Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Resolutions

It's that time of year again. Time to reflect on what is no more and time to plan what is yet to be.

My first resolution is to run 'lots' more. 2010 was disasterous in that respect! My second resolution is that I'll post on this blog more often. Hopefully the first resolution will give me something worthwhile to write about.

At least I've ended 2010 on a positive note with some nice (altough tough) runs. Let's see how much easier it can get...

Happy New Year to all and thanks for stopping by.....

Sunday, October 10, 2010


There wasn't too much running in my calendar this week... I'm putting it down to a 'recovery' but really it was more due to lack of time.

On the recovery front - all went reasonably well and there were no post-race issues with my ankle. So I don't intend on posting about 'anklegate' again and I'm moving on....

Before the race my left calf was a bit sore. Plenty of deepheat and massage beforehand made sure that I didn't feel anything during the run but now it's taking time to heel. I reckon it's a symptom of needing to rebuild muscle strength and a reminder not to push too hard too soon!

On Thursday I finally managed to fit in a lunchtime run - steady 7:10 pace 5.6 miles around Ballincollig. Earlier tonight having recovered from today's hangover I went for an easy 5.5 miles @ 7:45 pace. The said calf is now being iced so hopefully all will be well tomorrow. That's a 'massive' 11 miles for this week excluding my Guinness & Lennox's chips fueled walk home from town last night. Next week will have to be better...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

System Check

Going into today's Cork to Cobh 15-mile race I wasn't sure how it would go. My last race was Cork to Cobh last year so today gave me a real chance to benchmark my current fitness.

I realise that I've only a few short weeks of 'low level' training (2 runs this week including today!) and so I was never going to emulate my 1:38 performance of last year. I settled on 7:30 pace with a 'see how it goes' race strategy. This would bring me home in approx 1:52:30. Richard was also planning a marathon pace run at approx 7:30 so it made sense to hook.

I arrived at the Race HQ a little after 8am for the 9am start (or so I thought) and after registering I went for a short (1.5mile) warmup. It was only while stretching at 8:45am, when everything was very calm at Race HQ, that I realised something was wrong - the race wasn't due to start until 9:30! At least I was early! So, what should I do with the extra 30 minutes??.... I went for another 2 mile warmup run with Grellan and Derek.

Richard and I started pretty far back and there was a lot of traffic over the first couple of miles. After a very slow start (7:45 first mile) we reached the 2 mile mark bang on schedule at 15:00. The pace continued to be in the low 7:20's and we passed through 5 miles in 37:10. Despite this being my fastest 5 miles in months I felt very comfortable. I guess it helped having someone to chat to to take my mind off the effort! At this point Richard pointed out that we were going a bit too quick for his marathon pace so he decided to ease up a little. I, on the other hand, wanted to test myself so I thought I'd kick on. I passed through the next mile in 7:05 (felt easy but probably a bit too quick) and I then settled into a 7:15 pace. It all felt good.

The time at the halfway point was 55:00 minutes. This gave me a hope that I may get to Cobh in 1:4x but this was dashed by last 3-4 miles!

I crossed Mile 11 at 80 minutes just over 7:15 pace. At this point it felt good but it was shortly after that the wheels came off. I remember that I struggled over the same section last year albeit at 6:30 pace rather than 7:30+ pace. This year my lack of training really showed over the last 4 uphill miles. My pace dropped significantly. So much so that my average pace was down to 7:25 at the Half Marathon Mark (1:37). The uphill seemed never-ending and it was only the fear that my 'support team' may drive past at any moment that kept me from walking.

Shortly after the 14 mile mark Richard passed me looking good (he had warned me that he may put in a quick last mile) but I had nothing in the tank to react. So I took his last drop of water and left him strike for home. However, I did manage a bit of a sprint finish (during which my hamstrings nearly ceased up) over the last quarter just to show cause and I stopped my watch, wrecked but satisfied, at 1:52:40 (7:31 average).

With over 18 miles in the legs for the day no warmdown was on the cards... I'd had enough!

So what did I learn?....

I'm over 14 minutes slower than last year and I need to do more training.

The good news is that my ankle gave me no trouble so hopefully this issue is now in the past.

I gave it everything I had today (so much so that I had to go to bed for an hour once I came home) and I'm glad to be back on the right road. Now it's time to build up some fitness and identify some goals...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's time to start some 'real' training..

Today saw the 30th running of the Great North Run - probably one of the greatest mass participation races in the world! Looking at it on television it made me wish I was there again. Although I must admit that based on my recent training I don't think Haile Gebreselassie would have been too worried! Maybe next year??

I first entered the GNR in 2007 and I used it as my motivation to get fit. Three years on I'm in a very similar position - trying to get fit..

I see that Sonia O'Sullivan was the last person to cross the start line today and finished the GNR in 1:34:53. When I first ran the GNR I started close to the back of the field and finished in 1:34:51. For most of that race I was passing runners, running on the footpath, crossing the road from side to side and constantly looking for the 'gap' ahead. It was both mentally and physically exhausting! Sonia, I know what you went through today. There are easier ways to run 13.1 miles!

Since my last post I've been getting out approx 4 times per week and I'm now up to approx 20-30 miles per week. Nothing spectacular but for me the most important indicator has been that my ankle is holding up.

Last week I went for a 'slow' 12.6mile run (1:45) on Saturday morning and followed it by a 'steady' (i.e. low 7min/mile pace) 10k on Sunday morning. Despite the fatigue everything else seemed to hold up.... a good sign!

This week my long run was 11.7 miles (1:28) i.e. Douglas to City Centre to Sundays Well down the Mardyke back to the City Centre and home to Douglas. I could class it as an 'easy' run (i.e. possible conversational pace) but it'd be more correct to refer to it as a 'comfortable' pace run i.e. a bit harder than 'easy'. :) I passed the 10 mile mark at approx 73mins and feeling good. Interestingly, I last ran this route on 3rd January (4 days before I broke my ankle). The time on that day was 1:31 .. the slower time being more a function of the icey conditions rather than a measure of my fitness!

Today I followed yesterday's run with a 6.5 mile run (47mins) - Douglas to Bishopstown. This felt good and was 13 minutes quicker than the last time I ran this route .. sign of progress??

So now that I've some base training done and I know that the screws in my ankle are holding it's time to start some real training. I guess I need to formulate a plan... but what plan and can I stick to it??

It's time to put my thinking hat on.....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back again

Since it's been over 2 months since I last posted I thought this blog, and it's limited readership, deserved an update!

After my last post my training went well for a week or so. Then I decided to go for what would ordinarily have been an easy 12 miler. Despite it being a little tougher than I'd hoped the run itself was uneventful but afterwards my ankle became very stiff & sore. The pain was different to the usual aches and pain of a middle aged runner in that it felt like a joint pain. So my 'semi-mature' brain told me to give my body more time and take a rest. So that's what I did. At the same time 'real life' became very busy so it's just as well that I hadn't planned any big races!

Until last week my running has been curtailed to one 60-70min run per week at 8:30+ pace by the sea side.

Last week I extended this run to 90 minutes and the following day I put in a 45minute 'steady' (i.e. 7:30 pace) run. So this week I've decided that it's time to lose the 6kg that my broken ankle has given me, stop eating junk and start training again. Hopefully this time my body will hold up and I'll be back to where I was by Christmas....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A picture of pain...

Some shots of the my 'pain' at the Marathon (10 mile mark) i.e approx 5 miles into my relay leg. Based on the times it seems that I lost 30sec per mile on the 3:00 hour pace group between miles 8 and 10. That means I was over 7:20 pace at the end! A lot slower than the 6:30 pace that I started out at!!! BTW the pics look much better than it felt!!.....

Due to other commitments I'm currently having an unplanned 'recovery' but hopefully this weekend will mark my first steps into a serious return to training. Afterall Cork to Cobh is less than 4 months away!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cork Marathon

When the opportunity to run a leg of today's marathon as part of a team made up of old college clubmates I was delighted. It was an opportunity to benchmark my condition!

Today was wet and windy but not too cold - nice running conditions (when not running into the wind!) but what was best for me was just to be there! To be honest there have been times over the past 6 months when I doubted that I'd be able to run but mostly I doubted if I'd be able to run so soon!

The team was made up of:

Leg 1: Ian O'Sullivan (middle/long distance)
Leg 2: me
Leg 3: Sean Mulvihill (800m)
Leg 4: Brid Ni Chonnail (middle/long distance)
Leg 5: Ray Shannahan (Coach / former 800m)

Tactics were decided late last night outside of a pub (long story!). Ian would run the first leg as he was planning on running the full marathon, I would do the second as my sister-in-law was also doing that leg and that made life simpler for the support crew. Sean and Brid decided among themselves their leg and Ray was nominated to take the last and 'glory' leg! For one reason or another none of us were in great shape so the consensus opinion was to enjoy the event and not race for a time.....

So here's how it went....

I went to City Hall at 8am to collect my number from Sean but I met everyone else, including Richard, Thomas and others, except Sean. I also thought that I'd see Grellan but he must have been setting his metronome!

Sean arrived just after 8:30 which meant that I missed the shuttle to the start of my relay leg so I had to run. I suppose it wasn't a bad way to put in a 2.5mile warmup, unfortunately it was raining so I got soaked!

Ian's plan was to run the marathon at 6:50min/mile pace so I thought I'd tag on to him. When I suggested this plan at the hand over he beckoned/pushed me on. I guessed that either he wasn't feeling too good or he thought that I was in better shape than I actually am! Then the race day adrenalin went to my head and I headed off at something like 6:30 pace. Although I was feeling great it was not a good idea, I don't have the fitness. This realisation dawned when I hit the first uphill section before entering the Lee tunnel and after the tunnel it was uphill all the way. Ian, tagged on the end of the 3hour pace group, caught up and passed me as we climbed out from the tunnel.

Fatigue, headwind, and hills all took their toll!

I passed my support crew (Pam, Eva, Una, Joe, Eva & Don) at approx 3 mile mark. That raised my spirits but unfortunately not my pace.

Slogging on as best I could I managed to pick up the pace over the last half mile. As I approached the changeover zone I spotted Sean chatting! I yelled out and he jumped into action! Apparently he wasn't expecting me so soon.

I completed my 5.5+mile leg in 38:00. Last time I ran this leg in 2008 I completed it in 34:51. But given the weather my fitness and the past 6 months I was more than happy with my time! As a warmdown I ran the 2.5mile back along the course to my fan club (and dry clothes!). So in total I must have run 10 or 11miles today (if only I had my Garmin!) ... the most I've done since Christmas! And although my ankle was a bit sore during and afterwards it held up reasonably well and, as I type this, it's beginning to feel better and better!

Overall our team came home in 3:03 - about half an hour quicker than we predicted last night! Obviously the race adrenaline got to all of us!

Personally, I think that it's a good start to the summer and hopefully by September I'll be much fitter and planning some more races!

Ray bringing our team home (his comment afterwards, looking at me, "it would have been nice to break the 3 hours where did we loose the 3 minutes?" or something similar!!)....

Well done to those who ran the full thing it wasn't comfortable out there and I'm sure that we'll get to hear all about your adventures in your various blogs....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

the night before...

So I'm down to run the second leg (5.5+ miles) of the Cork Marathon tomorrow. Last time I ran this leg (2008) it took me just under 35mins but I suspect that tomorrow will be much slower!! The fact that I haven't run in a week won't help! As a team we're running for 'enjoyment' and not a 'place' this year (or so I'm told) so the pressure is off a bit. phew!! :)

Good luck to all doing the full thing and Grellan.... I hope that you have your metronome set as there are alot of people counting on you!! No pressure then!! :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Breaking the hour mark

I missed my planned run yesterday so I got up early this morning to make sure I didn't miss today's run. I was in Ardmore and at 6:30am the sea was full in and dead calm and the sun was shining. (Pity it started to rain later in the morning)

It was an easy morning to go for a long run and 65mins of non-stop running felt good ... even if the pace was very slow!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Progress over four miles..

I thought it was about time that I updated this blog.

Since my last post I've been doing some running but nothing too serious. Last week I managed three x 4+ mile lunchtime runs at approx 7:30min/mile pace. On Monday I managed to only get 1 mile into the run before my lack of fitness forced me to take a brief (15 secs) walking break. Unfortunately the break wasn't long enough because I also had to walk at the 2 and 3 mile marks!! I suppose that's only to be expect having not done any serious exercise in 5 months!! Tuesday's run showed some progress... I lasted 2 miles before I needed a rest but I also walked at mile 3. I rested on Wednesday and on Thursday I got to just over the 3 mile mark and that was the one and only break! Can fitness really increase overnight?? Interestingly, despite these breaks all three runs were timed at between 32:25 and 32:35.

Injury watch......The range of forward rotation in my ankle seems to be gradually increasing but I suspect that it will be many months yet before it begins to feel 'normal'. I've also been having some issues with my right achilles (broken ankle side) and left hamstring / glutes so hopefully these too will ease with time....

Today, after resting my ankle for a few days, I headed out for another 4+ mile run at lunchtime. It felt comfortable for the first time and I actually completed the run without stopping and knocked a minute off my time too, finishing in 31:40. That equates to approx 7:20 pace. Happy days.....small victory but at least the positive trend continues.

I've my next and hopefully final physio session next Monday so hopefully I'll get to run some more before then.

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Back from holiday

Having successfully avoided the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud by spending an extra hour in the air and flying at least 500miles further east we landed back in Cork this today from our mid-term holiday in Gran Canaria. It wasn't until we landed in Cork that I realised how close we came to spending an extra week (or more!!) in the sun.... it turns out that our plane was the last one to leave the island before the airport was shut down!! Just as well we got up at 4am for the early flight! Still, I'm not complaining 7 days of 28-30+ degC was just what the doctor ordered. :)

So now it’s back to reality.. :)

On the running front and with my physio’s consent I brought my trainers complete with new orthothics on the holiday. But although there was a lot of ‘pool time’ I only got to run twice. Both runs consisted of approx 4 ‘hilly’early morning miles at circa. 8 minute pace from which I learnt (a) that it is impossible to find a flat route (as per physio advice) from our apartment and; (b) that my fitness level is through the floor! Although it was nice to be running again it generally felt like I was learning to run for the first time... maybe now is the time to learn how to run properly and forget a lifetime of bad habits?

The bad news from the holiday was that my Garmin went 'missing' during the week. So, I’m going to have to live without stats for the time being. This may be a good thing as I’m sure my stats will be pretty bad and would only serve to depress me but it may give me a opportunity to upgrade from the Forerunner 305 to 405... :)

As I've no running shots to post, here are some holiday snaps for anyone who may be interested...

So that is what the sun looks like...

Now that's a view I thought I'd never see...

Call the ISPCA...that man just kicked a dolphin...

(Eva) Well hello there...
(Joe) Just keep holding on...
(Eva) This is how you do it...
Who are all the strangers looking at us?...
Lets play some ball..
(Una) I'm so coool..
(Joe) I want to climb...
(Una) Am I too young to drink this?...
(Eva) I don't care. That was nice and refreshing...
(Joe) I just like water...
The family...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some running again...

The good news is that, as of today, my surgeon doesn't want to see me anymore!

Other news is that I ran on two occasions since my last post, Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday I covered approx 2 miles by running 100m, walking 50m repeats. My ankle held up well and there weren't too many ill effects. Interestingly at the start my achilles was sore but by the end it was the front 'inside' of the joint that was in slight pain. Minor bumps and corners were a bit of a problem too! And, my gait has certainly changed. Funnily enough the limited rotation of the right ankle joint is causing me to land harder on my left leg. That's something I'm going to have to monitor carefully. My new orthotics are also something that I'm going to have to get used to.

I felt so good on Tuesday that I decided to ignore the physio's advise and push out the boat a little. I know, I know.... I shouldn't have but after 5 months of no running I couldn't resist the temptation! And despite what my wife thinks I was careful! Don't tell my physio though or I'll be in real trouble!! In total, I ran 2.5miles 'non stop' over a flat course at a 'blistering' 7:40 min/mile pace. Again my achilles was bothering me at the start but this eased off after approx 0.5 miles. Also after about 2 miles I could feel my foot beginning to swell up and again the joint started to niggle so I decided to call it a day. Later on there was some swelling but that settled down overnight and the biggest side effect was some DOM's in the quads..... I'm officially unfit!

Another physio session planned for tomorrow and then it's off to Gran Canaria for a week in the sun. Hopefully I'm allowed being my runners!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Is this the end game?

Cycling used to be the simple matter of taking your bike out from the shed, hopping on and going.
Now it's a matter of putting the bike rack onto the car, filling it up, getting helmets, baby seat, lunch, kids change of clothes, hopping into the car, driving to a nice flat quiet area, unloading the car, waiting for the youngest to wake up, and then doing some cycling. See how things have changed? Still though, I wouldn't change it for the world!
Running has yet to begin but I got some good news earlier today ... the physio says that I can start with some very very light short runs later the week. YIPPEE
Since my last post I've been limited to stretching, some dynamic work and some cycling. Not enough to halt the (significant) weight gain from 5 months of being a couch potato. But all that may change over the coming months!
The emphasis of the weekly physio sessions has also changed. I think I'll have to live with a much restricted rotation on the ankle joint (may be a problem on hilly runs) and now it's all about compensation i.e. the new orthotics I received last week. The joint is still swollen on occasion, mostly at the end of the day, but ice and elevation seems to keep that largely under control. My achilles is also bothering me but hopefully the orthotics will help with that issue.
On the 7th January 2010 I really didn't realise that it would take this long. I've really missed my 'irregular' runs. Amazingly, I don't recall missing running this much when I 'retired' back in 1994.
All in all though an end 'seems' to be in sight and hopefully my next post will include some running!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Exercising again....

Mostly more of the same this week..... physio x 2, walking, exercises, stretching, ice, etc, etc... No running except on the trampette at the physio clinic.

However, this weekend I did managed to fit in a couple of nice cycles of 9 and 13 miles. Today, I even dusted off Mr Garmin, who last saw daylight on the 6th January, so long ago! Today's effort looked something like this...

Based on the above, as you can see, I don't think I'll be entering the Tour de France any time soon. In my defence, the second half was into a headwind! Neither my sore legs nor the saddle sores played 'any' part in the gradual creep in the pace! :) I was surprised that I could only cycle 13.18miles in 1:09. add 15 to 20 minutes and I could run the same distance!!

I also spent the morning in the pool with the kids. A good excuse to do some non-weight bearing exercise; although having to carry Joe (now 15kg in weight) significantly negated any buoyancy non-weight bearing benefits!!

While I hopped along in the pool, my girls made a new friend who turned out to be the daughter of none other than Robert Heffernan (Ireland's top international 20k walker - 6th 2007 Worlds, 8th 2008 Olympics). As our children became more and more 'competitive' (i.e. adventurous) in the water, we compared ankle injuries and concluded that there is no quick cure. He's still suffering 18months on from an ankle injury. :(

We chatted for a while, then he slipped in that he raced a 50k in Slovakia last week. "How did you do?", I asked kicking myself for not checking the Athletics Ireland website lately! "3rd but I broke the Irish record", he replied. "Congratulations", I said. "Yeah, I went through the Marathon mark in 3:05 but the last 10k was a killer!" ..... yikes !!! .... and he was walking!! The official report is here. His wife Marian Andrews, also a handy athlete, is the current Irish 400m champion - so London 2012 may just be a family holiday!!

I'm off work next week but as I'm childminding I'm not sure how much cycling I'll be able to fit it... but I'll try I need to do something!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Three in a row

Still no running but I'm gradually getting more active; which is just as well cause my appetite is no different now than when I was running 'regularly'. Surprisingly it's only been during the past few weeks that I've noticed my weight go up. So it's official - it takes 3 months for all my muscles to revert to fat!!

I had three physio sessions this week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Wednesday was an unplanned session - I finally got a call from the CUH and although I've been going privately I didn't like to disappoint Mary Harney and the HSE!!!

Progress seems to be on track (or maybe slightly ahead of schedule) as I've now advanced cycling and to running on the spot on a trampoline while playing catch with a ball. (not at same time). BTW she (ie the physio) says the ball is to distract me but I think it's a subtle hint to give up running and take up a less risky sport like rugby!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick's Day adventure

A belated Happy St Patrick's Day to all.

No running (obviously!!) recently just physio, exercises and some nice walks. The physio says that I've now to start some cycling which should be fun as I live at the top of a big hill. I'll be OK on the downhill but I'm not so sure about the return leg! Luckily I have a mountain bike!!

Since I've not been running I've had some time to experiment with one of my new toys - a digital video camera. And what better day to take it for a test run than St Patrick's Day.

I've never really seen the point or relevance of the whole parade thing. But, I usually watch it anyway. What does a few thousand of people standing by the side of a street watching a series of brass bands, dragons, pirates, underage camogie teams, ethnic minority groups, majoretts, international visitors, environmental activists, catholic prayer groups and the local Credit Union really say about the Irish or St. Patrick?? I'm certainly not sure but it's a bit of craic and as a nation, and possibly an international community, we all seem to enjoy it.

Today I had the pleasure of witnessing (with my camcorder and family in tow) two very different parades....

(Before I go any further apologies for the poor quality of the video footage.... I'm still in training!!)

The first was a small community parade in Sunday's Well. Organised by a few locals and primarily for the children of the area (and a some 'blow-ins' such as us). Today's parade was officially the "2nd Annual Sunday's Well Community Parade". The parade was an 'out and back' and lasted a whole 5-10 minutes (actually it passed by in about 30 seconds) but was great fun for young and old with ages ranging from 1 to 90+. And the after parade party and BBQ in Nuala & John's house with mulled wine (thanks Don!!), hot chocolate, burgers, breakfast rolls, pizza and, of course, lots of tea, sandwiches and cakes was brill. Well done to all.

See for yourself...

We left the party while it was still in full swing to walk the mile or so into town to see the official Cork City parade. A much bigger spectacle but for me the smaller family parade was much more like what it is all about.

Still though it was enjoyable to see the effort that the various participants put in. Groups taking part were from far flung places such Bangladesh, Poland, Kenya (all places full of Irish diaspora??) and the UK. I didn't see a US float but as I was late for the start I could have missed it. After all a St. Patrick's Day parade isn't complete without a representation from our US friends!!

Here are some extracts from the Cork parade....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Let the walking begin

It's now 2 weeks since my cast came off and my ankle rehab seems to be coming along quite nicely. My initial attempts at hobbling have now turned into something resembling walking and my ankle joint doesn't mind being rotated - which is a good sign or so I'm told!

I had my first physio session earlier today and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my attempts to flex and rotate the ankle joint as well as some other basic exercises are just what I should be doing. And my drive to New Ross (300km return) earlier this week was just the right kind of exercise - no wonder I felt good the day after!! So at least I haven't been doing any damage.

The muscle wastage isn't too significant and the fact that it was my dominant leg, which has 10% extra muscle, that broke was a good (?) thing. I'm sure my overdeveloped calf muscles also had something to do with it!!

Some static bike work with the possibility of the cross trainer in the not too distant future was even mentioned. But... it seems like it will be June before running will become part of my exercise regime. Well at least it is June '10 and not '11 !!

The glass is definitely half full at the moment and as Westley commented on my last post "Every day is a day nearer your next run rather than another without one". How true....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Progress of sorts..

My cast eventually came off last week so at least now I can walk, well...limp actually, and life is beginning to return to normal again. There's no pain in the joint which is a good sign but I only have about 60% of the normal rotation and no strength in my calf muscle so no standing on my toes just yet.

The next phase will involve lots of physio and it look like it will still be a couple of months before I can get back out for a run. At least no one has said that I won't be able to run again and others who have had similar surgery have shown that running afterwards is possible!!

The other fascinating thing for me is the advent of digital x-ray technology. Historically, it was like asking for state secrets if you wanted to keep a copy of your x-rays. Now it a simple matter of paying €10.16 for a CD of all the x-rays you want (assuming that they're yours of course!!).

So here are the before and after shots...

The damage...

And afterwards...

It's amazing how much orthopedic surgery is just like structural engineering.... just don't tell the doctors... something tells me they think it's much more complex!!

Happy running to all ... I'm there with you in spirit.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

One month on..

Today is one month to the day since my encounter with the ice. In some respects it doesn't seem that long ago but in other ways it feels like an eternity!!

I've less than 2 more weeks to go in the cast and my leg is slowly beginning to feel a bit more normal. I still can't put weight through the joint but I can at least use it for balance if required.

Frustration has well an truly set in!! Frustration that I can't run/exercise but more significantly frustration that I can't pull my weight at home. My poor wife has essentially been a single parent or four (3 kids and me) for the past month. Poor girl!! Family and friends have been great though. Thanks.

The ironic thing about this whole affair (i.e. busting my right ankle) is that my left abductors / calf / achilles have been niggling to varying degrees following my runs over the past couple of months. I'd decided over the Christmas break to start some drills/exercises to strengthen my left leg but I hadn't planned on hopping around on it for six weeks solid!! Maybe this is a good thing??

So far I've missed two of the four 10 mile races that I'd planned. Well done to those who competed in Dungarvan and Mallow. Both races appear to have been very well organised and enjoyed by all. Some quick times were posted so it appears that ye're training wasn't overly affected by the vagaries of the recent Irish weather.

There also appears to be a debate on barefoot running on going in various blogs recently. Some good and sensible views have been posted. This is a debate to which I'd hoped to be contributing to but I think I'll wait until I'm back pounding the roads/fields before I race to any conclusions!! :)

Till next time....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Short update

Saw the doctor yesterday - new cast, x-ray & staples removed. Apparently, all looks to be in right place, including the plate and seven screws, so the cast will come off on 18th February (yippee.. I'm counting down the days already!!). Then it'll be time to learn to walk again probably followed by physio. Running will follow much later!!

No running (obviously) so now for something different....

In my free time I've managed to read 3 books (probably a record for me!!). These were:

  • Eddie O'Sullivan's (Former Ireland Rugby Coach) Autobiography.... basically his attempt to preserve his legacy (what's left of it!!) and get a few digs into his detractors!!

  • Andy McNab's latest Nick Stone thriller (Exit Wound).... a mindless fast moving and engaging anti-terrorist, Al Qaeda, British Secret Service yarn. If you're into that kind of thing it's an enjoyable easy read.

  • Dara O Briain's humorous take on England and the English (Tickling the English) based on observations compiled while on tour. Seriously well worth a read ... it's hilarious and insightful!!

Today's good news is that Munster won tonight despite my absence!! Roll on the home quarter final of the Heineken cup at the start of April. I'll be there even if I have to crawl!! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010


I must have too much time on my hands.....

To date the whole Twitter thing has passed me by so yesterday, as I had nothing better to do, I decided to check it out for the first time. To be honest I was beginning to feel like at tech dinosaur listening to people talking about 'tweets', 're-tweets' etc etc which was worrying as I'm usually fairly tech savvy.

But, the jury is still out in my mind as I'm still not too sure what benefit Twitter is to anyone. Tweets (see I'm even getting into the lingo!!) are limited to 140 characters - so no detailed info can be relayed. Maybe it will help me become more succinct?? Also, my ability to tweet is severely limited as I don't have a mobile phone with twitter capability and twitter is blocked by our firewall at the office so I'll only be able to tweet from home (not a problem for the next while!!!).
Anyway for the time being I'll give it a go. I'm not sure how it will evolve but I've put my Twitter feed on the side bar for anyone that's interested.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 and going backwards

Up until last Thursday morning 2010 was going pretty well. I really enjoyed the family time over the holidays and my running was beginning to come together. I'd managed to fit in a few longish runs and some solid steady runs. On Wednesday I went for an 8 mile steady run which included 3 x 1000m @ sub-6:20 pace. Things were looking up for the Mallow-10 which was due to be held last Sunday (subsequently cancelled due to ice).

Then came Thursday....the first day back at school / work etc. It was cold outside - very cold (by Irish Standards!!). At 8:30 I was happily walking my son up to his childminder (who lives 4 doors up from ours). One minute Joe was in my arms and the next I was picking both him and me up off the footpath. The dreaded ice!!!

When I was falling a heard a 'click' in my right ankle. When I stood up I heard another - not a good sign but at least I was able to stand. Planning to continue on my journey I then turned around to pick up Joe's bag. Suddenly I was doing a classic cartoon banana skin fall - both legs up in the air. Joe and I were back down on the ground. Once again I picked Joe up but I was winded so I didn't get up as quickly this time. Neighbours who saw the falls were running (carefully) towards us - by their reactions it must have looked bad!! I gave Joe to Pamela and she tried to console him. I then picked myself up and hobbled my way the 20 yards back home. Joe, while distressed seemed OK and all this time I was thinking to myself - "yes, I must go to the hospital but at least I can walk so maybe it's just a sprain"....

Off we go to the hospital. Although worried, the girls were delighted that they'll get another day off school!! Joe was checked out and we were relieved to hear that despite the bruise on his cheek (sustained when he hit my face) he was going to be OK. Then I got the news about myself....

I had broken my ankle in three places and the joint was also dislocated. The worst of the fractures was a spiral fracture of the fibula at the level of the ankle joint. Surgery would be required.

I was scheduled to have the surgery on Friday but because I didn't get a bed until late on Friday afternoon the surgery (involving plates screws etc) was pushed to Saturday morning. So it only took 48 hours for me to be fixed up!! Great.

I wasn't alone. The hospital was full of similar victims. Apparently there were four orthopaedic operating theatres in use - normally there would only be one.

I was eventually discharged on Tuesday afternoon. It's good to be home... but it's hard. Even getting around the house is difficult.

So what's the prognosis.... no weight to be put through the joint for at least 6 weeks then lots of physio and I should be able to walk normally again. As for running..... I should be able to run again but due to the restricted joint movement I'll probably not be able to run to the same standard. But it will be at least 3 or 4 months before I'll be at that stage. For now it's a matter of keeping my leg elevated, not stressing the joint and not doing anything that will prolong this condition.

To be honest while it will be hard for me the next six weeks are going to be hardest for my family and I can't do anything about it!! AHHHHHHHHH.

I'll post an update periodically to record how I'm doing but I can't promise on it being very exciting..

Be careful out there and I look forward to living my running through reading of your achievements.......