Spring Update

It’s been a while since my latest ramble so I thought I’d better put pen to paper (all be it digital) before I forget what we’ve been up too.

After our success at the Inskip half marathon we had a bit of a change and did a bit of mountain biking with my younger brother acting as guide and mentor on our first forays around the biking trails at Delamere (earlier in the year) and Llandegla more recently.We had an excellent time and I only came off a few times, leaving bits of skin on the rocks but not breaking anything.

New mountain bikes at Delamere forest

We’re both enjoying the bikes as an alternative to running when our bones are battered and we’ve got a few routes locally that although not trails, do end up at (or pass) cake shops, which is nice.

MadDog 4: The Good, The Bad and The Pugly.

Our racing anniversary, MadDog 10k in Southport was excellent. A group of our friends joined us from Sweatshop Chorley SRC for a very windy but flat race which was very well organised, had a great atmosphere and produced some great times from everyone. Somehow I managed to ‘twinge’ my right knee which looking back on the race I’m fairly sure was caused by a severe crosswind and camber on the road causing uneven sideways pressure on my right leg.

Sweatshop Chorley SRC at Maddog 10k southport

It wasn’t serious but after a week of aches I booked an appointment with a sports physio to get it checked over. Given the all clear with instructions to not run if it gets worse I then cheerfully ignored the advice and the following weekend ran the Montane Grizedale Trail Half Marathon. Was that a mistake…

Montane Trail 13, Grizedale Forest

We arrived at Grizedale visitor centre in typically unpleasant lakeland weather and after donning waterproofs joined the queue to pick up numbers etc. This took a while longer than anyone anticipated and standing around in the cold and wet didn’t do anyone any favours but we managed to get sorted in time to watch our more adventurous friends set off for the full marathon.

Half an hour or so later we were off and the trail started with a brutal 3 mile climb up into the forest and hills. A few sloppy downhills were properly waterlogged and after a while it was just easier to go through the water than mince round it. About a third of the way into the race I felt my knee give a little yelp so I slowed down a bit and everything seemed fine although painful until the last 2 miles where it gave in with a shout and I had to pull over to the side for a good half hour to try and get some stretching done and some movement in my left leg that didn’t cause me to much trouble.

It must have been bad as people passing me took one look at my face as I limped the last miles and asked if they should send up a marshall to help. That last couple of miles was not good but coming round the final bend into the finish I could see my friends, concern on their faces as I was a good half hour slower than predicted. I sprinted (hobbled quickly) through the finish, they deserved no less for waiting in the grotty weather.

Medal collected we waited for Wendy and the rest of our friends to finish the half which they all did, in better shape than me I might add, then went to the lovely warm café for hot soup and a well earned brew.

Changing into some warm (and dry) clothes and donning waterproofs once more we wandered between the finish, the outdoors shop, a mountain biking shop and the café while waiting for our friends to finish the full marathon. Throughout the afternoon they came through the finish in various states of exhaustion and elation, some with tears of relief.

It was a great race and one which we will try and do again next year, either the half or, if I’m feeling mad enough, the marathon distance.

After what felt like destroying my left leg I took 3 weeks off running to give myself a proper rest and started a routine of stretches and strengthening exercises which I am now seeing the benefit off. I’m trying to do the strength exercises on days I’m not running which I’m managing to fit in after getting home before we eat, usually about 3 or 4 times a week.

During my time not running I did a few longer bike rides as exercise and a good excuse to explore the local area in peace but with a bit more range than just running. I’m enjoying my time on the bike and am looking forward to some good weekend weather to take it on some trails in the Lakes or North Wales.

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