Thursday, 24 July 2014

Summer holidays and return to running

I took two weeks completely off running after the West Highland Way Race, the right calf injury that I sustained at mile 80 meant that running any sooner was foolhardy.  The week after the race the top/outside of my right calf swelled up and looked like I'd grown a bicep just below my knee.  The swelling melted away during the second week but my knee was still very tender and unable to handle loads whilst flexed - I could get up and down stairs but for sure wasn't ready to return to running.

Two weeks after the race my knee has settled more and my external injuries from the race fall have healed up leaving some decent sized scabs so I had wear shorts most of the times to avoid irritating them. This wasn't a problem at it was then time for week long trip down to North Wales for a family holiday so shorts was very much appropriate holiday attire!

I couldn't run much but the weather was great so we got lots of family walks in.

 Nothing like sunshine and a rocky beach to explore.

Crag shell washed up on the rocks

Our girls loved the sandy beaches too.

Building your own Island is a right of passage!

I did a few short runs to test out my leg and found that while walking was completely problem free and running on the flat was mostly OK but running up or down hills was still a problem.  My longest run on the trip was a 4 miler with a around 400ft of ascent/descent and while the early morning view was rewarding my right knee was pretty painful by the end.

View from run looking down on Trefor where we stayed
The sun kept shinning and with lots of beaches to relax upon it really wasn't hard taking easy :-)

One of my hopes for the holiday was that I'd be fit enough to run up Snowdon and have my wife and three girls race me in the train to the summit.  With me knee still injured I had to put this dream aside and just enjoy the trip up with them.  The summit was capped in cloud as we ascended, but after ten minutes cleared to reveal some spectacular views.

View from Snowdon look north east.
View from summit cairn looking north

Panoramic showing of the dramatic vista, five minutes later it gone, replaced by white out
We elected to walk down so once the cloud returned we headed down by foot and were passed by the train.

The walk down Llanberis path was a lot more spectacular than the view from the train.

Fell runner in training!

It's almost impossible to get everyone to take photo's seriously at one time...  
 As we walked down we were passed by several fell runners on their way up. I so wanted to be following them, but that will have to wait.  Later on a few of them charged passed as they headed down.

The second half of the walk the sun came out and it was roasting - who needs holidays in the Med when the UK is sunny!

Most of the way down, just a mile out from Llanberis
On our return to Scotland we had members of extended family visit so we went to Falkirk to see the Kelpies, as an engineer I was in heaven.

Kelpies up close, easy to be transfixed by the presence

Who you looking at?

Sun even came out! Oooh Shinny!
 Another day out took us to the White Corries ski center at Glen Coe, sorry another lazy way up using the Chair lift.  Nice to get a birds eye view of where I had run just three weeks earlier.

Devil's staircase dead head.  Looks so tiny...
Since my return to Scotland I've been juggling work with the family days out and have been out running in the mornings before work or trips commence.   Last week I was just doing flat four mile runs as 10 min/mile pace and found my knee OK except for the last mile.  This week I've been able to up the runs to 6 miles and re-introduce some hills.  It's kinda hard to run more than more miles around Callander without hitting hills so I had to tackle them at some point.  My first runs with hills went OK with just a bit of discomfort during the last couple of miles and tenderness afterwards.

Today encouraged by my progress I headed out for a proper hilly route up to Bracklin Bridge

Bracklin Falls Bridge, misty tops above.
Then over the hill and on to the Scout Pool.  As I emerged from the forest above Scout Pool the low clouds cleared and rewarded me with sunshine.  The top of low clouds looked like it might be below the top of the Crags, getting above the clouds can be so enchanting I threw caution to the wind and headed up to the summit of Crags.

I climbed through the mist and emerged into Sunshine again but my hopes for a view looking down onto the clouds was dashed as the tops to the clouds surrounding the summit were another 50ft higher.  My little blue hole was nice but really not quite the view I was hoping. I descend down the new path that detours around all the fallen trees that haven't been cleared from the normal crags paths.

The new path is pretty steep so it was slow going nursing my knee down.  My knee got me home OK but is rather more tender now than it was before the run so I've clearly over-done it.  Fingers crossed I haven't set back the healing process.  It's nearly 5 weeks since the West Highland Way Race so it's a bit frustrating to be still dealing with the after effects, but wouldn't change the race for a second.

Once my knee has settled down I'll start looking at what events I might be able to fit in during the second half of 2014, in my next post will attempt to answer the question that John Kynaston posed to me shortly after the big race... WHAT NEXT?

No comments:

Post a Comment