Inspired by the London Marathon, Joe’s 300th day of the “Summer Streak” and MS Awareness week, I thought it was high time for a blog! This year’s running challenges are all about tackling greater distances, so how’s it been going so far?….
To be honest, 2018 didn’t get off the best start for me; on the 1st of January I was really looking forward to running the New Year’s Day Double parkrun, starting at Pontefract and followed up by a one-off special course at Nostell. Foolishly this meant I ignored a niggle I’d picked up over Christmas and ended up in Casualty with a nasty case of high hamstring tendinopathy, an injury that occurs in runners when the hamstring becomes damaged where it joins the hip bone.
Cue a month of enforced rest and hobbling about, followed by intensive physiotherapy, electroaccupuncture and ultrasound treatments, and a strengthening programme in an attempt to get back running as soon as I could. It’s taken 4 months to get back to running (almost) pain free and numerous missed and incomplete races, but it’s also been a great excuse to volunteer and support at parkruns and Ackworth Road Runners events and jaunts.
One experience I refused to miss out on was the Dark Skies Half Marathon at Kielder Water last month; thankfully I was able to run-walk the very undulating course, lit only by our head torches and had some very understanding team mates willing to go at my pace. I was really proud to make it to each checkpoint before the cut-off, but decided to stop at 10 miles for fear of aggravating my injury. This did give me the opportunity to cheer on the gang as they reached the finish, so I got the best of both worlds!
I finally completed my first race of 2018 a fortnight ago, the Old Colliery Canter 10k in the village where Joe and I bought our first house. It was great to be wearing my MS Trust t-shirt again, I’m sure it kept me going when I was beginning to question how far 10k actually was! Next week I have another 10k race, this time in Rotherham where I grew up. I’m really looking forward to seeing family supporting along the way and running on roads I’ve previously only driven on!
This year was always going to be the one where I planned to tackle the unthinkable… a marathon. Joe and I bought each other places in the Loch Ness Marathon for Christmas and we’d also booked Race to the Stones, a two day ultra trail marathon covering 100km along Britain’s oldest path to Avebury stone circle – perfect for an archaeology graduate.
Fortunately it looks like these plans will still come to fruition – I’m back running at parkrun and have recently returned to Ackworth for the Tuesday night social runs. I’ve also started to increase the frequency and distances I’m running to prepare for the Liverpool Half Marathon next month… My aim is just to make it around in one piece!
So 2018 is still all about the distance; taking on my first ultra marathon, before I’ve even run a marathon, and then following through with the impulsive decision to book the Athens Authentic marathon in November, following the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides from the Battle of Marathon to Athens. Finishing in the Panathenaic Stadium is going to be one hell of an experience!
As you’d probably expect, we’ll continue raising awareness and funds for the MS Trust as the year goes on to champion the brilliant work they do to support people in the UK who are diagnosed with MS and their families and friends. We’ll be joining the MS Trust team once again at the Great North Run and bobble hat sales continue to bring in the donations and keep my mums hands busy!
All in all, its not been ideal, but I was pleased to hear that some people hadn’t realised I’d been unable to run for so long because I’d still been an active part of our running community. I hope I’ll be coming back stronger thanks to the hard work in the gym and improved running stance, but I guess only time will tell!
Photo credit: Graham Beardsley Images😀