I was writing monthly running updates for a while and have been documenting this year's attempt at 1000k-in-a-year on Instagram but things started to fall apart at the seams and I was struggling to find the words (other than an Instagram caption) to share positive updates. I've recently hit a new low with my arthritic knees but I'm on the way back up again so here's a quick recap and a look forward.
We all know that I use the word "race" loosely but it's what the organisers call it so we go with the flow. It might be easier if I bullet point the next bit because there's been a few... (click the links to see my Instagram update and extra images)
- Stanley Park 10k (25th February): a difficult race because I struggled all the way through with my breathing plus it was unusually HOT for February. Rowena really encouraged me round the course, made me stick with the 65min pacer and I pushed on to the finish line for a PB of 1h4m21s. It was just after this race when my mojo fucked off for a bit and my knee problems started.
- Fleetwood 10K : Place transferred due to the recurring knee problem. I didn't want to risk making it worse.
- Muddy Bottoms 9m Trail (30th March): seriously one of the BEST races I've ever taken part in. I went thinking we would be done in around 2 hours but our finish time was just over three hours! There was actual map reading required, vague directions written in a seemingly new language and two check points at 3 and 6 miles (no marshals on route). Four of us stuck together but we got lost around five times, I was ankle deep in cow shit at one point and we had to literally drag ourselves through a hedge backwards at one point because we couldn't find a way out of a field. The last mile was a slog and a half but I'd do it all again tomorrow!
- Bubble Rush 5k (27th April): by this time, my knees were almost completely knackered and I was struggling to climb stairs and even walk. I was going to take a complete rest on an up-coming holiday and this was a "fun run". I took all three grandchildren to have fun in the bubbles but it was FREEZING (and raining). Luckily the girls had another Nana there (she's also a member of our running club) so they went off with her and their cousins and I took Freddie on his micro-scooter with the help of the winner of my Bubble Rush competition, Chrissie and her daughter. This was such a great event with activities and food available before and after the run plus a medal and t-shirt for all participants - it was just a shame that the weather was so bad. Myself and Freddie did one lap of the course and the girls did two laps. Also, the colouring used for the bubbles managed to dye our skin green for a couple of day... eek!
- Chorley 10K: Place abandoned (non-transferable) due to the recurring knee problem. Again!
- Wesham Summer 10k: Place transferred due to a clash with the Race For Life
- Race For Life at Haigh Hall (22nd May): Nine of us from work have entered as a team (now christened "Chorley's Angels") with abilities ranging from power walking all the way up to sub-30 minute 5k with me hovering around the middle somewhere. I've been organising weekly training sessions for the team and we completed our final training session today!
- Astley Park 5k Trail #2 (5th June): Not booked yet but it looks like a fun mid-week alternative run
- Trawden 7m Trail (30th June): Another trail race which I'm doing for fun and not for a time. The fact that you get a pie at the end of it may have swayed my decision to book this one!
- Elswick 10m (20th July): Another one I have yet to book but there's Bond's Ice Cream at the end of this one so I could be persuaded! Is anyone else seeing a "goody bag" theme here?
- a half marathon... a metric marathon... I'm looking into these two options but I need to make sure that I'm pain free before I book anything and start training for it. And yes, I know I said I'd never run anything longer than a half marathon but Claire is chipping away at me again to challenge myself. I'm yet to be fully convinced!
Hoka One One Vanquish 3. I wouldn't normally wear brightly coloured trainers (they clash with my patterned leggings) but these were being offered by a fellow club member who let me try them on first and they fit like a glove. They slip a bit at the back but that's been solved by using the very last lacing hole and a lacing technique to stop that from happening. I'm also wondering if these new shoes are part of the solution to my continuing knee problems.
I'm lucky enough to have been selected to try out a couple of new ranges that Chaffree have produced. You may remember me recommending their running underwear in my 'What To Wear' guide for new runners - I have three pairs of their long knickerbocker style undies because they are great under shorts, skorts and leggings but I also use them to evade VPL and chubb-rub when wearing summer dresses. Anyway, I was sent a pair of their leggings and some running socks to try out.
The Chaffree socks are right up there as probably the best socks I've worn to run in - they are soft and stretchy, so very easy to put on, but they are also cushioned throughout which works really well with a good fitting shoe. The Chaffree leggings are equally amazing and I've worn them both for running and for day-to-day wear. You can read all the technical wizardry about the on them website but they are really comfy (and the high waisted cut is great), they don't ride up or down, are lightweight and I've found that they wash really well. Again, more blurb on the Chaffree website with lots of different sizing options - Chaffree go up to a 2XL (size 22-24) too.
As an aside, my daughter bought me two pairs of More Mile running socks for my birthday and they are my second favourite after the Chaffree ones now... relegated after just 2 weeks!! She also bought me four new buffs to add too my collection so I can't wait to try those out soon. I've also been introduced to Tikiboo leggings. I saw someone wearing a pair of Union Jack leggings, found out they had been discontinued (gggrrr), was directed to a "buy and sell" Facebook group specifically for this brand and within a couple of hours had become the lucky owner of a pair of said leggings and they are more awesome than you could ever imagine!
As mentioned, I've been floored by the flaring up of arthritis in my knees. It was diagnosed about four years ago and I was advised not to run "long distance" so I knew I was risking a lot by continuing running. But it's more than a hobby for me - it's my "me time" so I do as much as I can, when I can. I know I need to take time out when the niggles start but this time I've researched and used natural remedies (turmeric and black pepper capsules), Kinesiology tape (KT tape) to strap and support my knee and understood the benefits of actual rest and recuperation. It's been hard work but over the last week I've started to see results by slowing my pace, staying on-road instead of trail running and basically just learning to be patient. I want to run. I need to run. I have to listen to my body.