One small step

It’s been a week since last my run. It was a club run but it was so bad I won’t dignify it with an entry, suffice to say it was the first time I’ve ever had to abort a club session and be accompanied by an entourage to take me back to base.

It wasn’t that I physically couldn’t run, but my recent issues of having numbness and tingling down my left side of the body simultaneously reared it’s ugly head again after roughly a mile. I had to stop.

As a result I’ve stopped just short of actually being scared to run but I have been very, very hesitant to try it again. I wanted to wait until I’ve had a few days clear of the ‘funny turns’ I’ve been having before attempting it so, encouraged by a weekend free of them, I decided to venture out tonight.

Working on the theory that I wanted to retrain my body again and build things back up in a structured, disciplined manner I’ve opted to fast track myself back through Couch to 5K. I’ve done C25K so many times now and, obviously, I don’t need to worry about the actual running part of it but it provides a handy ready made plan to gradually reintroduce exercise etc. back into my system given that I haven’t a clue what has been causing things to happen lately. I may or may not ‘complete’ the C25K but I’ll keep going until I feel comfortable within myself again.

As I said, I was going to fast track myself through C25K so I had intended to do the entire first week in one go tonight, in other words run/walk in two minute intervals nine times which would have given me 36 minutes on my feet. Again, compared to what I’m used to, that is nothing but I wanted to be gentle on my body, at least initially.

That was the plan when I went out around 9pm … only I hadn’t bargained on it being December! It tends to get quite slippy!!! I realised this fairly quickly so elected, instead, to just do ‘day one’ which was a very basic two minutes run/walk x3.

But to make it slightly interesting I thought I’d do it around the playing fields beside my house in the pitch dark … well, not quite, because I had bought myself a head torch today so this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. No floodlights, not even any street lights, this was total darkness but I found it quite liberating to be out there on my own with just my head torch for company. That was, until, some bloke came past me on his bike and scared the bejaysus out of me!!!!

The run itself was fine. The running segments were over very quickly, whereas the walking seemed to drag. My running pace seemed ok, too, as were my legs so as first tentative steps back went it was a success.

I’m also writing this a couple of hours later and, so far, I’ve suffered no ill effects elsewhere in my body so, hopefully, things are looking up.

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Tentative steps

Tonight was my first run in ten days. Regular readers will know I start to lose confidence in my own ability if I go any more than three or four days without running, so to leave it so long suggests that all is not well in my world.

It isn’t.

Granted, I was on holiday last week so running wasn’t exactly top of the agenda, but that’s not the reason.

After my run around the park on Monday I took trips to Fuengirola and Gibraltar on Tuesday and Wednesday which left no time for a run. That was ok, I had planned to go out on the Thursday for a gentle loosen up.

But, on Thursday, I began to experience some weird sensations down the left side of my body.

If you can imagine what it feels like to get your mouth numbed by the dentist that’ll give you an idea of what I experienced. It started on the left side of my lip and spread quickly all down that side of my body, through my arms, fingers, legs and toes.

It also left me quite disorientated, could happen without warning and was both numbing and tingling at the same time. Not really ideal for running, especially in a foreign country.

This has continued a few times a day over the last week so clearly I wasn’t going to risk anything until I got it under control. I have had medical advice and been put on medication to try to deal with it.

Today was the first day since it all started that I haven’t felt anything so I decided to go out for a gentle 5k this evening.

It was so gentle that I Jeffed it from start to finish using very basic 60sec/30sec splits. I didn’t want to risk anything and wanted to take it as easily as I possibly could.

I used my old faithful route along the dual carriageway to the industrial estate and back again. It’s straight, flat, wide footpath, no roads to cross, close to home etc. so if I didn’t feel well I wouldn’t really be at any risk.

It went well, mostly. Apart from the frustration of the start/stop repeats every few seconds I didn’t suffer any ill effects until the last half-a-mile. Then the dreaded numbness in my lips kicked in, followed by the tingling in my left arm etc.

Thankfully I was on the way home by this stage anyway, and it was downhill so I just slowed down and kept running. I know I maybe should have stopped, but I was worried that by stopping the effects would magnify so I thought it was best just to make it home.

And, right enough, when I got home the symptoms started to get quite bad so it was perhaps sensible that I just kept going until I was in a place of safety.

I’m not sure what my next step is now. I’m a bit wary of running on my own now so perhaps I’ll give it a go at club on Monday night (parkrun on Saturday might be too soon) when at least I’ll have people around me.

Relive my run

Gandalf the Rooster

After a hectic year of running and racing I think that you’d agree I needed a holiday so my wife booked a week for both of us in the southern Spain resort of Benalmadena.

We arrived on Saturday night but circumstances yesterday (Sunday) dictated that I didn’t get out for a short run, therefore breaking my planned run streak for the month. Ah well, maybe some other time.

However, old habits die hard, so at around club time this evening I thought I’d go out for a little run around the area where we’re staying.

It’s handy we’re right beside a large park and only 200 yards or so from the beach so I had plenty of scenery to explore.

Starting off in the park, I quickly knew this wasn’t go to be a serious run. The park contains many varieties of wildlife literally just roaming around eg: peacocks, hares, roosters, chickens, swans and even a donkey or two – and that’s just what I spotted. It’s great to see, but it also meant I was stopping every so often to take pictures.

That was ok. I’m on holiday, this was only really a ‘keep moving’ type run and I was only planning on doing a couple of times.

The park is quite undulating so I told myself that if I at least ran the inclines then I’d get a bit of a workout.

So that’s what I did. I faffed around on the flats but ran up the hills. Well, almost.

As I approached the top of one hill a rather menacing looking rooster marched out from the shrubbery, looked at me and just stopped there in a Gandalf-esque ‘you shall not pass’ manner. I wasn’t for arguing so I turned and went the other way. I’m no hero!

After the park I ran down the hill to the beach. I haven’t really run much on sand before, but I can tell you it’s not easy. My right leg was going in one direction, my left leg in the other! But it was fun, although the patrons sitting looking out at me from the beach cafe probably enjoyed the spectacle more than I enjoyed the experience!

You’ll note I said I ran down the hill … well, I want to point out I also ran back up it again to the hotel. It actually was quite steep (think Princes’ Street at home) but I was quite pleased I managed to do it, and felt quite comfortable with it as well.

Whether or not I run for the rest of the week is debatable. I’m on holiday, my planned run streak has fallen by the wayside and I’ve ticked off another location on my run map. I always like to go for a run when I’m somewhere new, I’ve done that so maybe now I can relax for the rest of the week.

Relive my run