Friday, January 31, 2014


This week I agreed, after some serious thought, to take part in a self
supported Bala-athon. The 'event' will take place on 23/08 with two
pairs competing in the inaugural event. The event comprises a swim
supported by a kayaker and then a run.

The first and second legs are a swim across lake Bala - a distance of
around 3 miles. This will be accompanied and supported by a partner in
a kayak. At the end the roles are reversed and the kayaker swims back
supported by the first leg swimmer in the kayak.

Once back where they started the next and final leg is a run around
the lake. A distance of around 10.5 miles. The winners being the pair
with the best combined finish time.

Should be great fun!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ultra training update....

It's been a very slow January, some IT Band issues that developed late in December and the early part of the month putting me back quite a bit. While I've still been able to run the distances have not been great. My last long run was just over 20 miles on Christmas Eve. Since then, in January, the longest run has been 6.5 miles.

The IT Band issue came from wearing my new running shoes, Hoka Stinson Tarmac, but making two mistakes. First I forgot my orthotics, second I used the elastic (triathlon style) laces that they came with but could not get them tight enough and, actually there were 3 mistakes, I used very thin racing socks. The cumulative effect? No arch support putting pressure through the knee and therefore down the IT Band, the issue compounded by not being able to get the shoe tight enough due to the elastic laces and thin socks. Seemed innocuous at the time but here I am. 

The remedy for this has been to firstly get it properly diagnosed. I did this with a visit to Cotswold Physiotherapy. They confirmed IT Band issues and also some piriformis issues. Stretching the glute is easy enough and quickly it started to improve - i think i caught it early enough. The IT Band issue has improved due to three main factors. Foam rolling, stretching and core work.

The foam rolling and stretching is easy - just look on YouTube and job done. The core work is something that i needed to look at more closely. What i now have is a set of exercises that i try to do twice a week. It's predominantly body weight work, not much use of weights, but really works. 

The workout comprises a couple of super-sets
1. On a bosu ball a super-set alternating between squats and press-ups. With decreasing reps (30, 20, 10) 
2. The next set is, again, a super-set with dumb-bells and a seated row alternating. With two dumbells it's curl and then press. The reps again in 30,20,10.
3. The next set is around the plank position. 
     - 1 minute plank
     - 30 seconds supermans
     - 30 seconds plank with leg raises
     - 30 seconds rest and repeat 3 times.
4. The final set is around sit-ups with a mix of full, half, twist and v sit-ups.

I've set myself a target to be running free by the end of January. That should give me enough time to get back on track for the Ultra in March. As it's my first ultra the first objective is to finish and i am confident that will happen even if i walk more than run.

On the basis that you learn so much first time you do anything this will hopefully set me up for more adventures later in the year. Might even have some abdominals by then! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Imagine mixing your Novorapid and Lantus up....

My fear, spiders aside, is being given an injection that i don't know what it is or what it will do to me. You see this in films and TV shows, someone being drugged for no good reason. 

Every night at 8:30 i administer my slow acting insulin that lasts for 24hrs. Its a background insulin. Tonight the routine was no different, blood test (7.4mmol) and then insulin. Except that tonight i made a really stupid mistake and gave myself the fast acting insulin. 8 units of it. I rarely if ever use 8 units of fast acting, i just never need that amount. With the way i eat and my fitness levels i rarely use more than 6/7 units. So what to do.....

A massive bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes should sort it out and as i write this nearly 2hrs on my blood sugar is at 8.4mmol. I'l give it another half an hour to make sure things are ok before chalking it up to experience. I've never done this before and hope never to do it again. A stupid mistake that means eating (a lot) more when i really don't want to. It's lucky that i realised the mistakeor things could have been a little different. That amount of insulin unrecognised would mean, for me, the mother of all hypo's.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year Update

Happy New Year!
I was blogging on a weekly basis how my training for my furst Ultra in March was going and even i was getting bored of it! So i took a couple of weeks off from updates in the hope that there would be more to say and that it might be more interesting! We'll see i guess...

2013 was, on reflection, a good year. I started the year still as a cyclist (in the loosest sense of the word, more as someone that rides a bike) until i had cartilage surgery in March. That was a significant turning point for me. 

I was back cycling post op after a couple of weeks and took my furst running steps in April covering a whopping 3.43 miles in the month. In May i was up to 43 miles for the month and from then pushed on nice and steady. By the end of 2013 i had run 1,086 miles with a longest run of 21 miles and a longest day of just short of 26 miles. Running twice daily as my commute has been incredible and probably had the single biggest impact on a return towards form.

In terms of my structured training towards the March ultra i have been slightly ahead of schedule in terms of mileage until very recently. 

I seem to have developed a bit of ITBS, i think there are two main culprits. I was in London over Christmas and keen to try out my new Hoka Stinson Tarmac trainers i forgot my orthotics were in my other shoes (Brooks ghost) undeterred i did two runs of 8 miles each over 3 days. The lack of arch support, i think, caused my knee to bend in creating the issue. That's not the whole story though and while that may (or may not) have been the ultimate cause my lack of stretching regime is the real culprit.
On feeling the IT Band irrirate (and man did it hurt!) i immediately looked on Youtube for stretches and dug out the foam roller. You cannot roll too much or enough and i have been testing that theory. I also, on further research found that there will be issues re the glutes.
Turns out my left glute is in shocking condition unless of course it is meant to be like a stair rod. The first few stretches were awful, so painful. Persisting with this and introducing some hip strengthening and stretching has started to work. When i got home on Friday, having run, i was in real pain but this week i have been able to run and while it hurts its nothing like it was even last week. My plan is therefore to run commute whch will total 4.5 miles daily.To take this very slow and to continue with the stretching.
I do this first thing in the morning and a couple of times through the evening too.
So looking forward the plan is to get shot of this ITB issue ASAP and while doing that to continue to run albeit very slow and relatively short. I know i can ramp up afterwards so am not too concerned about that. It does need to go within 2-3 weeks though - is that even feasible?
So here's to more running and getting back to healthy running.