March – Back in the fells but not out of the woods.

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After first picking up a niggle 11 weeks ago, which then developed into something a lot more which stopped me running entirely for 6 weeks, I finally made my return to running in the last week of March!

Back to the beginning of the month.

March carried on in the same foot steps as February, no running what so ever. I told myself this month that I wasn’t going to rush back this time and try and run until I’m totally pain free, as trying to run through the pain is what kept setting me back through the end of January and February.

The first step was to defer my place in the London Marathon. I knew in February that it was very unlikely I was going to be able to take part in London but kept holding off making any decisions on it just in case things picked up with the injury, but this was always on my mind and putting pressure on myself to get fit and train again. The moment I deferred my place I felt a massive weight off of my shoulders, and didn’t feel as disappointed about missing out on one of the biggest marathons as I thought I would. I also had a half marathon booked for the beginning of March which I also cancelled, just to relieve myself of any commitments that might make me rush back into running. There was a Fell race at Hope towards the end of the month that I had my eye, but I said to myself that I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t feel right.

Now with no commitments I could just put my feet up and relax, recover properly and give my foot the rest it needs. I was planning on doing exercises, stretches, and static bike routines, but after just a few days I gave up on that as I’m not cut out for that unfortunately.

Time off.

Even though I had every intention of trying to stay fit through my recovery period, I just don’t have the mind frame and commitment for it. I knew that staying fit would be half of the battle done when I came back to running, but Iv always said that I don’t particularly enjoy going out for training runs and only do it so I’m on my game for races, so the thought of just staying indoors and stretching etc was too tough for me.

You know what? I actually really enjoyed the time off of running and doing everything else. It gave me chance to spend some quality time with my partner and daughter, something that is hard to do when you’re out training 4+ times a week. The only downside to this was that I started wondering if I’d ever want to run again, which I know sounds a bit extreme but its how I felt. I was enjoying family time, chilling in front of the telly, and all the other perks of having time on my hands too much, and was getting use to it.

Along with this frame of mind I was in, the actual injury didn’t seem to be easing at all. I had another physio appointment which again left me coming away unsure what the problem was and how long I’d be sidelined for, which didn’t help my cause for wanting to return to running.

As days went on, and the pain still lingering everyday, I decided to go straight to a&e and get an x-ray, as I was starting to feel that this maybe a slight stress fracture. The x-ray at the time came back clear, and the consultant said it was plantar fascities, the same thing the physio said it was. A week later I received a phone call for the nurse saying that after further inspection the x-ray wasn’t as clear as they thought and would like me to return for another. Due to work and family commitments it was going to be at least a week until I could make it for another x-ray, which in that time I was starting to feel some improvements.

Back in the game

Trunce

As the month was drawing to a close, my fell race calendar was starting to pick up. Hope fell race was on the agenda but when the time came I still wasn’t quite right, and there was no way I was risking it now. On the last Monday of the month though it was the start of the Trunce series, one of my favourite races. Like every other race this month I was committing fully to it as I didn’t want to rush back, but I was feeling so much better and felt I could run, so I decided to go. I gave myself an hour to warm up before hand, as I hadn’t run for 6 weeks so if I didn’t feel right I could of backed out and spectated. After just a few minutes I knew…..I was back!! It was the first time in 11 weeks that I’d ran without any pain what so ever, and what a feeling that was.

I went into the race knowing I wasn’t match fir though, so I started in the middle of the field and took it steady…ish. Its amazing how much fitness you lose in 6 weeks, it was a real struggle……..I knew I should of done some training while I was off!

I got through the race without any dramas, and although I was 5 minutes slower than my normal pace here, I loved every second of it, and I was just so happy to be back.

Looking ahead

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Looking over to Win Hill, Peak District

With that successful run done on the Monday night, I decided to have a couple of recovery days before going back to the Peak District on the Thursday for another run out. I took my camera equipment as photography is a hobby of mine, and fell running is perfect for photography as you can get to the trig points in no time and get some great shots. This also means I’m not running for the whole trip, so I’m not knackering myself up, ideal for just my second run back in 6 weeks.

I ended up doing 5 miles around Hope Valley, stopping regularly to take photos. This climbs really did take it out of me, legs and lungs. It made me realise I’v got a lot of work to do before I’m going to be back where I was, but its work I’m willing to do.

On this little run I did start to feel a pain in my plantar facia again though, which wasn’t enough to stop me running but was uncomfortable at times. I’m not worried about this, its just making me aware that I do have to take it steady for awhile and not come straight back into doing 40 miles a week. I’m not out of the woods yet.

I know its going to take time before I’m back chasing pb’s, but just been back fell running, and running in general is a great feeling so there no rush for results. There’s plenty of races in April to ease m back into things and hopefully this time next month I’ll be that little bit closer to my best.

As for London, I made the right decision and I’ll be ready to give it my best next year. I wish everyone else running all the best and I hope they have the most amazing day, but I wont be watching as Iv got a fell race that day now…….keep my mind off of what of could have been.

Looking Ahead

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PB at Doncaster 10k, coming in at 36:17

A Quick Look Back

Before I start waffling on about what goals and plans Iv got for 2018, I suppose it would be nice to have a quick reflection on the year just gone, because it was a big year for me and my running. Iv only been running 3 years so 2017 hasn’t got much competition, but out of the three years Iv been doing this sport, 2017 was a different class to the two years previous to it. I considerably upped my mileage last year to the previous years, and I competed in significantly more races two, hitting a total of 49 races/Parkruns.  I managed a good combination of fell races and Parkruns within those 49, and just 1 trail race and 2 road races to make the numbers up. I achieved numerous PBs in the fell running, and even winning my first prize in the sport on the last day of the year at the Oxpsring Amble’s Revenge fell race, coming 4th overall but 3rd in my age group. Iv also managed to get a 5k PB at Parkrun back in July (17:36) and a 10k PB at the Doncaster 10k in November (36:17), both of which were way above my expectations when I set my targets for 2017 last January. This leads me on to this year, as unlike last year I need to believe in myself a little more and set the bar higher, set goals that are hard to reach but will make me push.

The Goals

Up until now Iv just gone through the motions (no pun intended) with the running really, training regularly and putting the time in but nothing really structured or focused, just the same sort of distances at the same sort of pace. This year I’m going for it, I want to hit new heights and achieve things that I didn’t think was possible this time last year.

The main focus Iv got this year is the London Marathon. As a fell runner I never thought Id be doing a Marathon, especially London! I applied through the Ballot just on a spur of the moment thing, and the next thing you know Iv got a place. This means I cant just steadily train through the week and turn up and race like I do with the fell races, this is all a bit strange for me knowing I have to train properly and to a plan for this, and weeks in advance. I am really looking forward to the challenge of the training though and the race itself. My target time is sub 3 hours, which I know is a tall order but Iv got some experienced running friends around me to guide me in the right direction, and I’m determined to put the time and effort in. I’m very lucky to have this opportunity so I taking it by the scruff of the neck and going for it!

Its not all about London for me though, I’m somebody who loves competing and its why I do this sport, so I need to be racing regularly. Iv got a lot on this year away from running, we’re moving house in a few months and are also getting married in August, so a lot of my time will be focused on that. I do however want to try and get to as many fell races as I possibly can, just because its what I love doing more than anything and I want to achieve some good things with it.

 

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Kinder Down Fall Fell race 2017

Fell running aside I want to try and do a few more road races than I did last year, for the main reason that its where you achieve PBs. Fell running is just about going out for an adventure for me. Yes I want to run it as fast as I can and finish as high up the field as I can, but its not driven on miles per minutes and an that jazz, which is what I like about it. However, it is a buzz to run a fast road race and get a PB, so I want to compete in a few more this year and hopefully get some PBs……..

2018 Targets

1mile - sub 5mins
5k - sub 17mins
10k - sub 36mins
London - sub 3 hour

I will be entering a half marathon prior to London as its part of the plan, but I haven’t set a target time for a half as Iv never done one before or have any indication on what sort of time I’m aiming for. They’re are a few other events I want to take part in too, the South Yorkshire Cross Country being one of them. I managed to get to the last race of the series last year, my first ever cross country run, and I loved it, so Id like to complete in those this year.

I know its all a lot with everything Iv got going off this year, especially with work which takes a lot of my time up, which it does for most us, but I’m sure with some dedication and determination I can achieve it.

I’m really excited for this year, I feel really focused and determined to be my best……this is my year!!!