Rock and Roller. A Horror Story

On Sunday I managed 13.5km of my planned 17km long run before the Dreaded Knee won over, and through gritted teeth I had to admit defeat. After much debating about walk/ running home and even trying a few yards at a time I knew the game was up and limped to the bus stop in a sulk.

I spent the rest of the afternoon with ice packs at the ready, developing an autumn cold and feeling sorry for myself. I had come to the realisation that no amount of Green Giant frozen peas were going to sort out this particular issue. I had an idea this may be the Insufferable IT band causing all this worry, but I had to seek advice from the professionals.

And I was right. Thankfully by some miracle granted by the running gods, I got myself an appointment on a day’s notice. and some tough advice to boot.

The diagnosis? In order of pain brought on by physio massage (I screamed. Like a baby)

  1. Rock hard, aching calves brought on by too many days tottering about in high heels and not enough stretching. Apparently this is also why I’m not getting faster, my calves aren’t able to generate the power  because they’re TOO STIFF. I blame Kurt Geiger 
  2. Inflamed IT band from non-engaged glutes. Yes I have a  LAZY ass! Oh and, not enough stretching
  3. Very tight hip-flexors from, you guessed it, not enough stretching AND cycling up hills in France 

My physio thinks we may be able to do a ‘patch up’ job for the Royal Parks, provided I take nurofen for  two weeks like fiend and do my exercises/ stretches every single day. Twice. At least. And come back to see her for more torture, aka treatment. Serves me right. Really should’ve down the stretches, starting about 2 years ago.

Oh and meet my new Best Friend – the Foam Roller. Welcome to the House of Pain. I screamed like a baby, again.

Resting. While I choke back tears OF PAIN
Getting acquainted. Pre-excruciating, blood curdling screams

Stella found this new development somewhat unnerving, attacked the foam roller and then tried to sit on me while I was doing my stretches. I might make her stretch with the roller if she tries that again. Not a helpful coach.

Stella is suspicious

I’ve also had to take one last, long look at my beautiful collection of heels as they are now, verboden until after the race, and even then I suspect my physio would suggest not on a daily basis. There goes my cost-per-wear theory. But an excuse to buy new shoes. So not a terrible day.

Wicked Witch Flats – serious toe cleavage

Good Week, Bad Week

No good deed goes unpunished, past few weeks have certainly been proof of that!

Having got back from France relaxed and fitter than we were before we left, we discovered Stella the Dog wasn’t very well and shipped her off to the vet to get her checked out. Thankfully she’s fine, dosed up on antibiotics for a mild bug, but the vet did notice that her poor paws are looking a bit worn and has suggested she only run trails. No more pavements. Or I need to buy her some Nikes.

Coach: On sabbatical 

So I am currently without a coach. But I managed a decent five and half miles last Tuesday, trying out a new route via Hammersmith to shake it up a bit.

Wednesday a few of us braved the wilds of North London to visit Move Three Sixty on advice that Hannah Richards had passed on when we met during one of Sweaty Betty’s Run Britannia events.

We met with Claud Serjeant for our assessment who quickly worked through analysing our postures, videoing our running styles (cringe!) and checking our footwear. He gave us some invaluable insight into where we were going wrong, what the aches and pains were pointing to, and how to correct them. It’s all about the glutes! Oh and the hamstrings. We came away with core strength exercises and stretches to begin working into our training schedules. So many ‘ah ha!’ moments around balance, symmetry and kinetic movement, I wish I had brought a notebook!

Saturday I had my first Yoga class of my beginner’s course at the Life Centre. Ninety minutes of basic stretching, postures and some interesting new types of breathing (who knew?!).

The Life Centre in Notting Hill

Armed with new stretches, (mad breathing) and awareness of posture, Emily and I banked 15km with a pretty decent pace for 7:30am on an unseasonably hot Sunday morning. And all seemed well, up until about 13km, when my knee started to complain and its been niggling on and off just a little too much for me to ignore. After all of that!

I managed only 3 miles this evening, before it started playing up again and now I’m a little injury paranoid. It may just be a par-for-the-course ache, rather than anything more serious, but nevertheless I am icing the knee with as many frozen peas as I can get my hands on. Oh and eating chocolate pudding, I hear it has pretty good healing properties. I may just take another rest day with the Coach.

Chocolate Pudding. Good for knees


After a long week of little training (whoops!) and loads of Christmas dinners, my Sunday 5 mile route was hard going. But with blue skies and no threat of rain, at least I wasn’t being rained/ sleeted/ snowed on. Sure enough there was enough mud to keep Stella occupied, icy nights equals squishy days and a very dirty dog.

There were loads of runners out in Hyde Park today, clearly everyone has a spring marathon on their mind. That or they are trying to stave off the Christmas pounds. I’ve had to admit defeat and rejoined Weight Watchers in an attempt to get back into my skinny running tights for the Brighton half. Too much cake and not enough mileage! And its not helping the quest for speeeeed! Ooof. Just a bit to heavy going (ahem).

But it is Christmas after all, and the best part of this run in this wintry kind of weather is the recovery. I have a quick chocolate milk so I don’t pass out, a hot shower to regain the feeling in my fingers and nose and get into a big chunky jumper and my best tracksuit bottoms. Sexy.  Then, once Stella has had all the mud washed off of her,  and I’ve sorted out the muddy towels, sometimes the sofa cover and maybe a cushion or two (never turn your back on a muddy dog) –  nothing beats snuggling on the sofa with a warm dog, fluffy slippers and a cup of tea in front of Sunday afternoon telly.

And we get to do it all again tomorrow

12 Hours and Counting – Carb up!

We made it to Scotland in one piece late last night! Phew!
By some small miracle I managed to pack everything I needed for the race in about 10 minutes flat, while vacuuming the flat, walking Stella and handing over flat keys to our infinitely saintly friend who stepped into dog sit at the very last minute (long story, thank you Miss P!) Never a dull moment when it comes to Stella. We even got our train with 5 minutes to spare. I  have no idea if I have enough socks for the rest of the time we are here, but I’m covered for tomorrow. Along with jelly babies for the tough times, lip balm, suncream (I’m an optimist) enough safety pins to make a convincing punk and a killer play list to carry me through.

I really didn’t think I would be this nervous, but I’m hoping the added anxiety turns into adrenalin and helps kick start the dreaded first 3kms. No matter how fit I am becoming, I still find the first 10 – 15 minutes really tough. Possibly as I am still getting my head around the fact that, yes I am actually running, and yes its not as terrible as I had thought it was 20 years ago, yes, I am going to carry on going, and I’ll enjoy it.

Part of my head is still stuck in the late 80’s when I always came last in athletics at school Although I’m unsure as to how anyone, no matter how sporty and talented, could actually run in those itchy acrylic dishwater brown PE kits we had. Or the humiliating short shorts that came later, in washed out navy. 

Tomorrow, at least, I get to choose what to wear, and although the vest is as bright orange as you can get (which less face it, suits no-one!), it’s for such a great charity I’m pleased I’m going to be very visible (probably from the moon!).

So it you happen to be watching the race and you see a vision of nuclear orange pass you pay, probably not in a flash, I’m in the slow coach group after all, that will be me. And check out the charity link on the top right hand corner of the blog. They truly are an inspiring lot.

But before that I’m digging into a superb carb crazy meal cooked up by my wonderful race weekend hostess (and also long suffering aunt!) Pasta, mushrooms, salmon a plenty – scrumptious (the equally food fussy other half agrees!

Wish me luck!