Day 76–Very Cold, Very Wet, Very Windy

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I was almost euphorically eulogising the joys of running. Cool but spring like conditions, fresh legs, good pace, no aches: bliss. Today whilst covering the final day of F1 testing, I watched the weather slowly deteriorate from blue skies and a breeze to heavy cloud and strong winds. Results from the morning’s half marathons and other races began to filter through – the wind was generally wreaking havoc with people’s racing ambitions.

I finally finished work at 5:30pm and headed out for a planned long run – the intent to run between 16-18 miles. Almost within seconds of leaving the house the first drops of rain of the day began to fall. Within a mile the rain was falling steadily and I’d turned into a fierce head wind. With light fading I just about made it to Barrowby (the only unlit section of the run) before total darkness. By now the I was running at or just below seven minute miles when the wind was behind me or a cross wind. I’d tentative plans of running the second half of the run at a quick pace, but the depressing weather put pay to those intentions – today was about getting around in one piece and knocking out the miles.

I ran around the houses and in extravagant loops to make up the distance By twelve miles the rain was hammering down and I was chilled to the bone. My left hamstring was tight and that was sending aches to the knee and the hip. The worst thing about the run was that I was only ever around two miles away from being home – the temptation to call it quits was great as I slowly began to lose feeling in my cheeks and fingers.

At just over 17 miles and with the rain turning into something approaching hail, I sacrificed the 0.8 mile I’d intended to run and called it a day, rushing into my home as quickly as possible. Totally soaked and fairly miserable, that was one of those runs that in the long run will mentally make me stronger and will help in the grand scheme of things fitness wise, but will not rank highly in my list of favourite runs.

A bit wet after my long run
A bit wet after my long run

Day 52–The Wheels Begin To Fall Off

The right leg felt sufficiently better during the day to see me out for the Thursday night club run – it included five or so minutes of running with the buggy as I was late collecting my daughter from school. I didn’t go into the run with any great confidence of a positive outcome however – a feeling that I had a cold brewing didn’t help matters.

I ran 4.5 miles before joining up with the club – keeping close to home in case things went very wrong. The weather was miserable – wet and cold, only a degree or so above the point when snow would turn to sleet and then snow. My legs felt heavy and I struggled to enthuse myself. Things picked up a touch when I ran to the club – there was still very little pain in the right leg aside from a niggle near the knee.

We ran the same route as last week – to Belton House, then Londonthorpe before heading back to Grantham. We checked out our potential new meeting place – a cycle storage and changing facility behind the Tolle. It met with my approval as I acquired a sudden need to test the facilities with an emergency pit stop.

That inconvenience over and I felt a little more lively – something in the stomach clearly hadn’t agreed with me. Splashing along in the puddles I took a slightly longer route than my club mates so spent a mile or so making my way back to the front of the pack by the time we reached Belton House.

It was here where the inner thigh near the knee began to get quite sore when running. It was enough to slow me a touch although I couldn’t decide if it was more painful to run slowly or quickly. I settled mostly for something in the middle as I took a wrong turn somewhere in the dark and spent the next half mile heading back to the front of the pack and pushing on – feet by now totally soaked as large swathes of the road resembled streams and tributaries.

We climbed up through Londonthorpe and on the quiet narrow lane that takes us back to Harrowby and Grantham. By now the thigh was constantly quite painful and the discomfort and tightness began to spread to the upper calf. My consternation must have been fairly obvious as a few club mates asked if I was okay. I grumbled something about being injured and having to ease back for the next week or so.

Once into Harrowby and near the Girls’ school, I said my farewells and took the shorter way back home, the internal GPS successfully predicting, almost to the metre, that there would be exactly sixteen miles covered by the time I reached home.

A stretch in the rain then a long hot shower to warm up, followed by a twenty minute ice session, something I’ve not needed to do for the best part of a year. The following morning and there was no killer pain, thankfully, but enough discomfort for me to decide not to run – hopefully a day or two or more of rest, plus Ibuprofen, stretching and massage will see the problem settle. It’s been a good run without injury, hopefully this one will not set me back too much.