I’m undecided whether a bout of aggravation to my sciatic nerve is going to mean disaster for my Marathon des Sables in just 10 weeks’ time or if it’s going to be a blessing in disguise.
So close to the race I’m obviously a little nervous that such an extensive period of extreme effort combined with the basic conditions of life on the race will result in an even more uncomfortable experience than I was expecting, possibly excruciatingly painful even. However, having re-assessed my training in light of my condition recently I can report my biggest weekly distance since I started training, with 60 miles covered last week.
All of it was done at a pace of around 15 minutes/mile, or 4 miles an hour, which if achievable on the MdS will be pretty acceptable frankly. I still can’t run really – the pounding seems to aggravate the sciatic nerve irritation and leaves me with a numb and tingly lower left leg, and considerable pain in my left glute. I’m also carrying a much lighter pack than my anticipated race weight, but it’s more positive than it’s been in the last couple of weeks.
The walking this week was split between a 6-mile route to and from work on various days and 2 longer sessions at the weekend – 14 miles on Saturday afternoon, and 22 miles on Sunday morning, both in some pretty horrific blustery conditions – not often you see waterfalls being blown upwards rather than falling to the ground! The bracing conditions were a far cry from the desert but seemed to suit me well and I had no problems on either day despite having wet feet for most of the weekend and struggling to stand up at times (due to the wind).
I’m still seeing the physio, Matthew at Hallamshire Physio, who has been excellent (though not so good as to have cured my back problems just yet!). Under his guidance, I’m spending best part of an hour a day stretching, mobilising and generally trying to improve the sciatica and he seems confident that come race day it will have been remedied – funnily enough he never uses the word “cured”.
Kit faffing continues a-pace with more of my race food coming together ready to be bagged and packed – there is absolutely nothing fresh in there to worry about it going off in the next 10 weeks. I think I’m almost there on clothing and the like too which will be a great relief for my bank balance.
Fundraising is also doing pretty well, having topped the £1,000 mark, but there’s still plenty of time for people to sponsor us via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/ianandrichmds2012. Tickets to our charity Moroccan feast seem to be selling well and we’re thinking of one or two other ways of raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
So all in all, I’m in a fairly positive state of mind at this stage, though I fear sciatica may have put paid to any ambitions I had at winning the race………
Monday, 23 January 2012
Monday, 9 January 2012
|Heading back to Sheffield in the|
early morning snow
All was going so well – running on consecutive days, increasing the pack load to 8kg+,and some excellent coverage in the local Sheffield Star and Sheffield Telegraph before Christmas. Rich and I managed a pre-Christmas marathon distance run around the Derwent Dams in the Peak District which was fantastic – we completed the distance in 5 hours, carrying 8kg packs with half the distance completed in the dark and in pretty icy conditions. Both of us felt good pretty much all the way round, and apart from a close call with mild hypothermia once we’d finished it was a great success.
The training plan was always to take it easy in the lead up to Christmas and focus on back-to-back running between Christmas and New Year. The plan was adhered to, but after the 3rd of our back to back runs my back felt really stiff. The 4th day’s 10 miles was painful, and in hindsight carrying the pack that day probably wasn’t the best idea, but you know how it is. Adding to my woes, I managed to aggravate my recovering shoulder injury, rather pathetically by pushing myself up out of the sofa on Christmas day in order to get another beer from the fridge. Luckily the strong anti-inflammatory drugs I’ve been taking for that are also good for helping my back!
A trip for a sports massage, followed by a visit to the GP and then a physio have all confirmed a bout of sciatica. Luckily it appears manageable (which I take to mean it’s not totally debilitating, but it hurts!) and actually a week or so on, it does feel better. Last week saw the turbo trainer being dusted off and set up again in the garage to try to maintain my cardio fitness, whilst not running. The weekend’s long run was translated into a 15 mile march around the Derwent Dams with a light pack. That produced no ill effects in terms of my back, and was completed in sub-15 minutes/mile pace which was positive.
So, before the final push, a bit of recovery and not being silly about trying to do too much too soon. It’s not what I wanted at this stage, but as so many people keep telling me, I’m almost 40 now and I can’t expect my body to cope and/or recover as well as when I was younger. Great, thanks for that.
One thing I can focus on whilst injured however is the fund raising. As I post this update, our running total stands at £455 (http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/ianandrichmds2012) and we’re now selling tickets for a fund raising Moroccan Themed Night at our sponsor’s restaurant Otto’s on Sharrow Vale Road in Sheffield on 24 February.