Monday, 31 December 2007


Route: 6m, trail/road, undulating (ca. 850 ft total)
Weather: 6C

Ran without any discomfort for the first time in ages! :)

Ran from home, along railway line, through fields and farms and up on to Leeds Road before heading home through Danefield Chevin. Feel like I've lost a little cardio-vascular fitness, but felt strong at the end. Sure fitness will return quickly, just got to be careful on leg. Iced the knee afterwards and stretched/did inner thigh strength exercises as directed.

Felt SO good to be running again, albeit tentatively.

I'm going to rest from running tomorrow and cycle 20m or so instead.


Sunday, 30 December 2007

A bit more running

Route: 4m, road/trail, undulating
Weather: 7Cish

Ran up Leeds Road to the Bar House and back along the railway line. This knee injury is really odd. Felt fine up to 3m then felt a tiny bit of discomfort so walked (as promised) for a bit and walk/run home. Tonight I have no grinding feeling, but it doesn't feel quite as it should I don't think. It is really hard to tell as I have iced it a couple of times which makes it feel different. Also when I took the tape off yesterday, it took all the hair off and at least one layer of skin too which makes it feel funny! I just don't know how it's doing really. I am going to cycle a bit tonight and try another short run tomorrow.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Running again

Drove up to the top of the Chevin and tried out a short run on soft, slightly undulating terrain. Ran 2m without any discomfort and knee is still feeling ok a few hours later. Really enjoyed getting out and feeling quite positive about the progress.

It's a bit difficult to say for sure if the knee is feeling completely ok or nor. It has been so messed with over the last 2 weeks with taping, removing tape (ouch!) and reapplying tape, masaging, accupuncture, electric shocks, icing etc! That feeling of grinding and swelling has certainly stopped.

I am also feeling the benefits of stretching - something I promise to do on a daily basis from now on!

I will try for 4 miles tomorrow and see how I cope with that. It feels rubbish to run such short distances but I think a softly softly approach is the best way forward. If 4 is ok then I'll run 6 on Monday and increase my mileage on a daily, or 2-day basis.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Physio update 2

Back to the physio today for a good pummeling! She seemed to be pleased with the progress. She worked on loosening my IT band, lower back and hamstrings. She worked on the knee and finally taped it into a better alignment.

I have been told that I can try small amounts of cycling and running provided I stop as soon as I feel any pain. Went for a short cycle tonight down to the rugby fields and ran 200m across them. It was hard to feel what was going on in my knee as it is heavily taped and has been battered arounf today, but I'm pretty sure there was no rubbing or pain. Fingers crossed!

It was interesting talking to the physio today. She explained that most runners have a lateral quadracep bias - the outer quads being more developed than the inner quads and the hamstrings being even further developed. All this places a strain on the knee and can bring (and has done in my case!) the knee out of alignment. To try and combat this I have been given a number of stretches and strengthening exercises to do inculding sqats, leg raises, and IT band looseners. I have done my sets for today along with the other stretches and I have to say I am already feeling more supple. I think I may even have touched my toed momentarily tonight in a standing position - something which hasn't been achieved for about 20 years! I am going to keep the stretching up now and really start listening to the body (honest!). It's a perfect New Year's resolution.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and I wish you all a happy New Year.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Chevin chase

Walked up the hill with Beth to see the second half of the runners come through Danefield gate and up East Chevin road towards the quarry. Felt a bit down about not running the race, but nice to see the usual mix of angels, Santas and Christmas puddings running the race. Well done to all those who competed!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Physio report

Visited the physio today. She was brilliant - very down-to-earth but also very knowledgable and passionate about her job.

She backed up my theory that my knee is slightly mal-aligned and not tracking properly, causing some irritation and swelling. She used ultrasound, electric current and accupuncture to help bring the swelling down. She then looked at my muscle length and balance. Seems I have a more developed right quad than my left one and it also seems (and this was no shock) that I have very poor flexibility in both legs. So I have to start strectching properly. I have promised a 3 X 10 minute stretch of all the major leg muscles. She then taped up my knee in a better alignment and sent me on my way.

I have to go back next Thursday (27th) and am not allowed to run between now and then. I have also agreed not to cycle as this may exacerbate the problem. The only down-side to all of this (apart from not running for a week!) is that I'll miss the Chevin Chase race on Boxing Day. I am gutted about this. She did think that the Thames Path Ultra in a month is still possible. I imagine I'll have to think very carefully about the training and recovery for this one.

Overall I am pleased with the consultation today. I have been really worried all week that I have some kind of irreversible problem and that this is the beginning of the end of my running. A little meladramatic I know, but when something is that important to the quality of your life then it becomes very precious.

What this injury has done is remind me that I need to listen more carefully to my body and to learn to stretch.

Will probably be a bit quiet on the blog for a few days now with no running and Christmas nearly upon us. So Merry Christmas to all those kind souls who keep up-to-date with the training! I'll post again when something interesting happens (like I can run again!)

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Cycle therapy

The knee has been a lot better today and despite some moments of stiffness (usually after sitting long periods) it hasn't really troubled me. I am resisting the urge to run however until I speak to the physio tomorrow and get a better idea of what caused it, althugh I think I know already.

My theory is that (contrary to some sound advice from John Kynaston!) I ran too soon after the Rotherham 50. I was very tight on the Sundar, particularly in my hamstrings and I didn't really stretch after the event. I rested Sunday, cycled Monday and ran a quick pace on the Tuesday. This (I think) was my undoing. I think the hamstrings were very tight casuing my knee to be out of line and resulting in an inflamation of the cartilage from rubbing. This is my theory.

I got the bike back from the bike shop today. They haven't fixed it, but they did say it's ridable while they put the parts on order. I need a new chain set, new cassette and new chain. Sounds expensive, but they seem to know what they're talking about and were helpful as ever. The guy at the shop even suggested I stay in a low gear for my training with more revolutions as pushing with my bad knee might exacerbate the probelm. I cycled about 16 miles to Ilkley and back through Burley-in-Wharfedale and had no probs with the knee. Fingers crossed that that the inflamation has gone down and it is returning to normal. I'll update the blog tomorrow after speaking to the physio.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Knee update

Well the knee has been bothering me today and I haven't even run :(

I have booked physio for Thursday just to get some kind of a prognosis and an idea of when I can run again. I am icing it every few hours which helps and warming it before bed. Needless to say it is very frustrating. I had wanted to cycle for a few nights as this doesn't seem to aggrevate it, but my bike is also doing strange things and has been sent to the bike doctor (due back Wed). So it is total rest for today and tomorrow which is hellish.

I'm sure it will all get better, but it does beg the question: What on Earth would I do with my life if I HAD to stop running? Not a pleasant question and one that I hopefully won't have to answer for a number of years!

I'll keep the blog updated!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Knee Bother

I had intended to run 15m today, but have decided to rest as my left knee is still bothering me. Have been icing it intermitently and did set off for a run at 4ish, but knew by the top of the road that it was foolih to carry on. It is an annoying pain - not really painful but the kind of feeling like you know something is not right and running on it will make things worse. So I'm not going to. It is so hard not to run and I am feeling very grouchy. The plan is to rest today, tomorrow and Tuesday and try to have a run on Wednesday if things feel better. I will keep applying ice between now and then. Fingers crossed...

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Cold run

Route: 7m, hilly, trail
Weather: -1C, foggy

Ran to Yeadon over the Chevin to take back some DVDs! Felt really strong in terms of breathing and energy, but still have a pain on the top of my left foot. This is not as concerning as the pain in my left knee which was quite sharp on the run today. I will ice it tonight and see how it feels tomorrow. If there is still pain tomorrow, I will cycle 30m rather than running 15m.

Wintry scene on top of the Chevin:

Cool inversion layer over Otley:

Interim Training Plan

I have been thinking hard about how to both recover from the Rotherham 50 at the same time as prepare for the Thames Path 50. I have come up with the following tentative and flexible programme:

Things to consider are: top of right foot (still painful) and left knee (overuse, I think)

Week commencing: 15th December
Sat: 10m
Sun 15m
Mon: Rest
Tuesday: 7m
Wednesday: 4m
Thursday: 7m
Friday: Rest

(mileage = 43)

Week commencing: 22nd December
Sat: 15m
Sun: 25m
Mon: 6m
Christmas Day: Rest!
Boxing Day: 7m trail race
Thursday: 7m
Friday: Rest

(mileage = 60m)

Week commencing: 29th December
Sat: 10m
Sun: 30m
Mon: Rest
Tue: 7m
Wed: 4m
Thur: 7m
Fri: Rest

(mileage = 58m)

Week commencing: 5th January (Taper Week 1)
Sat: 10m
Sun: 10m
Mon: Rest
Tue: 6m
Wed: Rest
Thur: 6m
Fri: Rest

(mileage = 32m)

Week commencing: 12th January (Taper Week 2)
Sat: 3m
Sun: 6m
Mon: Rest
Tue: 4m
Wed: Rest
Thur: 1m
Fri: Rest

(mileage = 14m)

Week commencing: 19th January (Race Week)
Sat: 50m Trail Race
Sun: 1m walk
Mon: 20m (cycle)
Tues: gentle 6m
Wed: Rest
Thur: gentle 6m
Fri: Rest

(mileage = 62m (run), 21m (cross))

It's a plan!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Up high and freezing

Route: 4m, hilly, trail
Weather: -2C, clear, light breeze

Ran up to the top of the Chevin above Otley (see photo). Rough, steep trails covered in ice so glad to have got back unscathed! One fall, but didn't hurt anything. Legs felt tired with a couple of niggles. One sore spot on top of right foot still which is causing a little worry. The other on left knee which I imagine is just overuse. Will keep an eye on them both.

Off to cycle to my staff night out now in Guiseley.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Club run - 11/12/07

Route: 6.5m, road, undulating
Weather: -1C, heavy frost

Ran with the club tonight. Wasn't sure how the legs would react to a run, but overall I was quite pleased. Set off with the faster group at a quick pace. Stuck with them up the hill for 2.5m, then jogged a bit on my own and finally met up with a slower group and returned home with them. Legs felt ok. Bit of a sore point on top of right foot but nothing to concerning. Think I am going to be three toenails down from Saturday by the feel of them :-(

Will probably rest tomorrow then run again on Thursday.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Cycle to leeds

Route: 24m cycle, undulating, road
Weather: 1C Brrr
Decided to cycle rather than risk any impact running. Actually legs are feeling remarkably good tonight. Cycled into Leeds and back and felt good all the way. Can feel the quads a bit, but that's to be expected. Overall, I'm pleased with the recovery and looking forward to getting back into some gentle running tomorrow.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

RRR 50 - Race Report

Having spent the night in Sheffield, rather than travelling down on the day from Otley, I arrived feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

The weather forecast had been increasingly unpleasant as the week had gone on, but on arrival at the University in Swinton, we were all thinking that maybe they had been wrong... They hadn't.

We enetered the sports hall and picked up our numbers, T-shirts and badges and made a few last minute tweaks to our kit. There was the usual long line for the toilets from nervous runners, so Paul decided to leave things to the last minute, and we ended up setting off 4 minutes after everyone else.

As Steve had left with the pack, Paul decided to try and catch him up, so I tagged along, glancing at my GPS and noticing a 7:19 min/mile pace. Concerned, that this was Paul's race pace, I was truly delighted to settle into a much more realistic pace once we caught up with Steve and the main pack of runners.

In darkness, we followed the easily navigable trails (this was soon to change) in really good weather (as was this!) Steve was navigating from the beginning so I just concentrated on my running and enjoyed the converssation. Steve did a great job navigating some increasingly tricky stretches and only got lost once when we followed some barrier tape which marked a lot of the route. It turned out that this tape was from last year's race!

Walkers in the event had set off at 6a.m and it was amazing how far some of them had got round the course. It was quite motivatiing having them to 'aim for' along the way.

Towards 20m, Steve was keen to slow the pace down a bit, but I was feeling so strong at this point that I pushed ahead. Paul caught me up at about 22m after Steve had settled into a pace with another runner. From this point it was my turn to navigate and I managed to take a wrong turn almost immediately causing us to run uphill for a bit before realising and returning back down hill. I wasn't overly popular!! After this point, I conferred with Paul about the route!

From about 24 miles, the weather worsened and by the halfway checkpoint, I was freezing. My gloves were wet and I felt under-dressed. It was also difficult to leave the warmth and comfort of the check room. We did manage to tear ourselves away and apart from the cold, I felt pretty good. At half-way, I was lying in 79th place.

From this point the weather and terrain made the going very difficult. Fields were really boggy and temperatures dipped down to 3C, which in the wind and rain felt like worse.

We plodded on and met up with a runner towards the end who had recced the final section. She kindly let us run with her for most of the way as my tolerance for reading the map had all but dissappeared!

We managed a bit of a sprint up the car-park at the end and finished joint 54th in 9h47m,58s. I was pleased with the time and position, but I was really just pleased to have finished in such poor weather conditions. I am now going to siginifiacntly add to my kit for the Thames Path Ultra in January!!

Overall, it was a good race. There are some really nice sections (Roche Abbey) and some not so nice urban sections. The volunteers were friendly and there was excellent food and drink station all the way round.

Here is a map of the route:

Here is a profile of the course. Not that hilly really (check the scale!). The GPS sems to have had a wobbler at 37m!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Only in yorkshire!

Only in Yorkshire would you get shepherds pie, mushy peas and mint sauce at the end of an ultra! It was delicious too!

Done it!

Paul Tranter (left) and me (right)

Finished in 9hr 47mins and really (I think!) enjoyed it. I was hoping for nearer 9 hours, but the conditions were dreadful - driving rain, cold temperatures and bogs of fields to run through. Also, the navigation was really tricky and we ended up running an extra couple of miles. Ended up 54th out of 300 entrants, so quite pleased with my placing for my first 50.




Taste of the west highland way



Thursday, 6 December 2007

Last post before the 50!

Haven't run since Tuesday as I have wanted to rest and very busy etc. Will run once more tomorrow, 2 miles or something just to loosen the legs.

Bought some energy bars and gels today and the traditional new pair of socks!

Looked at the Wainright style maps of the route today which Henry Marston has provided on his website for the race - they are superb!

Full of nervous anticipation now as this will be my biggest run so far by a long way. The weather is forecast to be 6C, 15mph wind and heavy rain on Saturday which sounds rather unpleasant, but I suppose it could be worse (Winter Hill fell race running through ice puddles along the top for 2 miles springs to mind!)

Setting off tomorrow at 8pm with Paul to stay in Sheffield overnight then on to Wath for a 7a.m start. Depending on how much pain I'm in, I may be able to send a quick post from my mobile en route!

See you Saturday night for a full report!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Taper 6m

Route: 6.5m, road, undulating
weather: 10C, windy

Ran a slow 6.5m with the club tonight. Last run over 3m before the big one on Sat.

Really pleased that the mobile video blog worked!

Mobile video blogging?!

Can this really work?

Monday, 3 December 2007

It worked!

Wow! The Mobile blog post thing worked!

Route: 4m pace-taper, 2m up, 2m down, road.
Weather: milder than anticipated so far too much clothing worn! (about 12C)

Ran a quickish 2m up and 2m down like last night. Will be nice to vary the training tomorrow when I run with the club.

Mobile blogging?!

Got a new phone today and it has a 'send to blog' option so i'm testing it out before my run! Next step is to work it while i'm running! It's the future...

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Taper plan

On Saturday I will run my first 50m race, so this week I am running a mini-taper. The plan is to run:

M: 4m
T: 6m
W: Rest
Th: 3m
F: 2m
Sa: 50m
Su: Rest

My plan is to then get straight back into the normal training schedule with a weekly plan that looks like this:

M: 2m
T: 7m
W: Rest
Th: 7m
F: Rest
Sa: 10m
Su: 20m

It's all theory, but it's good to have a plan.

wet 4m

Route: 2m up, 2m down, road
Weather: 9C, very wet

Ran a steady 4m taper session.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Beginning of semi-taper

Route: 6m, road, undulating
weather: 6C

Reduced the mileage today as next Saturday is my first 50 miler. Ran a steady 6m. Will run 6 again tomorrow, then 3m Tues Wed and Thur and 2m Friday.

Get well to J.P alias Terry Butcher: