Monday, 23 February 2009

On a knife edge

Like the drug addict's income, its all gone to pot. Ok, I exaggerate, but its felt like it a few times over the last few days.

Last week's easy running week started on Tuesday with my second run with Abbey Runners. I wore the new orthotics as I'd felt no ill effects at all from them over the weekend so decided to take the slight risk of wearing them for a 6 mile easy run. Well, it would have been a slight risk if I hadn't got lost.

The various groups all set off together as far as the outer ring road with me near the front of the slowest group, unwittingly mixed with some faster groups. I dashed across the ring road alone and instead of stopping and waiting for the others I followed a group of 4 about 30m ahead, assuming them to be following the same route. After a brisk 200m I looked over my shoulder and saw that there was nobody following me. It was too late to turn round and find the other group so I speeded up to catch the group in front.

We ran a hilly 7 mile route in the hour and I managed to keep up ok. In fact by the end I felt pretty pleased with myself - I'd pushed myself through a hilly 7 mile tempo run and managed it ok.

The trouble was the podiatrist had given 3 pieces of advice:

1) Avoid hills
2) Avoid speedwork
3) Don't wear the new orthotics for more than 10 minutes on the first run.

On Wednesday morning my lower calves felt sore. By Wednesday night they were stiff and sore and my anterior tibial muscles had followed suit. On Thursday they felt no different but I decided to do the sceduled run anyway but cut it from 6 miles to 5 to balance out the extra mile on Tuesday. It wasn't fun. I took it slowly but the first 3 miles were accompanied by lower leg fatigue, stiffness and slight pain and my lower calves and AT muscles stiffened up for the remainder of the day.

Friday felt rather better and Saturday better still so on Sunday I set off for the third 6 miles of the cutback week. Again, it wasn't great. My AT muscles, especially on the right, felt tired and sore immediately and I felt like there may have been some peroneal soreness too. It was also windy and I'd tried running with an ipod but every few paces had to put the left earpiece back in - all adding to the the despondency of the run.

After 2 miles I stopped to stretch but immediately decided I would be better heading for home and set off back. Ironically the 30 second break had helped and the feeling of fatigue largely dissapeared to the point where the returning 2 miles became a bit of an impromtu fartlek. Happilly there has been no stiffness since but the lower leg pain and fatigue is a worry thats left me feeling stressed for the last few days. Paris seemed so certain and I'd hate to think I'd started a problem this far in that could keep me away from it.

With stress comes the tendency to overeat. The last couple of weeks have been tougher weight loss wise anyway - partly because the original weight loss methods/foods have become a bit dull and partly because weight loss does become tougher the more time goes on - but I was more or less on track by Thursday morning.

Trouble is Sue and the kids had gone away for a few days, leaving me home alone with a track record of living off take aways, sweets and biscuits in similar situations in the past. I held out until Friday when I headed for a Persian restaurant for my dinner - a huge salad, pickles and a mountain of rice and meat. In theory I'd had enough food to feel full and avoid eating for the rest of the day but the genie was now out of the bottle. By early evening I had a craving for chips. I tried to placate it with toast but to no avail. I resisted the temptation of a Chinese takeaway yet headed out to Mcdonalds for a Big Mac meal (with thick shake) and called in at a shop on the way back for a packet of biscuits and 3 chocolate bars. By 9pm I was in bed and feeling sick.

Saturday saw the family return but a Chinese for tea, and yesterday saw a day of general grazing including about 10 pieces of toast, 3 topped with cheese. Today's weigh in has me back at the weight I was 2-3 weeks ago.

I keep alternating between 2 views of where I am:

1) The voice of doom which tells me the diet has failed, I won't be able to get back on track and the best I can hope for is for the weight to stay the same; and that I've triggered chronic injury and won't have the opportunity to give it sufficient rest to heal - its just going to get worse until I accept defeat...


2) ...the voice of optimism that tells me a few days off the plan followed by a week's strict dieting could really kick start the previously slowing weight loss so all I need do is restart; and the pain I've had is simple DOMS and muscle adaptation from a beneficial speed session mixed with a smattering of imagined discomfort at the site of old injuries. Take it steady for the next few days and you'll feel 100% for Saturday's 20 miler.

Today I have a sports massage booked. If its muscle adaptation that should really help and I'm determined to stick to the plan weight loss wise and will stick even closer to the slowest group of runners tomorrow night!

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