Trials and tribulations of the KSR trail running team.
Mon 11th March
Man, every running fortnight for me starts without a run these days. In the wake of the Nerang 50 (or in my case the Nerang 25) my calf felt cactus. I was convinced it needed at least a half a week off.
Tues 12th March
What happened to the calf pain? I have no idea. After a few days of compression socks and bandages, my very localised calf pain just disappeared. I volunteered to jog/walk up to the shops in the evening to pick up dog food, and it turned into a reasonably solid 20min, using the oversized can of Pal to work on my legendarily ripped biceps. With no pain anywhere. Weird.
Wed 13th March
Another beautiful cool afternoon (by Brisbane March standard’s anyway). Ollie Zambon had just returned from a Sydney trip in the afternoon, so we hit up Mt Coot-Tha for an hour twenty until we lost the light. Not sure whether it was just Ollie’s speed on the ascent, but my lungs felt appalling on the way up. Thankfully they sorted themselves out and I felt much better after the first twenty minutes. I took Ollie on a magical mystery tour of some of my favourite trails, getting back to the car with almost no light left.
Thurs 14th March
Operating on almost no sleep the night before, I skipped training when I discovered I was unlikely to complete any session without a nap! No idea what brought it on.
Fri 15th March
Picked up Ollie early and drove out to The Gap to meet up with marathoner Jon Peters, on the road to recovery after an ankle injury. We ran the first 35min or so with Jon, then turned off the South Boundary Road track for a long loop with some punishing uphills to finish. Ollie and I ended up running 1hr 10min instead of the planned 1hr20min-1hr30min, but the pace was up in the second half so I was quite happy to leave it there!
Sat 16th March
3-4ft offshore cross-training on the coast. Threw in a quick 15min on the roads in the evening.
Sun 17th March
Wouldn’t you know it. The warm weather returned just in time for my long run. Luckily the humidity was pretty low, so a late afternoon run wasn’t too taxing. I planned a faster than usual two hours, getting up to Mt Coot-Tha in near-record time despite a quick stop (to talk wallaby sightings with a South American bloke out for a hike), feeling noticeably faster both up hill and down. My return trip was looking very promising for my furthest out-and-back two hours on the course until I rolled my ankle badly at about 1:15 in. I took the pace right down and wobbled down the hill and off the usual course so I could get a relatively flat and paved trip home. The ankle felt much better in the last 10mins, but I wasn’t keen to push it. Just like the previous Sunday, I felt strong but one tiny bit of my lower legs didn’t want to play ball.
Mon 18th March
I woke up with no bruising around the ankle, which surprised me. It was stiff until just after lunch, but felt almost perfect in the evening, so my 8km around The Gap on the roads with the Rangers group felt fine. We finished the session with eight hill sprints, I was happy to see that my pace was solid despite a lack of speed work – although this was probably a result of my hill strength increasing rather than my speed being anything approaching decent!
Tues 19th March
It had been a good while since I’d done some cycle work, so I did half an hour solid, closing with three 2-minute all-out efforts with 90 seconds break between them. Again, I surprised myself with my speed through the reps.
Wed 20th March
While my legs have been feeling great, my feet have been less than perfect, so I opted to use my ‘recovery’ shoes – my Hoka Stinson Evos – for my mid-week run. I took the accelerator right off for this 1hr 30min run, but found I had to dawdle considerably on the way home to avoid coming home 5-10mins early. Typically my 90min run involves turning around at 45min despite a net downhill on the way home, because my descending is so shoddy on the rockier terrain. Thankfully I’m improving, and I’ll have to start turning around at 50min now.
Thurs 21st March
I bit the bullet and saw a physio for my heel pain. After seeing Caine sidelined for the same injury I wasn’t keen to tempt fate. I’ve now got a new suite of stretches to help ease the pain and stop it from developing into something that takes me off the trail. Despite a heavily strapped foot (felt very weird) I ran the best speed session in months. My detractors might argue it was also my only speed session in months, but y’know, the glass is half full and stuff. Ran a 65sec 400m on a greasy grass track to finish the session – for me, that’s smoking!
Fri 22nd March
My return trip to the physio was mainly about massage – and I don’t respond well to massage. Hopefully that will change in the future, but in the short term it feels terrible and leaves me limping for days. I hobbled around the neighbourhood for 20min in the evening, loosening up as I went (luckily).
Sat 23rd March
Legs (particularly my classic injury, left soleus pain) felt even worse than the day before. Had another 20min Hoka session on the roads.
Sun 24th March
I knew the hot weather was coming, but this session was as muggy as any of January’s. I waited as late as I could in the afternoon to get a carb depletion effort in, hoping for 3 hours. About 5mins in and what felt like 2 litres of sweat later, I revised my plan down to 2hr30min and picked up the pace slightly to compensate. While my left calf was still aggravated, my new neural stretching regime has clearly helped my keep flexibility in the calves (especially just behind the knees) longer into a run. It felt great to finish the run feeling out of breath rather than just becoming too tight and/or fatigued in the lower legs or hamstrings. Thankfully the storm held off until I could get back to the car – another half an hour out there would have been dangerous with the evening’s storm testing the already wearied root systems of Mt Coot-Tha’s (remaining) eucalypts!
It might not sound like much, but this fortnight has been one of the most productive running stretches I’ve had in years. Only missing one day in two weeks – and only cutting a few short – means I’m winning more often than losing in the eternal battle against ‘niggles’. I’ve also lost a few kilos, which has clearly made more of a positive difference than I’d anticipated. I’m looking to add a new race to my calendar, too. I need to actually finish some long, hilly races before Kokoda!