A week’s a long time in Politics

And even longer for me to be quiet in blogland. As you may have guessed from the silence, it has not been going terribly well.

Last week should have had 4 runs in it, I managed 1.

Tuesday I bailed, just feeling tired and run down. Wednesday I did get out and run. For the first 2 miles it was completely awful – just like I’d completely forgotten how to run. If it could ache, it did ache. Seemed to work its way up, starting with sore ankles, working through calves, knees and then thighs. After the 2 miles of sheer hell, it did get better, but hardly goes down in running as a great day out.

So why the blank for the rest of the week? Well I seem to have  damaged something. Somewhere in the very outside of my left leg, below the knee and heading in a line down towards the ankle there is something very not right. Thursday it hurt to walk, since then it’s been tender to the touch and most noticeable when I go up on tiptoes.

All in all, I’m not a happy bunny.

It feels remarkably similar to a previous injury I sustained. It’s going back a bit, but the line of pain from knee towards ankle reminds me very strongly of the pain I felt after I’d managed to fall off a pair of high heels into a drain returning from Ann’s 21st birthday party. It was next morning, I was sober at the time. Honest and I can produce witnesses to prove it. Didn’t go to the docs for a few days, but it turned out I’d sprained an ankle and torn the ligaments in the outside of my knee. Now, I don’t think I’ve done that, but it does make me slightly nervous that I’ve pulled something and that I shouldn’t have soldiered on the way I did. But, hey ho, nothing I can do about it now. I’ve rested up and it is all feeling a load better, so just need to get my lazy self into gear and get out for a run.

I did consider a run at the weekend, but I’m afraid that the better than expected weather and a trip to the garden centre intervened. I am now the proud owner of a plum tree and a number of other climbers that are now planted. The lawn got a good scarifying and then a mow – it looks really good with its slightly wonky stripes. Needs a good dose of moss killer, but I’ll wait for some rain before doing that.  I planted lettuce in the greenhouse, carrots & parsnips in the vege patch. So terribly productive, but not really anything to tick off on the running plan.

One other point of interest – I’ve passed £900 in sponsorship for the British Lung Foundation. Thanks to all those that have sponsored me, I appreciate the thought. If anyone wants to help push that towards the magic £1000 mark, the link’s here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HelenAllton I promise to get out and run – but maybe tomorrow.

Midweek catchup

Yes, sorry, midweek runs were done, but not reported. I know, slap wrists.

Tuesday’s run got canned, due to book club meeting being moved from the 1st to second Tuesday of January. Had a good discussion of this month’s book and picked up the one for discussion in february – fortunately only a slim number, as we’ve now only got 3 weeks to read it! I also tried out the course following function of my Garmin, in preparation for Saturday’s long run, more of which later.

Wednesday should have been the first of the midweek long runs which are a mixed pace run; 5 miles easy, the rest at marathon pace. Didn’t quite work out that way! I usually run with Janet on a Thursday, and she usually runs with a group from work on Tuesdays. They had to move to Wednesday this week, so I joined them for the 3 mile loop they run, then carried on to dot he 8 I had on the plan. Janet runs slower with me than she dies with the rest of the group! We set out at a minute per mile quicker than I wanted to! oops. Once we’d got back to work, I carried on. Having run 3 miles at that pace, I found slowing my a minute per mile rather difficult, such that I ended up doing over 8 miles at the same pace, just finishing with a final 1/2 mile cool down. Not on the plan, but pretty good running, nonetheless.

Thursday was me out on my own for a tempo run. Pretty good outing, apart from the level crossing gates coming down and then I struggled to cross the road when the traffic was released. Weather had started to turn colder, with a clear night and lots of stars visible. Also, my wish for some wind free running was being granted, much less blustery than the weather has been of late.

Facts & Figures: Wed/Thurs (pace)
Distance – 8.72/ 5.65 (3.36)
Time – 1:37:06/ 1:02:25 (34:08)
average pace – 11:08/ 11:03 (10.09)

There’s been much hilarity at work about my heading out for a run. I suppose it’s understandable, I do look a little bit daft; lycra clad, with high-vis top and head torch on. I’ve been likened to a mobile Christmas tree! It’s certainly somewhat different from my usual attire, sober business attire with a cardigan; as I’m always cold. But the people who’ve laughed have, in good grace, agreed to sponsor me to run this marathon – and you can do the same, by following this link to my fundraising page.

The back story…

I thought a little history might help here, you know, how great an athlete I am, that kind of thing.

Honest answer is I’m one of the world’s more unlikely runners. Built for comfort rather than speed – the sporty, gazelle-like figure went to my brother, I’m the cuddly one!

So why am I running at all? It’s a valid question, and the answer is that I sort of got challenged into it because I hadn’t thought a conversation through to the end. In 2004 my Dad died of complications caused by having ideopathic fibrolysing alveolitis. This is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the lung tissue, causing scarring in the alveolar sacs, such that they can no longer expand and contract, nor take part in oxygen exchange. In the end, the sufferer simply cannot inhale sufficient oxygen and suffocates. There is no known cause, no effective treatment and no cure. His death hit me hard, and it took me a few years to realise that I wanted to do something positive about this. The BLF is one of the few bodies that finds fundamental research into obscure lung diseases, so they are the organisation that can answer that most fundamental of questions – why did he get it?

At the time, I was working for a company that make valves & devices for delivery to the lung – a trifle ironic, when you think about it. They would support a charity each year, and I came up with the idea to ask them to support the BLF. I had my pitch worked out, it didn’t need to be simply money, it could be publicity and generating an atmosphere in which people felt able to ask for sponsorship from colleagues. For example, they sponsored the local 10k race each year, and received some places in return. How about staff paid a nominal sum for a free place, and were encouraged to run for charity? Well the pitch went over really well, until the final question was posed “So we’ll put you down for a place to run?” hmm. Hadn’t seen that coming. Where could I go except agree??

So, approaching a year later, me and my trainers were standing nervously in the pack ready to run 10k. That’s 6.2 miles for those that think in imperial. 66 minutes of pain later, and £800 raised, I finished and sobbed for all I was worth.

My brother and me, smiling (I think that's the word) for the camera)

This was before, rather than after, with my little brother for support. (Don’t ask how fast he managed to finish, or on how few training sessions! It remains a very sore point)

It’s a long way from there to a marathon though. That was in 2007, and it’s taken a while for the marathon plan to bubble to the surface…

To Be Continued.