Monday, October 26, 2009

Post Race Reflections

Result: DNF

Dropped out somewhere between 11.5 and 12. At that point I had been running quite well and was feeling extremely good. Until then my splits had been (approximately, mile markers were quite a bit off - only 5k markers seemed completely accurate):
5:40, 6:00, 6:02, 6:01, 5:59, 6:06, 6:02, 5:47, 6:03, 5:55, 6:01 + 4:05 before stopping. The leg starting out felt much better than I expected, as it did to run these splits. I had planned on going around 6:10-6:15s due to the training I missed but got locked into a very comfortable rhythm and just went with it. The problems began on the faster 8th mile. It was nearly all downhill, and straight away I knew the hip/quad wasn't happy with it. From 8-11 it was considerably tighter but felt that as long as it didnt get any worse I would be fine. Just beyond 11 miles we crossed the canal via probably the smallest bridge in the world. But the small decline off the bridge was enough to trigger the leg, and the hip just seized up on me completely. After stopping I had to drop my chip with the St. Johns ambulance crew who stuck me in the ambulance. Getting tired of waiting around, I decided I'd walk/jog home. As soon as I stood up the leg refused to take my weight. I wasn't going anywhere. Since then it's loosened up a little, but its pretty damn painful doing anything besides sitting.
To be honest, I'm obviously disappointed but not gutted. I knew there was a good chance that this would be the outcome, and I'm glad that I sacked up and decided to give it a go instead of waking up tomorrow wondering what if?
I'm also glad that in treating this injury I've gotten to the root cause of this and the majority of my recent injuries. Apparently I "significantly lack gluteal mass", meaning I gotta get some junk in my trunk. I know what needs to be done, and hopefully after it I'll come out of it a better runner. Gonna take a day or two off before beginning the rehab and some pool work. Given the lack of training the last few weeks I don't really feel the need to rest up, but I do need to get this injury fixed before getting back to workouts etc. The plan is to take on some sort of XC season, although the novice champs on Dec 5th are likely to come around a little too early. However there is plenty of 2010 action to look forward to.
Finally, a big thanks to those who donated to the charity I was running for, and for the wishes of support leading up to the race. Those that know me best know what a fat little wanker I was around 7-8 months ago, and of all the positives that I can take out of this campaign (and there are a few) the biggest is that I'm fit again and excited about running. For that I am very grateful.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Last pre-race run

4 miles, 27:02

Decided I wanted a preview of the pain I'm subjecting myself to on Monday and was relatively pleased with how this went. Did one mile at ~MP that turned out to be around 6:15 which will do grand given the lack of training the last 3 weeks. Felt fine with it, leg was tight obviously, the question is whether it can stand up to another 25 of them. Will hit the pool tomorrow for a light session and that will do it.
Got more physio this evening and more lined up tomorrow.
The last few sessions have really been helping loosen things out, but also getting down to the crux of my non-stress fracture injuries. Pretty much all of these have been problems with the left quad/groin. What I didnt know is that they are all stemming from a total lack of work by the left gluteal and piriformis muscles. So basically my left ass cheek doesn't do what its supposed to. What this causes, as I think the 2 pictures below demonstrate, is a compensatory roll of the femoral head in the hip after the leg makes contact with the ground, and the knee tracks inwards upon transition to toe off. This puts a lot of stress on the quad/groin as the pic in red shows, causing the problems I now have.

The advice from the physio (which you guys will love) is to run 'like John Wayne, pretend you've got a horse between your legs'; i.e. focus on keeping the knee outward. Tried this on the run today, and while it isn't too challenging in a physical sense, mentally like any stride adjustment it took a ton of concentration, and maybe difficult to maintain throughout the race on Monday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fuck it, lets go

I haven't posted in quite a while, pretty much because there' s been nothing to post except depressing news regarding the leg. Despite a ton of rest and physical therapy, it is not responding. It's quite painful walking around still, and I feel there is little chance of me completing the marathon. This had led my mind into a dark place, dwelling on the thoughts of not competing in the race I've been training for 6 months; and also its knock on effect on some of the XC races I had been hoping to do this winter. Added to that is a large amount of guilt having collected charitable donations with the likelihood of not running.

Last night I received an email from the charity I am raising for asking if anyone with a race number to donate it if they weren't planning on running to a team member who missed the application deadline. I slept on it, and decided to give up my number. Sent the email. Got a response. 2 people had beaten me to the punch. Is this a sign?? Got some more physio, felt some improvement, but given where the head was at I decided to see about deferring entry to next year. No dice. No refunds, no deferrals. Basically we've got your 100 yoyos, now fuck off.
This pissed me off to be honest. It's not my plan to be injured. I want to run. But €100 is a lot to me, and it annoyed me to think I'd pissed it up against a wall on a race I'm not running. I'd have been better pissing it up a wall getting, well, pissed. Now I'm thinking I have the number, lets use it.
The downsides.
Even if I am able to complete it, I'm looking at enduring (hopefully) almost 3 hours of quite severe pain.
I am likely to aggravate the injury further, risking participating in XC races.
Dropping out of a race is not something I want to do.

The upsides.
At least I can say I tried.
I may (delusional point coming up) 'get into my stride' and feel half decent/ride a 3 hour adrenaline kick and not feel the pain
Say a mental 'fuck you' to those bastards who wont let me defer.

Chances are I'm going to sway back and forth at least 4689 times between now and Monday. But right now the attitude is fuck it. In the words of Billy Crudup (a.k.a Pre) ' you don't know what it will do to me if I run, you know what it will do if I dont' or something like that, I havent seen the movie in about 8 years.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back on the horse

~3.5 miles, 24:42

After a week of pool running I finally got back to the real thing today. Most importantly the weight-bearing pain in the hip that was afflicting me last week was gone, although there was some definite tightness/tenderness in the groin and quad area. After 5 mins or so till about 20 mins I felt I was moving pretty freely, although started to tighten up quite a bit after this, so called it a little short of the 4 mile target.
Did a good stretching session after and thankfully the leg is feeling pretty decent walking around post run. Am hoping to add about 20mins onto this for tomorrow, but early indications are that things are on the up.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Catch up post

Thurs: 1hr steady aqua jogging. Nothing really of note, didnt vary the pace much as the legs were a little tired and calves were threatening to cramp.

Fri: 45 mins aqua jogging with 4 x 6 lengths hard, 1 length easy, which boiled down to ~4 mins hard, 1:15 rec. Did the normal gym routine after.

Spent the evening getting various treatments. Spent 45mins at the physio which I didnt find as productive as the ones earlier in the week. Call me sexist if you want but I put it down to the fact that I had a female physio who wasn't strong enough physically to get deep enough into the muscle tissue. After travelling back to Dundalk then I went and saw my bone guy who cracked my hips for me and left me feeling quite a bit looser.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel

1hr aqua jogging

Broke up this bout in the pool with 8x4 lengths with 1 length recovery keeping the effort the same as for the 3 length bouts yesterday. Went well besides some pretty painful calf cramping on bouts 2,4,5, 7 and 8. And all during the cooldown. The lungs got the desired workout though, so all good.

This morning was the first morning in a week that the hip didn't hurt on getting out of bed or walking around. That said, it still does feel extremely tight, but the pain is thankfully gone. Had another good session with the physio this evening so am expecting some pain tomorrow morning, but after the pool should be much improved. Anticipating running ~ Friday, when I also plan on revisiting my midget horse bone guy, as I was told yet again that my hips are way out of alignment.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stay Positive Fool!

Aquajog, 55 mins

Sticking with Coste's arbitrary distance theme, I broke this one up with 10 x 3 lengths medium/hard, 1 length recovery. The Trinity pool is a 25m pool, but only about half of that is actually deep enough for this guy to aqua jog in, so most normal heighted people would be even worse off. Timed a few of the intervals around 2-2:10, with 1-1:10 on the recovery. Not overly taxing, but gave the lungs a workout.
Waking up this morning the hip flexor was pretty darn sore which I'm guessing is in response to the physio treatment last night. However after the pool there was a considerable improvement which is a big positive, and has me hoping to be back out there in a few days. Even if not, then the pool is serving me nicely in keeping the lungs open and ready to roll in 13 days!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dark Clouds brewing in my mind

Day off

Took today totally off. While the aqua jogging hasnt caused any discomfort, I'm not really seeing any improvement in the condition of the hip, and was not able to get to the pool during open hours anyway. Didn't want to risk biking or the like, so just went for complete rest. Had another session with the physio, which while doing a good job loosening up the hip joint, gluts and hammy, the hip flexor didnt really respond too much. Its only been 3 days since I ran, but it feels like a lot, lot longer. Trying to stay positive, but like pimpin', it ain't easy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


55 mins aqua jogging

Unintentionally got after it early doors, and was going like the clappers so ended up dividing the workout into 2x~14 mins steady, 1 min rest, 2x~7 mins steady with 1 min rest and was about to attempt a few 3 min bouts but 30secs into the first one the calves crapped out on me. Got a good workout in, and while it never compares, was as good a substitute for the 3x3 mile I had on tap as I am going to get. Did a major strectch session after, and while the quad is still tight walking around, there is some noticeable improvement resulting from the time off. Lets hope it continues.

Weeks total:
4 runs, 23.25 miles
3 sessions of aquajogging for 135 mins

Balls to that!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

In need of Berg

50 mins aqua jog, inc:
4x2min w/ 30 sec rest, 10 mins easy, 4x1min with 20 sec rest

Don't know how I used to do some of Bergs workouts in the pool given that this would be a piece of piss in comparison but I was gassed after. Had hoped to get an hour in but the calves refused point blank to allow me to continue due to crampage. Also found the gym a lot harder than normal afterwards, but think that this was just because of the water resistance on the arms.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shutting it down

30 mins aqua jog
40:51 easy jog

Got through the run ok, but it definitely wasn't the best outing I've ever had, and confirmed that I wouldn't be working out on Sunday. How and ever, went to a different physio this evening, and the difference was ridickerous. Yesterday I paid 40 yoyos for a 10 min rub, and was told I could keep running. Today I went to a student physical therapy clinic, paid 20euro for an hour and 20 min session and got way more info on the problem. Basically the quad is not only extremely tight, but full of junk that is most likely there from previous injuries I've had to the quad. As a result, no running for a few days besides aqua jogging. Plenty more physio in the meantime, and I should be good to go in a few days again. Not too worried as the pool will keep me ticking over in the meantime, but disappointed all the same. But given the quad has been the source of all my problems over the last few years, this could be a blessing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


4 miles, 30:49

Went to the physio today, who went through the usual 15 min history lesson and only 15 mins of actual physio work, then charged me €40. Such a crock of shit. During the 15 mins he got paid for, he found that I have a lot less mobility in my left hip than the right, and the pain in the hip flexor is a result of tightness in the quads. I have been instructed to take it very easy for a few days, although I am allowed to supplement actual running with aqua jogging. Sorted out a belt for the Trinity pool and will do that which I swore never to do again tomorrow.
The run itself wasn't too bad. Kept it extremely pedestrian, and after 5-10mins there was some release in the quads. Going to a physical therapist tomorrow who should spend a lot more time on massage therapy than talking about it. Tentative plan at the minute is aqua jog followed by 40min run tomorrow, aqua + 50 mins on Sat, and all going well finally get my 3x3 mile workout in on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Being sensible

8 miles, 54:18

After yesterday's day off, the hip flexor has improved, but not as much as I would like. It's a nuisance, and most noticeable when getting up from sitting. It feels weak, as if the leg doesn't want to take my weight, but once moving its not restrictive. The run didn't aggravate it any worse than before, and the weights if anything seemed to improve it weirdly. Am supposed to workout tomorrow, but unless there's a dramatic improvement by morning I shall be postponing that till the weekend. Left a VM for the physio who I shall hopefully see in the next day or two and nip this in the bud. The work is pretty much done at this stage. Between now and the 26th, the only runs I want to get in are two workouts and 2 runs of medium length. Plenty of time between now and then to get them in and still have a decent taper. It's hard being smart!

Monday, October 5, 2009


6 miles, 43:04

The slight tightness in the left hip flexor I felt during the long run yesterday has manifested itself into something rather painful. Its annoying, especially as the rest of the legs felt extremely fresh, despite coming off Friday's workout and yesterday's long run. The fitness is good right now, I just got to make sure that I keep the legs in one piece. Between this and the foot the novelty of having soft tissue injuries vs. stress fractures has fully worn off at this stage and I'm now frustrated.
Bumping the day off up from Wednesday to tomorrow.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Long Run/Week in Review

20.1 miles, 136:56

This was by far the easiest long run I have done yet. The pace was slow, but it was the most relaxed I've felt at the end of one of these runs yet, which is promising. The foot was a non-issue, and aside from a little tightne
ss in the left hip flexor the legs felt very very good. Very pleased with how the week ended up given the way it started. This is the last 2+ hour run before the marathon, so was pleased it was so easy on the body.

Total for the week: 5 runs, 60.1 miles. Was a little surprised to see I broke 60 given I missed an extra day this week but the race last Saturday meant I got more miles in on Monday than normal. A good workout and long run sets me up nicely for the rest of the training cycle. 3 weeks from tomorrow!

As can be seen from the photos, the O'Connor's had a great night at the wedding on Friday, with a little cross dressing, some rocking out, and a shitload of air guitar.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Easy jog

5 miles, 36:16

Nice easy run to follow yesterday. Despite only getting ~4 hours sleep, then having to drive 2+ hours back from Tullamore, the legs felt pretty good on this trot. But since then, I've started to crash and burn quite severely. I need some sleep. The important thing was that despite bouncing around a dancefloor in dress shoes all night last night the foot was feeling good and improved from yesterday. Pics tomorrow.

Friday, October 2, 2009


1.5 miles w/u
1.4 mile c/d; 17 mile total

Happy with this workout good workout. Didn't get too many splits, but went through 3 miles in 17:50; the half 'thon in 77:14 and the last 3 miles in 17:46, for a total time of 83:02 (5:54 avg). Felt very easy for the first 8 miles, but had a rough patch from 8.5-11, mainly due to the fact that this stretch was all uphill and into the wind. After the route levelled out for the last 3 recovered nicely and the rest of the run felt very comfortable. The foot was fine, the anti-inflammatories seem to be doing the trick nicely.

The uncle's wedding was a quite unbelievable night. I managed to stay 100% sober, but yet had some amazing times on the dancefloor, in particular doing air guitar with the family as my uncle (a pretty amazing singer; he's been called the songbird of his generation by those that have heard him, that good) belted out House of the Rising Sun. Antics got quite out of hand, pretty typical for an O'Connor wedding, and shall hopefully upload pics tomorrow.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Back at it

10 miles, 66:25

Was happy to get back out there this morning. Foot had improved sufficiently that I felt confident it would stand up to the rigours of a run. In general the run was incident free, although one sharp left turn in particular caused a little discomfort. However, post run the foot felt the same as pre-run, and walking around afterwards the foot felt better than yesterday. Started taking Neurofen, and think there is an anti-inflammatory gel floating around the house here that will be put to use.

My uncle is getting married tomorrow at the grand age of 61. Da is the best man. This should be interesting. In the meantime, Ireland shall hopefully vote Yes to Lisbon, and I'll have a good tempo tomorrow. Back posting Saturday