running blog


Barefoot Running (and a lesson learned!)

For summer reading I bought myself a book on Barefoot Running. Part out of general curiosity but also for more interested research after my recent 3 week layoff from running because of a painful ITB injury and realising that possible prevention of future injury was orthotics plus stiff stability shoes. Now I hate any shoes that are too inflexible or heavy with a vengeance!


The trouble is that we have visitors staying here on the Isle of Wight with us at the moment which includes a houseful of teenagers/pre-teens. This means that I didn’t actually manage to read much of the book at first because, not only have I been busy but have also had to fight to get my paws on it as it has been passed around smirking teenagers. Some taking the mickey (think ministry of funny walks), others reading it and lecturing me on ‘how to run’ and many more sarcastic and derogatory comments.

Wednesday we were at Yaverland Beach on a pleasant but not too hot day, and my recovering ITB was feeling good so I decided it was finally time to have a first, post injury, short easy run. And why not barefoot? The tide was out leaving a wonderful quiet, long and wide stretch of beach with soft wet sand. For all their sarcasm the kids actually joined me (some more serious than others) and we set off at an easy pace barefoot along the beach.

My leg felt a bit awkward and stiff to start with but was wonderfully pain-free for the first time in a long while. The distance to the far end of the beach was deceptive; it was a mile to the end, by which stage I had lost all but one of my companions. We ran through the waves to make the turn point round a rock and headed back to the group. Then we were running against the wind so it was harder going with sand in our eyes and soon it was only me enjoying the run back. I remembered I should be taking it ‘easy’ so made myself pull up to a walk after 20 minutes, having run 1.8 miles.

What a great feeling running barefoot and to be running again!

Now later that day, or maybe it was the next morning? I finally read the pertinent chapters of the book, including, most importantly the part about BRES (barefoot running exuberance syndrome). Yes. The book is absolutely right. If you over-do it you will feel like someone is sticking daggers in your calves! On a brighter note I was very pleased that aside from the calves agony, my ITB was totally fine and also there was not a peep of niggle from my achilles. I read on to the following chapter and realised that the source of my pain was that a suggested first barefoot run should have been more like 5 mins not 20!

Today, after some home improvised ‘foam rolling’ (wine bottle wrapped in a towel) I managed to get my calves flexible and me pain-free and moving again. Undeterred from barefoot running I did another beach run today but kept it short to 3/4 of a mile.

Lesson learned? Yes. Read the dam book first before you venture into pastures new!

But, Yes, barefoot feels great and I will be continuing with this journey. Definitely where I can on beaches and other suitable surfaces from time to time to strengthen my feet and legs and improve my running. I am also going to go back to minimalist shoes.


Nomal service to be resumed…

After 2 weeks not running because of injury there finally is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I decided that after a week of leg/hip pain I had to seek professional help in order to get back running (and walking normally) as rest alone as going to take more than a while to fix things. Being on the Isle of Wight I researched Physiotherapists on the web and found a practice with a sports injury specialism in Ryde. Turned out to be a good choice, a very friendly practice. The Physio asked me the usual load of questions, watched me walk up and down barefoot and pushed my legs and hip around a lot. An hour later after having my ITB zapped with electrodes, lasers and massaged, nicely and very painfully and with insoles in my shoes I was already experiencing less pain.

I have some stretches to do, have been advised to see a Podiatrist to get more permanent orthotics for my fallen arches and am going back next week for a follow-up. Before that I am hoping to try a small run which has to be 25%. I’m guessing that for me that should be one mile at slow pace…

Later in the day after my appointment the shooting pain on movement of my leg had been replaced by dull muscle ache (result!) and being my left leg I can now use the clutch when driving without having to lift my leg with my hand! The next day my leg was practically pain free and feeling stronger and although the pains returned yesterday after walking a lot shopping in Newport a session with the rolling-pin (my massage torture implement of choice as my foam roller is in London. Actually it’s easier to inflict the necessary pain presure) has cured most of that.

Tomorrow I’m going to try the easy run. I think I’d better not listen to Audiofuel’s new release Adrenaline Junkie 2 for my run because the feedback from everyone taking part so far in the Adrenaline Junkie competition is that it is totally awesome and I know I will not be able to behave myself and run slowly and only for a mile. Boo hoo.

Anyway feeling optimistic about slowly getting back running next week and resuming my Half Marathon Training. I haven’t been totally idle. As a form of diversion I’ve been following the 100 push ups app and have been busy decorating. One small bedroom took a lot more effort that I anticipated but then I did seem to spend as much time scrubbing paint off the places it shouldn’t be as putting it on in the first place…


Now where did I put my Zimmer frame?

Ooh ouch I’ve gone and done it now.  Just when I thought my dodgy leg was back to normal after 3 days rest, I go out for  run on Tuesday and discover too late that I should have had a few more days rest.  Now I have a really painful hip and I am limping in a rather pathetic comical fashion!  Full ahead slow…Grrr, It’s horrible being practically helpless.  All the time scowling at passing runners.  (I promise I’ll now be more sympathetic when running on busy pavements at very slow limping pedestrians… they might be injured runners!)

My training plan on Tuesday said 4 miles easy at pace of 10.30mins per mile. When I first read the plan I had scoffed at the slow pace, (I normally run between 9 and 10 min miles for easy or long runs), but figured it would be appropriate on Tuesday to test out my leg and hopefully loosen it up.  Running wasn’t painful but I couldn’t run fast and the easy pace was all I was actually capable of.

After a bit of research I’ve worked out which bit of my anatomy is the trouble. My hip muscles are probably strained a bit and are referring pain to my glutes and quads. Caused most likely by general over-training/pushing my pace together with recent long periods sitting still on long car journeys to Devon.   The best remedy seems to be ibuprofen and no surprises, rest! Plus some stretching and strengthening exercises and easing back into things gradually…

It’s so frustrating as this is my last week in London for a while and my last chance to run here and be able to go to BMF.  Not to mention my Half-Marathon training plans and burning need to go back to parkrun!

Oh well, I guess its payback for not taking a sensible long break after Juneathon before HM training started.  I will just have to take the break now instead, chill out and then carry on with my HM plan, joining back in at week 3 or so.  We could do with some sun to make the sun-lounger an option!

4.06 miles 42.47 mins


My leg hurts!

Why is it when I go for a run sometimes my leg hurts but stops about half a mile from home? I was thinking about that while I plodded slowly though my run today (with hurtie leg) and on the last leg home (sorry about the pun) when it did stop hurting, I wondered if it was due to

a, Sods law,

b, My leg had given up complaining and had gone numb,

c, I was warmed up and had blood pumping though my legs which was flushing away the bad bits and curing the DOMS, or

d, My leg had gone dead and dropped off.

Today’s run was another shortish one here in Exeter along the river Exe, the same as Tuesday except for running the circuit in the opposite direction and going much slower because of todays new aches further up the same leg as my niggling ankle. (Either my ITB, quad or hip flexor… I’m still trying to work out what!).   The past few days we’ve been out and about on sight-seeing trips and been walking a lot and have generally been on our feet for a long day so I’m hoping it is  just due to that.  After running this evening  I had a really good stretch which appears to have done a lot of good (I’m normally a bit bad at stretching properly after a short run on my own) so fingers crossed.

Oh yes, I do have to report that this evening I did find a nice courteous cyclist who stopped completely at a narrow point in the path to let me pass. Exeter cyclists reputation restored!

4.13 miles 40.23 mins




Retro Lego

For those of you in awe of the diversity of modern Lego and the huge current range of mini-figures, you might just be old enough to remember the very first, more basic Lego people. I found this, my own Lego family (circa 1974) while we are here in Devon staying with my parents. (All intact apart from one missing arm, but then the Lego shark is also missing which might explain it….) Sons are very excited about how much they could sell them for on eBay!

Running and BMF is continuing after Juneathon, with training for two Half Marathons and a 10 mile race in the autumn. I am following a half marathon plan adapted from one in this months Runners World, (see my HM training page). I have made it more flexible so I don’t get stressed if I can’t do it exactly and then give up after a couple of messed up or missed days. The objective is to try to meet the weekly mileage in anyway or combination. I’d like to do at least 4 runs a week (BMF counts as 2.5 miles) and try to do one long run and an interval or tempo session (or parkrun) each week to 10 days or so.

Today we went for a lunchtime walk by the river Exe along to Exeter Quay. A nice walk along the river and an even better stop at The Waterfront a perfect combination of pub and pizzeria where we sat outside and enjoyed a couple of their dustbin lid (sized) pizzas. Even 5 of us, including my food dustbin teenager were finally defeated and a couple of slices had to be brought home for breakfast. So this evening having sussed out the route and feeling guilty about the amount of pizza consumed I set off for a run. Running it turned out a bit shorter than it felt walking earlier but as always I enjoyed running somewhere new. It’s a popular place to run either side of the river and my loop felt like Exeter’s equivalent to the Serpentine. The downside was that the paths are quite narrow in places and are shared use with cyclists and pedestrians. It is obviously also a commuter route home and being 5.30 it was busy. I did get very peeved by the behaviour of some cyclists who seemed to think that they had every right to continue at full speed on narrow paths, and by ringing their bells and shouting, runners and pedestrians would jump out the way and stop halfway up the hedge to let them pass. Grrrrr. I restrained myself generally however one cyclist did get my sarcastic response ‘I DID hear you’ when he kept ringing his bell behind me on a narrow part.

3.88 miles 32.56 mins


Medina (IOW) parkrun

Today was the 10th Isle of Wight parkrun and I’m really pleased I dragged myself out of bed, even after getting to the Island late last night, and went along.

What a lovely parkrun, very friendly and family orientated, with people of all abilities including some amazing young athletes (U14) running fantastic times, grandchildren running with grandparents and kids running out to accompany Mum or Dad over the final 400 metres. (Now I have to encourage my own offspring to come along even to run just one lap!)

I chatted to a few people and joined in with a brief warm up with them before the start. A two lap course on the site of the Isle of Wight Festival on grass and paths, mainly flat.

The plus side was that Hubbie volunteered to drive me which made things easy (thank you!) and he had time to fit in a trip to the newsagent, butchers at the farm shop and Majestic while I was running. We were even home before either son stirred from their pits!

I ran a PB and my first sub 25 too!

24.40 mins.

14 out of 44 runners, 3rd woman and first ‘old’ woman! (40-44).

Second parkrun and I think I’m hooked!


Heaven knows I’m miserable now

With thanks and apologies to The Smiths…

I was happy in the haze of a good run done
But heaven knows I’m miserable now

I was running everyday plus a log and blog
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

Why when we are having so much fun
Do you have to go and come to an end?

Two lycra clad guys pass me by
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

I was running everyday plus a log and blog
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

Why when we are having so much fun
Do you have to go and come to an end?

What the table said at end of the day
Got us running out the door

“you’ve got to run far more miles” it said
And I (naturally) fled

Why will I miss
The people who jog, log and blog so much?

I was happy in the haze of a good run done
But heaven knows I’m miserable now

“You’ve got to run far more miles” it said
And I (naturally) fled

Why when we are having so much fun
Do you have to go and come to an end?

Juneathon Day 30.

Hyde Park run with Badwabbit.  Too tired to go crazy, chasing the table of doom so we ran a loop of the serpentine and then had a cold coke to celebrate the end of Juneathon!

6.77 miles 63.23 mins

JUNE TOTALS.  101.61 miles run   11 BMF classes.

Well done Juneathoners!