December running

Right well December running hasn’t quite go to plan.  So after the speed work session I last blogged about, I next made it out 4 days later for a rather pitiful 2 miles on the work gym treadmill (urgh). I wasn’t really motivated and I was busy at work and tired and just didn’t kick my butt out the door. It also got icy. I am terrified when it gets icy.  On the 16th we managed a run out to post/deliver our Christmas cards  – just short of 4.5 miles, During that run my feet and calves really started hurting but I just put that down to me being stupidly tense and bambi-esque because of it being slippery.  On the 19th it was finally warmer and we headed to Bolton Abbey for a 7 ish mile loop – of which I managed 1 and a bit before having to hobble back to the cafe in agony. I sat having coffee, waiting for Kath to finish the loop and feeling miserable until a gorgeous little robin joined me. Then I remembered that just being able to get out and enjoy being outside is so much more than many have.

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I tried two more runs of 5km ish but on each I had to walk pretty much everything after the first mile because of pain in my feet/calves/ankles or a combination. My calf muscles just seem to go incredibly tight and then every step feels like it might make them pop, my feet feel bruised on top and achey and like they’re on fire everywhere else and my ankles just feel like they are not strong enough to hold it all together. It eases a little if I walk very slowly but as soon as I start running again it comes back immediately. From past experience I suspect that the actual problem is really tight hamstrings coupled with weak calf muscles so I’m working on both those things

IMG_8159I did throw in some hill sprints on one of the almost abandoned runs just to not be too disappointed. That worked because I’d run about a mile, then walked a bit, then run another mile and then walked most of the last mile before the hills. At least I had a decent workout. Yesterday we were going to do two loops to add up to a total of 8 miles but I didn’t make it round the first so instead I stretched, foam rolled, stretched, hydrated, stretched…

This morning I went out again. I borrowed Kath’s watch so I could set run/walk intervals. I went for 30 seconds run followed by 30 seconds walk. I set off on pretty much the most direct runnable route to the canal and was so relieved when I passed the 1 mile beep without any pain. My feet were achey but not painful and everything else felt normal. Just after two miles my calves started feeling tight so at the stone bridge where I was going to turn round, I stopped a few minutes and stretched everything out (apologies to the sheep who had to watch that). Then  I set off back. Felt ok. On the way back I tried to run the 30 second runs hard. I got a little more than a niggle in my left foot just before 4 miles but I was at the big hill anyway so walked up and then ran/walked the rest home. It was so good to get out and actually be able to cover the distance. I’m continuing to stretch and am working on strengthening my calf muscles again. For now I think I’ll be back to run/walk at least until I can do that without any niggles. Happy to have covered 4.5 miles today though and the morning light along the canal bank was stunning.

For most of my run it was just me and the ducks. I saw a couple of swans who seemed to be deep in conversation as they floated down the canal, heads close together leaning in to each other. Further along I saw a guy fishing and we exchanged good mornings both of us slightly irritated that our solitude had been interrupted. Towards the end of my run, as I left the calm and quiet company of the ducks and made my way up through the housing estate, I saw a child in a Rudolph onesie playing on swings in a garden and a bloke trying to untangle his headphones from his dog’s lead. That’s it. There was something of the magic of Christmas eve out there and I was happy to be part of it.

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