Friday, 3 July 2015

Was Brighton only 2.5 months ago?

Was it really only 2.5 months ago?  It feels like a bloody lifetime away now...

Apologies for not updating the blog sooner.  There's been an awful lot going on at home, so the blog has very much taken a back seat for the time being.  Let me fill you in on what has been going on.

After Brighton, the plan was always going to be that I was going to take a few weeks off, recharge the batteries and come back fresh, ready to take on the Berlin Marathon in September.

Two weeks off, then back into it all be it slowly and struggling.

Alison and I went on our long planned holiday to Mexico (see the pics here) at the beginning of May.  Keeping things ticking over in Mexico from a running perspective was virtually impossible.  I've never felt humidity quite like it.  Its fine just sitting by the pool or on the beach but as soon as your heart rate goes above 130 bpm, I'd liken it to running in a shower.  Uncomfortable didn't even cover it.

Then there was the food.  Despite only being away for 10 days, I made the most of it.  I don't think there was a day in the ten where I only had 1 course for breakfast.  You name it, I'd eaten it.  I haven't eaten as unhealthily as that in a good 4-5 years and it resulted in me ballooning.

The first morning back in England and getting on the scales was a massive shock.  I've lost 12lbs since but I need to lose another 6-8lbs sharpish so I can get back to enjoying my running again.

Since we've been back, the last two months have been very stop-start and I seem to be getting no where.  My Asthma has played up and I lost a week of training then I tweaked my back bending down to get my running kit out of the washing machine.  I've lost a good 12-14 days of training on and off due to the Sciatica flare up, treated primarily with Naproxen (an anti-inflammatory), Diazepam (a muscle relaxant to stop the muscles spasming) and the pain managed by Co-codomol.

With the lack of activity over the last 2.5 months, it's been a huge shock how quickly my pre-marathon form and fitness has dropped off at an alarming rate.  3 months ago, I was running 22 miles in training at a comfortable sub 4 marathon pace.  All of a sudden, running 5k at 9:30 min/mile pace two days in a row is a massive achievement.

Sciatica has been dogging me for the best part of 4-5 weeks now, so I've asked my GP to 'refer' me to a specialist, using our private healthcare.  Hopefully, the specialist will get to the bottom of the problem quickly.  At the moment, any long spell sitting is playing havoc with my back.  It stiffens quickly (come on people, clean thoughts here!) and going from a sitting to standing position takes time and it takes me a good while to get properly upright.

Marathon recovery, holiday and injury = bye bye 100 miles per month minimum target :( 

Along with an almost constant niggle in my left Achilles Tendon and right Hamstring after Brighton, I made the decision to withdraw from Berlin and all future races until I'm ready to race again.  I'm not willing to run the worlds quickest marathon course in the worst shape possible.  I want to be firing on all cylinders again before I even contemplate it.

The way I feel at the moment, I may well have run my last marathon.  Yet again, my marathon recovery has been nothing worse than shocking.  Ok, I've had a long holiday, put a bit of weight on and been struggling with a few niggles but in myself, I feel worse than ever.  Given how great I felt in March and at the beginning of April, I find this a massive surprise but I can relax in the knowledge that it'll hopefully only take me 2-3 months to get back into shape again but obviously out of contention for Berlin but just in time for the London Marathon ballot where a decision can be made if needs be.

Right, let me move away from running for a moment.  There's been a couple of other big changes in my life...

I met Alison just over a year ago now.  Our first date was in the Bull's Head at Chislehurst and got on like a house on fire.  Second date, she fell into my arms (literally - she claims she wasn't drunk but knowing how she does like a glass of red wine, she's got no defence!) and the rest is history...

The last year and a bit has been out of this world.  We've been to Amsterdam, Venice and Mexico already and we head out to Spain in August to take Izzy on her first sunshine holiday and I just cant wait to see her face when we tell her we're finally taking her on a plane when we see her this weekend.  

Al and I in Mexico

Al has opened up my eyes to a world that I didn't really believe existed.  One full of happiness and laughter.  Thinking back to May 2008 and the conversation with my parents about would they mind me sleeping on their sofa for a couple of days until I got myself sorted (which then turned into two years lol), I'm a million miles away from that now.

Al has also opened my eyes up to a whole host of different things.  Geordie Shore, Love Island (yeah, you 'crack on' love, I've just been 'pied' WTF?!?!)...Masterchef Australia, haha what other crap TV has she inflicted on me?  I remember the look on Al's face when I took her for dinner in the We Anchor In Hope in Welling.  It was one of 'this man needs some educating'.  Well she's done a pretty good job of that thus far.  Jeez, I've even developed a taste for red wine!  I never expected that.  It has been a year of many firsts for me and Al is the main reason behind them all.  Likewise, Alison has been getting to grips with words not so familiar in her football, running, cycling.  She's so supportive in all I do.  She understands why I feel the need to get up early on a Sunday and run 18 miles for 'fun'  (although she still thinks I'm mental!) She pretty well knows me better than I know myself.  She's just bloody awesome. 

The best thing of all, I've had the pleasure of Alison meeting Izzy and seeing their relationship develop.  Lets not forget here, we (Izzy and I) came as a package.  Not many women would take a man and his daughter on but Al has welcomed us both with open arms.  Izzy and Al gang up on me terribly and we have so much laughter together.  It's so good to see them get on so well together.  Izzy thinks the absolute world of Al and that makes me bloody happy, I can tell you!

Part of me feels like I'm living a dream of a kind.  This time last year I was living in a two-bed flat in Welling.  All of a sudden, I'm living with an awesome woman in a big house in in Petts Wood.  I couldn't imagine my life without Al now.  

So as it happens, I asked Al to marry me.  Thankfully, she said yes.  Something I learned a long time ago, you have to live for the moment and live each day like its your last.  We could have dated for another year and come to the same conclusion.  So there you go.  The man that vowed never to marry again is getting married again.

So yes honey, I do love you and now you've got it in writing too so you can always go back and refer to this.  I remember a while ago you said I dont ever write about you.  Now I have lol.

Right, enough of me being a total wuss.

There's one other big change going on at the moment.  My brother and best-mate, Steve, has/is moved to Liverpool.  Well Birkenhead actually.  He has found love too.  Many of you will know what Steve has been through so I cant begin to tell you how happy I am for him.  That really has been the cherry on the top of the icing as far as I'm concerned.  Of course, from a selfish view, I wish he was still down south but hopefully this move will be the making of the new Steve.

I've met Steve's girlfriend Lindsay a few times now and I like her a lot.  Al and Izzy like her and the old dears seem keen too.  She's Steve's dream woman by the looks of it and I'm just so pleased for him that he's found some happiness in his life too.  He is well overdue some luck and happiness.  We're looking forward to spending some good times with them in the future, up in the North West and back in London and the South-East.  (So when did you say the Liverpool Marathon was, Lee & Dave?)

Steve's in the process of shifting his stuff up North and trying to find a job but given his skill set, it really shouldn't take him long, fingers crossed.

Best of luck matey :)

Oh...and no more borrowing cars.  I've got my own again.  After 5 years of pleading with the old man to borrow his Honda Civic and spending the last year using Alison's 4x4, I've finally got my own motor again.  A nice little Ford Focus (little compared to the 4x4!)  Sensible choice I think.  Cheap to run, fun to drive.  Oh the joys of having my freedom back again, so I'll be able to drive myself to races and long training runs with the Plums, then Alison won't think her car has been stolen and calls the Police!

Home Sweet Home by dusk in Petts Wood

So all in all, live is pretty damn good right now.  You can't ask for any more than that.  Unusually, I don't have an awful lot to moan about at the moment.  Alison may tell you otherwise ;)

[Update:  I've now seen the Spinal consultant.  He has ordered a MRI scan and depending on the results, he'll advise on best course of treatment afterwards.  To be continued!]

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