Although the blogging has been somewhat quiet of late, the training has been ticking along quite nicely and dare I say it, I have remained injury free, despite ramping up my mileage over the last couple of months.
The recovery from the ‘exertion’ of the Edinburgh Marathon was surprisingly lengthy it was 2-3 weeks at least before I was getting my pace back to what I would consider ‘normal’. The problem here is that it has also been getting warmer – yes, I know that for those of you in the south of France, the southern states of the USA and Australia, to name but a few, ‘warm’ is not a term that you would associate with the move of a thermometer in a positive direction into the lower 20°C territory, but the UK weather, after a very mild winter, has stayed pretty mild until recently, with only the odd day here and there to remind us that the yellow globe in the sky provides all of the life-giving energy to our humble existance – indeed, sales of sun-cream in the UK have no doubt suffered in 2014 until recently.
I have been going through what I think are fairly normal MdS withdrawal symptoms.
Getting back from an event which is in such stark contrast to most others, and far removed from anything most of us would experience in ‘real-life’ is bound the have such an impact.
Perhaps less so on those brave individuals in the armed forces, or perhaps civilian firemen, police, etc., who frequently put their lives on the line and who have a familiarity with imposed hardships and the challenges of being out of routine in physically and mentally demanding situations on a regular basis, since I believe that is part of the reason why people want to take up such a challenge.
[singlepic id=710 w=320 h=240 float=right]There is little in ‘normal’ life, in our cosseted modern western routines that can really satisfy what are probably primal urges and instincts to compete with others in physical challenges, where often survival may have been at stake and adrenalin fuelled success would have resulted in the ultimate proliferation of a particular branch of the gene pool.
Possibly, but imagine opposing tribes of hunter/gatherers, both chasing after dwindling stocks of wildlife before the onset of the winter season. It is not hard to imagine that the more successful persistence hunters might have successfully ensured the survival of their tribe through the winter while another failed and the impact on them would have been more extreme.
Still, back to the present and my recovery, which I glad to say has has been going well and I’ve not experienced any extremes; until yesterday, that is.
I had rather more swelling in my feet that I had realised, but I had been able to run a couple of times last week, and despite singularly failing to wake up for a long run on Sunday, I even managed to swim on Monday night.
Then things started to go horribly wrong. Tuesday’s has now transmuted to my cross-training day, and I duly went to the gym and cycled and did some squats and lunges, and although tough, I thought no more of it. Shortly afterwards I gave blood, and felt none the worse for that either.
However, two days afterwards, my muscles are aching an order of magnitude more than ever they were from 150 miles across the Sahara.
In one of life’s little ironies, I can trek my way through the toughest footrace on Earth without a hint of DOMS, but put me on a bike for 20 minutes and I may as well have been poked with hot needles dipped in vinegar for the last 6 months. The aching is starting to die down now, but I’m seriously considering whether my cross-training sessions will become a thing of the past after this week 🙂
The Thames Trot took a bit more out of me than I realised and one week on it’s time for a bit of a post-mortem.
During the week, I’ve run a few times, but my legs have definitely been tired. When doing the simplest things, such as climbing the stairs at the Waterloo when rushing for the train, getting moving in the morning, etc., I’ve certainly noticed more fatigue in my legs; more difficult to get them moving!
I’ve run a few times around the London streets at lunchtimes, 5 miles Tuesday, 4 miles Thursday and 6 Miles yesterday, and although the Tuesday run was difficult to get going, by Friday things were getting better. I reckon I’m still 20 seconds or so off my kilometre pace though, but I’m sure by the end of next week things will be back to normal.
Of slightly more concern is an ache in my back which occurred (ironically) after pilates on Monday lunchtime. I generally do pilates, as I’ve mentioned in the past, as I think it is good for core strength. I suspect doing this on Monday, so soon after the race on Saturday, with fatigued muscles, placed extra strain on my lower back which presumably had to work extra hard to compensate. So, this has been rather uncomfortable during the week, although interestingly enough, not just during running, and it is settling down now, with regular application of fisiocrem (which has anti-inflammatory arnica in it).
Of the rest of the aches in my muscles, I won’t give a whole list, but for my records the following are tight or aching during running:
Left and Right Quad (Right more noticeable)
On the positive side, my Calves and achilles all seem fine, despite the cramps I experienced during the race in those areas, so that at least, bodes well for the mountains and dunes of Morocco.
Interestingly, I have read up on exercise induced muscle cramps over the last few days and it appears the conventional wisdom that the cramps are brought on by dehydration or a lack of sodium in the diet is incorrect. It seems to be more associated with muscle relaxing signals being suppressed, but I haven’t got to the bottom of how to prevent it yet, so I’ll leave that discussion for another post.
The good news is that my foot is getting better a lot faster than I had dared to hope and I may even be able to get down to the gym tomorrow for a light touch of cross training, although running is unlikely to be a sensible idea.
The limping has already ceased, I haven’t had to ice my foot today and my walking is almost up to normal speed as well, so I’m certainly happy with progress, less than 48 hours after my last run.
Other than that, nothing much has happened today.
It has been another interesting day for the chancellor, George Osborne though, as he makes another embarrassing U-turn on his tax implementations promised in the budget back in March. Having backed down (a little) on the pasty tax, which was clearly unmanageable, but now changed it for something equally as confusing and complicated, he is now reversing his decision on the charities tax (cap) plan which seems to be equally as pleasing to both the charities and to the Labour opposition leader, Ed Balls, who is frankly having a field day at the moment without even trying. Young George seems to have picked his timing perfectly, however, as the Leveson enquiry was going through some more meaty enquiries today with the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who was involved in apparently inappropriate behaviour around News International’s BskyB takeover bid.
Morgan had had a sleep over with a very brave parent overnight, so after breakfast the first thing to do this morning was to pick him up. However, as we had a party to go to at 11am, to which all of the children were invited, and a present was still required, there was no time to really think first thing. The morning seemed to disappear into a haze of toy shopping, traffic jam frustration and children’s party entertainment – no surprise I relinquished the usual desire for a coffee to see me through the morning and I has a beer in my hand just before midday.
Liz has still been resting today and although she came along to the party, she was very tired by the end of things and so we had a quiet afternoon.
Well, Liz did, at least.
Col was very kind to look after the children while they were making the most of the warm weather with a water fight outside on the front lawn, before trying some kite flying with the numerous kites we have around the house; for a full 3D biplane kite, to the normal box kite and seagull impersonations to a simple mini pocket kite. Ironically, the large biplane provided the most fun, but it’s ascension into the lower atmosphere was achieved largely through the motive force of our youngster’s legs rather than the movement of any air from one point to another. Plenty of energy expended. Tick!
Chicken satay for dinner was welcome, but Liz had a quick trip to the hospital to check out some ‘bruising’ around her groin.
Everything was fine with her though. It is apparently quiet normal to have bruising after the operation, given the ‘manipulation’ the surgeons carry out during the operation, and it is also quiet normal for the bruises to show up when any swelling goes down, but the visit was necessary to ensure her confidence in her recovery is increasing.
We arrived home mid evening yesterday and really didn’t do much else before crashing out, but when we arrived, the children were all still up and wildly happy to welcome their mother home.
Today was more of a normal day, with the school run to do and so on. Liz was under strict instructions to rest which she complied with for most of the day, although clearly had done too much (?) by 2:30 as she had to sleep for the rest of the afternoon.
Liz has been restricted from doing any heavy lifting, walking up too many stairs or hills – so the school run is out for a couple of days!
The main concern is still the slit that was made in her groin, in order to insert the sheath for the catheter. While there is little chance that it is going to bleed now, there’s a chance of a haematoma or bleeding beneath the surface which would be a worry.
Colleen and I walked the children to school first thing, but after dropping them off for their ‘fluffy Friday’, where they wear civvies to school and have a day where they have prearranged ‘fun’ activities, we then stopped off for a couple of croissants for breakfast, which we took back to Liz at home.
After that I had some time to spare, so decided to get a quick run in.
It was hot outside and I was prepared for an easy run. The last time I’d run in the heat was mid-April when in America (see here!) but today turned out to be better.
I ran easily around the level ground of Bramley, Wonersh and Shalford, but surprised myself with a turn of pace with which I was happy. It was definitely hotter than recently though (I wore a sleeveless vest for the first time in probably 30 months) and even with the wind, I was still a trifle warm.
Run done and lunch over, Liz had to rest for a bit, so Col and myself walked back up to school to pick up the little one’s from their fluffy day. Luke had been to ‘Spain’ doing all sorts, and Savannah proudly handed me a pot with her planted rocket (presumably salad leaf) in it. Joshua had been outside all day playing cricket and other sports, which he had enjoyed, but was clearly tired and hot as well, so an ice cream on the way home was in order.
A quiet day otherwise, with Morgan dropped of for his party and sleepover with a friend.
Liz has been tired, but is fine otherwise, so the recovery continues and everyone has been very kind with their thoughts and concern for her well being. They have also been amazed the procedure was so fast and she was already back home.
I had interviews to do today at work – interviewing for a short term business analyst position. The process seems to take as long as the engagement itself!
Anyway the upshot of that was that I had to be in work this morning, but had to also be home to take Liz to see her consultant for a review. With the interviews over I returned via my normal route but the peculiarity of travelling at midday meant that the normally crowded tube showed no signs of the packing and shoving I expect to experience at rush hour. In fact it was bordering on civilised 🙂
After a quick tea at home we strolled off to the Royal Surrey County Hospital where the car park was decidedly less civilised – 2:30 is obviously visiting hour.
The appointment was delayed a bit, but when we got to speak with Liz’s consultant she was full of reassurance that everything was fine with all the blood tests they had done, and on discussing the upcoming procedure to close the PFO stated that she would also, in the same situation, recommend having the closure carried out.
Liz is now off the aspirin and has been given to all clear to drive if she wants to. The consultant also explained that many victims reported feelings of tiredness and fatigue after suffering a stoke but, interestingly, they still do not understand the reasoning behind these feelings.
So for now all we have to wait for is the pre-op on the 18 May and the actual PFO closure procedure on the 24 May. It could be a long three weeks 🙁
Monday’s is swimming night; first Joshua and Morgan have their half hour, currently from 6:30-7:00 and then I have a session from 8:20. J&M had a good session – their strokes are fantastic at the moment, a real pleasure to watch them going back and forth from the edge of the pool. I’m sure my stroke is not so appealing 😉
I chose to do another run-swim-run this evening, and Liz was happy for me to go a few minutes earlier, so I managed to get in a bit of a country route up Pewly Hill to the base of St Marthas, before turning back towards the urban sprawl. I had a beautifully timed view of the sunset as I was climbing the hill which gave me shivers inside and reminded me of why I endure the hours of training through the cold winter and early mornings.
I don’t think I’ve quite caught up on sleep yet from last week’s trip. It is amazing how long it takes to recover from a lack of sleep sometimes. Liz is in a similar situation at the moment, not from sleep deprivation but because her body needs more sleep as part of her recovery, so really we are having moments where we are both walking round like zombies late in the evenings 😉 I’m sure I would be quite amusing for a fly on the wall.
I guess trying to maintain a level of exercise doesn’t really help much in the battle with exhaustion either.
Today, the boys had swimming in the evening, so I planned to get home in time to take them over to Boxgrove where we all swim at the moment; this is a bit of a struggle at the best of times though, and today the dual gods of grumpy bankers and subterranean transportation conspired against me to make a tough journey even more difficult. Nevertheless, I made it just in time, with Liz waiting in the car with the boys to jump in and drive them to their lesson.
The strange mist above the inside pool was just starting to rise when during their lesson, but I thought little of it at the time.
Lesson over and children back home, they were given their customary honey bread post-exercise snack and I started to prepare for another run to the pool.
Only the second time I have done this; it is not particularly taxing, only a couple of miles to the pool, but it is good to get the extra exercise in with the loosening effect of the cross-training in the middle. With that in mind, and the fact I was late, I put on a bit more speed, the result of which I was pleased.
The mist was really permeating the atmosphere around the pool when I got there, making it look more like a Turkish Sauna than a swimming pool, and although it was an interesting experience it also meant that it was impossible to see the time on the clock at the end of the pool!
I ran back and the weather was still almost but not quite entirely unlike rain.
Spend the day at home again today as Morgan is still not well, suffering from the throat and temperature that is going around.
The day was relatively quiet otherwise, after the trauma of the visit from the nurse yesterday. She meant well, but going through the detail of everything that had happened and was still to happen was just too much for Liz at the end of the day. Just coming to terms with everything at the moment seems to be taking it’s toll – that along with the recovery, is most days proving to be too much.
I took the three remaining children to school this morning; they had what is referred to as a ‘fluffy Friday’ where they do activities for the day which are not from the ordinary school curriculum, such as baking biscuits, building and dancing. Joshua spent most of the day at the Spectrum (the local activity park) in the swimming pool, and Luke did dancing with his friends. Both Luke and Savannah did several laps of heir school field (17 and 15 respectively) as they carried out their ‘Mile’ for the benefit of the Sport Relief charity day.
Kate very kindly brought them home again so I could carry on working, and it was a lovely day so they played outside for a bit before dinner.
Liz has been resting with Morgan for most of the day, and has eaten well today, so at least she has her appetite back. Morgan was ok during the middle of the day, but had a relapse last thing and was feeling very sorry for himself by the end of the day.
She had a brief period this morning where she actually felt like things were back to normal, which, considering what she has been through over the last couple of weeks, is extraordinary. Nevertheless, she was still under strict instructions not to carry out any extreme feats of housework, DIY or anything involving heavy lifting or endurance activities 😕
We had nothing out of the ordinary planned today, except the children’s normal activities, drama and swimming. They were parcelled off to their venues with the only problem being a change of venue and time for the drama, which meant unearthing emails at rushing to the other side of Guildford; it was a longer session anyway, so Morgan didn’t miss much. Luke is still not well, so I took Savannah swimming on her own, which she enjoyed and we picked Morgan up on the way back from the pool.
After a winter vegetable soup lunch (Covent Garden, not home-made, boooo!) Liz had a half hour rest as she was exhausted again sitting with the children this morning.
Then we ventured out and up to town!
The expedition was slow as we were wary of every step, not the easiest thing with four children in tow, but all in all the trip was uneventful. An excursion to ‘Blott’ for the children to spend some pocket money, Sainsbury’s for Mothering Sunday provisions, and The Entertainer for presents for the hosts of parties Luke and Savannah are going to tomorrow. Finally, we popped into the Solutions Inc (Apple reseller) store as they had reopened after refurbishment and were offering 10% discount for the afternoon which, as anyone who knows Apple will understand, is unheard of! So I have an Airport Extreme wireless router to set up at some point 😎 I’ll update the details at some later point. Liz managed very well and, true to style, was already talking about walking the children up Pewley HIll to school before too long.
The second resting day was completed with a fine meal of Fajitas and nachos with salsa (the Children are converts, which I am quite pleased about for our planned holiday in August :-)). As I write this Liz is sitting up and looking and sounding a lot better all the time.