Monday, June 16, 2014

Injury (1) V (0) Cheltenham Challenge

I have had to withdraw from the Cheltenham Ultimate Challenge this coming Sunday.
Three weeks ago I developed some quad pain that while it has eased has not eased enough for me to have trained and is now preventing me running. I tried yesterday and made it about 100m up the road before having to stop. It was not as painful as it has been but I knew that it wasn't right and so rather than risk more damage I stopped.
I am now planning a complete running break for the next fortnight. During this I will be cycling and have started with some swimming too. I will also be stretching and foam rolling as though my life depended on it. I have blogged before about how durable I have been feeling and want to get back to that. I know I will get there I just need to make sure I have good habits that maintain that durability.
Every runner knows that maintenance and strength work are essential to keeping strong and healthy yet so few of us do it. Combined with advancing years that is why I am where I am. I will be someone that stretches and takes more holistic care of myself from this point. It's too late for the Cheltenham Ultimate Challenge but there are other challenges and events to enter.
I have been raising money for Diabetes UK via a Just Giving page (available here) and with that does come so added pressure. I am disappointed that the event that I have pinned this too I am now unable to complete.  I have looked online and identified a couple of options for September time that I will target. I am not putting the details out there yet as do not know how this will pan out. What I can say is that I will run the 50 miles I committed to for this fund raising effort. Either as a race or maybe just self supported, I may pick somewhere on a map 25 miles away, run there and run back.
Thanks to everyone that has sponsored and supported me. I am gutted not to be able to do this but will be back soon!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

...from injury to recovery

It's been an emotional couple of weeks. An injury to my left quad totally preventing me from running, every step jarring through the quad and making anything other than a walk impossible.

There was no incident when i was injured, nothing popped, snapped or pinged. Just one day it didn't hurt then it did. This was four-weeks out from the Cheltenham Ultra and the last two weeks of intensive training before taper-time. The plan was to cover around 60-odd miles in both weeks. As it goes i covered 13.9 and 11.1. A mere 95 miles short of target!

I didn't just stop during this period though i used my bike, my thinking being that that will at least keep my fitness reasonable. That was a real shock to the system. After day 1 of cycling (i cycled 30 miles in two rides) my sit bones were in agony and my lower back felt like it had been set in concrete. Agony! I guess that's what happens when you've not ridden in months. My body soon adapted to cycling and in the last fortnight i have ridden 125 miles. Not bad. 

I also decided to seek assistance with the injury early in the process. Normally i wait until things have progressed too far before seeking help. This time i contacted a Sports Masseuse - she came around last Monday and after some discussion around what i had done set about working on my legs. It turns out that my legs are not in good repair. My quads, hamstrings and ITB are short and inflexible. Some painful massage and instructions on how to stretch and roll and an insistence that i need to and that was it. I have stretched and rolled more in the last week than i have in the entire year to date. 

After cycling to work i spend 15 minutes in the gym stretching and rolling. Ditto when i get home. As the week progressed and i noticed that i was no longer limping when walking so tried some runs off the bike. Thinking that i would already be warmed up so it was less likely to be an issue. This proved right and i was able to move up to a couple of miles. 

Saturday i ran cold, that is without cycling first. I made sure to limber up and start slowly. I ran without issue. This morning, Sunday, i ran again taking the same approach. I managed 5 miles at sub 8 minute pace. I feel a little stiff at the start but that quickly dissipates. If anything the issue seems to have moved from my quad to my left groin. 

I am seeing the masseuse tomorrow to get things worked over again - this will be the last session before the Cheltenham Challenge. Last week i was probably less than 50% likely to get to the start line. Today i feel like i am 75% likely to make it. What will determine that is how this next week goes. It is taper so mileage should be lower, if i can get to being able to run 10 miles at the weekend without any issue then my confidence will be restored. 

I should be fit enough i will just be missing a couple of long runs in my legs. It may even be an advantage as i will be complete rested and fresh.

Time will tell i guess...

You can still sponsor my efforts for Diabetes UK here.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Curried Chick Pea Cakes

We found this recipe on Pinterest this morning and made them for dinner tonight.

They were really easy to make and stayed well formed when cooking (these things have a tendency to break apart sometimes). Really great aromas while cooking too.  
I actually added a couple of extras in some spring onion and red peppers to give them some crunch.


  • 2 15.5 oz cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup of frozen carrots, peas, corn, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Maharajah Spice
  • 1 8 oz block Paneer Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil


1. In a microwave safe dish cook the frozen veggies in 1/2 cup of water for about 5 minutes.  Just until thawed, not really cooking it – that will come later.

2. In a food processor puree the chickpeas.  You want the chickpeas creamy, but a few lumps is good.  If they're not pureed enough they won't stick together very well when it comes to cooking them..

3.  In a large bowl add the pureed chickpeas, 1 cup of veggies, salt, pepper, and Indian spice.  Mix well.

4.  Form into 2 inch wide patties, this seemed to be the best size so that they don't fall apart during cooking.  Place a thin slice of paneer cheese on the bottom patty and then cover with another patty, and seal the edges.

5.  In large frying pan add the vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat.  When the oil is really hot, place the cakes in the pan and cook each side 5-7 minutes.  It will get more yellow in color and a crispy outside when close to done.

6. Serve them on their own with salad, on a naan bread or, as we did, in a pitta bread.

This recipe and more can be found on Seaweed & Sassafras here