February 2019

I can’t believe it’s the 1st of March tomorrow as I type this, this year is flying, let’s hope as the sun starts to shine, those summer smells of fresh cut grass fill the air and the days get longer that the world slows down just a little.

This month I have managed to run 71 miles, cycled 33 miles, swam 2,000 yds and have had an operation on my shoulder just 6 days ago, not too bad but I’m really looking forwards to ramping it up this year, so far I am just 22 miles off of the pace for my 1000 mile challenge. As I mentioned before I am building up to run long this year culminating in a 35 mile ultra marathon in June, however due to the need for an operation coming along pretty recently I have had to cancel two of my build up events, namely the Naseby 16:45 race last weekend and the Cambridge Boundary Marathon in just over a weeks time. Therefore I’m going to have to attempt to run an ultra before I’ve ever run a marathon! I’m sure with the support around me I’ll be fine, there’s still plenty of time for training and our local club members organise some long training runs nearer the time. The cut off is 9 hours too which works out that if you average 14 minute miles you’ll just creep in under time, I can walk 14 minute miles so all is good, I WILL complete that ultra!

The reason I needed the operation on my shoulder was that last summer I started to get a lot of pain in certain positions such as putting a jacket on and it was always aching, and clicking! After a few visits to the Doctor, various ultrasound scans and an MRI I was told that I have osteoarthritis in my shoulder joint, added to that I had some calcium spurs grown on the bone which were tearing at my rotator cuff. The operation I had involved grinding those spurs down, while in the theatre the surgeon also noticed another bony growth on my clavicle that he removed and he also removed some inflamed tissue. I was told I wouldn’t be running or driving for at least 3 weeks, hmmm well naughty me, I was cycling on my turbo trainer within 4 days, driving within 5 days and running today, just 6 days post op! It’s feeling so great that had it not been for the stitches I’d have been swimming this weekend too. I’m glad it’s feeling well enough to be honest as I could feel the dark clouds rolling over and the lethargy setting in, who’d have thought this couch potato would one day be addicted to exercise more than cake!

I’ve had some fantastic, albeit cold runs this month, early on in the month a group of us ran the route for the then upcoming Welly Trail Half Marathon, a fresh and crispy 15.5 mile morning run followed by a 8.5 mile hilly road run the very next day.

A few days after that we had the privilege of having an England Athletics coach by the name of Bill Boyd turn up to our club night along with an extremely talented young athlete by the name of Selina to demonstrate some drills and take us down to the park for an interval session. We tried many drills that Selina made to look incredibly easy however we just looked like a bunch of loons trying to emulate them across the school playground! Seriously they were great though and showed just where we needed to work on form and balance to get an efficient stride. The session they then took us on in the local park was brutal, it consisted of a 5 minute warm up jog followed by 1 minute reps of threshold (sub 5k time) pace and then 30 seconds of easy pace, these intervals were carried out 5 times and then back into another 5 minute recovery jog, we then repeated this 3 times! The next day at club all that attended were feeling it, in fact a mile into our tempo run I turned back, my legs were just like lead and seemed to feel like that for a good few days afterwards, no pain no gain though as they say!

Midway through the month with the thought of the looming operation and not wanting to start getting down whilst not exercising (or so I thought) I decided to set my old road bike set up on a turbo trainer in the dining room. I renewed my subscription to Trainerroad and decided to take an FTP test to see what level my fitness was currently at, I was shocked that it had improved from 113 back in October to a staggering 172, well I say staggering, I’m not sure how good that is in the main but I’ll take a 52% increase all day long! It’ll be interesting to see how much I improve in another 4 months.

My final race before my operation was the Welly Trail Half Marathon, a fantastic event just a few miles from where I live and put on by our local club WDAC. It was a fantastic day for it and the sun shone for us, it was the start of the recent warm spell we have just had. I ran the hilly 14 mile course in 2h 41m and hit the Half Marathon mark at 2h 30m, a 2nd best Half Marathon time and 9 minutes quicker than my first road HM that was relatively flat, again some great progress. I could have completed quicker however, having run the route a few weeks before I had captured the route and downloaded it to my Garmin, at about 10 miles in it said to carry on as we hit a junction at a field, however several other runners had turned left. I thought there must have been a last minute route change so I followed down a fairly steep hill alongside a ploughed field, about halfway down I saw a few runners turnaround and head back up the hill, my Garmin was right they were wrong, I should have trusted it! Anyway, I had been chasing these people down unsuccessfully for some time including my friend Tracey so as they turned towards me I made a quick dash through a gap in the hedge and pegged it diagonally across a muddy field and up a slight hill thinking “yes, that’s it I’ve got them now”, I ran right across to a stile, climbed the stile breathless, glanced over my shoulder at the gap and made the most of the downhill I was now on really giving it some to widen the gap. I then heard Tracey and the others shouting my name, I turned round to see they had turned left at the stile, right by the great big green arrow that pointed left, yes the one that I completely missed as I turned around whilst crossing the stile breathlessly checking out my unsporting gain! After letting out lots of expletives in between gasps for air I walked back up the hill swearing at myself, serves me right for trying to take advantage!

Finally my pre op running finished on a high the day before my operation, I went on a tempo run training session with WDAC where our coach Laura, after a short warm up run got us to run 2.8 miles at tempo pace, ideally at a pace where you can talk just in words and not sentences, followed by a few minutes of moving recovery and then another 2.8 miles at tempo. We covered 6.2 miles in total and according to Strava I achieved a PB 10k, a PB 2 mile, a PB 1 mile and a PB 1k, not too shabby that and I felt rather pleased with myself.

Anyway that concludes this blog for this month as if anyone is reading it and is still awake then they are probably totally bored. But hey I’ve enjoyed hitting the keys and reviewing some of the great achievements I’ve had this month and for me that’s what it’s all about, a bit of therapy so next time I’m feeling down I can look back on this and realise just what I can do if I put my mind to it. Seriously if anyone is reading this and considering running please get out there and give it a go, don’t worry about distance or speed, that’ll come, it’ll be hard at times, sometimes it’ll be hard to get the motivation but believe me if you get the bug like I have it might just change your life!

Good luck and happy running,

Gav.

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