Week 9: North Bristol River Run

28th February 2016

Following last week’s run my right knee was such a mess, just getting to the start line this week seemed pretty unlikely! We worked out my knee cap was being pulled outwards and tilted slightly, leaving my knee angry and irritated. I thought I was either going to Screenshot 2016-02-28 17.31.31have to wait until Tuesday/ Wednesday to get it done or choose a substitute session. Ros Cooke on Tuesday and Barry Edwards on Friday really helped me out with their treatment- a massive thank to you both for taking the time to see me before and after their working days! I’ve stacked ibuprofen, green tea and ice at nights plus foam rolling to try and reduce the inflammation and pain. Any useful training was out of the question until Friday. I just chose to sulk on a foam roller instead! All of this just reinforces the need to do strength training to correct the detrimental effects of long distance running.

Today was good fun. I set out with the only route plan to try and follow the river north from our house up towards the M4. I got completely lost in beautiful parts of Bristol I’ve never been before- some fantastic, some the UWE campus! I felt like I ran pretty hard, it’s not reflected in the time due to the amount of backtracking I had to do! Thankfully I always had the BT Tower a few hundred yards from our house which was almost constantly in sight to zig-zag back to. Screenshot 2016-02-28 17.31.49

Thanks for all the support this week, our current running total is £3,032 at the start of week 9. Events and opportunities to get involved are in the pipeline so please watch this space. Please see justgiving.com/bobsm100 to support the cause. Thanks for reading.

Week 8: The Verge of Breaking Point

21st January 2016

This past 10 days has been riddled with knee pain. I managed what felt like a knee tendinopathy last weekend but Monday/ Tuesday was not pretty at all- the patella tendon pain changed to a pin-point pain on the bone. Going down stairs was the worst. I foam rolled incessantly for the 3 days we were in the Yorkshire Dales on holiday. Thursday I got some fantastic treatment with Barry Edwards at Team Bath and managed some posterior chain work in the gym. Barry diagnosed that the tightness in my ITB and quads created a compression of my patella on my knee joint- hence the boney pain- not good. Saturday I tested it out and it felt terrible just 100 yds from the house.

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Sunday, it felt better still but what to do? Do I wait until later in the week and try run after work- that was pretty tough in week 5 after a day on my feet. Or worse still, I’d need to find a good few hours to cycle 90km in and around work in substitute for the run? Neither appealed to me. Against all my best judgement, I decided to give it a go. My plan was to open out my quads as much as I could, get it really warm with exercises that didn’t hurt. I IMG_0108added some leggings to the usual running get-up to keep it warm and set out with no intentions or expectations for the run.
I was 90% certain that this wouldn’t go well. I set out on a reverse of the bristol circular that I’d done a couple of times before, walking down the hill to start and then slowly getting speeding up. It didn’t feel great but it wasn’t too bad. I mixed up the route and went wherever I fancied, speeding up and slowing down whenever I liked. It wasn’t pretty  but the last 10km was probably the most enjoyable running I’ve done this year. Turns out you never know until you try.

So week 7 taught me a few things. If I’m going to complete IMG_0112this year without substitutions then I need to take my recovery and training a lot more seriously. Nutrition, foam rolling, hydrotherapy, good warm ups and warm downs need to be regular and focussed. So it started to day with a warm down after the run with a litre of squash, 2 toast with peanut butter and a massive dose of rice with dinner. I now haven’t done any effective strength training for 2 weeks with a busy last week before my holiday, a few days away from a gym and then injury. I just can’t afford to get weaker and I’ve got to commit to maintaining lower body strength as well as trying to improve aerobic fitness. What I learned today was something that I’ve known for a while but struggled with up until now- enjoy the journey, Screenshot 2016-02-21 22.22.27relax on the move and focus on things more than just run times- it really doesn’t matter. Sometimes that motivation to bin myself will be there, sometimes not- no pressure to do either.

6 days to get on top of my knee before week 9. 6am in the gym with my accomplice Luke Vella tomorrow should be a good start. At the start of week 8 we’re on £2780. Please keep the donations coming for The Grand Appeal and spread the word as far as possible.

Week 7: Liversedge 1/2 Marathon

Sunday 14th February

AftIMG_0406er feeling like I’d survived the baptism of fire that was January, this week I might have taken a turn for the worse. After a warm up run of 4 miles on Friday morning I’m showing a few signs of a patella tendinopathy. Feverishly foam rolling, stretching, routine ibuprofen and green tea I turned up at my first official start line of the 52 having no idea how my knee would react. Fortunately, it held up fantastically well. My routines before hand were luckily enough!

Katie and I set off from my parent’s house for a perfect Valentines Day outing in the Yorkshire Dales! The race was made up of 500 keen amatuers on a beautiful, crisp, sunny day- perfect running conditions. The course was virtually all tarmac and pretty hilly! My main aim for the day was to enjoy running as part of a big group of people. I put my phone deep into my pocket and decided that I’d run as well as I IMG_0408could, ignore the time and just enjoy the challenge. At 6 miles I realised I was running at what may previously have been a decent pace but I felt very comfortable. I sped up and pushed more into an uncomfortable zone of effort. I feel like this amount of focus is what it will need to push faster speeds as I get fitter…. A bit like Tyler Hamilton in The Secret Race… just without the EPO…. or the massive VO2 max! I’d presumed I would just go faster at a set perceived exertion but maybe my running economy is going to lag behind my cardiovascular improvements- we’ll see. At mile 11 I saw The Groupies (Katie, Katie’s sister Daisy and Autumn). and after that it was a flat-ish 2 miles into the finish for a free t-shirt and a well earned bacon and egg butty

At week 7 of 52 we’re at a fantastic £2789. Thank you so much to everyone has support me this week. justgiving.com/bobsm100,

Week 6: Bob vs Storm Imogen

8th February 2016

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The Team Bath MCTA gang

I took the weekend off due to poor weather and instead looked to complete week 6’s run one weeknight after work. Looking at the forecast for no rain I picked Monday night- what I didn’t bank on was the tail-end of storm Imogen providing a relentless headwind. After getting a great send off from the tennis players at Bath I headed out on a route through Bath and onto the cycle track to Bristol. The wind picked up about half way through and battered me into the dark. Much to my joy this was accompanied by a freezing downpour in the last couple of kilometres.


My speed vs heart rate outputs from Strava tell a tale- heart rate drifting up as you’d expect but speed drifting lower as the run went on. Fortunately it doesn’t show the moment when my phone ran out of battery at the end and I spat my dummy out… I think this is called character building! 21km took me as far as Lawrence Hill as my phone ran out. Reluctant to run even further I rang Katie for a lift who had just put Autumn to bed…. “Are you joking?” was her reply. Thankfully she came to get me! Not a pretty night for running 21km but happy that I got the job done!

This week my colleague and friend Luke Vella announced his world record attempt on 18th May by deadlifting 5600kg in 60secs. His attempt requires 40 reps at 140kg-it’s going to be very messy indeed!

Thanks to everyone for the support this week, we’re currently at £2482 in week 6. For more on Luke’s event check out at http://www.JustGiving.com/Luke-Vella details and stories will go on the website bobsgrandappeal.wordpress.com and of course if you’d like to sponsor me at JustGiving.com/bobsm100