Sunday, 26 July 2009

Day 91 - and the next day?

After yesterday's first run in ages, I was half-expecting today to be a painful reminder that my injuries are far from resolved. But I have not had any problems. No pain, no stiffness and certainly no first thing cripplingly painful stair climb just to go to the toilet. Instead I was able to leap two stairs at a time the whole day.

Promising. I will be trying this out tomorrow with another 3 mile run around the park.

Day 90 - back to the beginning

Type - Steady run

Distance - 3 miles

Time - 28 minutes 20 seconds

I can't even begin to put into words how frustrating the past few weeks has been. The frustration boils and distills into vicious anger at my own stupidity, blaming my over-keenness for an injury that has really put me (pun definitely intended) off my stride. But there is not much to be gained from bitter introspection. It is time to push on and push up.

So. Back to the beginning. Back to before I could push out an easy five miles, aim for the half marathon. Back to those uncomfortable first few miles, puffing around a track that others race over with little visible effort. Only this time the difficulties of starting out are accompanied by a nagging fear of injury returning, and the real nagging of injuries not quite yet eradicated.

This last week I have been putting together a collection of tools which will help me get back into running. The most important has been sorting private health care authorisation for physio. Whilst this is a bureaucratic pain in the ass, it is better than me having to fork out hundreds of pounds for a weekly session. My first session will be a week tomorrow, but I have been able to speak to someone first and ask whether I could do any training and what, if anything, I could buy to help.

So the next tools have been a selection of anti-shin splint devices. Compression socks, compression sleeves and anti-strike insoles for shoes. The combination is formidable, and expensive. But if it does the trick it will be worth it. I'm particularly impressed by the compression socks, which instantly make things seem less jarring.

So to the run. I was at work with my purchases, and so planned a gentle and short run up to Kings Cross and then back down Grays Inn Road to Fleet Street and back up Shoe Lane to Holborn Bars.

The first mile felt fine, with no pains, twinges or difficulties. Then there was a bit of nagging ache which was difficult to pin down - it could have been the shins, could have been just stiffness from not having run for a while. But the three miles was not a challenge, and there was no immediate pain. I stretched off, showered and popped my calves into the compression sleeves for a bit of post-exercise recovery. We'll see tomorrow whether this has paid off.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Day 69 - 89 - Injurious injury

It has been a while since I have updated this blog. I haven't given up, lost interest or become lazy. Instead I have been frustrated, angry and injured. I undoubtably committed one of the cardinal errors of running in overtraining - racing to the half-marathon and running on despite the tell tale signs of pains in my lower legs. And I have paid a heavy price in being unfit for a month.

At the outset I maintained some of my running, at football, and general exercise with cycling. I think the weekly shock of running around the pitch meant that I never had a period of time where my legs could recover. There was always either a twinge of pain or the threat of a renewed attack upon doing some physical activity.

I went for a run on Sunday evening, and, at first, thought that it was going well. Then I started to get a twinge in my groin and the dull pain from the lower calves became a more intense pain as I ground round the three miles. There is no point enduring training that is painful and, in the long run, this is only going to exaserbate injury.

So I have decided to take a proper break from football, from impact training and to try and give my legs the time they need to heal. I have also bought a calf muscle support which may help when I get back into running. I am hoping that I will be back on the road soon enough, because the first fifty days of this project were great and I am annoyed that I haven't been able to make any progress in the over the next fifty.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Day 68 - back in the saddle

Feeling a lot better today, and I cycled into and from work. I think I will go to the gym tomorrow and attempt a treadmill run.

Day 64, 65, 66 and 67 - it never rains if it can pour

I probably could have gone for a light jog this week, maybe even a five mile run. But I didn't. Instead I have spent most of the week very ill (barely able to get out of bed on Tuesday and Wednesday), or just ill and suffering at work. It has also been hot. Very hot. Not a great week to be left sweltering and sweating in bed. I presume it was just a summer cold, but, given how mild swine flu is supposed to be, it could have been that. I doubt it, though - I imagine I will get swine flu just when I'm trying to pick up my running again. Bugger.

Day 61, 62 and 63 iHola Madrid!

Long weekend away visiting Mark in Madrid. Not much exercise - the nearest I get is splashing around at Aquapollis, a large water park some 30 miles from Madrid. There is something uniquely unsettling about the slides at waterparks - a combination of the unnatural feeling of losing contact with the ground when you go over the bumps, and that lingering fear of the urban myth of a razor blade stuck to the tube and waiting to slice you up nice.

Day 60 - rest

Just cycling in to and back from work today, but reassured that my legs have not frozen up too much.

Day 59 - the game that never ends

This was a big test of whether taking a few days rest and performing lots of stretching would deliver an ability to run without being in pain. I got to the pitches early, and set about a long, intensive period of stretching. I did my usual routine, but held the stretches for half a minute and did three repetitions of each one. And then I did the whole set again. A little over the top, maybe, but fortunately more stretching can only be a good thing.

And then I ran around. I started with small, gingerly placed steps and was surprised that there was no reaction from my legs. No calf muscle complaint, no shattered shins jolting intense pain up my legs. I ran around properly, and still no pain. It was fantastic. I relax, but I'm still a little nervous. It was one thing to run around at a constant pace for five minutes and quite another to run around like a mad little lout for 40 minutes.

Forty minutes. There was the hope and the dream. I probably would have been fine for forty minutes. But the next team to have booked the space didn't turn up and, instead, we had the game that never ended. We must have played for 90 minutes (giving me far more sympathy with those who play full football games!), and by the end I was ruined.

I stretched again, iced my legs at night and sprayed on the Deep Heat. The next day I was a touch sore, but not too bad - maybe its sorted out?