him cross and grumpy. He does have a particularly nice, deep, gravelly voice with it though, so not all bad :o)
I am being annoyingly pragmatic and keep reminding him he's got another of my marathons made over in his name for November, one that sold out in 4 days so the entry is like gold dust, so even if October's cliff race is a wash out he's still got a nice, hilly, muddy, gnarly one to look forward to. Luckily, I booked the hotel (remember the graffiti-ridden flat over the offy M booked for London?), so we're staying in a bit of Luxury.
I do feel I'm emerging from a fairly mentally and physically tumultuous few weeks with a new and better understanding of things. I get that the majority of people will find the idea of running long, long miles borderline crazy, and that this preference will doubtless open me up to further exclamations of disbelief, doubt, scepticism (and a certain amount of glee when the inevitable injury throws a spanner among my carefully thought-out plans and I'm forced to take some time out), but frankly I am getting used to that and ultimately who cares anyway? It isn't going to stop me.
While I'm off running, I've been keeping myself entertained looking at 30 mile races for next year. It's a short step up from a marathon so a good place to start, but long enough to make it a challenge. There are a fair few of them around too, mostly in beooooootiful places in the countryside.
I've also started planning a 50 mile training schedule for the year after. Researching them on line I've been struck at the sheer scale of mileage involved and how different they are to marathon training plans. When you're training for a marathon you have a three-week taper at the end where you progressively reduce your mileage. The advice is also to take recovery seriously afterwards because of the impact running 26.2 miles has on your body. Training for a 50 mile race, you work up to running back-to-back marathons over one weekend, and then two weeks after that you do a 30 mile run on the Saturday followed by a 10 mile run on the Sunday, with the 50 miler 2-3 weeks after that. A marathon takes the average runner 4-5.5 hours, a 50 mile race takes anything from 9 hours (and for a hundred mile race you're looking at 24 hours at least, if you finish - we've a friend who ran 91 miles of his first 100 mile run last weekend and had to stop there because a groin strain had made it impossible for him to run and he was starting to go hyperthermic in the rain. I really hope he doesn't view that as a failure. 91 miles!!! Can you imagine?). It's another world, people :o).
In the meantime, M is enjoying teasing me that soon I won't get out of bed for less than a 30 mile race.....
Hope you are well, avoiding the cold bug that is rampaging round the UK if you live here, and staying healthy elsewhere.
Here's to a good weekend. My 5-10k group have now completed their training and are all set to take part in their first 10k race this Sunday. I am cheerleading! (without pompoms).