Actual mileage: 21 miles
I’m aware that I’ve not posted for a couple of weeks but I’ve just returned from a 2-week family holiday on the Isle of Wight and went on a social media sabbatical; which was just what I needed!
I’ve learnt not to underestimate family time. My boys, James (7), Oliver (5) and Thomas (2) are growing up fast and I recognise the importance of spending quality time together. Training for long distance events does eat into your spare time and as much as you try and fit in early morning runs or getting out in your lunch break, subsequently it does interfere with family life somewhat. Getting the balance right is important and holidays should be about spending quality time with the family.
As a result, I took my running gear with me to the Isle of Wight but managed to keep the runs to a minimum – with 3 runs over the two weeks.
1) – a 3.2 mile ‘campsite tour’ with my eldest, James, keeping me company on his bike at a nice relaxed pace.
2) – the Isle of Wight Half Marathon which I completed in 1:45 – you can see the race report, here
3) – the Medina IOW parkrun which I got around in 23:24, finishing in 63rd position and came 8th in my age category.
|Campsite tour with the little man|
There were plenty of family walks though to keep the heart rate up!
I returned from the IOW on the 27th and decided to stretch the legs out with a quick run on Wednesday, with a local 4 mile hill reps session. The heavens had opened but it felt good to lace the trainers back up and kick start the LiaD training schedule, albeit on very tired legs still.
|Nice little hill reps session in the rain|
I took Thursday as a rest day but wanted to schedule in a long run for the Friday, either before, or post work. As it happens, Friday was a fairly busy day with work and I was struggling for motivation. Some days your heart just isn’t in it and running becomes a chore, the complete opposite of why we run in the first place. I’d convinced myself not to go. I switched off my computer at 4pm and was slouched on the sofa just staring at the ceiling. Ruth had taken the boys swimming and the house was empty. It was quiet. Too quiet. Sod it, I’m going for a run…
I threw some running gear on, filled my water flasks and hit the tarmac. My intention was to run my favourite 20 mile circular route, from Bromsgrove to Droitwich Spa via some scenic country lanes before returning via the Tardebigge Canal. Although hilly, it’s a lovely route and is a good mixture of road and trail. Plus, if things aren’t going well, there are plenty of opportunities to shorten the route if needed.
I set out at a comfortable pace. With LiaD now just 6 weeks away, I’m easing off my pace and using my heart rate monitor to ensure I’m not overexerting myself, trying to stay in zones 2 and 3 as much as possible, at 60-80% of max effort.
The first few miles were comfortable, I was averaging 9:30 mm’s which were comfortably within my threshold but by mile 5 I was feeling some discomfort in my right knee. I toyed with the idea of cutting the run short, and in hindsight is what I should have done, but I continued to plod along, hoping the pain would subside as I ticked the miles off. By mile 10, I was struggling somewhat, I was hot, tired and the discomfort in my knee had not gone away. To top it all off I was also out of water.
In my rush to get out the door, I hadn’t picked up my wallet so had no means to replenish my fluids. For a planned 20 mile run, this was stupid and I was beating myself up mentally about it! When you’re running alone, particularly on a long canal section, you have time to think, to possibly overthink things. The reality was I was 10 miles away, with no cash, no water and a throbbing knee! Was it runners knee? Was it my IT band? Was it serious? Am I making it worse by running on it? How long should I rest it for? Will I make the start line of LiaD? I was overthinking things and rather than focusing on form and posture, all these negative things were going through my mind. I eased off the pace slightly and continued along the canal.
By mile 14 I ran passed Stoke Prior Social Club which backed on to the canal. I refilled my soft flask at the bar and ordered a pint of water. I then sat down for 20 minutes and text Ruth; just to pre-warn her that I was going to be late. As normal with Ruth, she straight away offered to come and pick me up but in my stubbornness I refused. I’d already plotted a route to come off the canal early which would save about 3 miles and by then I’d adopted a run/walk strategy. The Tardebrigge Canal contains the Tardebrigge locks, which the direction I was running meant I was running up them! I’d walk the locks, gently jog the flats.
The last 3 miles home were uncomfortable and I did my fair share of walking, especially on the few downhill sections whereby I was applying more force onto the knee. I got home, bathed, iced, massaged and rested the knee, fingers crossed it would feel ok in the morning…
It wasn’t ok. I woke up Saturday morning and immediately I was struggling to put weight on it. I hobbled around for 5 minutes and although it eased off the more I walked on it, there was definitely an underlying issue.
I came to the conclusion that I’d give it a couple of days of rest and if it’s still playing up on Monday then I’d get (another) physio appointment!