Thursday, 24 April 2014

TP100 and Ultra Tales!

Oh yes! Its that time again! Its time to fill myself full of panic and self doubt! That's right folks, it`s nearly ultra time again! WOO!

The build up to this has felt like a lifetime. I first heard of the Thames Path 100 in 2012 when my brother in law first announced that it was to be his first ultra. At the time I had only just heard about ultra running and the thought of someone running 100 miles just seemed so superhuman.
In the back of my mind I thought it would be cool to one day give it a go myself.

So here I am 2 years later, 9 days away from my first attempt at doing just that.
I have no idea what to expect beyond 62 miles as this is the longest I have run to date but I am curious to find out. Ideally I would like to be going into this 100% fit, ideally I would have liked to have trained better, ideally....actually if I always waited for things to be "ideal" im pretty sure I would never do anything! You can keep "ideally".

So here I am with a grumpy hamstring, a grumpy hip and a fractured toe feeling pretty sure that I could be the most "rested" person on the start line. I could come up with plenty more excuses and stories as to why I may not finish but honestly, who wants to hear that? We hear them all the time right? The guy who shows up with a sack full of them in a bag labeled "just in case" so he can have something to fall back on rather than just saying "it beat me" or "I wasn't ready". I don't want to be that guy.
My approach instead is a positive one. I can and will only promise a few things. Firstly I WILL be on the start line, secondly, I shall just give it my best shot!
If you want to find me I will be at the back, smiling (hopefully) and plodding along making the most of it. After all its meant to be fun right? All be it long drawn out painful fun, but fun none the less!

In other news...

I am very excited to say that I have a runners profile in the latest issue of Ultra Tales!! (click here to go to the site) My profile is on page 158 :)

Happy reading folks!


Monday, 21 April 2014

Review - Running and Stuff

Hey folks, whilst sitting on the injury bench I have had some time to catch up on my reading so we all know what that means....its review time!

Now if you have spent some time on that Face-tweet thing and are partial to a bit of running, the chances are you have heard of James Adams. If you have heard of him I really don't need to tell you that he has a book out. He has mentioned it. A lot.
As it turns out, as well as being pretty good at this running lark he is also great writer!
Anyone who has chatted to James for a while via the interweb will know that he is a funny guy and is passionate about his running. I knew some of the races he had done before as his name would crop up all over the place but didn't really know the true extent until I read the book.

Get the book!

No, really. Stop reading this and buy the book! You will not be disappointed, well that is unless you are easily offended with mild swearing and pretty much constant talk of poo. Then, well, maybe you will be a little disappointed. I bet it will still make you smile though, come on admit it! Who doesn't like a story about poo?! You know like that time that your mate got shat on by a seagull?! Bet you laughed eh?!

I digress, where was I?

Ah yes! The book! "Running and Stuff" is a very inspiring and amusing read that needs to be on every aspiring ultra runners book collection. His down to earth style makes for easy reading and I just couldn't put it down! Unfortunately this also meant that I finished it really quickly! DOH!

You may have picked up that so far I have not actually mentioned anything that happens in the book. I figured the title probably gave it away.
A little more perhaps?

James has done a few things that would make most runners jaws drop. Spartathlon, Badwater, GUCR to name but a few......oh and he ran across America. Yeah. 

Hows that jaw?
Yes you read that correctly, America. Los Angeles to New York to be more precise. 
Oh you want it in miles? 3200 of them! That`s an average of 45 miles a DAY for 70 days!! 70!
My last race was 45 miles and I just about hobbled a mile and a half to work the next day, the thought of doing that over and over again just makes my head spin!

So there you have it! If you like your stories to be pretty damn epic with a mountain of humour and a light dusting of poo.....wait, wait, wait....can I really end it like that?

Yes, yes I can.

Buy the book! You can grab your copy from "Troubador" or "Amazon"

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Needles, tape and a lot of nerves

I was pretty nervous that my physio going to say I had done something really stupid and maybe advise me not to run. Fortunately after my check up she assured me that I haven't done anything stupid. Then I told her I was about to do something really stupid.

Telling a physio that you are 4 weeks away from running 100 miles in sandals gets an interesting reaction but not the one I was expecting to be honest.
The reaction I have got used to over the last few months has been one of disbelief mixed with a look of "you are mad!!". Her reaction was slightly different. There was a short pause followed by "lets get you patched up then!" She still thinks im mad but with her being a Triathlete herself she understands the need to do this kind of stuff.

It my very first physio visit to top it off so as I already said, I was pretty nervous. Nervous that she might tell me I had some massive injury that would take months to heal. Instead she moved my legs around a bit and said I had short hamstrings....oh...thats not so bad. One test she did involved holding onto my heel and then gently pulling my leg straight while I pulled back. She seemed happy with this so told me to pull back as hard as I could. I promptly apologized as I yanked her towards my arse and bounced her off the table!! I don't think she was expecting my legs to be that strong, kind of surprised me too to be honest!

With everything looking good, well apart from short hamstrings, she did some ultrasound to check out my knee and again came back with the all clear. Bit of a massage then some Kinesio tape and it was time for the painful bit.....paying.

Kinesio tape or Kinesiology as its known is something that I've heard people debate about a lot. For those who have never heard of it before I shall give you a quick explanation. The basic idea behind it is to use tape to take the strain off of the effected muscle/tendon kind of like adding a support to give it a rest, aiding the healing process. I wasn't really to sure what it would do to be honest but was curious to find out. She got me to lay on my belly and slightly raise my leg then applied the tape. The tape is then rubbed to warm up the glue to help it stick. With my new hamstring in place I was told I was good to go till next week when we will start with acupuncture. GULP!
I have to say, straight away I noticed a difference. The small amount of extra tension on my hamstring was just enough to alleviate some of the pain. Bonus!
Its not some magic cure and my leg was certainly not fixed but I could already see the benefit as I walked home.
Once I got in I tried out some of the stretches I was given and felt surprisingly good. I continued to do these (as often as I remembered) until the following Tuesday when it was time for acupuncture.

Fast forward to last Tuesday - Acupuncture day

Acupuncture was another one that made me nervous. Stupid really as I have tattoos and piercings but there you go, fear is never rational.
I was given a form to sign to say that I wouldn't sue her if I turned into a pterodactyl or something due to the acupuncture. She explained that people have different reactions to the needles. Some folks get twitchy muscles, some feel a dull ache, sharp pain or a tingle. I was now more curious than nervous.
The first needle went in. There was a small pin like pain but nothing major. This calmed me down even more.
Needle after needle I got more and more relaxed. The feelings I got back were a mixture of all of the above. I had one muscle twitch, one ache, one sharp pain in the middle of my calf. What interested me the most about that one was that she didnt have a needle in it!! It was being triggered from higher up in my hamstring.

After all the needles were in we chatted away they did their thing.
After about 5-10 minutes she removed them and did a bit of massage then it was tape time and once again the most painful part....paying.

I felt pretty good on the walk home and was looking forward to next week when I could get more done.
First I had to tackle 2 days of work which involved going up and down a ladder all day. hmmm this should be interesting! Like many I have got used to my office desk and comfy chair, so the idea of spending about 6 hours a day running up and down ladders with a hamstring issue was, well, not my idea of fun.
Always trying to look on the bright side I chose to see this as a perfect opportunity instead and regarded it as cross training and hill work! ;)
As it turns out it works bloody well! My legs felt great afterwards, well with the exception of my bruised shins from resting them on the next step! ERROR!
So there you have it! Top tip, if you want some cross training or have no hills near you, buy a ladder!

After the 2 days of "cross training" I was ready to go for a short run and see what I had.
I felt like a puppy that was busting to get outside! The moment I got out of the door I was off! Constantly telling myself to slowdown and take it easy.
I was massively overdressed for the occasion, not top hat and tails, too many layers. You see I had got used to it being really flipping cold so I dressed for how I ran 3 weeks a go.
Within minutes I was roasting but the "puppy" in me just wanted to play so I just kept running.
5k done, leg still attached, all seems good, not perfect but ill take what I can get!

Fast forward to yesterday

Last night was time for my next set of needles, massage, ultrasonic and tape. Its strange to say but I was kind of excited to get it done as over the last week my hamstring has felt progressively stronger and I was eager to get my legs back!
I  was feeling very relaxed as I knew what was on the cards, we chatted while she poked and prodded my away at my legs. The acupuncture was very interesting this time as it was more of a buzzing sensation all over my legs, a bit like if you have sat on them for a while and then stood up. That feeling when the blood rushes back into them.
Once she was done and I was all taped up again it was time for the walk home.
My legs felt a little heavy but in a good way, like I could feel like something was working.

I am going to get a few more short runs in before cutting back (pfffffttt! ha ha ha cutting back!!!) ready for the Thames Path 100 on the 3rd May.....GULP!

The one thought echoing around my head at the moment is "I think I might be back in the game!"

Thanks for reading folks!