Deformed and belligerent

Poole promenade

Promenade performance

Today seems as good a day as any to reflect on a rather chequered weekend’s running. Outside, there’s a typically British August deluge. Inside, the atmosphere is studious, if vaguely morose.

I’ve been studying my marathon training schedule. Last weekend I did the mileage it dictated, but have been suffering for it ever since. I did not manage the dictated speed.

The good news is that at Hillyfields parkrun I managed to improve on my time (by a measly 20 seconds), but, psychologically, it does me good to see 23 instead of 24. I am still way off my 2015 PB, but I am heading in the right direction.

On Sunday I donned new trainers, convincing myself that brand new cushioning would banish all pain from niggling Achilles and bulgy heel, or what I can now refer to as Haglund’s Deformity, having done a bit of swotting up on the subject. (I think I prefer bulgy heel, and who was Haglund?). I jogged the couple of miles from my sister’s home to the promenade at Sandbanks, and ran a further eight all along the promenade to Christchurch and beyond. Then I ran back.

This neck of the woods is perfect for the long low run. It’s a flat, long, car-free thoroughfare populated only by runners, cyclists and dogwalkers at this time of the morning. There’s the sea for dipping inflamed bulgy deformities (ooer missus) and drinking water taps and loos all the way along for the many tourists and beach-hut tenants.

Runners training for a big race can keep an even pace, and check, nervily, on just how comfortable one’s chosen speed feels (ok, it’s easy to run 8:22 for a few miles, but can I really imagine running a perfect set of 26?)

The answer, as things stand, is big, bleak, NO. The bulgy deformity of which I have spoken made its presence felt big time, necessitating weepy stops at miles 5, 10 and 15 and a face contorted with pain and misery until mile 20. After that, I spend a lot of time with various items from the freezer tied to my heel, swallow some ibuprofen, elevate the offending foot and, in the afternoon, brave the wind-whipped briny with my rather hardier sister.

Bulgy deformity then proceeded to preclude speed session yesterday, so I spent some time on the cross trainer, sweatily.

And today I did pool running.

But hey! It’s ok, because guess what “Researchers have shown” (as they frequently do) that just a teeny tiny minute of exerting yourself is indeed the elixir of life.

Sigh. This turned up on my Twitter feed:

‘Scientists found that women who did “brief bursts” of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity – like a medium-paced run for pre-menopausal women, or a slow jog for post-menopausal women – had better bone health. Good bone health has a number of important health perks, including a reduced risk of osteoporosis and fractures in older age.

Using the national and international health resource, UK Biobank, the University of Exeter and University of Leicester researchers looked at data on more than 2,500 women. They concluded that women who did 60 to 120 seconds of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity per day had 4 percent better bone health than those who did less than a minute.’

[it’s from Treehugger daily news]

Well that’s just dandy. However, a minute a day is hardly going to help this old bird in thrall to her sub 3:40 schedule. And another reason it makes me so cross is the implicit suggestion that a woman no longer in need of her monthly box of Tampax must needs only jog, and slowly at that. As I have written with some warmth before, there is no need to imply that post menopausal means feeble.

I know that I will get slower with age, and this current injury is not helping my speed, but my days of only needing a minute of slow jogging are, I hope, I some way away.


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