Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The come back!

After the dark depression in my last post due to my injury issues, I thought I needed to give an update as things are looking up…

Last time out I was in the middle of an enforced rest period due to an over-use knee problem post ultra and I was going to test the water with an easy Parkrun.

Well  I was still feeling the pain but it wasn’t too bad and with daily RICEing I was managing to walk with little problem. I decided to walk the couple of miles into town in Chelmsford to the local Parkrun and it was the first in the event for me. For those that don’t know, the Parkrun concept is a 5k course that runs every week in most towns across the globe free to everyone of all ages. I’d heard of the concept but it wasn’t until today that I tried it out.

 Once again the pre-race routine consisted of people asking about the flip flops as I’d decided on the Luna’s and I’m surprised people are not aware of these? I guess they haven’t gone mainstream just yet.

Well the run went ok with no major issues so I took this as the first stage of the recovery complete and the green light to start running slowly again. Later the next week I decided that the next step was to replicate the same 4 mile run at work where I’d felt the knee first go. Again, this passed with no serious issue, I could feel the knee but the pain wasn’t bad and if I worked on it after then all was well.

So by now I was feeling better as I could run again so I took the decision to go ahead with a planned race on Sunday, the Great Bentley Half Marathon. I ran one more 5 mile test run during the week which went well so I picked up a group of friends from my local running club on the day and drove to the start near Clacton in Essex. The weather was grim with snow expected later so I’d already warned my passengers that there would be a wait for me at the end as I would be taking it easy!

Again I had the usual “flip flop” related banter as we hid in an old industrial est. sheltering from the elements waiting for the start gun but soon we were off. I had no planned strategy as I didn’t do a lot of road racing now but this entry had been deferred from last year but I decided to push a little but steady for as long as I could then settle into a slower pace (my usual plan in most races).

This was a significant race for me though as it marked the longest race I’d run to-date in the Luna Leadville’s. I’d run off-road longer in training but this was going to be “race pace” and on the tarmac so fingers crossed. I started ok and settled into an easy 8:30/mile pace. I was managing to maintain this speed comfortably so just carried on and ticked the miles off. I made a point of  specifically not looking at the distance covered on the watch (apart from the mile markers on the road) and soon I passed the 5 mile point which was as far as I’d covered in my recovery to date.

Eventually I got to 10 miles and I was still feeling ok. I’d also changed my fuelling plan and taken a gel at the start and another at around 8 miles combined with a few mouthfuls of water at the stations. I normally keep to the 1 every 5 miles plan but this worked. Yet another lesson learnt I guess? Maybe over fuelling in shorter events could be an issue?

By mile 11, I got passed for the first time and as hard as I tried couldn’t keep with them. This happened a couple times more even though I’d increased the pace slightly to approx. 8:25’s. I was also still passing people in front so I can’t complain really and any negative split must be good?

I got to the finish and was more than happy with my performance. The time was only a few seconds over my course PB (set in “normal shoes” and not on the injury come-back) but more important to me was the fact I’d finished my longest race in my favourite footwear.

I’d combined the sandals with ToeSox from Barefoot UK and had excepted to finish with a few blisters and “scars” for my efforts but nothing.

In fact the most difficult part of the race was finding a way of fixing the timing chip to my foot.

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