I can only apologise that it has been so long for me to update my blog, after such a week of the most brilliant running, I came back down to earth with a bump. And that bump kept going until it became really annoying. And I mean really, really annoying. Until the best news of the year happened!
So I am going to summarise the four weeks in one post.
The first week: 10.07.17 – 16.07.17
This week my virtual runners are: Anonymous (04.03.17), Gillian J and Stavrovla Kousta.
Distance: 5.6 miles
Run notes: After my pootle on my bike home it was time for my training run: warm up, 11 x 2min secs at 3k/5k pace (with 90 secs jog in between), warm down. Dear me it didn’t sound too fun, particularly as I have come to terms with the fact that I can’t count and run at the same time. Off I went all the same, heading towards the town moor (I fancied running these reps on as much flat land as possible, and near where we live that isn’t always possible!)
Compared to the Great North 10k it wasn’t a comfortable run. My virtual running team spurred me on, as I passed or was passed by other more sprightly looking runners! Perhaps I needed to do a recovery run instead after the joys of the weekend’s running.
Average pace: 8:33/mile
– Mile 1 – 8:15
– Mile 2 – 8:36
– Mile 3 – 8:27
– Mile 4 – 8:51
– Mile 5 – 8:29
– 0.6 Mile – 9:16
Achievements: 3 x segment personal records
And then when pootling home from work on the Thursday something with my knee wasn’t quite right. The same knee is always. So I did the sensible but tough thing and took a break from running for the rest of the week to rest my knee and leg. It will be fine next week, I reassured myself.
Except it wasn’t fine.
That was the only run of the week but thank you Anonymous (04.03.17), Gillian J and Stavrovla Koust, I can honestly say, I needed all of your help to get myself home on this run and practice patience with my leg. I keep telling myself it’s all good learning experience so hopefully you learnt with me!
The second week: 17.07.17 – 23.07.17
This week my virtual runners are: Amy, Ben Leighton and Gemma.
Location: Gosforth, Newcastle
Distance: 5.1 miles
Run notes: The plan stated a 55 minute easy run. Off I trotted, glad to be back pounding the pavement with my virtual running team. But it was not to be, my legs ached and each step was extremely uncomfortable. I ran along a path I have ran so many times before but knew that I was struggling. After 37 minutes I did something I have never done before, I forgot the training recommendations and jogged my sorry legs home.
As I crossed my fictional finish line at our gate I have never been more happy. It had been such a tough run. As I tried to stretch my legs to help with recovery, my calves felt like they were going to pop.
It was very difficult trying to concentrate on what your neighbour is saying over the fence about his running escapades when all you want to do is sink to the floor and yell ‘WHY NOW?! IT WAS GOING SO WELL! WHYYYYY?’ But then I have never been one to be over-dramatic so after completing my extremely painful stretches, whilst gritting my teeth and smiling at the anecdotes, I headed in doors to moan to poor Paul instead.
Average pace: 9:35min/mile
– Mile 1 – 9:22
– Mile 2 – 10:07
– Mile 3 – 9:28
– Mile 4 – 9:28
– Mile 5 – 9:39
– 0.1 Mile – 8:54
Achievements: 1 x segment personal record (on a segment I didn’t even run stupid Strava!)
Location: Gosforth, Newcastle
Distance: 5.47 miles
Run notes: So my knee has become uncomfortable again. I blame the bike. (It’s not the bike, but I needed to blame something). To cheer myself up last week (and because my other trainers were over 6 years old and had covered many miles) I had bought myself some new running trainers online. And they arrived today. Ooh they were so pretty.
As I got ready for my run I realised I had a running top that matched my new running shoes. Oh I am becoming a trendy runner. Looking at myself in the mirror I loved that I actually looked like a proper runner. Or to use Paul’s popular phrase I had all the gear but no idea!
To give my knee a chance I went for a short run and I was running tall with a big smile, proud of my new purchase. I had promised myself I would only go for a 2 mile run, so as not to push my knee any further and I stuck to that promise. Walking home, looking all snazzy, after I got to the 2 mile mark.
Average pace: 8:43min/mile
– Mile 1 – 8:31
– Mile 2 – 8:52
– 0.1 Mile – 9:14
Distance: 2.3 miles
Run notes: It was another short run for me tonight, my knee was feeling a bit stronger, but I was trying to make it just an easy run, again continuing to break in my trainers. I am not very good any more at running at a slow pace when I know I am only doing a short run. I did make it all the way home this time using the quickest route possible.
There was a reason for this run. I had managed to hit the 700km! I was thrilled! There was no one round to immediately celebrate with me, so I did the only thing possible, I ate a victory stroop waffel as I balanced my phone in the cupboard to take my clebratory photo!
This evening I had arranged to treat my feet to a lovely pedicure. My feet always feel a stone lighter when Layla (our friend who is a fantastic beautician) finishes with them!
Average pace: 8:28min/mile
– Mile 1 – 8:22
– Mile 2 – 8:37
– 0.3 Mile – 8:19
Location: Seahouses, Northumberland
Distance: 2.5 miles
Run notes: We were staying at the caravan at Seahouses because I was due to run the Alnwick Harriers coastal run (a 14 mile run that sounds quite terrifying: no marked route, if you’re in the sea you’ve gone wrong and scrambling over rocks). I was all geared up for it, but a visit to the physio earlier the week had put pay to any notions like this. John reminded me to think of the bigger picture. I could do this run and put myself out for months, I could carry on resting and build back. I thought of the bigger picture. So when the rain started lashing against the caravan I smiled, put my trainers and ran a small loop around the caravan park and town, knowing that I was protecting my knee and would soon be warm and comfortable again and not scrambling over any rocks.
I also got a little kudos from the other 3 caravan dwellers that I was willing to even step one foot out in that weather.
Average pace: 8:19min/mile
– Mile 1 – 8:27
– Mile 2 – 8:05
– 0.5 Mile – 8:32
Achievements: 1 x gold cup (5th female) on the Broad Rd segment
Thank you Amy, Ben Leighton and Gemma for joining me for a number of small runs. The length of the runs didn’t really matter we got to 700km didn’t we? Your support helped me to focus on the bigger picture reminding me that patience is important when you have got a bigger goal to achieve.
Week 3: 24.07.17-30.07.17
Virtual running team: Dawn Mooney, Dorothy Lamb, The Faculty Baking Team
Distance: 3.0 miles
Run notes: So the plan continues to be thrown out the window. I am trying not to huff, but as I see Paul going out for his long training runs it is hard. Paul is doing a great job with his training and I am so proud of him, but oh, the fact that I can’t really run any distance is so tough. Anyway tonight was a steady run around the streets trying to keep my calves comfortable.
Average pace: 8:59min/mile
– Mile 1 – 8:37
– Mile 2 – 9:07
– Mile 3 – 9:11
Achievements: 1 x segment personal record
On 25th July was my appointment with Dr. Guadagno to discuss the results of my MRI scan. Looking back as the day approached without realising it, I became more tetchy and any patience I had managed to hold on to quickly flew out the window. There is very little than can excuse me turning into a little grump huffing and puffing my way around the house but imagine what in the back of the head was looming for me. This was the point when I find out whether Lemtrada is continuing to work for me. A very clever man, with a huge amount of MS expertise would be telling me whether my MS was being held as it was. If not, what would it mean for me? Ooh I get upset even writing this. I am RUBBISH with uncertainty, like properly rubbish.
So the end of the day came, I left work and huffed my way over to the hospital to meet my parents who had arrived promptly (Paul was stuck on the A1 behind a tractor). After one final snapping session from me, we sat patiently in the waiting area amongst other people with MS. I always try to look on the brightside but sometimes these visits can drive home some of the possible futures for me.
We were called in, getting our usual 4 chairs in order to listen to Dr G’s news. And here it is: THE SCAN SHOWED NO ACTIVE LESIONS. So to me that means my MS is currently inactive. I cannot tell you how thrilling this is! Paul, Mum, and Dad were equally happy (after having asked the sensible questions about my results that I couldn’t because I was on cloud 9!) Dad shared his graphs (that he had painstakingly created based on my monthly blood results). Dr G confirmed what the graphs showed that the second hit of treatment hadn’t reduced my immune system as much as it potentially could, but the results on the MRI showed that it didn’t matter.
Now you are going to think this odd (and this says a lot about my sense of humour), but ever since I discovered I had lesions in my brain, I have always imagined a very active troop of little roman soldiers. I love the thought that these soldiers are in the deepest sleep possible, they’re like sleeping beauty but hopefully they will never wake again!
We had a nice tea and a glass of prosecco to celebrate the fantastic news!
Distance: 2.6 miles
Run notes: Because I knew I wasn’t going to be going for a long run AGAIN I decided to run home from work. This would be roughly a 2.5 mile run, and meant that it felt like it had a purpose to it. It was all up hill so a tough little short run (it’s a gradual hill, not a Vindolanda 10k type of hill!)
I ran past the cows, saying hello as I went.
Average pace: 8:37min/mile
– Mile 1 – 8:29
– Mile 2 – 8:29
– 0.6 Mile – 8:29
Distance: 4.1 miles
Run notes: My legs were feeling relatively good today, so as it was a Saturday I thought why not I’ll do the local ParkRun – and take it slow and steady. So I quickly got myself ready, and drove to the ParkRun, don’t judge I am protecting my legs and I wasn’t going to get there in time if I walked. Turned out I wasn’t going to get there in time if I drove either. I missed the start by two minutes. So I headed off to Mum and Dad’s instead where I went for a run on the more trail lack paths.
Do you know what? I enjoyed this run. Like really enjoyed it. The sun was shining, the passersby were friendly and I felt great. I didn’t look at my watch, I just ran and it felt comfortable.
Average pace: 8:42min/mile
– Mile 1 – 8:43
– Mile 2 – 8:37
– Mile 3 – 8:37
– Mile 4 – 8:53
– 0.1 Mile – 8:17
Achievements: 1 x segment personal record
Thank you Dawn, Dorothy and The Faculty Baking Team for joining me for a very exciting week. OK the runs might not have been the most exciting, but the fact that the last run we ran was just so enjoyable makes all the difference to this challenge. I can’t start the next week knowing that things can be good!
Week 4: 31.07.17-06.08.17
Virtual running team: Isabelle Logie, Kathleen, Marie thank you ladies for your support!
Distance: 6.6 miles
Run notes: So tonight I watched Paul head off his longest run yet (he would be running the furthest either of us had run this year). I got changed into my running stuff, stretched and waited. Checking the front window only every 3…ok 1 minute. Paul was completing three 6mile loops and I was going to join him on the last loop and see how I got on.
When I joined him, I jumped out the front door eager to get going. Paul is so much better at pacing than I am. We kept a steady pace throughout it all. I think Paul had hit a little bit of a brick wall. I on the other hand was so thrilled to be out trying a longer distance I couldn’t stop yabbering. All the way round. It was when Paul told me he may not reply because he wasn’t enjoying himself I pulled the ace out of my sleeve and sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY to him at the top of my voice. (I had given him his IronMan entry for his birthday, so rightly claimed the whole training experience as his present). If looks could kill, I would be writing this post from beyond the grave.
No world records were broken and I didn’t claim any Strava prizes but it didn’t matter. We did it Isabelle, Kathleen and Marie we ran my furthest distance in weeks and it didn’t hurt. Like, everything was fine! Thank you so much for joining me on this run ladies it was great having your company, spurring me on to keep going!
Average pace: 10:27min/mile
– Mile 1 – 10:02
– Mile 2 – 10:17
– Mile 3 – 10:19
– Mile 4 – 10:48
– Mile 5 – 10:49
– Mile 6 – 11:04
– 0.6 Mile – 9:40
Thank you to all my virtual runners of these 4 weeks, it has been some trying times which included a lot of short, slow runs but it really doesn’t matter the speed or distance. I have always believed it’s the fact that we got out and did that means something. Together we passed the 700km mark and more importantly I discovered that my legions were still inactive! Your support for my challenge for the MS Trust, will hopefully mean that someone else who is diagnosed with MS, will find themselves in a similar position to me soon. With this news and your support I am one lucky, lucky, lady.