Tag Archives: Medical tips

Doctor’s Opinion

Went to the doctor’s today – two days after the London Marathon.

I guess up until last Thursday, I had been hoping (perhaps rather optimistically) that things would settle down with neurofen gel, icing, resting the foot by not running, even putting my foot up and compressing the injury (following the R-I-C-E principle, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) but to no avail and my deferral notice was duly sent off on Friday.

After my disappointment of not being able to join my running partners for a second time (the same had happened at Amsterdam in 2007 due to my shin splints) my wife decided it was time to get a professional opinion and go to the doctors.

Pure Sports Medicine in London treat a number of professional sportsmen and women, including footballers from the London clubs and national Rugby players, with prices (I have to say) to reflect that.

Speaking to the Doctor, he seemed to know exactly what the problem might be and an ultrasound scan confirmed inflammation between the bones, predominantly the second cuneiform and navicular, so a cortisone injection was advised and duly administered.

His theory was that the speed session I had carried out had caused me to run on my toes a bit more than normal, hence causing extra stress between the bones and leading to the inflammation and swelling. So not the tendon problem I had originally suspected.

His only concern was that there may also be a stress fracture lurking hidden somewhere, but that would potentially have shown with the manipulation and ultrasound. If the injury does not respond to the cortisone, an MRI might be necessary.

If it is a stress fracture, we are talking about 12-16 weeks to mend.

With 4 months to the Mont Blanc, THAT is not what I want to hear.

The plan starts to come together!

The last half marathon I did was Reading, 2004, a few weeks before I did the Two Oceans Ultramarathon and London Marathon that year.

I went on to do a 1:35 half marathon at that time, which was a PB by a couple of minutes which I was pleased with, but then for various personal reasons, seemed to lose my long distance training drive and until last year with the Thames Meander, I’d only done the occasional 10k.

That was the last time I had a similar level of fitness and had not been troubled with injury, because even last year before doing the TM and MdS I was recovering from shin splints.

It has been a long, hard road – 5 years long, and it is only on reflection that I realised the other day how much I had been set back and frustrated with various issues. Only now can I dare to think that I am improving my performance past my previous best. Reading Half 2009 Route

Today it came together though – 29th March 2009 – lined up at the start of the Reading half Marathon, 5 years almost to the day since my previous excursion at that distance, and although I felt nervous about a cold I was fighting off*, tight shins and tired calves from training in the week; I was ignoring my mind games.

So there we were, John and I again – pushed RIGHT to the front with the elite athletes – can you imagine. By the time we arrive there was barely 3 minutes to wait in the bright morning sun. The weather was perfect, the position was perfect and I was ready.

This was my chance to put years of frustration behind me.

At the gun, we were off. No really; OFF. None of this meandering about for ten minutes shuffling towards the line before finally breaking into a slow trot – Six seconds to cross the line rather than the twenty minutes it took those at the back, I later found out!

No, we were almost sprinting from the start, “oh my word!” I thought, can I maintain this, it feels steady but it’s too fast. We’re going uphill already, and I’m passing people, but my legs aren’t warm yet, am I going to break something, hold back. No, I’m strong!

Too many dilemmas for ninety seconds into what I was planning to be a ninety minute race, so I forced myself to settle down a bit. Nevertheless, the first few km passed quickly and John, sensing I wanted to break away, shouted for me to carry on as he was going to take it more steadily. We had run the first two miles at 6:30 pace.

Continue reading The plan starts to come together!

It’s Official – Move more, Weigh less

Went for my medical check and ECG today, which was all fine so after all this time, it doesn’t look I’m going to be able to use medical grounds as an excuse for not running!

In actual fact although I was as anxious as most other people when visiting a doctor (even though not technically ill, talk about response conditioning, ring a bell and I’ll start salivating as welNormal ECGl!) it was a bit of a non-event. A quick medical check up to discuss general levels of health followed by an ECG.

I have to mention the fact that when the practice heard that I was running for charity (FACING AFRICA) they very kindly waived the fee for the treatment. So my thanks go to all the partners and staff of the Wodeland Avenue practice in Guildford – your assistance and support is very much appreciated.

One thing I did discover though, is that over nearly the last 2 year – i.e. since I’ve been running and training for this race, my official medical weight has come down from a very lardy 89kg to a lithe, snake like 76kg, or practically 2 stone! The only worrying thing is that I fully expect to lose at least another stone during the course of the run, given the energy expenditure I anticipate throughout those 152 miles!

Maybe insanity will fly….


Just when everything is going swimmingly, that’s normally the time to worry about injury in long distance running and so, call me paranoid, but a niggle in my right leg is feeling decidedly like a stress fracture I had about 4 years ago.

While training for the London Marathon in 2003, I probably pushed things a little too far, too hard and had to cut back on training considerably. I still managed the Marathon after a few weeks recovery, but always felt I could have gone a lot faster if I’d not had a problem (my first marathon time was 4:25ish).

So now to have the same problem potentially recurring is not the best thought in the world, but then as I say, perhaps I’m just being paranoid.

Will probably give it a few days rest and assuming the feeling has subsided, then ramp back slowly up to my current level – if there is no change I’ll have to get physio, and hope that it is actually shin-splints, not a stress fracture.

I needed a cut-back week anyway, but a week and a month are obviously totally different from a training perspective, especially at this stage.

Swim recovery

Always a good way to recover – cross-train.

Nevertheless, went for a short run (6 miles) last night, a nice undulating course around Guildford, but obviously took it easy after race and my legs were slightly fatigued anyway, so overall the time for 6 miles was significantly slower that the previous evening – still, not every run is a race.

Overall, please with legs not feeling to bad, no DOMS today (delayed onset of muscle soreness – who thinks up these acronyms!). Blisters tender, but holding up OK and hopefully will be fighting fit by Sunday for long run.

Had a good swim today as well, and rewarded with a pint in Broadgate / Exchange square, along with a mass of other city workers enjoying the final arrival of the sun to the UK!

Picture shows the ongoing work on the Broadgate Tower (which is just behind Exchange Square) – a marvel of construction and architecture (in my humble opinion!)

Medical Update

Okay – so these are minor blisters compared to any I might expect during, or subsequent to the Marathon de Sables, but today in my office with my socks off trying to dry them out (the blisters that is) I am led to contemplate the enormity of the task ahead – in about 8 months time, my body and that of 800 ish others will pushed to it’s limits and beyond, and then some more.

The training is just a commitment to an event, and an attempt to remove or reduce the impact of any unknowns, such as

  • Running distances over consecutve days
  • Dealing with physical and mental exhaustion
  • Managing in extreme temperatures and humidity
  • Carrying weight (12-13kg) from point to point
  • Travelling through sand and unfamiliar terrain
  • Surviving on minimal rations and dried food

Any of the above on its own would be a challenge over a period of a week, but all together has undoubtedly been devised by a psuedo-sadist and is only taken up by those with semi-masochistic tendencies.

Still, I’m rambling.

The skin is off the right foot blister to reveal a bright red 2″ oval of raw skin. As I’m intenting to keep running from Wednesday, I hope this calms down a bit – any hints or tips on the dealing with blisters greatfully received – Over the next few months I’ll probably be trying taping and foot hardening concoctions until the cows come home.