Month: June 2018

Too close for comfort.

You know how they always say to gradually improve?

Never increase your distance by more than 10% per week, or 10% distance overall per week. Slowly introduce speed or hill work. Blah blah blah.

And you know how I always plan to stick to it then go too fast too quickly?

Guess what?

I started off with the first surprise marathon, then tried to run a mile quite quickly.

I stunned myself with the speed and made that my benchmark.

The week after I did 2 miles. My maths isn’t great but that’s prob a smidge over 10%.

The week after I did 3 miles.

I did a tired legs run two weeks ago and managed to warm up to a pretty damn nippy last mile.

I decided I’d had enough of my overall run time being dragged down by slow first miles so I went for it from the off. And, with tedious inevitability, just over a mile in, my leg went. I had really sharp pains up the back of my left leg from the foot the to calf. I tried to stretch it off, walk it off, run it off, nope. I had to limp home. A point of note; whilst I was limping along I came up behind two girls walking. I thought “I’m limping way faster than them, going to beat them” then I took a long hard look at myself.

Anyway, when it was still there the next day I hit Doctor Google. Achilles Tendonitis. Caused by idiots trying to go too fast too soon, overstriding and taking the shock of each footfall on the tendon. The good news, they said, is that it’s the strongest tendon in the body. The bad news is that there is restricted blood flow to it, so it can take 6 weeks of rest, anti-inflammatories, and compression to fix. My big race is in 6 weeks. You see the problem. No way could I rest for 6 weeks then run a marathon. Not to mention the cycling.

They said you can guarantee you won’t get it again by focusing on landing your feet under your body. Lots of fast little steps instead of big strides.

I’ve been doing what they say. Ibuprofen, compression bandage, stretching exercises, wearing shoes in the house to support my tendon.

Since then I’ve done a 2 mile swim followed by what was supposed to be a 100 mile bike ride, then a test run. I went on the same route as last time, the A49. Once you get out of Warrington it’s not too dangerous or busy. And you only have to follow the one road. So they closed it. Super.  It wasn’t so bad on the way out, I followed the diversion and it all went smoothly. I turned around and the diversion sign led me to somewhere twixt Wrexham and Chester and just dumped me there. Marvellous. I had to pick up the signs for Chester and figure it out from there. Which turned that ride into a very dispiriting 113 miles. With all the knee pain and such. I didn’t do the run.

Yesterday, fully cognisant of Doctor Google’s dire prognosis for my leg, I set off to do a half distance tri. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride, 13.1 mile run. It didn’t get off to a good start as apparently I turned the alarm off and went back to sleep so I missed the swimming pool. I did the ride with no great pain or hardship, took about 2 minutes to transition, then set off for the run. I was so nervous. I made a massive effort to land flatfooted, directly under my body.  As ever, off the bike, it was like running through treacle, but in this instance I didn’t mind. I managed to push it out and did the whole half marathon without any pain.

I’ve been looking for it, waiting for the pain to kick in and ruin my race, but, touch wood, so far so good. I’m hoping this means I can continue training, albeit at a slower run pace, until after the race. Then I can either build up the speed or rest it, depending on how it goes.

One good thing about the ride the other day; as I’ve been saying to Wendy, it’s a 112 mile ride and the worst and scariest part is the 4 miles to get out of Warrington and the same on the way back. I have to go down a massively busy dual carriageway, ride in the middle of the road when it splits into three lanes, go around a huge roundabout, through town centre and then through perma-gridlocked Stockton Heath. I ride my motorbike at *cough* quite nippy *cough* speeds, between traffic on the motorway and it’s fun and games. Trying to ride a pushbike from here to the far side of Stocky Heath is just plain scary.  Which is the good thing. I put Google maps on pushbike mode for my last ride and it got me from here to the A49 on the far side of Stocky Heath completely avoiding the lethal dual carriageway, roundabout, town and Stocky Heath!  It is brilliant. I didn’t even know some of the roads existed. I’m made up with that.

The other thing is Wendy’s mate at work has started swimming lessons. I applied online, where the said to wait and when a place comes up we’ll email you. That was in January. He ‘phoned, then just walked in. I’m going to give it a go. He says the coach is a triathlete and he’s brilliant. That is what I need. My club gave me two lessons then expected me to muck in with the exercises. I want to concentrate on getting it right first, then work from there. I’ve still not got the breathing. If you can’t breathe you soon run in to problems. Ask any doctor. This lesson is on a Monday, 20.00- 22.00 which is ideal for me. I’ve not been able to get to the morning lane swims with my new, early, start times. I should be able to make an 8pm swim 95% of the time.

Also, they have swimfit lesson at the same time on Tuesdays and Fridays. I could practice on one of those.

If I can get my swim sorted, get stuck in to regular sessions on the pushbike turbo trainer, and get my marathon to sub 3 hours, I could really smash it next year!


Sorry, another boring sports blog.



Not Dead Yet.


About half way around the Windermere marathon, as I was picking up the pace, I had a quick chat with another runner. I think I must have said that I’d done no hill training as he asked me how I was finding it. I replied “I’m not dead yet.” He seemed impressed with the answer.

I suppose it does express what it’s all about. You go as hard as you can, if you’re still going, you’re winning. The Iron distance tri mantra “run, walk, crawl, just don’t stop” says the same in a different way.

While I was away I managed an hour or so lake swim in my wetsuit. I’m not a natural swimmer. I struggle with it, I’m weak, and I have to overcome panic when I can’t see the bottom or I’m far out. I did get into fair rhythm at one point. I calmed my panic and was swimming quite well. Then I turned around and waves were crashing into my face and kept knocking me off course so I started to panic again. Wendy says some tourist boat had passed by and I was being buffeted by it’s wake. The good points to take from that swim is I am a lot more buoyant in  my wetsuit so swimming is easier, I can overcome the initial panic and my wetsuit didn’t unzip itself this time so I must have lost a bit of weight. Last race I had to dodge the Greenpeace boat that was trying to guide me back out to sea.

I reckon I can grind out the swim without too many problems, I’ve got the run down (well, the distance. It’s a whole other kettle of fish trying to run a marathon after the swim and 112 mile bike ride!) but I still hadn’t done any real distance riding. I’ve done a 40 mile and a 60 miles (in 3 hours 33). I took my bike to ride in the lakes but the roads were tiny and busy, I really didn’t fancy it. We got back off holiday and Wendy helpfully pointed out the race in a month and bit. PANIC!

I finally tracked down a simple route (straight down the A49) that wasn’t too busy and went for it today. 112 mile round trip to Shrewsbury. Home of some beastly hills. Though it turns out the worst one is at 90 miles. When your legs are screaming and you are wishing you were dead. So that was nice.

Strangely it was all quite enjoyable.

Apart from the last 60 or so miles which were pure hell. But apart from that, all enjoyable.

I managed it in 6 hours 29. Not great, but read above: one 40 miles ride and one 60 miles. The goal was to prove to myself I could do that distance.

The positives from the ride: it was way hillier than the Outlaw course and my tri suit (with anti chafing balm liberally applied) was actually still fairly comfy at the end. The last two Outlaws, (done wrongly) the saddle soreness was mortal agony by the end. There is hope. Oh, and I did it. That was a big question.

The negatives: it really hurt my knees. I had set my bike up the “proper” way but didn’t like it, so I moved the saddle higher and further forward. I may have to reset and see if that fixes it. My knees are throbbing now, five hours later, after ibuprofen and ibuprofen gel on them. Not good.

Doctor Google says it could be my cleats (the things that clip your shoes to the pedals) being misaligned. If your foot is twisted it’s putting unnatural pressure on your knee. That would make sense.

I’ve booked 4 random days off between now and the race. I’ll do that ride each time. Next time with a run afterwards. I was slack today. I limped in, got biscuits and a shower and lay down for half an hour.

In other news, Wendy did a ton of driving in the Lakes. I said if she could drive around there she’d find Warrington a doddle. She went out for a lesson yesterday and the instructor was totally impressed with her. Said she’s test ready.  Which I said a month ago, but then, I’m not being paid £25 and hour for not passing her. When we got back I put Wendy’s Mini through the MOT, passed with an advisory for a chip in the windscreen which we already knew about. That was a relief. I was still wondering if it was wrecked in some way, but no, seems fine. 

Right, I’m going to bed, hopefully I’ll be less hurty in the morning.



PS, Day after, my right knee is still a bit sore. This would lend weight to the cleats theory. Also I’ve noticed the cycling shoes I bought, after trying different sizes on, are 42.5 about a UK 8.5, I’m only a 40.5, UK 6.5, in running shoes. And they have to be dead right size. This doesn’t help with correct cleat positioning. I’ve ordered a wide fit pair in my actual size. Weird.

I went for a run today to try to shake my legs off. The first two miles were so bad I thought I was going to have to quit. I was doing 9.15 m/m and even that was killing me. Luckily I got into a rhythm in the third mile and kept it up for another 2. Then I turned around and started getting a bit quicker, getting it into the slightly less shameful 8.40’s. The last mile I was determined not to let it drop off so I gritted my teeth and pushed on. Then I noticed I was running at 7.24 pace! I pushed on a lot harder. I managed to finish the mile in 7.04! I am made up with that given the first two miles.