Sunday, 15 December 2013

Tempting fate

Since August, I've been running without a training plan.  No speed work, no hills, no specific mileage that I need to do each week, and no focusing on my Garmin.  Just running for the joy of running (with a few 10k races thrown in for fun).  My legs were happy with this approach and let me know this by staying injury- and niggle-free, as well as by being a bit more nippy than they've been in the recent past.  I was feeling optimistic about my running future.

And then I registered for the Malta Half Marathon.  And booked non-refundable plane tickets.  And booked accommodation.  And started to follow a training plan.  Yep, nothing like sending up a gigantic flare to the Running Gods inviting them to take their best shot.

In the last week, I have 1) tweaked my right ankle during a 7-mile run in high winds (I went over on it when blown off-balance by a particularly vicious gust.  Why was I running in such horrible winds?  Because I'M IN TRAINING, DAMMIT.)  and 2) tweaked my left medial arch - no idea how this happened, but it was a constant low level ache for days and days.  I'm walking a fine line between ignoring my fear that this could be the start of plantar fasciitis and making sure that I don't turn something low level into yet another race-stopping injury.  Oh, and 3).  The winter gales have arrived so EVERY SINGLE RUN now counts as resistance training.

Sheesh.  Who would have thought that booking one small race would have such an impact on my feet as well as on national weather systems?

In the interests of balanced reporting, I should say that I successfully completed a 4 mile run on Friday and a 7 mile run today with no pain or achiness whilst running and only a bit of medial arch grumbling afterwards.  Still, to be on the safe side, I'll take more care than usual in the weeks to come.

Just in case the Running Gods are paying attention.

Friday, 6 December 2013

You learn something new every day

One long run to go, and I'll be at the end of my first week of training for the Malta HM.  So far, so running-in-the-winter-in-the-Highlands.  One 3-mile run that started mild and dry and ended up with torrential rain and a freezing wind.  Several unplanned rest days due to gales, gales, and  more gales.  Today's 4-mile run with snow all around and a temperature of -1 (which meant that I got to wear my lovely pink Gore winter jacket) but with a blue sky and no wind...roll on Sunday's 7 miler!

My legs feel fine.  However, because they feel so fine, I've become less fanatical about doing a cool-down walk at the end of each run and have noticed that my hip flexor has started to tighten up again.  This could be because of the diminishing cool-down or it could be because it's so cold outside but, regardless, I resolved to go back to a 15-20 minute walk after running as this really seemed to help during my recovery from injury phase.

Today gave me a chance to test this out in a totally unplanned way.  I was doing an out-and-back for the last mile, part of which passes a cottage where some very large, growling, barking Hounds from Hell live.  They've chased me before but I haven't seen them in ages and had begun to hope that they had moved on.  No such luck.  As I passed their house on the way out, they came thundering to the far end of the garden to have a go at me.  There is a fence there so they couldn't get onto the road but, on the way back, they can get out of the garden via the drive to the house.  So, what to do...

Rather than deal with the dogs, I chose to run up the long hill to Balblair and then make my way home from the main road.  A bit longer but it would give me the chance for a proper walking cool-down and would allow me to avoid confronting my dog phobia.  Result!

Now, I've NEVER run up this hill - down it, yes, lots of times.  But up???  My head has always said TOO STEEP, YOU CAN'T DO IT.  But I'll do just about anything to avoid dogs and I only had 0.5 miles left to go at this point anyway.  How hard could it be?  The answer:  erm, not that hard at all.  Major anti-climax.  It wasn't as steep as I had expected and I would have been quite happy to continue on if I had had additional miles to do. 

John and Paul (if not George and Ringo) have advised me to learn to embrace hills, which I have scoffed at with all of my smug laziness.  But on this run, on this hill, on this particular day, albeit with the Dogs of War nipping at my heels, I kind of understood what they've been talking about.

Santa Run report:  Lizzie and I successfully completed the Inverness Santa Run on 1 December!  Although we wore our Santa suits with pride (and with numerous safety pins holding up our Santa-sized trousers), we didn't wear our Santa beards as beards.  Too claustrophobic (hey, Claus-trophobic!  Get it???) and just a step too far in the unattractiveness direction.  We opted instead to wear them around our necks so that it looked like our Santas had some very nice chest hair action going on.  In our part of the field, everyone was chatting, laughing, and generally seeming very relaxed.  However, photos of the front of the field showed some very competitive Santas who were taking it very seriously indeed...Next year, Lizzie, that'll be us!
We're in there somewhere!