Rock Tape and Hip Adductors

Well, hello there Rock Tape. Hello there niggly calf. Nice to see you again, after a three month interval! It almost feels like normality has returned.

Once again, my left leg is held together with Rock Tape. This has been a pretty permanent state of affairs for the past couple of years. Heck. I was wearing Rock Tape on my wedding day (cow print). Today’s Rock Tape is black, with white winged skulls. We appear to be out of the pink version. If I’m going to wear the stuff, it’s going to be excitingly patterned, even though it’s more expensive. It makes for far more interesting conversations, as I’ve not yet found thick enough tights to obliterate the presence of the tape, and I’m not keen on wearing trousers (I had a particularly good conversation at a funeral…).

My calf, particularly my soleus muscle, tends to tighten up owing to a wonky pelvis (I’m built that way – along with hips that point inwards rather than forwards, which means I run in a very knock-kneed manner. Trainers which lack stability make the problem worse). At some point, just as the mileage is getting interesting, and if I don’t replace my trainers at the crucial moment, it will tighten very enthusiastically…which it did last week after my 14 miles. My muscles are always going to tend to tighten – too much ballet as a child apparently leads to beautifully strong muscles, and very flexible tendons…

I’ve replaced my trail shoes now (I have a pair of Navy Brooks Ghost 8s for trail – not entirely sure about the tread, but the support is wonderful, and I’m not sliding massively). Most of my weekend runs are on a muddy, uneven, towpath. This is excellent for my core strength, but challenging, difficult to pace, slippery, messy and, goodness, do I notice the difference when I get back onto firmer territory for the last mile. The trail shoes that I’ve retired had done 373 miles – too many. Particularly given that trail shoes get a real pounding, with the mud and the cold and the wet and the puddles. While some people can manage to get shoes to run to 400 miles, or more (I have one friend who has shoes that are on 1000 miles – he rotates several pairs), I simply get injured. I get niggles. I get my calf tightening. Or my piriformis tightening. Or both.

I’m doing the exercises in the most recent Runner’s World: how to strengthen your hips. I swear they’re helping. Standing round with a theraband, lifting my leg to the side, then to the front. 10 reps on each leg, 3 sets of each exercise. I could *feel* my glutes firing today. On both sides. This I think is a wonderful thing – I’d like to avoid the ghastliness of overly-tired quads after Manchester. I hate having to hold onto the lav seat in order to lower myself safely….and the days after Berlin were made horrible by having to hold on!

But, today I have Rock Tape. Tuesday I’m visiting my Lovely Chiropractor, who will wallop my pelvis back into some sort of order (there will never be perfect order – the scoliosis has gone on for too long now), who may stick an acupuncture needle into the offending muscle to persuade it to ease off a little, who will doubtless prod somewhere really painful, and who will essentially make sure I’m in reasonable shape before we go on holiday for a week and a bit.

There’s something comforting about having Rock Tape on my leg. It feels like a gentle hug. I took an extra day off yesterday – made easier by a trip up to Derbyshire to retrieve our glorious, splendiloquent, kitchen table (I get all emotional looking at it – it was made by a friend), and I only did 9 miles today. All feels OK. All feels better than it did mid-week, even. I think I’m going to prevail.

Onwards, to Manchester Marathon.

xxx

I stood on a rat this morning

N saw a tiger. Somehow, I think he got the better deal with the running route today. Five miles, one mile jog warm up (bit fast), three miles at half marathon pace (variable, but got better as I warmed up), one mile jog cool down (far too fast, plus rat incident. I was trying to avoid a bicycle at the time. You wouldn’t think that the canal towpath would be quite so obstacle ridden, would you?).

On the plus side, the Guidemin is now more controlled. And yesterday’s six miles (the last time I’m running that particular six mile route, I suspect, ever) was lovely. Speedier than it needed to be because N also had a six mile easy on his plan, so we went out together for the THIRD time since we started marathon training 16 weeks ago. I have been running with my husband three times in the past four months. Usually, I’m only running solo because it’s parkrun – he’s not really a parkrun sort of guy. I quite like running on my own – but I find that I push myself more with N. I’m a competitive person (no? you’d not realised?). But within limits.

I’ve got an appointment with the lovelyChiro today. I have a plantar fascia that’s a bit tight, a hamstring that’s a bit iffy, and a marathon in 10 days time.

I seriously need to do some knitting. Perhaps while the Mega-Bolognese is cooking tonight.

xxx

Slow morning

In fact, I think I recorded my slowest parkrun ever. 29 minutes! It was damp and mizzly, and, on the jog up to the start, I needed the inhaler, and, I decided “this is not worth having an asthma attack over” – damp and mizzly being a trigger “I’m just going to run gently, and enjoy it, and test out my calf-compression-skins”. So I did. They are wonderful compression things. The calf was most happy for the whole run (all those hills). I shall wear them tomorrow too.

Tomorrow I may push a bit more enthusiastically for “the last long run before the marathon”. I’m of two minds how far to go. I’m erring towards 18 miles at the moment, rather than 20 (i.e. not going to visit Prince Albert in his memorial). We shall see. If I sleep properly tonight, I’ll go for 20. Last night was a bit abysmal, sleep-wise. I was so incredibly wired after Brownies and Guides (and a pre-Brownies caffeine hit) that I did not settle effectively, and my fitbit informs me that it was one of the more restless nights I’ve had recently. Brownies and Guides were lovely. We did good planning. We made stuff. We played games. They were (mostly, aside from a spot of out-and-out lying) well behaved. They are a nice bunch, and I’ve missed them. I’m at Brownies most Fridays in September. Usual leadership crisis being somewhat worse than normal. BUT, I am meeting new people who can help, so I’m hoping to sort it out by the time the students are back in London.

I’ve nearly finished a pair of socks. And I will post a photo of the broken sock when I’ve mended it.

I have also bought a book purely on the basis that the person reviewing it in Slightly Foxed was very enthusiastic. And we have a guidebook for Berlin. I am determined to get up that Reichstag.

xxx

I’m in legs…

Long legs. Long sleeves. A week ago I was still in shorts and a singlet. This is such a shock to the system. I also realised just how uncomfortable, compared to the long legs, and the shorts, most of my capri-length pants are. I think I need to upgrade from the el-cheapo Karrimors. The trick is going to be finding something with a large enough back pocket to hold my inhaler. Any suggestions?

On the plus side, I was nicely cosy. No chilly arms. No chilly legs. A much happier calf muscle (it’s still going to the Lovely Chiropractor to have a needle pushed into it. Then I’m detouring home via Run and Become for some calf-warmers – I have a voucher after buying my most recent trainers!). I may also acquire some longer socks, depending on cost and aesthetics. I rejected the ones in Nike Town last night, on grounds of both cost and aesthetics. I was in the centre of town to meet a potential new Guide Leader (she’s lovely) before morris practice, so I had a little detour. I was underwhelmed.

Anyhow. The early morning, a trip along the canal punctuated by random squirrels collecting nuts, rather than going round the park yet again perked me up nicely and I think I achieved a 1 mile PB of 7:39min. I’m not sure simply because Strava believes my mile PB is 6:47, but that’s based on the BUPA 10K from last year when the GPS went squiffy and added on about 1/4 mile in the middle of The City. I got the bit between my teeth somewhere around mile 5.5, and this, combined with a nice flat bit of canal, a lack of cyclists and dog walkers, and the knowledge that I’d started out far too late and needed to get a wiggle on meant that I kept going at that pace for over a mile. I’m partly proud of myself. And partly worrying that I’m going to feel a need to maintain this sort of thing on a regular basis, rather than once in a blue moon. I’m not supposed to be going for speed. I’m supposed to be going for stamina! There is one more long run (20 miles) before Berlin, and then I taper. I’m getting quite excited about tapering. I’m hoping to stop losing weight (I must buy an avocado to go with my lunch).

Smashing the Mile

Meanwhile, should you require an all female morris dancing side, it looks like I’ll be bookings secretary for the next year.

xxx

Hallelujah!

We have exchanged contracts, and, finally, after 12 years, I’ll be moving out of London! Having been very against the idea for an awfully long time, I’m ready. I’m fed up with the noise, the pollution, the noise, the mess, the people. I’m OK to move on. Even if the commute is going to more-or-less double in length.  Which is going to make any future marathon training somewhat interesting. I can see we’re going to be cycling to the station.

(Have you any idea how expensive removal firms are?! I am fainting at the quotes. But we are still van-free, and the idea of getting it all done in one day is vastly preferable to trying to do it ourselves over several trips once we’ve finally achieved a van again).

Apart from that, and some very sweaty running (Parkrun on Saturday, 20 miles on Sunday), not an awful lot has been achieved. Well. I finally finished N’s 1st Wedding Anniversary Present. I’ve done some book folding, in a cheap copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales: no-one is going to say that that particular book needs preserving for posterity. It was very time consuming – it took about six hours all told. I got better with practice, as with many things, and I found a really good audio book was the key to getting it done. I spent most of Sunday, after I’d finished the 20 miles run, lazing it up in bed, stretching my tight calf, and folding pages. N kept me supplied with tea and food (baked beans on toast!) and carefully kept his eyes shut so as not to spoil the eventual surprise. Mind you, halfway through folding a book, it looks like nothing on earth. I bought the pattern from an etsy shop, and have a second to make one for Dad. I’m not convinced I’ve got the stamina for it. I’d rather run 20 miles.

My toes, incidentally, are totally trashed from the running. You’d have thought, after completing the better part of 350 miles in a pair of trainers (including a 20 mile run), they wouldn’t surprise you with new blood blisters? You’d be wrong. I have now given up on ever having nice toes again. I’m wearing trainers one and a half sizes larger than my normal shoes, and still my toes bang about the toe box and bruise and blister. Maybe I need to try new socks? Perhaps the towelling-y ones are the problem? I know N’s been happier since he shifted brands. I’m apparently about due to change shoes (somewhere between 300-500 miles – but that aforementioned tight calf suggests that I need to change them at the lower end of the spectrum). With luck the new pair (a totally vile looking pair of Brooks) will be better… Still. I need to run the new pair in, so that means wearing the old pair for a few more miles, and I suspect I’ll hit 400 miles in them by the time I’m done.

xxx