So it’s been a week of ups and downs.
On Friday I gave blood for the first time ever. For anyone who doesn’t know me that well, I have an absolute and complete needle phobia. I can’t talk about them, can’t watch them on TV, can’t even think about them. However, I’m an organ donor and on two separate bone marrow registers. After watching queues of people post Manchester terror attack, lining up to give blood, I remember thinking that I’d brave my fear to help if needed… then the reality struck that actually, it’s always needed and I need to man the hell up!
(It’s quite cool to learn your blood type too…. D – who kindly agreed to give blood for the first time too, alongside me – can give it to me, it turns out, but he can’t have mine! I’m not rare, but certainly less common….)
Anyway, I’ve digressed, but it meant that after giving blood I was told I couldn’t do any exercise for 24 hours and should carefully consider how I felt before doing anything within 48 hours.
And so we spent Saturday creating an organisational masterpiece, and proving that my challenge really is taking over our lives. And our kitchen.
It put paid to my Saturday long run, but meant that 36 hours later I was lacing up my trainers to head out for my longest run to date. Again.
I should be reporting it as a disaster: my shins and the muscles around it hurt from the beginning, although eased with knee supports bizarrely; I headed from my valley up to Hesket Newmarket and so encountered permanent hills for the first eight to 10 miles; I finished one of my two water bottles after seven miles so had to dart into a pub to refill it; it rained – and I mean wrath of God rain – for the final 10 miles / two hours; and I became extremely light-headed, dizzy, nauseous and had stomach cramps for the final 12 miles.
BUT, despite this, I actually enjoyed it. It wasn’t particularly fast but I had intentionally slowed down and decided to just go with it. I ate mid run – the only person chastising me for a five minute pause was me – and ensured I had salty crisps to try and counteract the wiped out feeling I’d felt the previous week. I also used tips from some experienced runners, and began sipping sport drinks the night before to hydrate with electrolytes, carbohydrate etc.
I was so proud of myself, if a little stiff!
AMENDED: I forgot to mention that D – as always – cycled beside me… and then got off and ran with his bike, plus rucksack and helmet, for the last five miles to inspire me to keep going in the rain. Star!
Pride comes before a fall
And then I tried to get up the next morning for a six mile run and couldn’t stand. I couldn’t bear weight through my right toes and up into my shin/knee. It was excruciating.
I’ve got to admit, I was terrified. I’ve worked so hard, devoted so much to this challenge, I can’t imagine not completing it. I was trying to work out a way to hide the pain for the next six weeks so no one knew and no one stopped me from running…
I’d had an amazing offer of support from a physio and so, despite having yet to speak properly to her, I sent a panicked text Monday morning pleading for help.
She squeezed me in and I ran out of work at the first opportunity. She assessed me, gave me ultrasound and performed gentle sports massage. Her advice is ice, anti-inflammatory gel and anti-inflammatories. Crucially, she told me it is not catastrophic and I can still run. I just need to treat it.
I was very good for two nights, icing it and taking the anti inflammatories etc etc and it’s been feeling better. I can walk better and can get up and down stairs.
Until I tried to run home tonight. As soon as I push through my toes the shooting, aching pain started…. It made my shins hurt, my ankles, my knees. And I confess, I gave up after 2.5 miles and called for a lift.
I’m so gutted with myself and angry with my body. I’ve taken more ibuprofen and am sat with ice on my shin. I now need to look at what I’m capable of doing for the next few days. I can’t let my fitness slide and I HAVE to keep building up my miles.
This WILL happen though.
Less than six weeks to go…