The quiet before the storm…

It’s been a little while since my last post. Running-wise not a lot has happened really. In fact, I believe I said I was going to do a 50 mile run on the Green Man course around Bristol. I did make it out as planned, leaving the house a few hours before dawn. When I arrived at Ashton Court at the stone Green Man it was still dark. It had rained plenty over the previous week and the temperature wasn’t too bad. Knowing the route pretty well, I knew that there would be a few points that would be very muddy. More tests for the ankle I thought.

As soon as my Ambit had found the satellites, I slid off into the dark towards the deer enclosure. Once out of Ashton Court I begun to climb Dundry. So far, I have got a little confused at this section every single time and this was no exception. What an idiot I thought. I kept my calm and soon enough I was back on familiar ground. I made a mental note to return one day to this section to recce it in the daylight seeing as I had only ever run it in the dark!

The climb up to Dundry is the longest of the whole route and is also very wet and muddy in sections so had me walking. Already things were rather laboured, but I persisted believing that I just needed to warm up some more.

Usually I am gifted the most wonderful sunrise as I come to the top of Dundry. In fact, part of the reason for my stupidly early start is to catch the sunrise at this excellent highpoint. Today was just a grey day. No inspiring colours changing as you watch, just a dramatic stormy looking sky looming over the city scape below me.

Things were not improving, and my feet were way too painful for this early stage of the run. Was I being sensible here? The beauty of this route is that it circles Bristol, and I live roughly in the centre of it, so I’m never more than 10 miles from home. Easy to bale!

I pushed on and pushed the pain and lack of energy to the back of my mind. It was good to be out on the trails and I was really enjoying myself, despite the poor performance. After about four hours I was getting the idea of stopping early. I hate to do this, but I must be sensible. This is just a run for fun, not a target or a particular challenge. There was no need to bury myself and hurt myself? Once the thoughts had entered my mind, I decided that once I got through Bradley Stoke and reach the A38, instead of crossing over and continuing the Green Man, I would take advantage of the main road and follow it in a fairly direct route home.

Reaching that point became harder and harder. My body was broken. It all seemed very familiar? Then I remembered. When I first started running, I had overtrained and put myself completely out of training for two months. I didn’t like the conclusion, but it was definitely the answer as far as I was concerned. Trans-Europe had just been a major exercise in overtraining. I had worked very hard every day for anything between 3 and 9 hours for 64 days. I am not a stage runner, so my body is not really prepared for such abuse. I needed more rest.

The rest of the run was a death march home with the not great thought that I had to rest fully for an indefinite period. It still ended up being 70km though!

I haven’t run since. I have been riding my bike to work as normal, but not really done anything else, other than try to eat well, sleep well and not enter too many races or buy hundreds of pairs of trainers!

So how has it been not being able to do the thing I love? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating, but overall things have been fine. Because of my past experience, and knowledge that the rest would definitely fix it if not rushed, I’ve felt very calm. I have big plans in the future, and to have any chance of achieving these goals, I need to really look after myself. I could have easily kept running through it. It would have hurt, and really been quite negative, and by now, I would have been so deep in that it would more than likely wipe the year out. So really, I am grateful for the fact that I spotted this early enough and acted on it. In a previous life, I know I would have pushed through. My running has matured maybe?

Just before Christmas, I decided that with this quiet spell I should get my feet looked at to see if someone can work out why they hurt so much. I looked around a bit and decided on Profeet in London. I had an appointment with Richard Felton who is @ukrunrambles on Twitter. He is an ultrarunner and an expert in running biomechanics so a good choice I thought. The service was excellent and really fascinating. I found the pressure mat analysis particularly interesting. I learnt that both of my first metatarsals have ‘dropped’, putting extra pressure on them and possibly causing the pain. Richard then kitted me out with some custom insoles which were ready to use by the time I had popped out for lunch. I couldn’t wait to run in them!

So at the moment I am very excited about the future. There are so many things I want to do. Each year that comes seems to bring very different challenges than the previous years. I am not sure where all this is heading, but I am definitely moving more towards the adventure side of things. I would love to get involved in some sort of expedition.

Booked races :

Ultra Trail South West

The Ring

UTMB

Races I plan to enter (though may not if it’s a lottery) :

Tor Des Geants

Frostskade 500

A secret?????

So, nothing under 100 miles. All single stage, even if they are up to 500 miles! And yes, the inclusion of an arctic race. The Arctic has always fascinated with it’s harsh beauty.Previously I have shunned it because of my hands that suffer in the cold. I believe with the correct equipment and good drills, then all will be fine. This is a dream challenge as far as races go and I know that it is multi dimensional compared to Trans-Europe. The cold, the snow, darkness, dragging a pulk, and generally being right out there in the wild, will make it possibly a bigger scarier challenge. Perfect!

So after all this time off, I have slowly felt pains and niggles I have had for years slowly fade away. Even the Achilles feel good. Smooth with no lumps what-so-ever! Yesterday, I decided that I was ready to try things out. I went out for a 20 minute run. It was very leisurely indeed, but things felt ok. I felt ok today to and wanted to run again tonight but felt that I have waited this long, so I should really get it right. No rush. So tomorrow I will go again. I was ridiculously excited about it and as I ran down my road yesterday I had the biggest most insane looking grin across my face. It’s good to be running again and I am really excited with the prospect of starting from fresh again. Hopefully the experience I have picked up over the previous seven years will aid me to getting some decent level of fitness in a relatively short amount of time without getting injuries. The challenge excites me.

Well that’s me for now. I just thought I should let you know what’s been happening in my non-running life.

Happy running (or resting)

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