Will a Sprint Triathlon be my next challenge?

It is fair to say that I have had too much time on my hands to think about running and/or an alternative to running. As I come to the final week of my month-long enforced break from the sport, I think that I have finally concluded that I will stick to running 10ks from now on and look for another endurance challenge to the half-marathon.

I was asked by some friends to do a sprint triathlon in August this year but declined as it was only three weeks before my half-marathon and I didn’t want to compromise my goal. However, having had to content myself with only  swimming or riding my bike to keep fit over the last few weeks, I’m thinking it might make a worthy next challenge.  For those of you who don’t know what a sprint triathlon is, here’s a good description from FitDay. However, to summarise it’s usually a 750-meter swim (or how I like to think of it as 30 lengths of a 25m pool), 20k-bike ride and a 5k-run.

I’d really like to stick with the running, but I’m realistic enough to know that this might no longer be the best option. The next sprint triathlon isn’t until June next year so I may very well have changed my mind by then. The test will be when I get back out on the road next week and start breaking in my expensive custom-made inner soles. I can’t wait!

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My meeting with Ortho Guy

Yesterday I went for my meeting with the orthopaedic specialist that my doctor referred me too. I got lucky as the guy’s favourite country is Australia so we were able to have a good chat whilst he went about putting little black stickers on my legs and viewing my feet through the mirror machine.

It was then time to get on the treadmill so that I could be videoed walking and running. This was actually a real treat as I’ve been banned from running for a month, so I took full advantage of it!

Watching the videos back, it was clear to see why I have been having problems with my left knee and foot. I have one foot (the left problem one) that has a high arch and the right one that is completely normal. It’s a bit of an anomaly as normally people don’t have two completely different feet!

The solution, hopefully, is to to have special insoles made for my left running shoe so that the arch is supported. I will have these by next week and am looking forward to trying them out. Anything to get back to running.

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The sad consequences of running through the pain

As I’ve mentioned in a few of my posts, I’ve been getting a bit of pain in my knee during long runs. This has now progressed to foot pain on shorter runs. I’m a great one for ignoring things until they go away, but when I woke up this morning unable to put weight on my foot, I had to admit that it was time to phone a professional.

By mid morning I was taking to a local Orthopaedic doctor for the first time. I was immediately put at ease by the fact that he had also done the Greifensee half-marathon too a couple of weeks ago. For some reason I’d assumed I’d get someone who would be very anti-running so this was a definite plus.

To cut a long story short, there appears to be a problem with my muscles struggling to keep up with the demands of running long distances which could have originated from an under lying problem ‘that I do not walk properly’. When I heard this diagnosis I did say that it was surprising to get to my age and be told that I don’t walk properly!

Anyway, I have to be video recorded walking and running (so more on this later) so that my action can be analysed further. More disturbing is that I have to take a full month off running to give my muscles a good rest. I’m disappointed but it could have been worse so I’m going to take all the advice on board and follow it to the letter to ensure that I can get back to running ASAP.

In the meantime I have been given some anti-inflammatries to help reduce the swelling I didn’t even know I had in my knee. As you can see from the picture the name says it all!

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I knew it! Chocolate is good for you!

Like most chocoholics, I am always on the lookout for articles that justify my addiction. Luckily yesterday’s story by Runner’s World: “Burn Fat with Chocolate” had me happily reaching for the Lindt 70% Cocoa without feeling guilty.

Of the examples given to prove chocolate’s goodness, I particularly liked number 3:

It boosts your staying power

From reducing your cholesterol levels to easing inflammation, the antioxidants in chocolate could help tackle your risk factors for heart disease – which in turn means you can exercise safely, for longer. One HarvardUniversity study found apples to be the only food with a higher antioxidant count per 100kcal”.

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Doing my bit for charity

Today I took part in the annual Pink Ribbon 4km charity event in Zurich. Our team “P P Rioters” was one of the largest with a total of 18 members (including mummies and some kids) and we raised a whopping 750 francs for breast cancer research!

The weather was perfect and a change of course this year made the distance feel much shorter than 4kms or perhaps I’m just used to longer distances now after my half marathon last weekend.

As you’ll see from the pics, some of our team members took the ‘riot’ theme seriously and wore very attractive bubble gum pink balaclavas!

Looks like some of the “P P’s” will also be joining me and others for the Zurich New Year’s Eve Fun Run in December. Can’t wait!

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Why am I craving eggs?

This was a question I was asking myself last night as I was making dinner as all I really wanted to eat was a boiled egg!

Maybe this doesn’t sound strange to some of you, but for me this is not a normal occurrence. Eggs have never been part of my weekly diet and I have definitely never ‘craved’ them.

So, I did a bit of online research to find out if this was normal for runners and found the following useful explanation from Runner’s World which explains why my body wants eggs:

“One egg fulfills about 10 percent of your daily protein needs. Egg protein is the most complete food protein short of human breast milk, which means the protein in eggs contains all the crucial amino acids your hard-working muscles need to promote recovery. Eat just one of these nutritional powerhouses and you’ll also get about 30 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, which is vital for healthy bones. And eggs contain choline, a brain nutrient that aids memory, and leutin, a pigment needed for healthy eyes. Choose omega-3 enhanced eggs and you can also increase your intake of healthy fats. Don’t worry too much about the cholesterol: Studies have shown that egg eaters have a lower risk for heart disease than those who avoid eggs.”

This is an excert from their article “The Best Foods for Runner’s” which is worth reading too. Since reading this, I’ll also be adding Orange to my diet (not a fruit I normally eat), if it really can reduce muscle soreness!

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The recovery is over so on to the next challenge

It appears that I am still, sadly, a little naive about this new relationship in my life called running. After finishing the half-marathon on Saturday evening, I found myself floored on Monday with a cold and fever.

Naively (or stupidly!) I had assumed that recovery from the race would be similar to one of my long running sessions and my body would return to normal in a couple of days. Perhaps I hadn’t factored in the impact of running in the rain for so long plus the long walk back to the changing rooms before I could change into warm, dry clothes.

There was definitely a low point on Monday when I wondered whether it was all worth it but now that I am on day 4 of my recovery I am now thinking about the next challenge. So, I have entered a 10km run next month and have set myself the goal of improving my time. I may even try this tempo running programme that I’ve been reading about recently, but more on that later.

Now that I am focussed on my next race I feel much more relaxed and, more importantly, ready to go running again both physically and mentally.

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