Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Keep on runnin'

A strange thing has happened recently.

I have always been quite active and - I would like to think - quite fit; but football was always my sport. I liked watching it and loved playing it. I would play two or sometimes three times a week.

A couple of years ago I started getting a lot of niggly injuries while playing footy. I went over on my ankle and did it in pretty bad, it took about 4 months before I was ready to play again. A bit after that I picked up a groin strain. I took a few weeks off to try and rest it before going back but 5 minutes into my first game I pulled it again, this time I was out for a couple of months.

A couple of weeks after coming back to playing I did my ankle again. I've pulled my hamstring a couple of times. My groin still gives my gyp so I can't run at full pace these days and I recently had a bit of tendinitis in my achilles.

Some of these injuries are things that just happen sometimes. Others may be due to failing to warm up and stretch properly or
rushing back too soon after injury. Some of them I think are happening because I'm getting a bit older - 34 last month - and all of them are now taking longer to heal.

While I've not been able to play I've tried to keep in shape, initially by doing push ups, sit ups and a little work with dumbbells as well as some swimming and cycling. Then I was able to start jogging. I got myself some decent running shoes and hit the roads.

At first the jogging was pretty hard going, I would get shin splints, sore knees and my groin would nip. I'm quite heavy for my size, 5ft 10 and
13 stone, though not fat, I would say of medium build. The weight was part of the problem, but after a while my legs started getting used to it and I would be in less discomfort.

It's got to the stage now that I'm really enjoying going out for runs. I still can't go all that fast due to the not-quite-healed groin thing and my continued love affair with food and beer which mean I haven't yet shifted any of the 182 pounds. But I'm usually out three or four times a week and noticing improvement by the week.

When my bird, Laura, Ronnie and Mary were running a relay in the Edinburgh Marathon a couple of months ago me, Don, Pablo and Wanless decided to do the same thing in next year's event. Having something to aim for has really helped, even though it is quite far away. My bird has started talking about doing the Aviemore Half Marathon in October. My progress has been good so I think I'm going to aim for that as well.

On Saturday my bird and I went out for a run. We had worked out a 7.5 mile route around the forests by her ma's house. We took it at a pretty easy pace and were both feeling fine. The track split into two and we weren't sure which way to go. Inevitably we ended up taking the wrong turn and it added and extra mile and a half onto the distance we had to run. But we both completed it and I felt great after it and could have went on. 9 miles in under an hour and a half isn't too bad, especially as I had to stop half way through to run into the woods for a keech.

So that's it, I'm now more into my running than my football. I played footy last night and today I am in some pain with my groin. I tried to go for a nice easy jog earlier and it didn't feel right at all. So I think I am going to have to knock the footy on the head for now. I'll go back to it after the half marathon, but I'm going to concentrate on trying to beat 2 hours for the 13 and a bit miles.

11 weeks and counting. Bring it on!