Up and down like the Assyrian empire…

I think we’re at the end of week seven. It’s hard to tell. I’ve lost count already. I certainly can’t count to six. I have committed to six runs a week for Jantastic and I’ve only made it on one of the three weeks of January. I was injured a couple of weeks ago and I just haven’t been arsed this week.

I did have a good run at the Folksworth 15 last Sunday. I ran the first 13 miles nice and steadily, digging in a little when I had to and ticking off eight-minute miles. I ran the last two miles at a quicker pace and finished in 1:58:48. Those last two miles really fucked my legs. They had that horrible jiggly feeling all night which kept me awake. The bloody things were still running.

The positives to come from the race were all about just how easy it felt until I got carried away with myself. I picked off some runners in those last two miles who had overtaken me early in the race and were fading. Mile 14 starts at the bottom of the last climb on the course. I ran past one man who was walking, slapped his arm saying “Come on, you can walk at the end.” He said that he would catch me up. He never did.

I know that if some bugger had done that to me, trying to get me to run when I was completely spent, I would be hugely pissed off. So, if that was you, I’m sorry. I’ll probably do it again but I’m sorry anyway.

Lack of sleep has been a feature of the week. It was jiggly legs on Sunday night but just stupidity the rest of the week which meant I didn’t get to bed terribly early on two or three occasions and my itinerary which had me swearing at the alarm most mornings. I need a lot of sleep and it’s something I always forget when there’s an old NCIS or Castle on the telly late at night.

I was out at a Burns’ Night ceilidh last night with Anne. We didn’t get back until gone one. I’d been running round the Ashridge Estate, out along the Ridgeway and up onto Ivinghoe Beacon in the afternoon. 10 hilly and claggy miles. I would probably much rather have gone to bed. We seldom have a night out and this one had been planned for a few weeks.

My tiredness has meant that my mood is all over the place. I was completely trashed this morning and couldn’t face going out with the others for a run after breakfast. I haven’t been able to summon up the energy all day so I’ve canned the run. I’ll be one run short again on Jantastic but I want to start next week properly.

Next week is a new week. Let’s view that as a positive. I can acknowledge the negatives of not hitting targets over the last few weeks and work on those too. That’s a positive too. In the meantime, I’ll have a reasonable dinner and an early night.

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Less Than Handy

I am a complete plonker. Everybody who knows me knows this. Most are kind enough not to mention it, at least in my presence. I’m a clumsy plonker at the best of times and during the winter things only get worse. I can guarantee falling over at least a couple of times when it gets slippery in spite of wearing grippy shoes and trying really hard not to. I usually fall over in full view of attractive women or men with a physical sense of humour.

I was supposed to be running the Folksworth 15 on Sunday. The race was canceled because the very sensible organisers thought that they would have lots of Richards on their hands had they gone ahead with it. Instead of flogging my sorry arse round fifteen miles of hills through wind and snow, I headed off with some mates for twelve gentle miles around the Gogs, the Roman Road and Wandlebury.

It was beautiful. There was snow on the ground and more falling as we set off. The car park was icy and treacherous but once we got onto the snowier surface of the dog park, it became much easier to move. The route Phil chose is one I know a bit since it uses the same trails as Alan B does for his 9 Miles of Hills. The surfaces on the trails were mostly snowy and grip was good in the Saucony Peregrine trail shoes I was wearing. Things were a little more difficult when we came off the Roman Road and headed down the road from Worsted Lodge towards Babraham. The tarmac surface was as icy as the car park had been,

I fell over. Of course I did. I fell over like I have dozens of times. I was jogging gently down a slippery part of the road and had just told Andrew to be careful around here when my legs were no longer where they should have been. When I was at school, I once had the chance to play a set of kettle drums. I liked the resonance when I beat the skin and held the side of the drum. Ever since then, I’ve thought of kettle drums when I fall over. There is a proper thump of stomach and lungs and bladder and bowels all the other cavities of the body when you go down in a oner. I didn’t notice putting my hand out but I must have done because my left middle finger wasn’t bending inside its glove. I gave Andrew – who was asking me if I was all right – a very crooked bird and said I probably wasn’t.

We’d been right at the back of the group and I tottered the rest of the way down the hill to meet up with the others who had crossed the main road. I showed off my very crooked bird, the sight of which was beginning to make me queasy. It wasn’t painful at that point but I thought it might become painful when the endorphins began to subside. I worked very gently from the knuckles and pulled the finger straight again. Some of the others wanted to head back with me to make sure I was okay but I didn’t want to spoil their run further so I set off on my own back up the side of the main Cambridge-Haverhill road. My hand felt funny from time to time but it wasn’t painful and I began to push the pace a bit. Because we’d been bimbling along and chatting my legs were fine in spite of having run five miles or so and I was able to push a bit back up the hill.

A&E at Addenbrookes dealt with me swiftly and competently. I was in and out of the hospital in less than an hour and a half and that included about half an hour of me wandering around a silent and empty, Sunday morning hospital. They checked out my finger, x-rayed it, spotted a teeny-tiny chip floating around in the joint, gave me advice about keeping it mobilised and icing it from time to time and sent me on my way.

I woke up during the night with pain in my wrist. I couldn’t move my hand much in the morning so I headed back to A&E. I explained what was going on and again I was seen very efficiently. I couldn’t have more x-rays immediately but I was given another assessment. I had a second round of x-rays which showed a chip from my triquetral. I may have damaged my scaphoid as well but it would require bone scans to be certain since the images from my x-rays aren’t clear. My wrist wasn’t hurting on Sunday morning which is why I didn’t mention it then.

I haven’t trained since then, not really. I had a kettlebells class booked for today which I couldn’t attend. I won’t be going for a while. To add slight insult to minor injury, the very nice cross-training gloves I ordered arrived this afternoon. I ran on a treadmill at Green’s this evening and it was horrible. I’d planned a 50 minute session but could no longer be arsed after five minutes. I stuck it out for a mile, the absolute minimum I could justify as a run for the purposes of Jantastic. I managed a few Russian Twists having assured myself that I could hold the medicine ball and some planks resting on my elbows and toes. I couldn’t do the rest of that workout because it all involves resting my weight on my hands – twisting planks and press-ups and all that torturous modern jazz.

I’ll be doing more running on that dreadmill, at least until the ice disappears. My joy is as palpable as dysentery. For the first time in my life, I really, really want the thaw to come. So come on, I’d like a nice calm westerly and mild weather for the rest of the winter. No more snow days. No more ice. Sorry, kids.

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