Thursday, 10 October 2013

Grandma on the run!

16 long weeks ago I never envisaged just what lay ahead! That was a lovely Sunday afternoon when that I innocently went for a walk and ended up with more than I bargained for! A torn collateral ligament in my knee.

So, I'm not expressing elation just yet but after several weeks of physio I have been given the green light to start 'light jogging'. Music to my ears I can tell you.  This being the longest stint on the bench I have had, I often wondered if this was the end. I often wondered 'am I ever going to run again'? Am I sounding like an athlete? I certainly didn't feel like one the last few club nights! I'm sure I resembled something out of a comic book, gasping, sweating and doing snails pace into the bargain! I'm determined to take it easy though and ease myself back in. For this I have enlisted the help of my seven year old grandson Charlie.  He had been asking to go to parkrun for some weeks. My promise, 'when I get back to running I'll take you'. I did just that on Saturday 21st September, two laps of Lister Park with him were wonderful, not least because he has expressed an interest in running but also because it gives me something else to take it steady for. I didn't feel like an injured runner returning, more like a grandma running with her grandson and I loved every minute.

The following week we returned and completed all three laps and the week after that too! It's great to be back with team mates who have supported me too by accompanying me on shorter versions of the club runs so I'm well and truly back (but still taking it really steady!).

Charlie 'my middle name's Usain' Steele ready for parkrun

Thursday, 15 August 2013

9 weeks and counting.........

Apologies to my readers for the lack of posts but I'm sure you'll forgive my absence since I have (a) been really busy with one thing and another and (b) not had very much to report!

I'm still steadily increasing my exercise and am now back to doing intervals on the bike at the gym, I've also increased the length of time I spend on the cross trainer. I'm amazed at how much 'non-impact' those two are so added to my resistance exercises I'm managing to keep a relatively challenging programme going. With very short runs inbetween I feel I'm doing ok, I still haven't managed to fit in any swimming which is disappointing but I'm confident I'll get there yet!

Of course we at club have held the inaugural Arthur James Relay (last Sunday 11th August) and what an exciting day that was, still unable to run more than a mile or so, I marshalled the race at a point where the runners needed turning off the main road back into a wooded area which headed for the finish.  How exciting, despite the purposeful low key element of the race it still had a proper race feel to it! Everyone seemed to enjoy the morning with many of us heading to the watering hole across the road from our training base for refreshments afterwards.  The trophy was awarded to my son Marc and newcomer to the club, James - they had a 'small' advantage in that they are both relative whippersnappers and were a man short so James ran two of the legs - unavoidable though since the pairing was as random as any other as the teams were drawn from a hat (well a plastic bag!).

So off to the engravers the shield has gone to be returned to the winners as soon as possible.  Here's to next year.... Arthur would have been proud.

Hallelujah! 9 weeks and counting, I now have a physio appointment and despite my advancement with the help of the lovely lady at the gym and 'magic hands May' I'm still going to consult them in a bid to check that I am moving forward in the correct way.  So roll on Tuesday when hopefully I will have some more professional guidance and perhaps an assessment of where I am at.

Meanwhile, there will definitely be no Great North Run for me this year so I am doing my utmost to persuade Marc to take it on - not strictly allowed but I will make sure his details are correctly completed on the back of the number and hopefully get to cheer him in at the finish line, just the ticket to start him on his University path the following day! Oh did I forget to mention? I'm just on cloud nine at the moment after learning that Marc has passed his 'A' levels with flying colours and gained a place at Leeds College of Music. Life is good despite not yet being able to join my club mates at training sessions.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Good news!

Good news!

I've been increasing my walking, increasing my cycling in the gym, increasing my visits to Peter May and progress is being made!

Yesterday I ran a mile, though not literally! Albeit a very slow mile, I really felt liberated, ok out of breath, very sweaty and not dissimilar to how I usually feel at the end of a race! I'm in no doubt that it's going to be a long road back, but I'm on that road, that's the main thing!

I'm still attending club three nights and either standing and watching and encouraging (translation: longing to join in) or taking Dave for a walk whilst the runners run.

Out for a stroll with Dave & Marc 

Tonight I set off to Pulse Gym to meet session leader Brian and check the runners out and in.  Heavy rain, thunder and lightening threatened I'm sure, to put most people off coming out.  Just as we arrived the sun came out and it stopped raining. Thinking there was still a big risk nobody would turn up since they would have already made the decision not to run I was most surprised to see a half dozen people stood waiting.  A steady trickle meant there was a sizeable group once they set off.  I drove down to where the session was to take place to encourage them up the hill of the pyramid.  It wasn't long though before the heavens opened again, doggedly determined they all carried on regardless.  After the session we all set off back soaking wet but none the less happy, they had all put huge effort in despite the weather. I love being part of a club even when I can't run. I'm sure they all thought I was mad standing out in the rain but I really don't see it like that, I like to think of it as having KIT days!

Excitement is building as the club prepares to mark 25 years of runners achieving goals, making friends and generally doing a brilliant thing!   Everyone is doing their bit to ensure the silver jubilee is celebrated in style throughout August, including a 'bring a friend along' night amongst other fun activities so if you are reading this and don't currently run but have a longing to do so (as I do!) why not get in touch and 'Run because you can'.......

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Time is running out......

It's very frustrating when titles such as this keep landing in my email 'Inbox'

Time is running out to enter the UK’s most beautiful 10K city race

I'm well aware that time is running out, the problem is I can't run Grrrrr!  However, my main concern is that time is running out to train for the Great North Run.  I need something to focus on to keep me sane.  If time does run out for GNR then I will move my focus to the Guy Fawkes 10 mile in November.  I don't know if any of these goals are realistic at all until I have professional advice which I intend to seek very soon. Until then my goals are firmly in place and are going nowhere!

So week four of being incapacitated - thankfully the days are rolling by just as quickly as they were before - I cannot believe it is four whole weeks since I slipped and ended up visiting minor injuries.  Worryingly though each day is day closer to the GNR and weekly emails land to facilitate the count down, the latest being a reminder to book your accommodation and transfers to the start of the race, which are already sorted. I do though, feel that I am recovering well. I am being anal about doing the exercises I was given in the hope that my recovery comes about in as shortest a time allowed!

The two week anniversary of my injury happened to be my birthday. It started out the way anyone would wish - breakfast in bed, surrounded by my boys, opening cards and presents, then came a bombshell as I opened a 'card' from my two eldest sons and their families, tickets to see Rod Stewart at the new First Direct arena in Leeds. Emotion took over and I was soon in tears, wow it's years since I last saw him - I could hardly contain myself. Next a visit to Adel to cheer on the Eccup runners and I consoled myself with a bacon buttie after the runners had set off - a change to see the other side of the Eccup 10! After we had cheered almost all the runners in we set off with some of the runners to Golden Acre Park to meet family and visit the quaint tea rooms for cake. A boys game of football completed the afternoon and off we went home to prepare for a birthday barbecue in the evening.

So right up to date, I'm still stationary aside of regular walking and gym visits to cycle and cross train, I've progressed onto the next set of exercises from the hospital and a planned walk round parkrun on Saturday are all making me feel like I'm 'getting there'! Now, how do I stop that clock?........

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Interpreter in the house?

Not being very tech savvy I tend to muddle my way through and usually manage to achieve what I set out to do.  Creating a new post for my blog the other day, the next line eluded me, I decided to meddle whilst inspiration materialised.  Clicking here, clicking there, I came upon an option to change the language in which my blog is written. 'I wonder what my blog would look like written in Urdu?' I asked myself. 'Click' and there it was, all the headings, everything in swirling Urdu.  Now what's 'language settings' in Urdu? Oh, no clue! Just as I was about to give up I happened up on a click which revealed what 'language settings' was in Urdu!! That'll teach me to meddle!

So now I can get back to writing. What's been happening? Well.........

My dark cloud grew ever darker. Following my visit to Peter May he assured me there were no issues to worry about and to run but take it steady and keep to low mileage as I had been doing. That evening I ran. It hurt. I decided to take drastic action and strip it right back to basics. Walking. I would go to each club session as normal but when the groups set off on their runs, I would walk, I would keep walking until I felt confident to begin run walking, even if that took a few weeks to achieve.

All went well, the next session, Friday evening, I went down to Apperley Bridge, taking Dave with me. The groups set off, I set off and walked 25 minutes along the canal towpath, turned around and walked back.  Soon after the runners returned. Great! All had gone to plan.  The following Sunday and we decided to go for a family walk into nearby Buck Woods. My son, his partner, two grandsons, Martin, myself and of course Paul and Dave (the dogs).  Strolling through the beautiful woodland, the children frequently stopped to admire the stone carvings along the route, pine cones, rabbit holes anything that caught their attention. Bliss!  Craig, my son, was walking just ahead of me holding 3 year old Zach's hand, all of a sudden he lost his footing and slipped down a sloping rock dragging Zach with him.  Instinct obviously took over and I reached out to get a hold of the little one. My right foot also slipped down the rock, my left foot remained on the path. I twisted my knee and I also felt a horrible 'pop' to the inside of the knee.  Scrambling to my feet I was in agony and began to 'giggle' uncontrollably, this carried on for some time as I struggled to make my way back to the car. I imagine it was either pain or shock or both!

Anyway I did the usual, ice, rest, ibuprofen and also rubbed Ibuprofen gel into the area and went to bed thinking it would be ok in the morning.  How wrong was I? I woke at 3 am in agony.  A visit to minor injuries later and I was told I had torn my collateral ligament and I was to completely rest for 48 hours and was given an information sheet of advice and exercises.

So, a visit to the docs on Monday will hopefully help me to find out how I can move forward from this and what I can and can't do when. I'm hoping that I might be able to go swimming fairly soon and resume my upper body programme in the gym!

Meanwhile here's hoping it won't be too long before I can get back to my walking, running it seems is much further away than it ever was!

These little fellas will no doubt be much bigger when I see them again.......

A pair of Swans patiently await their new arrivals

Two cygnets had arrived next time I saw the pair!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Running is my sunshine!

I have just read a lovely and indeed very apt quote "Running is my sunshine" (Joan Twine). This quite literally sums up how I feel about my running. Alas I have a dark cloud hanging over me at the moment.  I've tried to be sensible and keep to low mileage, resting for more days than running and hitting the gym a couple of times a week just to stave off the pounds.  That's weight not money!

The crunch came when I had to give away my Otley 10 mile race number.  One of the tougher but really enjoyable races I had looked forward to as part of my series of races entered to help regain my focus after London Marathon. Enforced cheering is not nearly as much fun as the voluntary variety.  Where will it end? I don't know the answer. I do know that I need to work at getting tip top quite soon if I am to fulfil my innermost desire to run the Great North Run in under two hours which has been an idle thought for quite some time. Where to begin?

I know the sensible option for some would be to visit a physio but after my past experience I'm loathe to do so and for the time being place my trust in the formidable Peter May. He's confident I'm on the road to recovery so we will see.  Next visit already planned, let battle commence!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Stock taking......

Due to the Spring Bank Holiday I've only managed to visit the gym once since my programme was put together for me.  I am under no illusion that I am going to have to work very hard to fit it in at all but none the less I remain confident that I will do just that at least twice a week. I still have the swimming to master but again - time permitting I am going to try and get there a couple of times a week.

I'm already feeling the benefit mentally because I have made the decision to join and also mastered the basics during the times I have been there. Never having stepped inside a gym to train before I am surprised at my attitude to it so far. I'm also confident it will have it's benefits since I have visited after tough sessions and definitely felt it eased my DOMS. following a hard sprinting session and subsequently, the YVAA race at Bingley which was tough for several reasons. Not least the hills but also the rough terrain over which it was set, fields with cow hoof holes to twist the ankles, a very long path through fields resembling the yellow brick road but in concrete slabs, moorland up on the top of Shipley Glen all interspersed with woodland tracks, paths and snickets (ginnels if you rather). Alas these things are sent to try us!

Love this action shot courtesy of Linda Bussey
YVAA Bingley Tuesday 28th May
I now think I pushed my luck on Wednesday having had a tough race on Tuesday.  Club training session stated that there was an 'element of a time trial' in the route, one route, which is unusual for a Wednesday.  However, we split into groups and went along with suggestions of treating it as just that, a time trial, loosely translated as not meeting at strategic points as we would usually but staying as groups.  For some unknown reason I set off we a group containing runners I knew to be much faster than me. We set off on the uphill route, I gave it my all and after the 6 mile jaunt I felt similar to how I often feel post race, satisfied I've worked hard even if I don't get the result I want.  My thoughts immediately turned to the fact that I can't seem to go under an hour for 10k. Distant memories of last year's personal bests constantly invade my thoughts. Brain training to give ourselves a break anyone?

Arriving home I take stock. My left leg has been troubling me on and off for some weeks. Same old same old. Run, it feels better, stop, it give me pain.  Things - as they do - came to a head.  I made my regular visit to Peter May and explained how my leg had been troubling me.  He did a lot of work on it and advised me to rest for a couple of days and then try it out which is what I intend to do. Fingers crossed  his healing hands will have done the trick!