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Friday, 31 December 2010

Yearly Stats

It is that time of year when I lament about the successes of 2010 and areas for development for 2011. A broken leg has cut my year short and is 46 weeks in total. 2010 was my best year running. Not the fastest, but the longest:

Here are my Stats for 2010. I won't run again like this until 2012. My last run was November 30th so I have a month missing!

Total miles run: 1901.1
Max mileage month: 296.8 (august)
Lowest mileage month: 66.0 (feb)
Max weekly mileage: 109.49
Average weekly mileage: 41.32 (based on 46 weeks)
PBs: 0
Races: 5 Ultras, 4 marathons, 2 14 miles stages of a relay, 1 half, 2 10k, 1 5 mile, 3 club XC.
Marathons completed to date: 18

Best moments; Ridgway UK ultra champs: CP3-5 and the last 3 miles, last 8 miles of South Downs Marathon, last 13 miles of Neolithic Marathon.

2011 will not be the same. 2008 was about PBs: 5k, 5mile, 10k. 2009 was about getting longer (PBs half, marathon) and 2010 was about going long. 2011 will be about learning to walk, something I had taken for granted for 35 years. Then, with some leg brace support, learning to run. Hopefully I will get back to the club and start to run with a slow group. My goal was to get to 20 marathons this year, somthing I missed. Will I be able to run a marathon in 2011? Here's to hoping and running again. Happy New Year!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Exercise Bike and XTrainer

I have bowed to the inevitable and purchased a X-trainer and exercise bike. Something more advanced than in the picture but necessary all the same. 4 weeks since the accident I have kept morale high and endeavoured to keep a semblance of fitness. It has been a week since the spreadsheet started and I have walked another mile on crutches today, completed arm curls, crunches, reverse crunches, a style of press ups that furnish me with arm exercise but does nothing to hinder the leg (imagine knee style-press ups) and have been using every excuse to take the stairs, managing approx 150 a day.

Because of all of this, my upper body resemles something around 6 years ago, many months after joining the gym. Now if Mohammed will not travel to the the saying goes......then I shall have an XT machine. It is possibly the only thing to keep me sane.

In addition, the more I research, the more I get excited about the rehabilitation process. Learning to walk, thinking about running. When the cast comes off I shall furnish you with pictures of my withered quad. Once mighty, burning through the miles of trail at the UK ultra championships, now is a body double for C Montgomery Burns. Years to build, 4 weeks to disappear into the ether.........

It will come back. Stronger. Merry Xmas all ultra marathoners, running bloggers and runners of all shape, size, fast or slow. My hat goes off to you and hopefully I shall join you once more. Pounding the streeets.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Witham Boxing Day 5 cancelled again

crystal palace park in snow, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

This is the second year in a row. OK us XC and fell runners would laugh at the mere thought but this is a road race and there are a lot of fun runners too. I think it is best that it is cancelled bearing in mind the roads. That means I will not have missed one since 2006 since I can't run it this year! Not that I am selfish.

It does call into question some of the events that are run though. Unless there is a problem for competitors getting to the event, closed roads/trains not running then I think that events, particularly XC adventures, should always go ahead, especially when competitors have trained and are ready for the event. Culture thesedays so often tends towards the "where there is a blame there is a claim" when the unprepared or undertrained competitor gets injured, but seasoned marathoners and ultra-runners often brave sub-zero conditions and trecherous highways and byways. The only drawback is that of being a marshall. Standing in the cold for hours on end is perhaps the most thankless task of the day. I raise a Christmas glass to all marshalls everywhere who tolerate terrible conditions for the love of the sport. Here's to you! Here's to seeing you at the Witham Boxing Day race next year!

Friday, 24 December 2010

fracture details

Having spent the last 3 weeks explaining it in "laymans" terms I thought I would demonstrate the nature of the injury. It is known on my medical records from my consultant as a Weber C Fracture. This constitutes 2 fractures to the tibia, one further down, on the ankle joint to the medial (inside) and a 2nd fracture to the tibia further up and to the distal part of the joint. Finally the maisoneurve fracture to the fibula.

This has a great diagram, although my fib is fractured some 25-30cm higher than on the diagram.

I am awaiting feedback from the physiotherapists to assist in my rehab programme. However I am picking through the small crumbs of comfort that I am spending 30 mins a day on core and upper body exercises. One must not break into a sweat as the cast will start to smell!


There ar 2 types of support; mental and physical.

I am thankful for the former and researching the latter. I have had tremendous support and many visits, lifts, cards, cider and wine from friends and well-wishers during my tenure at broken leg-ville, to which I am eternally grateful and will never forget. I can never thank you enough.

The latter is about what to do when I am out of cast. I have spent the morning emailing Physiotherapists in order to find the best support for my rehabilitation process. It feels groovy when we plan the future. Always looking forward, whilst never forgetting (but not dwelling on) the past. We learn from our mistakes and take the necessary steps to find the best path forward. One step at a time. Hopefully one step with an ankle brace!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Mersea Island

me coming up to the line, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

I'm off to the folks this chilly Thursday for the Xmas break. I thought I might dwell on the fact that this will be the first time in 5 years that I will not be able to run "Round the Island" owing to the broken leg. I secretly reminisce of each summer when the Round the Island half comes round and whether I can PB the course again one day. Last year I was slightly out of sorts as I was concentrating on LSRs and had lost some VO2 max. Mum and Dad are always somewhere on the route to pop up for encouragement. This year they were on the line which was great. I pulled up with a sore Soleus at mile 11 across the sand and slowed for that mile. The pain wore off as I plodded a 9 min mile opposite Bradwell-on-Sea, the ominous looking grey concrete building signalling just 2 miles to go. Following this mild hiatus, I powered to the line and completed the round in 1.31.30, which was no where near my 1.30.14 PB, but pleasing as it was a journey, not a race. Perhaps I will have a gentle run on this fair track in 2011, as a recovery, with a 2012 PB attempt at a sub 1.30 half.

This Xmas, I will not have my usual round the Island training run on Xmas eve and again on Xmas morning. Something I think I am going to really miss. The first mile to the sea is glorious, with views over Brightlingsea and Point Clear. Reality bites like the cold headwind between coopers and West. Finally, past the fisheries and the backdraft home! Wow

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


I used no fluids or gels to get to the shops and back but I managed 1.2 miles on the crutches in the snow and ice. Sweat-wise, I managed to lose more than in the traditional 10 miler on a tuesday afternoon, although I had opted for old running t-shirt cotton wear with a woollen outer layer, scarf, hat and single Karrimor Walking boot. I have the feeling that I was carrying unnecessary mass. Wicking fabrics would have rendered me frozen in -3 degrees conditions.

I intended the return leg to be a negative split but had not factored in a reduction in temperature, rendering the slush to form ice, fatigue and a really heavy rucksack full of cider and other Xmas goodies, totalling about 20kg.

The Garmin stated that I was doing 50 minute miles but I have looked through the manual and can find no evidence of an "on crutches" sport option. I have since contacted Garmin who have stated clearly that they do not intend to bring out a watch with that feature, which I replied was a shame. There might be only a tiny market in ultramarathon GPS watches, but I replied that there was a growing market in ultra-crutch racing. The response surprised me and is utterly unprintable.

The recovery includes apple-based rehydration

Rattling around

cast number 4, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

Rattling around inside the cast.....might need a new one. Rattling around inside the house. Might need to get out!!

Eating my way out of trouble

Who ate all the pies?, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

Managing a return from injury is particularly difficult over the festive period, especially with a broken leg. All manner of situations arise with the notion of no outlet to burn off excess calories.

Luckily, I have taken to a mild exercise regime of crunches, dips, arm curls, stretches and crutch walking. In true OCD fashion I have generated a spreadsheet to chart my progress and to better myself on a daily basis. Body mass has dropped in recent weeks although I am not convinced that this is due to muscle wastage or the effect of reducing intake of food, particularly red meat. I seem to crave chicken and cheese, although not at the same time and I am sure the vitamin supplements, green tea and ginseng are going to help.

It has been a great opportunity to catch up on the blogs of other marathoners and ultra runners.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Pinned Down

X-Ray of tibia, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

Well I finally had my second appointment at King's College Hospital in Denmark Hill, London today. This is the internal outcome. The consultant stated that the bones have meshed together well and it is unlikely that I will need another operation as yet. The maisonneuve fracture of the fibula will heal naturally.

There was a lot of blood loss at the time of operation to cast 3 (the orange one) and this was highlighed when the cast came off, my foot was sat in a pool of dried blood which took the nurse some 20 minutes to clean off. Some of the pain I was experiencing over the last few days was due to skin deterioration being next to wet dressings, some due to shrinkage within the cast due to swelling reduction and some due to lack of hardcore pain relief.

My next set of x-rays are on 10th January. No weight-bearing until this date and with some intensive physio needed between then and the next few months, I think I will be running possibly between easter and the summer.

There are some obvious things I miss. Getting out to run 50 miles a week being the major one, but work, standing up to cook, going to the pub, even getting out of the house. I am working a few hours a day via email but it is really slow going owing to the painkillers monging me out.

Still, I read Dave Immune clocked a 3.18 marathon. Wow! The guy is literally....Immune!

I think for me, the idea of a marathon this year is fanciful, and I need to just get back on my feet before I start making plans. The quadricep muscle after 12 days of non-use has virtually disappeared. However, the pectorals, with the use of the crutches are firming up. Lets look on the bright side!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Break for months

After a lovely 20 snow run on tuesday as work shut early due to snow I went down to the shops on weds eve after a short recovery run. 150 metres from the hous I slipped on the ice and something bizarre happened. I felt like I had passed out, all sweaty and hot but awoke on the pavement. As I attempted to get up my leg bent in the middle around about the bit that was hurting when I was lying on the floor and I went down again. Concious that I had twisted an ankle I hobled home but had to crawl on hands and knees. I sat up in the lounge of the new house Susie and I had bought 4 days prior to this moment. Susie in Malaysia at Chris and Penny's wedding I panicked and phoned Glen and Sue to take me to hospital but they were snowed in.

After a call to a cab firm I found myself passing out in the King's College Hospital A&E and was quickly taken to X-Ray and was administered painkillers. Morphine and a drip later I was flat out in a resus room and was told that I would need to stay over for an operation. I thought I had twisted an ankle but oddly, after a second set of X-Rays I had discovered I had a compound fracture of the distal tibia, fracture of the upper tibia and Maisonneuve (spiral) fracture of the fibila and ligament damage. 3 days later I left the fantastic nurses and consultants in the Matthew Whiting wing of Kings Hospital. Having had 4 titanium screws to bolt back together the tibia and 3 casts, one after another to hold together the shattered leg but with removals for a severed vein, I left hospital with the knowledge that I would at worst be on crutches for 6 months and at best 3-4 months.

I can't believe that after consideration for the SDW and NDW double 100 milers in July and August 2011 and some BGR recces, that I will be just coming back to walking by that time next year.

Next time I want to pop out for some garlic brea, a pizza and a bottle of wine, I will stay at home and wrap up warm.

There is only PMA in my head as for 2012 I am going to do 2 100 milers and aim for a top 20 at the Ridgeway UK ultra distance championships. Until then I must only dream. But dream I will......