Monday, 30 September 2013

So worth it.....

A professional who is good at their job is worth their weight in gold!

I know lots of running friends who have been given many different diagnoses over the years with varying degrees of accuracy, whether it be tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, a stress fracture, a stress reaction, compartment syndrome, a muscle tear, or just the niggles caused by increased training. Some people are very keen for a "name" for what they are feeling, and so physios, sports therapists, doctors etc often oblige without really thinking of the consequences that such a label can cause. It may result in people paying for various expensive treatments (many of which are unnecessary), changing their training radically, resting completely, or even giving up their sport.

It is therefore really refreshing to be surprised by the knowledge and diagnostic ability that some professionals have, and even more so, when they admit to being slightly unsure of a precise cause/diagnosis and to wanting to see how things develop.

Taping to spread the strain across the plantar fascia
I'd been developing heel pain for a few days, and initially wanted to put my head in the sand about it, knowing how long I struggled with plantar fasciitis (PF) 18 months ago, and how sore it was. However, I had only just got over my knee problem and really wanted to get back to running pain-free, so after a week, I bit the bullet and went to see a physio to try to nip it in the bud as much as possible. He spent a long time assessing my feet, my ankles and my calves, and astonished me by picking up a severe ankle injury that I had when only 8 years old (as he could feel the residual abnormal movement in my ankle even now, years later).

A heel pad - so simple yet so effective!

I was dreading being told, "yes, that's the PF back......not much you can do about it now", but luckily I was given different news. Yes, there was some element of PF (as it was very gritty on palpation) but we could try to take some of the strain off it with some tape. There was also some inflammation of the heel fat pad/insertion, so I am trying a small cushion on my heel to take some of the pressure off it. My calf was also very tight, especially down one side, with some excruciating trigger points.

All in all, I'm glad I took the plunge in getting a proper assessment, and am impressed he took the time to look at all the different possible causes, rather than just giving me one significant diagnosis. The different modalities of treatments also gives me hope that I can continue to train without causing further more significant damage, and I would have paid him his weight in gold for that news,

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Gallovidian 10K

Three weeks of pain in my knee whenever I tried to run seemed a bit much, so I decided not to enter the Scottish half marathon championships in Elgin. This was a bit of a blow as not only would I be missing the race, but as it seemed way to far to travel when not running, but I would be missing the chance to catch up with my friend Ellie Greenwood. She was over from Canada visiting her parents and so had decided to run the marathon (there was a 10k, a half marathon and a marathon all being run on the same day on similar courses) to keep her training motivation up.......and needless to say she had a great win!

DRC out in force

Instead, I spent the weekend stressing about my upcoming presentation in Edinburgh at the "Night of Adventure" and testing it out on various (un)willing friends. Anyway, once the pressure of that was over and done with, I realised that my knee hadn't hurt for a few days, so I decided to test it with the local Gallovidian 10k race. This was organised by one of my friends in the other Dumfries-based running club, and was another counter in my club's road race Grand Prix, so there would be lots of DRC vests about.

The race itself wasn't a specific goal - the aim was just to come away with a solid pain-free run - so I ran the couple of miles over to the start as soon as I finished work on the Wednesday, got my number and lined up.

The radio DJ starting us off was so keen that he almost forgot to wait for the countdown, but we set off in a little bunch of burgundy club vests. The first mile was rather fast (despite the undulating roads) - Alan (our club captain) disappeared off ahead, bu I tried to settle into a pace and not get drawn along by a lady who started as if it was a short track race. I passed her within the first mile and felt as if I was running out into the countryside alone, as Alan was the only person visible away ahead of me. Obviously I was nothing like alone, with clubmate Richard tucked in just behind me, and Lisa flying along behind that.

Lisa flying by....

I'm not sure about the exact km signs as Lisa sped past me (it seemed like it was effortless for her) just as we approached the 5km mark and Richard went with her. Looking at my watch briefly, it appeared that we'd run 5k faster than I'd ever run it before so I let them go and figured that they would come back to me later.

With Richard

"Later" was about the 8k mark, as I'd reeled them back in and took the lead again, successfully negotiating the chicane of cycle path barriers under the bypass. The end of the race was not my finest hour, as there is a hairpin bend back on yourself on a busy corner, and I almost came to a standstill to avoid tumbling off the pavement into the road. Richard negotiated this much better and so I then had to chase him down he street. Having only run the Gallovidian once before many moons ago (sweeping the course doesn't count), I thought that I remembered entering he track to the finish as soon as we turned off the main road. My memory failed me, and we actually had to run past a tow of houses, up a steep incline, across a car park and then down a lane onto the bottom of the track. Richard and I were together as we entered the track, but I had no sprint in me, so he opened up a gap of 8 seconds while Lisa closed me down to 4 seconds.

Although my time was considerably slower than the 10k in Glasgow 3 weeks earlier (on an "easier" course) I was still v happy to come away having achieved my goal of a pain free run with no further injuries, as well as an individual and team win.......and even more excited for all the PBs achieved by my clubmates!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Public speaking

This isn't a post about running or racing, but I guess it can be seen as having many similarities, as its is about me stepping out of my comfort zone.

I generally think of myself as quite a private person, and am not known for shouting about what I've done in the past and what I'm doing at the current time, so when Emily Prince from Hope and Homes for children first got in touch with me about taking part on their Edinburgh Night of Adventure, my instinct was to run away and hide. What could be worse than standing up and talking in front of 250 people with your pictures shown on a huge cinema screen ?

The more I thought about it, however, the more I realised that I should challenge myself and do something that I'm afraid of, otherwise how will I ever overcome the fear? The evening is all in aid of charity and I'll also get to hear talks and see pictures taken by some amazing people.

That being said,  I did delay putting my talk and slides together for as long as possible, as that way I could keep my head in the sand about it. Looking out the most appreciate pictures did bring some amazing memories flooding back......I cannot tell you them now as that would spoil the evening......but I'm so glad I agreed to do it, as otherwise I might not have gone through the pictures or remembered certain events.

Well, that's how I feel now......but as I head up to Edinburgh this afternoon, I'm sure the butterflies will be back......

Still.....nothing ventured, nothing gained.......and I have had some positive feedback trying my presentation out on Dumfries friends.......fingers crossed for tonight then....