Decided to see how these old bones would cope with 30km over the Causeway Coast…..
So a few days ago I left my job of 17 years to follow my passion of photography. I wanted to mark the occasion with something a bit different so upon waking up this morning I decided to test myself at marathon distance. Having only done a handful of runs in the past 10 months with the longest (by a fair shot) being last month (15) it was always going to be a challenge. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
You know it really hit home how quickly the train can travel between Cambridge and Ely – around 18 minutes, and as the countryside sped past I realised I would be on my feet for a good few hours going in the other direction.
I had run part of this route before, as part of the Monster Ultra so upon exiting the station I made my way to the River (Great Ouse), making sure it was on my right. Within about 10 minutes I was out amongst typical Cambridgeshire Fenland views – flat and wild.
I pretty much followed cycle path 11, well until I took a wrong turn which meant I had to double back and around on myself a few times – also meant the overall distance was going to be more than a marathon.
Pit stops included the coffee shop at Wicken Fen where I devoured in record time a very tasty sausage roll. I had also packed a lunchbox of pasta and this was consumed in the wilds of White Fen, with a Marsh Harrier hunting overhead for company – idyllic.
I reckon I hit close to my limit around mile 23 but pushed on and ended up with around 28 in the bank. Currently sitting on the sofa with the smell of a steak being cooked by my other half wafting through the house – glorious.
Oh and the run was also part of my #30DaysWild ….. So what was so wild about it I hear you ask? Well how about
Marsh Harrier (Male and Female), Kingfisher, Hare, Lapwings, Reed Buntings (also being shown a bit about surveying the nesting progress), Azure Damselfly, Several Butterflies, Bumble Bees, Cuckoo (heard, not seen), a few friendly dogs (and one which sounded like it wanted to eat me) …
A top day in the wilds of Cambridgeshire …. A little video showing some of my exploits …
So yesterday I decided to run to Wicken Fen – as you do.
First long run since July last year. Felt great to be out and I even surprised myself with how comfortable I felt. Looks like it was around 14.5 miles in total, including my first ever sub 2 hour half marathon. And there was cake !!! There ALWAYS has to be cake.
Also my first report on the new FujiRunner blog can be read here. Running, for me, is a fabulous way to discover photography locations. I plan to document some of my adventures on the FujiRunner blog.
Okay, perhaps not … but you know what I’m bloody impatient .. so I’ve just been out for a 4 mile plod around the fields ….. felt no worse than normal so I take that as a good sign.
Seeing a specialist next week, until then I may have time to get a few more runs in .. heck he may even say it’s all in my head and there’s nothing wrong with my Achilles (the bulge is just a fashion accessory) …
Okay perhaps not …. but I’m going bonkers not being able to run ….
Posts have been few and far between give my lack of running due to injury. I am however pleased to report that while not 100% I’m certainly a heck of a lot better than I was a few months ago. I’ve been having weekly sessions at Cambridge Physiotherapy Clinic as well as daily exercises to both resolve the lumpy bits as well as strengthen my achilles for the future.
It’s been tough not running. For the first month I was okay with it – heck perhaps not even missing it too much. As the time away from running has lengthened my frustration has grown, compounded by the fact that my wife is back to running after our recent vacation and full of the joys getting outside for a run brings.
I’ve actually done very little exercise (aka zero) since starting the program and this (given it is a continuous struggle for me) has seen me pile on a few (7) extra lbs in weight. I’ll never be one of these people who can get away with eating crap and it not showing and as I stepped onto the scales this morning I was annoyed to see how far I’ve let myself slip since stopping running. A few years to get to a weight I was beginning to be pleased with, and only a few short months to start to head (quite fast) in the opposition direction. A 3 week trip to South Africa (man they love their meat .. and wine … and some more meat) didn’t help my cause. Thankfully I now can spot the signs and feel myself carrying those few extra lbs.
So this post hopefully starts me back on the straight and narrow. Firstly my physio has said that I can start to consider some short running again. I’m planning on heading out this morning. First run since 31st August (that’s 84 days or 2016 hours). While it’s still going to be quite a while until I can get back to any kind of distance it is at least encouraging to know that I can slip on my runners and at least get back out into the open. I also realise that I don’t want to go back to the bad old days regarding my fitness and weight and find that I’ve been using my injury as a lazy boy’s excuse to do zero exercise / drinking too much beer. I have two bikes which have had zero use in the past few months (one actually sitting on a roller in the garage so weather can’t be an excuse) and that has been something that even with the injury I’ve been allowed to do. Not good enough Nigel !!
I’ve set myself a target to loose those extra lbs by 24th December (32 days from today) as well as regain a certain level of my fitness. While I’ve not signed up for any races in 2015 (nor do I think I will) I’ve got my eye on some interesting running challenges next year – just for me. I’ve learnt my lesson however and despite what seemed like an odd ability to get up and run 20 miles without too much thought I want to make sure I’m better prepared for running next time out.
With the latest version of iOS on the iPhone came the Health tool. I carry my iPhone everywhere and it is interesting to see how little I’ve been moving over the past few months – again something to make sure I change.
24th December Targets
- Weight: 82.5KG
- Daily Average Movement: 8KM
Fingers crossed for my run later and the start of stage 2 in my recovery.
Wow … I’ve so much to catch up on here, not least the conclusion to the 2014 #RunAugustRun adventure – which by the way was supported fantastically well by both the amount of miles completed (more on that in my next post) but also with the Pounds (and dollars) in generously donated.
Anyway … one thing that became obviously (and very painfully) clear was the fact that I needed to seriously consider getting myself fixed. You see for the past 18 months I’ve been running while injured … Stupid I know, idiotic even .. There were two main reasons for this (well three actually)
- I hate anything to do with Doctors .. I’m convinced that they are going to tie me down before poking and prodding me. Thankfully I’m generally a well person so have had limited need to visit them over the years. I live opposite a Health Clinic and I reckon they peer out of their blinds getting ready to snag me with a dog collar and pull me into a room for much prodding.
- When I ran the problem seemed to go away. Yup, after about 5 miles of running the problem cleared up and I felt pretty much pain free. The following day it was back and the longer I left running out of my daily plan the more painful the problem became.
- I hate anything to do with Doctors …
So after #RunAugustRun (where sadly I was only able to complete 1 mile per day) I realised that the pain was so severe that it was actually impacting my ability to even walk around. Time to face my fears head on and get myself fixed.
I’m currently in a 12 week program to help solve Tendo-Achiles Tendinosis … my goodness me it’s bloody painful when he is working it. So for the rest of the year I’m out of running … in fact right now I’m out of most things fitness related, which is actually really starting to bug me a little. I’ll hopefully be able to get on the bike over the next few weeks. I may even use the time out of running to get to swimming pool.
I’ve got plenty of crazy plans in my head for 2015 so I really want to give myself the best opportunity to get properly fixed over the rest of 2014. I’ll keep you posted with my progress (and prodding)
I have a post over on my photography blog which approaches this subject from the photography aspect. This post will be from the running aspect.
I have a bit of an obsessive personalty (as you may have already realised from looking at some of the pictures of my feet after ultras). My main passion in life (and growing) over the past few years has undoubtedly been photography with running coming a close second. I also used to fill the remaining hours of the day with other pursuits including, drumming, gaming, home cinema and conservation.
There came a time in 2012 when I had so many things whizzing around in my head (as well as holding down a full time and pretty time consuming job) that I’d sit at home on a Saturday morning and get frustrated about having so much to do that I would quite often do nothing. Well actually that’s not strictly true as I would run. I needed to run as I not only found it a bit of an escape from the pressures of all of the other stuff, but I knew I needed to keep running if I were to maintain my chances of completing some upcoming Ultras.
Every time I’d be out running however I’d be frustrated that I’d not been out with the camera. My two main passions as they had become require many hours of one’s time – and even for me (being an insomniac) it felt either running or photography needed to take a back seat.
This worried me as in my heart of hearts I knew photography would be the upfront driver and yet I also knew if I simply decided to run shorter distances (and therefore cut the amount of hours needed) I would loose interest and with that would come an unhealthy lifestyle and finally piling on the lbs I’d managed to loose over the past 2 years.
Making room for both of my passions meant that other pursuits such as gaming and home cinema took a back seat – resulting in not only the end of year sale of some of my consoles but also the agreement with myself that for the first time since I became interested in gaming I would not be picking up either of the latest consoles (which launched this past November).
I’ve helped myself on the running front by not entering as many events in 2014 – so far just two (which I’ll talk about in a later blog post) which will allow me to focus more photography while still having something big to train for.
As I start to ramp up the training heading into 2014 ready for my first event (April 2014) I feel I’m in a much better place to devote just the right amount of time to running while ensuring I leave enough time to continue to grow as a photographer.