Wet, wet, wet…….launched in Lycra ! 

Is it me or do others out there occasionally like to press the self destruct button for no other reason than ‘because you can’ as I can’t really identify another reason to do it every now and again, but I do ?

That’s actually not strictly true as I know the trigger, the dreaded runners ‘niggle’ ! Actually for me more of a worry. I felt said niggle in the same place about 3 years ago when  I finally resorted to my first ever foray to the physio and found I had torn my MCL ……(which stands for blah, blah, ligament), the one running down the side of your knee on the inside of your leg. It was a long recovery and much taping was required; but on reflection, as a much more inexperienced runner, I felt maybe I’d stayed off it too long and I could have trained around it better. It did cause me to miss the 2012 Robin Hood Half Marathon. So having signed up for this year’s half and so far having not really followed a training plan apart from…..I can run a half marathon, I’ve done it 5 times !! I have been trying to ignore the identical niggle and it’s freaked me out.


When a hint of a ‘niggle’ derails your plans


My actual original plan was to rest and see how that went before racing off to the physio in a panic. So after 7 miles with Ellie followed by much ‘niggling’ !! I did indeed decide not to run for a whole week…..gggggrrrrr grumpy time and an opportunity to just go the whole hog and hit the ‘self destruct’ button. If I had a manual it would say “pressing this button causes the user to go into full couch potato mode and not cross train with any appropriate impact free exercise that the user pays an extortionate monthly gym membership to be able to do. The user will also deviate from ‘eat like an athlete mode’ and switch to ‘ inhale any edible high calorie items within reach of the user’ mode which can be additionally boosted by switching off the ‘only drink moderately at weekends’ option which will reset the user to ‘ drink like a fish and enjoy two early doors 2for1 cocktail nights’ ……in the week !”


Time for self destruct


Clearly whilst the rest might not be a bad thing, the mental impact of constantly beating yourself up is equally not good. This is also not a good plan 3 weeks off your summer holiday when the occasion may arise where the wearing of bikini is a definite possibility.  I know the current mantra ‘want a bikini body, put body in bikini’ ……… very empowering, but sadly bollocks. As far as any aspect of my wardrobe goes, if anything is oozing out of it, I’m not wearing it !

It’s not the first time I’ve done this, one bad moment leads to hedonistic overload.
Resolved to ‘get a grip’ I ceased after precisely 1 week, gave myself a stern talking to, as you do and  got myself off down to HPP for Monday’s club run. Out along the river for 6 miles with lovely Derek and the steady crew was fabulous. I felt the niggle but it settled, it wasn’t a deal breaker by any means. I chatted to a guy I’ve seen but never spoken to, a seasoned marathon runner who does a couple every year but missed London this year as it was the day after his 70th birthday!! There’s hope for us all. I finished the run with a really nice young lady who has just finished the improvers course at HPP to go from 5km to 10km and as new improvers were starting again at just 3 miles, she braved coming out with the main club. That’s the great bit about running when you’re not killing yourself for a PB, meeting new folks is lovely.

I thought I wouldn’t push my luck with my knee with another run and so  crazily decided to swap the next run with an early doors swim. Now I can swim, I used to love swimming and a few years ago the trip to the gym or a class was never complete without a few lengths of the pool. Nowadays I get my cosie on for the steam room and jacuzzi only, shunning the pool with a casual CBA! This more recent need to swim again has been building, I’ve been watching the triathlons on telly, it looks so easy. I was ready for some pool action.

I had to rummage for a sensible swimsuit to actually swim in, you know more black and racer backed than tropically floral and strapless. Now without wanting to put you off your cuppa, being so close to my holidays I hadn’t really thought through important timing issues of this sudden urge to jump in the pool and certain pre holiday waxing treatments!! Let’s just say an Edwardian costume would have been a better option. Trying to pull your speedo down to your knees isn’t great. Not sure what I mean? Check out this clip which I find so funny…

I thought maybe I could swim before work as a regular training session. As a test, I cheated and picked a day I’d decided to work from home just to see how it all worked out before doing it again and having to take my work clothes and make up etc etc. I got there at 7.10 and was horrified to see the car park unexpectedly busy. There were chaps coming out ready for work. I guess the gym opens at 6, but how do these guys roll out of bed and train, I hate running when by brain isn’t awake. There were folks in the bar already having breakfast, a few of clearly retired age………what wrong with these people ( are you detecting I’m not a morning person?)


Am I the only non morning runner?


The pools inside and out weren’t too busy but I knew before I went that I’d probably have to share a lane! Yes I am that fussy, normally I only swim when I get a lane to myself! When I’m there at night the pool is empty and lit and actually looks so inviting you could have the whole thing to yourself…….yet I don’t? I chose the  ‘medium’ speed lane. There was a guy ploughing up the fast lane with hand paddles, so I was definitely not getting in his way. The slow lane however was  claimed by a few grey haired ladies clearly not getting their grey hair wet, but at least not swimming up and down in parallel talking to each other ……….aaaarrrrgggghhh don’t do EVER do that in a marked lane.

Just one lady was in medium and  I tried not to be intimidated by her swimming cap. Why do I do that, it’s like running shorts. If you wear a hat, you must be an awesome swimmer. I totally know that’s not true, I’m often faster than people in hats. Clearly, if you’re a blog fan, you know that I might be a little bit competitive, so if you’re in the lane next to me, yes, we are racing ! I have 2 swim hats somewhere in the bottom of my kit drawer, I’ve never worn them, I suspect they’re rotten by now. I will not put one on, why? because I don’t feel worthy. My breast stroke is ( head going under and all that) and I can keep that going and going; I’d normally stop through boredom. I can do front crawl, sorry, freestyle with proper bilateral breathing for precisely 1 length and I’m dead. I watch people (from the jacuzzi usually) freestyle length after length, really casually, not racing, just keeping going. I try to relax, breath and going all out to manage two lengths I feel I might drown. I compromise and alternate a length of each. No tumble turns of course, now they are impressive. It must be years since a friend tried to teach me. All I recall is inhaling half the pool up my nose until the back of my eyes stung and having my arse upwards far longer then required to make an elegant turn. I could say I felt like a hippo but they’re actually quite graceful in water so I’d be doing hippo’s a disservice.


or maybe I won’t try getting better


Anyway I managed 30 lengths. I could have gone on but my lower back was starting to hurt so either I’m not used to it or my style is fundamentally appalling. I quit while I was ahead. Now at the time and throughout the swim my goggles didn’t feel too tight and I noticed they’d left a mark after my shower. That was nothing until my daughter came in 2 hours later as I was busy in my ‘lady cave’ and said ‘oh my god mum what’s wrong ?’ , I went to the mirror and shocked myself, quite frankly I looked like I hadn’t slept in a year! The goggle marks were ridiculous, puffy under eyes and it actually lasted almost all day. I couldn’t go out without a trowel load of concealer and masterful use of that beauty essential ‘touché eclat’. Thank god I decided to try an early swim on a day working from home as whilst I could indeed have got to work on time for future reference, I would have looked ridiculous. I’d have got sent home for looking so unwell ( how to get a day off !!) I had the look of a battered housewife. What did I do wrong?

So will I swim again? I think I might have liked it, or was it just boring? I haven’t yet decided. Got to sort the goggles out though!


I need a new goggle strategy


Categories: Ladies of a Certain Age Running (LCA), Runners Problems

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