Magic Miles and Sore Ankles

Over the last week I’ve been gradually trying to build up some strength and endurance, using a combination of trail running and treadmill intervals. This seemed to be working well and by Monday (i.e. long run day) I was feeling pleased with myself and ready to do my next Magic Mile run.

Last week I’d had a full body massage and the masseuse concentrated on my lower back and legs in an effort to loosen things off a bit. My ankle wasn’t hurting at all by the weekend and I was feeling relieved.

It was a gorgeous day yesterday. Blue skies, bright sunshine, but with quite a breeze blowing. I decided to have a change and do a loop through the next village along, Ruthwell. It’s not as flat a route as the shore road, but it’s not bad. It finishes with a quite long hill though.

My Jeff Galloway training app was still set to one minute walk run intervals so I stuck with that for the warm up mile. It was meant to be a slower mile anyway and I did it in 10:57. I stopped at one point to do some ankle loosening exercises because I could feel how stiff my left ankle was, the one I’d been having problems with, from the off. The exercises consisted of ankle rotations and up/down flexes. It seemed to help.

My Magic Mile, a timed mile, was going to be faster so I altered the app to 3 minute run intervals and 1 minute walks. I didn’t want to try and run the mile – I’ve been having enough problems! The mile was uphill for the two thirds, but I still managed to finish it in 10:16 (app time) 10:32 (Garmin time). I’d had some Garmin issues so I’m guessing my mile is somewhere in between the two!

The last mile was a cool down mile, completing the 3 miles in 35 minutes.

Last night I iced my ankle, which was looking a bit puffy, and today I must admit I’m struggling a bit. My ankle is stiff and my Achilles is sore. I’m hobbling again, but I’m wearing compression socks and taking Ibuprofen. I will ice my ankle again tonight, do these exercises and keep crossing my fingers!



A Cautious Running Tale

After last week’s disastrous run and subsequent enforced rest (yes, I was a really good girl and actually put my feet up all week – I was really THAT worried!) I was more than a bit concerned by the prospect of today’s eight miler. Although R.I.C.E. and massage had helped loosen and heal my calf and Achilles so that walking was no longer painful, I hadn’t tried running since Monday last; a full week had passed by. I was finding that I could largely cope during the day, but coping left me tired out at night. I even passed up a party on Saturday, which isn’t like me at all. I was  being ultra cautious.

So this morning I decided, after asking opinion on Facebook – my Jiminey Cricket – I opted for a treadmill run on the basis that whatever happened I would only ever be just within crawling distance of home! I also opted to run:walk 1:1 ratios – that’s one minute of walking to every one minute of running. I was going to finish without beating myself up; last week I’d had to take time off work because of my injury and I wasn’t doing that again!

Mr J C  aka my Facebook friends!
Mr J C aka my Facebook friends!

Having set up the DVD player (Star Trek Voyager season 2) I also set up my Jeff Galloway app for the speed and interval calls. The pace was incredibly slow, I don’t know why. It was asking me to run at 8.9 kph, a pace I’ve never run at. I sped it up to 9.7 and then straight to 10.3 where, apart from a short time when I thought I was doing well and cranked it up to 11.3, it stayed. I wasn’t out to do a fast eight miles – I was just out to do eight miles and survive it!

Four kilometres in I got the chance to try my new gels from 33 Shake . These are made from chia seeds – the super powerade that the South American Indians use to fuel their running. The gels come in a pouch in a dry form, to which you carefully add water (or juice), shake up and leave to gel for 10 minutes and then they’re ready to go.


Apart from being a bit crunchy (being used to smooth and sticky sugary gels) the chia gels are great. These ones taste slightly of vanilla, Madagascan vanilla to be precise. They took maybe a bit longer to consume than a normal gel, but not by much, and I had no unpleasant after taste or indigestion. They are gluten and dairy free and also vegan. I had been a bit worried about the coconut palm sugar, being also nut intolerant, but the 33 Shake guys were very helpful and explained that there is actually no nut in the palm sugar. It’s just sugar.

All in all the gels proved a great success. I took one at 4km and another at 8km. Normally I wouldn’t had been so gel hungry but I’d had a bad night after a gluten reaction to something I’d eaten and that had left me “empty” – ask no more! I didn’t get a super strength reaction having taken the gels, but I was left with loads of energy, so I’m classing that as a win! I’ll get to test them more as my mileage increases. What I can tell you straight away is that they are easier to open (with a plastic cap that screws back on afterwards – I’m not one for littering the course, empty gels go back in my pocket!)

I can’t tell you much about my run. It lasted for just under two episodes of Star Trek. When I tried to increase my speed my knee started to complain, so I backed off and completed the run comfortably. I wasn’t being a hero today!

I’ve cooled down and stretched out, enjoyed a massive chickpea and avocado salad. I’m feeling pretty good and I’m looking forward to a trail run on Wednesday, fingers crossed.

My Achilles Heel is my Achilles Heel, Apparently (frowny face)

Everyone, they say, has an Achilles Heel. Today I discovered that mine is indeed my Achilles Heel. And this was a total surprise.

I had a three mile run on the cards, a warm up jog (yes, I said the J word) followed by a timed Magic Mile  and finally a slow cool down mile to bring me home. It’s a totally lovely day here; cool, sunny and calm – ideal running weather.

I set off down the coast road, which is reasonably flat after an initial descent and subsequent climb, enjoying the views across to Cumbria, the birdsong and the sunshine. I was even wearing sunglasses! I felt great.

When the call came to start my Magic Mile I clicked the Garmin onto the next lap and sped up a bit and it was then that my wonderful Achilles Tendon announced its displeasure. And boy, did it! I tried to run through it, I stopped to stretch it and restart the mile – nothing was working. Instead I was reduced to a hobble like run, half hop, half run. It was not a good look. I tried as hard as I could to maintain some pace on the mile, but it was tough. All I wanted to do was get a lift home and get some ice on it.

When the Magic Mile finished I slowed the pace down and limped home rather despondently.

However, my mile came in at 10:10 – not that awful after all – and my 3 miles were an alright 34 minutes – not that awful considering that I was just cruising home. All is not lost. I’m sitting icing my heel and hoping that this was maybe just the result of chiropractic jiggery-pokery from Thursday’s session. The ice will help and I stretched out after the run. My fingers are crossed. So I’m a bit down. OK, but a tad worried. I don’t need injury at the start of my challenge!

On an up note I have received my first two donations for my fund-raising in aid of Diabetes UK and the promise of a few more, which is great.

A self-affirming 6.5 easy miles

Sunday saw the first real increase in mileage since I restarted my training following injury.  It was a lovely day, a truly lovely day.  The sun was shining, there was just a gentle breeze and it was a cool 5ºC. I decided to head down along the shore road, despite the fact that it was just 6 ½ miles and that I could have done a loop of my favourite route. Truth is, I expected (bearing in mind that it’s been a very wet winter) that the route would be flooded in at least a couple of places and I really didn’t fancy paddling this close to the birth of my new running shoes! They deserve to stay reasonably clean for a few more weeks, at least!

An idea of the amount of water we're coping with - this was a field when I started out, but the high tide and increased river height caused a flood by the time I was heading home!
An idea of the amount of water we’re coping with – this was a field when I started out, but the high tide and increased river height caused a flood by the time I was heading home!

I’m also just training for a finish; I’m not trying to get a PB. I have had a string of rotten half marathons, because of injury, weather and both, and I just need to finish comfortably this time and then build on that. An easy run along the shore road was what I needed, all I needed.

Jeff Galloway was in my head, as ever. His app gives me reassurance and guidance. I’m getting better at using it, altering my pace and walk/run ratios as I need. I also took time to look around me and enjoy my lovely day. I met a couple of friends who watched me run off and come back again, grass in hand. I do love horses!

My new neigh-bours!
My new neigh-bours! Groan!

I ran the first 3 miles reasonably well. It is still taking me that length of time to get into the rhythm of running. After 3 miles I’m more relaxed, possibly not as fast, but happier. I think forced inactivity has just put me out of step with my running spirit and it’ll take me a while to find it again.

I ran the 6.5 miles at between 11 and 12 min mile pace. Not fast, not far, but fine.

Since then I’ve been reading my running mags avidly. One of them has suggested using meditation and self-affirmation as a way of boosting self-confidence. This is a great idea for me because I do tend to doubt myself, especially on long runs. I tried it last night and I’m going to add this to my training programme. Basically I relax each muscle group from my feet up, then imagine myself walking down a staircase to a lovely familiar place and when there I tell myself that I am a good runner, repeatedly. When I’m ready to finish I count myself from three to one and open my eyes. I’m happy to give this a go and I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with self-affirmation.


Last news from me for this week is that I’ve decided to fundraise again this year. I’m booked into three half marathons, almost 40 miles of racing on top of many more miles of training and a couple of 10ks thrown in for good measure – I think if I could raise a bit of cash for a worthy charity that would be great. I decided on Diabetes UK  in memory of Tina, my friend who passed away recently. Tina had Type 1 Diabetes and to raise money in her memory would be a fitting tribute. Diabetes UK were delighted for the support and have already sent out a fundraising pack, including a smart technical running vest. As I have already secured my places in the three races I don’t have to raise a certain amount for them, but I would like to raise at least £200.

If you would like to help please click on the banner to go to my JustGiving page or follow the text donation instructions. Thank you!

Click to donate via my JustGiving page