Glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel

Glimmer number One

Monday I went see the physio and he agreed with me that the leg was a lot better. He saw no reason why I could not run The Grizzly which is this weekend. He advised me to try a three mile run the next day.

Glimmer number Two

Three mile run, completed – it did not feel brilliant but it was a start. 

Glimmer number Three

I managed 30 mins on the treadmill and a lunch time cycle ride. AND the legs felt OK.

Glimmer number Four

During a brief shopping trip today the knee started to hurt again and the bunion also, all those glimmers were disappearing. I went in to a specialist shoe shop. By specialist I mean they sell shoes for problem feet, in brief ‘old lady shoes’ but they also sell ‘accessories’ for said type of feet, and by this I don’t mean toerings. I explained my problem (well only the foot one) to the lady and she had a look at my feet and had me walk about a bit for her. I’ve thought for a while that the bunion is causing the issue in my opposite knee as I am trying to take the pressure off the alien breaking out of my big toe joint, she agrees with me. She produced some insoles and I tried them on, right away I could feel the difference in the bunion and the knee. I can wear them running but need to break them in slowly, just wearing them a couple of hours a day this week and then increasing. That glimmer was a very big glimmer now.

Glimmer number Five

I managed 40 minutes on the treadmill, oh my it is tedious though! It is the longest I have ever run for on Fred and the legs did not object too much.

Yes I think we might be getting there, yes I am touching wood and crossing everything, if you could also it would be appreciated !

Mid week I made the decision not to do The Grizzly the year. It will be there next year. It is a tough 18 mile run and although I know I would make it round due to my sheer stubborness, I really feel I would not enjoy it as would be worrying about the body making it. It was the sensible decision, but am disappointed, I hope to console myself with a plod on some of the footpaths round the village. 

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Looking for the silver lining

My week started with a trip to the physio. He inflicted copious amounts of pain on my body, mainly with his elbow and then uttered the four letter word REST. I sought clarification, apparently this meant no running, no cycling, no swimming, no metafit. He suggested a trip to a Spa, not all bad news then.

The week deteriorated from bad, to worse, to bloody awful and this rest malarkey is no help at all.

I am now on day 10 of no running and I am really trying to find the positives, there are a few

  • Much less laundry
  • My house is cleaner and tidier than the norm
  • There are no trainers on my doorstep drying out
  • I stayed in bed until 8 am this morning
  • I can eat chocolate (plays havoc with my running tummy so safer to avoid normally!)
  • I can drink alcohol (usually avoid if running the next day)
  • I have time to do those things I’ve been meaning to do for years
  • I’ve stopped scanning the internet for running ‘stuff’
  • I don’t check the BBC weather app daily

However if I was to do the positive for running it would be considerably longer, but lets not dwell on that!

Monday back to physio, when I shall ban he from using four letter words!


Posted in Devon, injured, Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

I don’t like Mondays

I particularly don’t like Mondays after a week off, going back to work was not pleasant this week, but then rarely is. However it was going to get worse!

Lunch time I had a physio appointment, more heat, more massage, more pain inflicted on my legs all to sort out a slight issue I have been having with my knee. Nothing major, just a niggle that wasn’t going away. It is fine when running only making itself known after a few miles and then nothing major and certainly not painful enough to stop running. Mr physio was pleased with my progress and only wanted to see me before the Grizzly to loosen off my legs. All good. Happy Shaz.

That night when getting out of the car, I twisted my knee, it hurt. I swore. I managed Metafit the next day, followed by five miles run in the evening. To be honest it wasn’t great on the run, not painful really just not comfortable but I did manage negative splits as it seemed to ease as the run went on.

Since then however it has gone down hill, painful and stiff even when walking. The ice pack and I are now firm friends, rarely parted and I am currently looking in to buying shares in Ibuprofen!

The Grizzly is not looking likely, the Jurassic Coast 100 is in jeopardy and I am miserable.

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Too many miles?

This week was half term, it soon became apparent that I would spend my week taxi-ing Madam to various meeting points with friends so I decided early on to do as much running as I could. By Friday I learnt what too many miles felt like!

With The Grizzly only three weeks away, it was surely time for some panic miles!

Monday I took these snaps


it was a lovely morning with fierce head wind on the beach, running along the beach I played a game of ‘catch me if you can’ with the sea as it tried to clean my trainers for me. Pleased to say I won!

Wednesday was club handicap, where I managed a 5K PB by a massive 1 second!

Thursday was my normal 8 miles around the lanes, so nice it is light at 7 am now.

Friday I saw the sun come up


such a special moment. At 8 miles I began to struggle, the wheels came off my wagon rolled down the hill and burst in to flames! The trouble with this was I had 8 miles to get back to the car. Miserable to say the least. I can only assume I had overdone things.

Saturday was parkrun day of course, but I did take it easy-honest. The worse part was driving there in horrendous fog.

Today the adults in the family opted for a walk in Dorset. Madam having, like most teenagers, lost the use of her legs at 13, was dragged along with the promise of a pub lunch at the end. We omitted to tell her that we would be scaling the highest peak on the South coast, a administrative error, honest.

Golden Cap

Golden Cap

It was a lovely 4 mile walk (this was not a unanimous opinion!) with some amazing scenery. (Although I spent most of it wondering how in a couple of months am I going to run this route?)


and as promised there was food at the finish!

Back to work tomorrow, such a shame as do feel it gets in the way of my running adventures, though I would imagine for my body’s sake after this week, it is just as well!




Posted in cross country, Devon, Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dursley dozen

When I first moved to Devon I did a half marathon in the New Forest. The 13.1 miles were described as flat. I was not impressed when that was a big fat lie (press here to read about it) I realised then that unless the course description contained the words ‘pancake flat’ then it was more than likely to have hills.

Fast forward four years and things are very different.

I read the course description for the Dursley Dozen and it contained the words steeply, hill, undulating, steep descent, steep ascent, For the final climb “THE PRECIPICE” ropes are provided and mud, oh my kind of event, where is the credit card let me sign up!

Sunday morning I headed up the M5, wondering if it was going to ever get light, it was as though someone had put one of those energy saving lightbulbs in and it was taking for ever to reach full outage. Dreary.

Car parked, number collected, cake stall checked out (lots there I can take my time), serious 4×4 trainers on, hat, buff, hanky and gloves, all set. I followed the stream of runners to the start, all trying to keep warm.

10:30 we were off, downhill, yay, then 200 metres steeply up, is it too early to walk? No according to my calf muscles, walking was the only way forward. Fortunately a majority of those around me did the same. I was pleased to get off the road in to the woods, as it levelled out a bit, but it was still tough going due to the mud and then another climb.

The run basically went like this down, up, down, steep up, golf course, steep down, mud, muddy mud, up hill, gold course, road, slippy mud, rocks, road, mountain, snow, road, down hill. Every hill I came too I thought oh this must be the precipice they mentioned, but they haven’t added the rope this year. Each hill was tough and surely could not get any harder. Wrong. The precipice comes in the last quarter of the run, just when every leg muscle is screaming in pain. The rope was much needed for the first bit of the climb and then due to very poor arm strength (think T-rex) I opted to let the legs to the work and found it easier proceed without pulling. When the rope finishes I assumed wrongly that, that was the end of the hill, oh no we still had another climb up to the golf course.  Then it was all down hill to the finish. Phew.

Another great event, with some very enthusiastic marshals and great support on the course. I got to the end without the body complaining too much and without falling over in any of the mud, so that must count as a success. Hills, mud and a sprinkling of snow, a great way to spend a Sunday.

Oh and a great t-shirt




Posted in Devon, Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Chi Running

2017 is going to be a tough one, running wise and because of this I have decided to try and ensure I get to the end of the year in one piece by doing a few things differently. I am foam rolling more, stretching more, doing strength exercises three times a week and today went to learn how to run properly!

Now running consists of putting one foot in front of the other in a quicker pace than walking, this I know and this I do, but I wanted to run more effectively, more economically and in way to ward of injury, hence signing up for a Chi Running workshop at Exeter University today run by Blue Sky Running.

Chi – pronounced like Tai Chi not Ch-eye (like I was doing) is a revolutionary approach to effortless injury free running according to the front cover of the book I read the first 32 pages of!.

Now I could go in depth about what was covered on the course but the trouble with this would be A) I would get it wrong B) It would take me too long to write C) Would be an unexciting read and after my last post about bunions I don’t wish to loose any more readers! More importantly I think if you want to know about it, you should  go and book yourself on a course you wont be disappointed. Or you could buy the book, but it is lacking in plot and suspense!

Our day consisted of an introduction to the fundamentals, then we were all filmed running (aahhhh), then we moved on to some practical work using our core and correct posture and movement, lunch, watching of said videos examining our form and looking how it needed to improve and finally putting all we learnt in to action.

Being filmed was daunting, but actually invaluable, (so painful to watch) and we could all see where the adjustments needed to be made. Putting this all in to place at the end of the day certainly showed us how ‘effortless’ running should feel.

Now all I need to do is remember all that was covered and to put it in place a little at a time. Fortunately Hannah sent us home with some notes, failing that I may pick the book up again and try and read past page 32!

It was a great day, I’ve learnt so much and cant wait to try and put it in place. So if like me this has been on your radar for a while, don’t delay sign up now, check out where your local expert is by clicking here


Posted in Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Now for something different

This post contains, whingeing, moaning, possibly swearing and general venting, please feel free to tune out NOW, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

I am the proud owner of a bunion, ok this might be an exaggeration (the proud bit) but a large bunion I possess on my right foot. I don’t and never have worn stilettoes, I wore ugly Clarke shoes till I was 16 years old so its not down to poor footware. The reason I’ve got this attachment to my foot is genetics -thanks Mum, not helped by wide feet.

Despite my Doctor in Essex wanting to remove it I have always stated I would not go under the knife until it started to hurt. Unfortunately that time might have come.

Since Christmas its started to hurt. It took me a while to work out what the pain was as it seems to manifest itself further down by the big toe, firstly I thought it was some kind of nail infection. Then I worked out what was causing the issue, the bunion. Running is uncomfortable, but not too bad, running down hill is worse, up is fine.

I realised that going to the Doctors would mean a referral to surgery and with three Ultras booked this year, that is not going to happen. A hastily made podiatrist appointment was obtained.

Today was appointment day. I really wish I hadn’t bothered.

It was a total waste of time.

She seemed to fixate herself with the boots that I had worn to the appointment. Now I normally would have popped trainers on, but as it had been pouring all day I opted for boots. She decided that these are too small for me and that was the problem. Now I wore these boots most of the three days in New York where we walked continually, all was fine then. Now they hurt yes, but all shoes hurt, socks, bare feet all is well with the world, put shoes on and I’m in trouble.  She told me I had feet of a much older person (thanks!) and nothing could be done. I needed to buy bigger shoes, end of.

Now I can understand what she is saying and take this on board, BUT it is unrealistic to ask me to replace all my shoes and trainers with new bigger ones, especially when a month ago they were fine. She mentioned biomechanic issues but could not help me with those!

Now before I went I had done a bit of research on what can be done. Take NSAIDS, use ibuprofen gel, ice the area, get in soles, use spacers and there are some really nifty bunion socks available on the web to relieve pressure and swelling. Not once did she mention any one of these to help, nope, change your shoes and that’s it, oh and £35 payment please! I did not make a scene but must admit it came close, toys thrown around the pram but not out. Safe to say I will not be going back.

All in all, very fed up and now supping a very large amaretto!

The way forward?

Ice, painkillers, look in to bunion padding, new insoles, new trainers (any excuse – got to cheer myself up) physio, but no not surgery till Christmas and no I’m not going to accept this is the way it is going to be from now on.

Thanks for listening. X




Posted in Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments