Time for a quick catch up?

358 days ago the first advert for tea, in England, was published. I love tea. Why not make a brew and relax, and let’s have a quick catch up, it’s been a while…

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It’s been quite an eventful year in my running to say the least, we kicked off the year with a big PB at the Brass Monkey Half in January. 1.44.27 for 13.1 miles however it wasn’t long before everything started going downhill!

Runhelenrun - Brass Monkey Finish
Brass Monkey Half marathon: New PB 1.44

In February I was diagnosed with blood clots/ Deep vein thrombosis in my left calf, not something you would ever want to happen but as a runner with 2 months to go to the London marathon, training on track and feeling in great form, it was a disaster. After several weeks out I was forced to reassess my goals, forget about GFA (Good for age qualification) which I was more than on course for and re focus on completing it – Which I did, in an almost personal worst time! But it was the best last 6 miles of a marathon I have ever ran; a pit stop at 20 miles to try and get the circulation and feeling back in my feet, a little cry, a rest and then having to pull myself together, meant I was in a better frame of mind and rested, ready to tackle the last 6 miles. All time ambitions were out of the window, I was able to take it easy, enjoy the atmosphere and engage with the crowds.

Not wanting to have to face another high pressured target race but wanting another challenge, next came the banana marathon – 26.2 miles down the Leeds to Liverpool canal dressed as a giant banana to raise money for The Cave Rescue Organisation. I was surprised how well this went, I felt great and despite the costume only finished a few minutes slower than London.

I had decided that instead of an autumn marathon I would try a different challenge and signed up for Fleetwood Sprint triathlon,  however the problem with this was I could hardly swim and I was terrified of putting my head under the water – So I started taking swimming lessons at Leeds Beckett University sports centre.

Then it all went downhill again at the Blackpool 10km, a week after the banana marathon; my foot/ankle gave in after two miles and hasn’t been right since, just when the strengthen exercises seemed to be slowly starting to improve things and I had managed to get up to 3 miles without pain or discomfort, I came off my bike, with a dramatic somersault from the road across the pavement and into a bush on the other side. Thank goodness for the bush. Bruised, battered and shaken up, all it took a few days later, was for me to lift my nephew out of the swimming pool, to pull my back to the extent that walking was barely possible for 4 weeks. I couldn’t dress myself or tie my own shoe laces.

 

4 weeks ago I was given the go ahead to start swimming, and that’s exactly what I did, swam, swam and swam. 2 weeks later I was given the go ahead to start gently easing back into running, starting with some 3 miles runs on holiday last week. During the period of being out of action because of my back I had completely forgotten about all the issues with the tendons in my foot/ankle stability, and now I’m back to where I was 2 months ago, barely managing to run three miles without developing limp, and an uncoordinated running style having to half drag my left foot along as my ankle collapses under me.

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Running on holiday

It’s now two days until Fleetwood triathlon, my swimming is like a series of near miss drowning accidents linked together, I can swim, and quite quickly at that but with no endurance what so ever, every length has me panting and out of breath. I haven’t really been on my bike since I came off and have lost a lot of confidence, I also made the slightly silly decision to swap from cross tyres to road tyres in a hope of being able to achieve a bit more speed but didn’t take into consideration how much it would impact on how I’m used to my bike feeling. I think I may end up being a little overly cautious on the bike section and play it safer than needs be sacrificing speed. – I should have just left the cross tyres on! As for the run, I just need to get through it, it won’t be quick and my running form won’t be pretty but I’m prepared to do whatever is necessary to get round run, hop, walk, shuffle I will get me and my dodgy ankle across the finish line.

 

Swimming is a confusing sport, because sometimes you do it for fun, and other times you do it to not die. And when I’m swimming, sometimes I’m not sure which one it is.

Demetri Marti

On Sunday afternoon I will be a triathlete! I don’t really have a time in mind for the whole thing but I think 20 minutes for the swim, 40 for the bike and 30 for the run should cover it, add on transition time and perhaps around 1 hr 30 – 1 hr 40?

After the triathlon I have the Yorkshire 10 mile race to complete, which I promised Beth I would run with her, whilst her sister and Jim run the marathon. I’m a little concerned about being up to 10 miles in two weeks when 3 is currently a struggle, not from a fitness point of view but from a physical, managing to drag my foot around point of view!

After the Yorkshire 10 miles I think that’s going to be the end of my running for this year, time to take a step back, go back to the beginning and start putting the pieces back together to hopefully be able to come back stronger next year. Maybe I’ll aim for marathon number 10 in 2018.

In November I start training to become a running coach, so I will still be participating but in a slightly different way, hopefully in a less painful, accident prone way!

I’ve already decided on some big challenges for the future; before I turn 40, in 8 years time, I want to complete an Ironman distance triathlon and run the Tenerife Bluetrail ultra marathon that starts in Los Cristianos goes up Mt. Teide, the highest mountain in Spain, and back down to finish on the other side of the island in Puerto de la Cruz.

 

I just need to get through Sunday first… Any last minute hints, tips or advice for me?

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