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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Time for tea

Cosy Tea, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

Well with this incessant rain and a text from Stevie Beard offering to run tonight I thought I might leave the gear on the radiator and put the kettle on.

A happy me trotted out for the second run this week, not knowing how the effects of thursday's 5 miler would have on my knee. I have been keeping up with my ecentric stretches and everything that I can do to stretch the quad and hip flexor. Having said that it was great to catch up with Sue who had her longest run since before her pregnancy and generally very good to catch up with all of the goings on in the last few weeks. 9 miles at a lovely mellow 9.00s gave us an opportunity to breeze through the parks around the north of Beckenham and the Riverside Walk at the bottom of Sydenham. Spring has definitely sprung with Daffs and Snowdrops in full show. The knee feels delicate but fine and I was hoping to get out and trot around Mersea Island this morning. There is a lovely 13 mile run which is the total circumference of the sea wall around the island. Any budding XC runners should try the "Round the Island Half" as it is fabulous, especially as my Dad was there to welcome me over the finish with a can of cold lager last year!! (please read as Dad supplies post race carbs!!) Anyway, I digress. It is torrential outside and although I am no stranger to adversity, I can't think of anything more than getting the kettle on and planning the Ridgeway Challenge.

Dave Immune texted me on Thursday to get my entry in. Immune, myself and Jerry are going to do this as a team. Mental toughness by the bucketload is required. These guys have done L2B and the furthest I have done is 45 miles. I did feel at the end of the C2C that I could have got to 50 no probs but beyond this I have no experience. I am glad it is in the 6 weeks holidays to allow me at least a few days of recovery before going back to school.

Back to the tea.....

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Back to Work

After a few sessions at Crystal Palace Sports Injury clinic and a good long rest I was happy as larry to go out in the torrential rain and puddles in my new much more cushioned Asics Cumulus 10's for a first and very tentative run. Jason at CPSIC has been the ultimate source of information, support and guidance. I have only had a couple of sports massages in the past but they feel like charlatans compared to a Masters educated professional. Problem identified......malaligned kneecap, tendonopathy due to tight quad and within a short space of time, I feel much better.

After a tentative run, a glance at the Garmin at 1.93 miles and I thought....oh no. But after a minor twinge and 5.60 miles without many inclines and nothing faster that 8.00 min miles, I feel good. Especially after ice, 30 mins stretching and Jason's exercises.

Then I got home and my phone had the most fantastic mesage from none other than Mr Immune, who informed me that I should be straight onto the TRA (Trail Running Association) and join him and Jerry for a team of 3 in the Ridgeway Challenge. Well, like a bull to a red rag I got hold of the application form and it is now ready for the post office to do the rest. I understand that recovery must be slow but anyone that comes back from injury must feel the euphoria of the next big challenge. I doubt I'll be ready for the Stinger....but 85 miles is a big, big challenge and the type of stuff that builds friendships for life. in the words of Susie Liu........"Can't wait" !!!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Not the Brighton Half

40 Cans of Fosters and a Pie, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.
Well as a spectator I have watched more races than I have raced in this year. Having said that, I have enjoyed being on the other side of the lens for a few of these runs. Brighton Half would have been my 5th race of the year but was my 3rd one out. Hence feeling a bit the photo.

Rather than rant on about how I feel, I am really proud of a shed load of the running club who turned out today in the freezing rain and wind for Brighton half. Luckily we had just finished our cups of tea in the Tic Toc cafe and a brisk walk into the rain down the Laines and to the seafront under the Concorde and not even time to set up the camera and Tom W screeched past and with a huge cry of TOMMMMMMM! he shouted back FUUUCCKKK as he obliterated his PB by 8 minutes. Wow. He looked absolutely ready to tackle the DPR club record of 2.44 for the marathon and I am sure he will do it. Next came George and I am ultra proud of him. He whizzed past with the biggest grin on his face and hands up over the line although the driving rain prevented him from the usual Rhino Warrior chest bearing ceremony! 1.37 and 3 mins off his PB so a superb run. Lots of DPRites came past although we didn't see everyone in the 6,199 strong race contingent. Tom and me cheered home as many as we saw, with the Lanky one looking really fetching in Susie's 5ft1 framed fleece. A "special" moment of ridiculousness but totally needed. Astrid in her first half clocked a brilliant 2.05 and I am sure she will be out to scalp the 2.00 hr mark soon. Chris and Penny missed the start and ran together in 2.13 but were probably a bit faster on the chip times. Susie blasted home in 2.16 but then went for a walk to Simi's house about 20 mins away, only to be found on the doorstep with a purple complexion, shivering and only thawing out with a hot soup and tea in the Hop Poles. On which point I must mention the thoroughly lovely roast lamb with 9 different veg and a pint of Stowford Press. Last pint in a pub for a while as am feeling like the abstinence really really felt good and was sooo good for my running.

Now before you ask...the photo was not my consumption! This was from mine and Charlies "Grime and Punishment" photography session on the first day of half term and this was a funky squatted street not far from the Dogstar on Coldharbour Lane, Brixton. The recycling was the only virtous experience for these Vicars!!

Anyway, back to the CPSIC for more treatment on Wednesday and looking forward to the first tentative miles in the build up to what looks like the Black Dog in April. Can't wait.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Crystal Palace Sports Injury Clinic

Thought a post about this would be apt, as I will be spending time and money here. I don't know why I just didn't go there 3 weeks ago. Next time I will do exactly that. Go and seek expert advice.

Having spent an hour with the Physio at the National Sports Centre ( and a heavily strapped knee, I can now confirm that there is malalignment of my right kneecap. It is being caused by tightness in my quadricep which is pulling the kneecap upwards and out of the groove at the base of the femur. Because of this, It is causing considerable pain at the base of the patellar tendon and the ITB and Hip Flexor are tightened and not allowing the natural movement of the knee across the joint. This rubs the cartilage in an unfamiliar manner and the tendon, making it difficult to do anything repetitive and impact-worthy.

So, I sit here half way through half term, at least knowing what the issue is and having lots of new stretches to do to keep me busy. Its of to Lulworth Cove for a small holiday away from London and a chance to do some walking (no pain from this) and take the big camera and get some good shots, rather than racing around the Jurassic coast like all the other nutters. I am really looking forward to getting away......

......and the knee? Well there is always the Stinger next year isn't there? Onwards. Upwards and keep up the PMA!! :)

Monday, 15 February 2010

The only way is up

Down is the feeling when I awoke. First day of half term and I should have been feeling better. Well I am back into the swing of things, well the first 2 miles was hard, it felt like I had never run before and then I looked at the Garmin and it said 7.12s. Slow down, slow down and I made it to a full 5.5 miles before the pain kicked in. I wonder what is up. Cartilage feels more likely that tendons or muscles. Constant grind. Well I decided to head to the gym and an hour of cardio and some weights followed by a swim and sauna sorted me right out. I have now pulled out of the Sussex Beacon Half. I had intended to draft George as it is his favourite race, and he is desperate to hit a PB on this. I feel gutted that I won't be doing this or even running for myself. I feel that keeping it short and improving my cardio fitness and keeping supple is the way forward. Long miles will have to wait. I think 20 days until the Steyning Stinger will sort me out. I am willing myself to get to this marathon and be knee-healthy. It is what I want.

Having said that I am going to enjoy the half term, take photos, work out, see friends and chillax. Mentally I am on the up. It is only a matter of time before I hit the marathon trail and aspire to the huge task of the summer 85 miler. Can't wait

Sunday, 14 February 2010


It's about all I did this evening was to watch the Games....luge, biathlon.....not a hint of the old favourite Olympic Floor Polishing or Curling as it is more well known as. This is the first week I have ever had off running. It feels weird, like something has left me. It feels odd and I am uneasy. I am contemplating buying some new and more cushioned shoes. I haven't got round to it but keep looking. I even went to Decathlon today and felt myself strangely unattracted to the running gear and instead brwosed other isles I had hitherto not known existed. No purchases made and instead took out the Canon 50d with Charlie and decided to shoot some moody Canary Wharf skies. The running will come back, I am sure. I feel as though I have put on 10 stone and aged 10 years. All for a couple of weeks of not taking part in the great leveller that is putting one foot in front of the other at between 6 and 8 minutes a mile.

So much so that I am tempted to make a comeback early in the morning. I feel a gentle 3-4 miles coming on at breakfast. Half term is always a good time to get fit......hopefully the knee will be all fine and I can reward it with a few miles of pain free tendon and cartilage by stretching and sauna-ing in the gym later. I think that will bring a smile to my depressed face. I am very pleased for Eric who ran a superb 4.27 50km London Ultra to place him 16th overall. I am stoked for him. Having seen him down in the dumps I know that fitness will return to me like it has done with verve and vigour in a good runner and friend. PMA

Friday, 5 February 2010


Researching for my MA seemed to resurface in a strange manner today (bearing in mind that I completed my MA in 2008) with a quote from Carole Dweck

Everyone has one of two basic mindsets. If you have the fixed mindset, you believe that your talents and abilities are set in stone – either you have them or you don’t. You must prove yourself over and over, trying to look smart and talented at all costs. This is the path of stagnation. If you have a growth mindset, however, you know that talents can be developed at that great abilities are built over time. This is the path of opportunity and success.

As an educationista, I thought this pertinent to my current state-of-mind. Alternatively, this is a solution to my fluid discussion of future events. On long running, I must believe that can run fast over short distances too. Tuesday; Handicap, 24 hours after sports massage, ran painfully but respectable 6.12s for the race and managed not to have much pain afterwards and since. opportunity for speed, which I never thought I had..... and only 14 seconds off my pb for that distance, and owing to hitherto multiple marathon committments and always running handicaps after marathons and ultras, have never considered myself a fast feel that I can grow towards running sub-6s later this year (btw I did this with a cold, but a much take-the-piss-out-of-by-my-running-club-so-called-mates shoes with shinylaces new pair of shoes that I tried out.)

Dweck-ite I am for the time being.....and also will see how a new pair of socks aid my new found fast-ness. Chances are they will not.....but I have moved from a stagnant to a grow position, just in the space of a day. DPR club champs XC tomorrow. Who knows what will hold?

Monday, 1 February 2010

Long overdue

My first session of sports massage took place and somewhat with trepidation did I pick up the phone and book this. My experience with sports massage had not been brilliant to date and my aprehension was obvious. That stopped. The route of the problem lay in a previous session with a pummeling from a guy who was "no pain no gain". This was an altogether different experience. After the hour was up I felt that we had found the route of the problem. A malalignment of the patella perhaps due to the ITB or the lateral retinaculum, part of the underside of the patella tendon. This has lead to an inflamed and palpated vastus medialis on the opposite side.....most likely. I am going out tomorrow for a gentle run and to see whether this first treatment has had any effect. I am very pleased with the professionalism and attention to detail from Paul. Most impressive. In turn, I was pleased to receive a good news package in that my musculature is in excellent condition. Things are looking up again!!