Friday, 31 August 2012


Quick update on my stomach. For the last few years I have had stomach cramps and bloating and tried all sorts of medication and an endoscopy. There's a lot of inflammation down there. TOTALLY independently of any medical advice, over the last year I had started to wonder about the effects of hydration on the stomach's irritation and inflammation. That has come and gone as an idea, but I am now nearing a point of certainty that the impact is significant.

I am now trying to get into the habit of drinking a large glass of water before meals. It's strange and unnatural because it is totally unlinked in my mind to my need to drink, so I have to consciously remind myself to do this. In an "emergency", like the other night when my Mum and had made a delicious meal for us and I couldn't ingest a single mouthful, in time and by drinking almost a litre of water, I managed to "make space" for a small helping, even though it wasn't exactly a joy, it became possible, and therefore encouraging.

Rest day 4, time is ticking and the rest seems to be working: 0.0.

Pain and discomfort = 0
I don't think I have felt anything from the knee for 24 hours. Maybe there is hope yet!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Rest day 3

Woke up with stiffness in the knee. Possibly funny sleeping angle. Not great way to start the day. 1.5.

Rest day 2

Virtually unaware of knee. A couple of stretches. 0.5

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

another week of rest, it's starting to hurt!

Having dropped in to a health centre in Bath yesterday for some further advice on the knee, the advice is a full week off with Ibuprofen - to be taken orally (leaving the ibuprofen gel for the time being). I can swim, however. HOWEVER, I really don't enjoy swimming, especially when I think the whole marathon project may be failing anyway.

From the emotion you can sense already in this post, you can probably see that I am battling with frustration and regret, especially as this impact injury could have so easily been avoided. But the discipline of accepting the situation and forming and adapting a recovery plan is actually very valuable, and I will not only see the negatives. During this rest period, and into the following resumption of training (which, if my knee does recover, will probably have to "reverse taper" given the date of my marathon) it would be useful to score and record the stiffness/ache/pain/discomfort.

Yesterday = 0.5
2hr walk.

Saturday, 25 August 2012


Well, the knee wasn't sorted, so I decided to go for it and stop! I am at the end of day 2 of no running, and the memories of the first six months of 2012 are there, although I don't feel haunted by them. I am really trying to see this as an opportunity to think about my training, the blog, build in other forms of exercise like core training...

I am just listening to a helpful interview on approach to injuries with Tim Cruse-Drew. He is asking relevant questions. Check it out here.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

recovery run: my slowest shortest and best ever....

after yesterdays long run, and the decision to go the full distance, my knee has been aching more strongly again. after umming and erring for  while, i decided that a recovery run was probably a good idea still. Wow, it was so short and slow... and amazing! The next day the knee was feeling improved. For me this stimulates still further reflection about the train gently to train and race hard. I am certain I have never come close to running in a sustained way this gently before, and yet I kow that it was the best possible session for me at that time.
It took me an injury to really do justice to this method, which in some ways is a pity, but it is a light injury that is manageabl and I am learning a lot through it.  am grateful for these never ending learning opportunities :)

Still stiff, opportunities for introducing other principles

8.5 km trip to the shops to get some milk!

I am not really a fan of what I call "utility run", ie doubling up a run with some other purpose like shopping, but actually I think on occasion it doesn't matter too much!

Knee is still stiff and limiting my pace. Still applying the Julian Goater principle of running quick paces even if pace is slow. Today while thinking about to optimise this off-pace period I tried pumping my arms to work on my arm strength. At first this wasn't particularly easy to coordinate, with the exaggerated pumping and probably weak arms, but I adjusted and it soon became fairly maintainable. I am, however, wondering if I should maybe take a few days off to allow the knee more recovery and concentrate on strength and core exercises. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

First run in Devon: running is a privilege

12 km. Easy 6 min/ km progressing all the way through to almost 4 min/ km. then very easy before a hill challenge, around a mile.

A wonderful run. First run in Devon since I was a kid. Forgot how hilly it is! The beauty and the picturesqueness of the rural setting around Bideford soon took my mind off my less-than-100% state: 
- right knee from silly volleyball incident.
- L elbow from stupid cycling accident. 
- breathing not entirely clear, especially at the start, accompanying slight cold at the moment. 
- cut on toe. 
- !

It often seems to be the return leg that God opens me up to him. Was really struck by the privilege of being able to run today. To the point that if I was never to run again I would still be happy for this. Great place to be. Also just so aware of the privilege of having a family who support me and allow me to go. Just amazing to be able to practice this releasing and liberating sport!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

5k and a stupid bump!

Craziness, for within a few metres of leaving my parents house on a
loaned bike, I succeeded in riding straight into a parked car! My Dad
who was watching nicely didn't laugh and was just concerned but I
couldn't help notice the slapstick comedy value there!
Anyway, we changed my bike for another as I had mangled the chain a
bit and headed over for what I think is one of the Uk's greatest
inventions: the park run scheme... Except it wasn't, thanks to the
bristol balloon fair at Ashton Court park. The few of us that did turn
up decided to have a crack at it anyway, and we certainly had our work
cut out weaving between the crowds and children already out in their
droves for the fair! Thoroughly enjoyed it although it has contributed
to a bigger question I am asking: why am I running no faster with all
the training I am doing, and why am I getting benefits only in terms
of recovery (as lovely as that is)?
I got to ask this question to a few people the next day so see the
next entry on this topic.

Olympic marathon

My excitement just continued to grow as we coached into the centre of London for the men's Olympic marathon. And I was going to see the man who has been such an inspiration to me, Ryan Hall. Sadly something happened and Ryan had to drop out. Fantastic though to hang out with Lee Merian's crowd, who were obviously delighted with such a strong performance from their fellow Guernsey man.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

running with God

Yesterday completed a 2 x 10 km (the longest nappy shopping trip I'm sure I'll ever do!), and it took til about half way through the return leg to really start opening up to God, and I can honestly say it changed me that day. I had a couple of attitude issues, wasn't particularly feeling like talking to Him, or praising him, but he ended up having his way, and by the time I got home my whole perspective had changed. He is good!

Otherwise, just to mention that the good form factor is still a long way from something I am defaulting to, but I can sense the increased efficiency as I focus on gentle footfall, raising the knees, and good stride-length.

Mmm, just loving the return to figs, find them so digestible and delicious!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Smoking 30 minutes!

In midday heat, I set off in the 30s for a tempo effort that ended up being slightly stronger still than that. So funny, I arrived at the surgery where I had to pick up some results and was breathing really hard and sweating buckets, the staff were actually concerned I was going to have some sort of cardiac arrest!

Gentle and increasing warm down for 3 km really encouraged me that my quality of recovery  is definitely improving. The times are not yet, but it's hard to see that not coming soon. With the marathon now less than two months away, it's hard not to already caught up in dreaming about the day and race strategies etc. There was a great quote I read from Ryan Hall yesterday about how the race is mainly run with your head until the last 10 km, then the rest is from the heart, "going to the well" as he calls it. He also stresses the importance of staying well away from the well during the tapering phase, which is so hard to imagine when your hero's easy pace is your max pace!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

15 miler this time, in 30 deg heat...

The idea was
- get used to running the heat
- do the distance in sub 2 hrs
- achieve this with a strong negative split
- squeeze in a long run in an otherwise full weekend!

Some of these were achieved, and there was another big psychological boost I wasn't expecting from such draining conditions, and poor closing strategy: I felt really good later and even today (day after). The getting used to running in the heat really is  a continuation of Martigues-Carro, under similar conditions. I'm beginning to wonder if last year's Luberon marathon was just particularly hot to reach 30 deg in early october. I'm hoping for a good bit cooler this time. In any case, what continues to work for me is really taking the prehydration seriously over the hours (if I remember), the hour, and the last 20-30 minutes especially. I am convinced by the advice that says you will never (and if you read Noakes: should never) finish the exercise with the initial hydration levels. What I find a bit weird, to be honest, especially with all the stomach issues I have had, is that I can drink so much water prior to putting my body under the strains of running hard, and it all goes in, every precious drop! Whereas, drinking more than two mouthfuls during, can be a source of stitches and discomfort. I'm even now drinking up to and over a litre in the last 15-10 minutes, and this even avoids some of the pre-race toilet trips too!

Friday, 3 August 2012

15 km in the hills

This run finally gets a fairly low score. Yes it was beautiful, yes 15 km didn't feel very far, and yes I was really able to pick things up towards the end (when I wasn't being too lazy and listening too closely to some training talk).

But, my wife was left with my son, and had really wanted to get on. She didn't ring me (which would have meant that I REALLY pick things up on the way home), which she should have done, but I still didn't organise it properly. "my bad".

This route is actually to be a night route that I hope to be doing again soon with my head torch.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Blog development ideas and ankle

My mind feels somewhat confused about an idea of organising advice and insight that I have heard and experienced, to share this on the net while also having it as a resource for myself. In fact, even the process, which would be a long one, will in itself cause me to learn a lot. Aspects to be covered will include the obvious:

Nutrition, hydration, injury and health management, kit, race preparation, race strategy and pacing, training plans...

These are obviously to be specifically focussed on sport. However, one of the key parts of this blog, which is inspired by Ryan Hall's Running With Joy, is to bridge the gap between faith and running. In fact that whole idea of gap is pretty much done away with actually by Ryan! So a separate article on that. Another possibility I would be open to, which would keep me plugged into the running press, would be to have a book review section, with a standardised, summarised section, potentially in bullets of what was good and resonated with me.

Another rather unique link, since I function in-between various cultures, would be to develop a spreadsheet of terms and their translations and that link into the rest of the articles. This document is to be freely modifiable by anyone, and will hopefully build on the knowledge that's out there. One I simply hadn't got until this week was the term "strides" which needs to go in there.

Oh yes, the ankle! Well, I can still feel it, so it seems right just to pull right back from the training schedule I am following and take it a bit easy. Today was a gentle 5.5 km. Feels right to have done that. My aim is to build things up to resume things next week, as last week was week 4: a deliberately lighter week. That said, my build-up to my spring marathon, from which I ended up having to withdraw, is a stark reminder to me of the be all and end all importance of simply getting fit at a rate my body is happy with.