Sunday, January 27, 2008

Oh no!

Oh no! My knee!

After yesterday's long run - which felt fine and left me tired and a bit muscle sore, but nothing I didn't expect - I woke up this morning to sharp pain in my kneecap. I walked around in the morning hoping that warming it up might help - nope. It hurts to bend my leg when I walk, it hurts to go up and down stairs. Of course - being a mad runner in marathon training - I decide that maybe a run will make it better. And amazingly, for a little while, it seems to. I think I'd been unconsciously keeping it tight, so warming up loosened it. But the pain remained. And after 4.5 miles of the 7 miler I intended, I had to stop. And so I stopped. I iced it and am ibuprofening it. Tomorrow morning I am ringing my osteopath - he's a sub 3hr marathoner and very unlikely to tell me to stop running. Moreover, although it feels different, I have had patellar tendonitis in the past and he helped, quickly.

So what it is, I don't know. I hope I can see the guy tomorrow and at least find out what's wrong and what to do. How it happened, I don't know either - I didn't feel anything yesterday or on any other running days. It's really sudden. Here I've been so smugly telling everyone who asked (because they always ask don't they "won't your knees go sometime?") that since my ChiRunning course I've not suffered an injury.. Oh well. Pride before fall and all that.

Will keep you all posted..

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm back!

I'm back! I came back to calm and organised kids, a calm and organised house (thank you so much to my parents), crushing jetlag and an overflowing inbox. My google reader had well over 100 posts for me to read - y'all didn't stop did you? What a lot of news! MarathonChris and her husband completed their first marathon together (and Chris, finally, gets to take a break), Maddy did 2 half marathons (one to train for the other I think? That IS dedication), Susan went skiing and then discovered (not related to skiing) that she had really hurt her foot and needed to take a long break (but hey - she's taking up biking instead), Shirley is back in the blogging saddle with an ambitious plan (which I know she'll accomplish), Terry - goodness Terry! - has done more tidying up and cleaning than I thought possible, Melisa is back to running, Kevin and Maritza have gone crock-pot crazy (as have I, more of that later), Jen is posting some amazing times and will do fantastically in Boston at this rate, Drusy is training hard for London, Nik and Dan are back to running after Nik's emergency appendectomy and CewTwo needs some encouragement to get him out to run a marathon. And for those of you I haven't mentioned - I'm still catching up!

First of all - our holiday was fantastic. I had no idea how stunning Wyoming is - it's gorgeous and empty. The skiing was fantastic as well - feet of snow and lots of fresh untracked powder. The last time I skied I was not very fit so I really noticed the difference this time - I had 4 days of lessons and was told that next year (yes I hope so) I would be able to move up to Expert level! Yes! I feel very confident on the double blues and occasional blacks that I did, as well as on the moguls and in powder. It's a fantastic feeling to be able to go up a mountain and basically feel able and willing to go down most slopes. Of course, this was in no small part due to some great skiing instructors (this one here on the right was the amazing Jimmy) who both gave me confidence and pushed me and also taught me to control my speed and become a more technically accomplished skier. I had one big fall (nothing broken, just some impressive bruises, a bit of whiplash, a lost (and later found) cellphone and some newfound respect for the mountain) but otherwise was fine. And of course life off the piste was good too! First came the hot tub (with complimentary hot chocolate and s'mores - hmmmm) and then a bit of a chill-out in our gorgeous room and then a visit to the various bars and restaurants in Teton Village and Jackson Hole to eat. One night we met up with my ski instructors and some people in my class and tried out the Shotski - it takes a great deal of co-ordination and practise to all down a shot of Jagermeister at the same time! No small skill indeed. On our last day we took a snowmobiling trip into Yellowstone to see Old Faithful - it was very very cold but very beautiful. We saw moose, bison and Old Faithful and so much gorgeous scenery -
it was a fantastic day! Now I want to bring the kids and go back when the snow has melted.. we'll see. I didn't do much running - there was a dreadmill in the hotel and I did one 5 miler, a 3 miler and a 2 miler on that but on the whole I relied on the skiing to keep me fit.. I did go out for one outside run - it was just so gorgeous that I bundled up (it was SO cold) and went to find a bike path to run on.
Oh well - I ran 3 miles on the side of the road which was okay - the traffic was light and going slowly so we shared what there was.

So overall - as you can see - a wonderful trip and a wonderful chance to reconnect with my husband, be outside in amazing scenery all day and just enjoy ourselves. We really did. If we can, we will be back next year!

And then we went home. One great thing about leaving your kids at home (with my parents, not alone, I hasten to add) is that you're very keen to go home at the end of your trip. We were all thrilled to be reunited and it's been a hectic week coming back to work and household etc. Being away from home gave me a chance to contemplate some of my work/life balance issues and one of the small steps I've taken is to buy a slow-cooker. So if you have any great suggestions / ideas / recipes / websites - bring it on! I could do with them. Running has been tricky this first week - my jetlag was terrible coming home which means that, unusually for me, I've had a hard time waking up in the morning. Work has been busy, of course, after being away for 2 weeks, and there is so much domestic stuff to catch up on as well...

BUT! Inspired by p.o.m I decided it was now or never this morning and by doing a 1 mile run, 1 minute walk and catching up on my podcasts I managed 14M this morning. Not too shabby eh? So I'm hopefully back in the saddle myself - refreshed and ready for the challenge ahead!

And thank you for everyone with your ideas for rhino headgear - I'm still weighing my options and will show you what I come up with - I promise! Keep running..

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Preparation and anticipation..

After all that illness and weakness I'm back in the saddle again my friends. A tentative 2 miler on Monday (with a walk break, how's that for a slow start?) was followed by a 5 miler on new year's day (needless to say, I didn't make it to midnight and was asleep by about 10:30) and then two 3.5 mile runs in the morning on Wednesday and Thursday before work. Although running in the dark at 6am is not my favourite thing I've decided I've got to do it at least on two work days as it is the only way to guarantee I'll get the run in at all. I then took yesterday off and ran 9 today! So a very respectable 23 miles this week which I'm very happy with as a start to training again! Looking back I think I was maybe coming down with this flu before I realised and it might have been part of the reason the 9 milers in December were so tough - today's was fine.

So I'm going to get in a few more runs in the next few days and then on Thursday morning we fly off to Jackson Hole for our skiing vacation. Now I'm no champion skier but I love it. I came late to the sport (a childhood in the tropics offered plenty of compensations, I'm not complaining) but I love the freedom, the speed and the slight scare factor. Also, a childhood with no snow has made me forever excited about it when I see it so just being out there in so much of it makes me really happy. I've been 3 times and every time I've been I've been completely out of shape. This is going to be so very different in that respect, so I'm hoping it will be even better. And yes I will try to keep my limbs attached and unbroken..

Because you've all been great in responding so quickly and so very generously to my fundraising requests! I really really appreciate it - as do the rhinos. It's incredibly touching to receive your donations and good wishes and it makes me more determined to carry on - it really did help on Thursday morning when the snow was blowing in my face and I had to keep looking into it because otherwise my headlight wouldn't illuminate my path. So thank you thank you thank you.

I'm sending out an appeal now to those of you who are crafty. What I would like to make to run the race in is a papier mache rhino head which I can sit on top of my running hat, somehow. Any tips / ideas / inspirations? I can see some fun with wallpaper paste ahead... And if you think this is hard work, Save the Rhino always lends out rhino costumes which are full-length and not designed for running in and 2 fundraisers always run in these. I met two Rhino runners when I ran NYC and saw the costume and believe me - chafing is just the beginning. So what I'm proposing might give me a sweaty head, but it'll be worth it to raise the profile of this magnificent and threatened creature.Run long my friends and enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Save the Rhino!

I've done it! Drusy's been at me to do this and I hadn't got round to it but here it is - my fundraising page for the London Marathon 2008 for Save the Rhino. Save the Rhino is a very impressive charity whose aims are:
  • To increase the number of rhinos in genetically viable populations in the wild
  • To provide financial and in-kind support for projects focused on all five of the rhinoceros species
  • To encourage and enable the sharing of information, experience and skills between rhino projects
  • To measure and improve the effectiveness of our grant-making activities
Their approach is to:
  • employ a pragmatic approach focused on viable populations, and not to be sentiment-driven;
  • support the sustainable use of natural resources for the mutual benefit of wildlife, habitat and local communities;
  • Save the Rhino does not create or run their own projects in the field; rather, they find rhino conservation projects that they think are doing a good job, and then fund them;
  • Save the Rhino prefers to work with projects on a long-term basis, rather than making one-off or ad hoc grants;
  • Save the Rhino is a fundraising organisation, not a campaigning one: they do not get involved in political lobbying or petitioning;
  • Save the Rhino believes in the value of partnership working with other in situ and ex situ NGOs and conservation organisations.
I think they are an extremely worthwhile and admirable organisation and am very proud to have been offered one of their precious London marathon places.

Please make any donation you are able to make - it all helps! You can donate through the link above, or the link on the right in this blog, or by contacting me via e-mail and I will send you my postal address, if you would prefer to send a cheque.

Thank you.