Friday, 30 October 2015
Not any more. Let's not get too overexcited, it's not serious and all my limbs remain attached, but after a persistent ache in the inner upper part of my right leg (can you tell I didn't study anatomy?!) I saw Pete the physio at the Accelerate Performance Centre yesterday. I have a tendinopathy of the adductor longus. Googling this produces many gory photos of legs cut open, and a few which show the location of the muscle - including this one from the classic website www.aidmygroin.com...
So, what's the point of all this? Well, I started running, and kept running, because I enjoy it. Over time I've also come to enjoy competition, but fundamentally I just like to run. For this reason, I've always dreaded injuring myself such that I couldn't run, and had many joking conversations with Lorna about what a nightmare I'd be if this did ever happen!
The treatment for my injury is rest, ice, and no running for 4 weeks, the longest period I've gone without running for about 12 years. It will be a new experience, and I would like publicly apologise for whatever I turn into without my daily fix. The saving grace is that I can at least ride my bike a little, which might just preserve my sanity. Early indications are that I will use all this new spare time to cook and write long rambling blog posts about nothing in particular...
Saturday, 24 October 2015
|Planned route up Mam Tor...|
|Actual route - somewhere up the middle|
Finally I saw a grassy area 10 metres away, which looked like it might be a way off, but between me and it was a horrible looking section which I couldn't imagine getting across. I stopped and considered my options: I could shout for help, but no-one would hear me (and even if they did, they weren't likely to climb up and get me!). I could get my phone and call mountain rescue, but by the time they arrived my current footholds would have crumbled. So I was left with the option to carry on - I was about to decide to go for it when the foothold I was standing on fell away and I was left hanging by my hands. Miraculously this one didn't crumble. It took another few minutes to calm down and get my foot on a rock high up to my left, then lever myself up, and finally to clamber across to the grassy bit where I collapsed into a little pile of relief for a while.
|Hills in the dark. Be careful!|
Thursday, 22 October 2015
Just a very quick post to say I'm chuffed to have been nominated in the RunUltra blog awards! Thanks guys.
I'm in illustrious company: Anna Frost, Tim Olson, Emelie Forsberg and Accelerate's own Marcus Scotney are also on the list, as well as loads of other great blogs. It's an honour to be on the list! Have a look here -
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
To cut a long story short, over the next 12 hours I parked the van, packed my bag, cycled to Morecambe and Lancaster, bought a train ticket and waited for the train to Liverpool. The train in front of mine broke down in the station, so the train I needed was cancelled. I cycled back to Lancaster, cooked some Cassulet in the van, slept for a couple of hours and checked in for the 2:15am ferry. We would arrive at 5:45, just in time for the 6am pickup from Douglas to take me to the race start...
|Finally on my way!|
I locked the bike up on the Promenade and met my fellow travellers, one of whom I'd spotted on the ferry. Soon we were on the way to the start at Ramsay. Unfortunately the keys for the hall were missing so registration took place outside. By the 7:30 starters were ready to go I was pretty much ready too, despite a lot of my kit having lorry grease smeared all over it (an unfortunate consequence of clambering about to get to the bike off the ferry!). I watched them start, then realised that there were only 4 of us left!
|7:30 starters underway|
Finally it was 8:30 and I was glad to be underway. We could see the top of North Barrule from the start and it looked a little misty, but the weather was good for running. We set off along the promenade, then up into Ballure plantation and around the reservoir. Here I pushed on a bit from a group to catch the leader, wearing a Clayton-le-Moors vest. I later learned that this was Paul Thompson, 7/8/9 (no-one seems sure!) times winner of the race. We were running at a good pace up North Barrule, and even when the climb got steep Paul was still running every step. I found I could stay with him by walking hard on the steep bits though, and after an hour or so we had a decent gap to the guys behind us.
We swapped the lead as we continued over the next few hills to Clagh Ouyr, then down to the road and up to the highest point on the island: Snaefell. I reached the summit slightly ahead but took a less good line down and ended up about 20 seconds behind Paul when we got to the Bungalow checkpoint and drinks station. On the climb I caught Paul up again and we were together over Beinn-y-Phott. I was feeling OK, but the inside of my quads (as Ron Burgundy might say, in the crotchial region?!) were feeling sore and the race now felt like the welcome end of a long season!
|Snaefell from the bus later on...|
|Tom Cringle (http://www.iomtoday.co.im/sport/isle-of-man-sport/)|
We drop off the top and I try hard to stick with Tom - suddenly everything hurts! As I wobble downhill trying to run as fast as I can it feels like the wheels are officially off. I decided it was a two gel situation and necked them as fast as I could, but it didn't look good. Tom was now well away, I don't remember someone leaving me this far behind in such a short time before, and felt pretty stupid for thinking that I might be stronger than them.
When I eventually got to the South Barrule climb I felt much better going uphill than downhill, and jogged most of the lower slopes. I saw Tom coming down when I was maybe 2 minutes from the summit, so I guess he had three minutes on me. On my descent I saw Ben in a similar place, but was slightly surprised to also see Paul, and another two runners lower on the slopes: I needed to keep it together or I could easily end up sixth! After one more climb to Cronk ny Arrey Laa (obviously) the route joins the stunning coastal path around the western coast of the island to Port Erin. I couldn't see anyone in front or behind but felt sure I was being caught so worked as hard as I could on this section, which felt much longer than it is!
Before the last climb the route drops all the way down to Fleshwick Bay, then it's the tough little climb to Bradda Hill and a gradual descent down in to Port Erin. I could see Ben descending to the bay as I climbed, and fueled by this and a few Blackberries I managed to run most of the ascent. This last part of the course is beautiful - it all is, but I see hills and bogs more regularly than rocky coastlines and clear water!
|Looking back to Bradda Tower from the finishline|
At the finish we were all given a bottle of Okells Manx beer, and Tom even gave me a cup of his winning Champagne! Unfortunately, after the running was done I was back to travel disorganisation, so spent an hour on a bus to Douglas, then half an hour cycling to my campsite to set up the tent... Just in time to turn around and do the same in reverse to attend the prizegiving in the evening! It was nice to catch up with Runfurther people I haven't seen for a while though, like Karen Nash and Chris Davies, and enjoy a beer and a pie at the end of a tough day.
I should thank the organisers, Manx Fell Runners, for a fantastic event, to the marshals for spending time out on the hills, and congratulations to everyone else who ran. Thanks of course also to Accelerate and Scott Running for continuing to support me, I wore the Scott Kinbalu Supertrac shoes again, which were great through the slippery bits, and used the little Scott race pack to carry my compulsary kit.
|Till next time, Isle of Man!|