My tempo run went so well on Tuesday that I thought I’d do another one today (since I had a day’s rest in between) and I did pretty much the exact same thing! 11.06km (6.87 miles) at a 05:26 min/km (08:44 min/mile) pace. It felt good and nothing hurt during or after the run on ye ole treadmill.Tomorrow I’ll do an easier run and then on Friday I’ll do my last long run before the Reading Half Marathon. My long run this sunday will be about 21 – 22 km (13.04 – 13.67 miles) and I’ll be running at Dinton Pastures again as long as the weather holds out (remember, I’m a fair weather runner).
A friend of mine named Matt, who I haven’t seen in a couple of years (other than via facebook) is also doing the Reading Half Marathon. I commented on one of his status updates the other day because he mentioned he was doing a 20 mile training run. 20 miles! Wow. Will I be running that far one day? Who knows. The Reading Half Marathon is going to seem like a short jog to him I think.
Matt doesn’t know it, but he got me started on running. The last time I saw Matt in person was at the Reading Festival in August 2006 (it’s a music festival and pronounced redding) and he was really trim and healthly looking (he never used to be). I wasn’t trim and healthy looking at that point. I was nearly 18 stone (252lbs), smoking and generally not fit.
I told my other half about Matt and I told her that I thought I would take up running because the end result would be a healthier and thinner (very important) me.
Shortly after that I re-joined the gym near me and I started running on ye ole treadmill. It sucked and it was hard. I would run/jog for a while then walk and also mix this up with walking up hill. I was still a smoker at this point.
I trundled along in this manner without much progress until springtime (approx) of 2007 when I woke up one morning and found I couldn’t walk. My feet and ankles were very sore and swollen and covered in weird looking nodules. It took me ages to go up and down stairs and if I managed to get shoes on my ankles puffed out the tops like a muffin. It was horrible and I was really scared.
Loads of things were running through my head at that time because my son was only born in November 2007. I was thinking I had arthritis (or who knows what) and my General Practitioner (doctor) didn’t seem to know what was going on either. They were giving me random medication it felt like just to see what worked. All I knew was that I was scared I was going to be some sort of cripple and that I wouldn’t be able to do things with my son as he was growing up.
After weeks of pain and stress (a lot) I found out through my work that I actually had Private Medical Insurance! Jeez, why hadn’t I realised that sooner!
I immediately got my doctor to refer me to a specialist and a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist was painful and didn’t actually relieve anything. I don’t recommend going to a physio in that sort of situation where you don’t actually know what is wrong because they are just guessing at what they need to do. It’s not worth it.
When I eventually got referred to a joint specialist I was so grateful. I was finally going to find out what it was and what (if anything) I could do about it.
I remember walking in to the specialist’s office so vividly, I walked in and he said to remove my shoes and socks and he immediately said “I think I know what that is. I’m just going to spend the next 30 mins or so trying to prove myself wrong though, just to be sure.” Wow. Within the first 15 minutes of seeing him he knew exactly what it was.
It turns out (after X-Rays, blood tests, urine samples – all that day) that I had Sarcoidosis. The ankle situation was actually a side-effect of the Sarcoidosis and it was called Erythema Nodosum. The doctor said that in most cases, Erythema Nodosum goes away on its own, and he was right.
It wasn’t long after that that my ankles started to go back to normal and I could walk without pain. It was absolutely fantastic.
Shortly after that I started to run at the gym again doing my usual run/walk thing.
However, I was still smoking and worried about not being around for my little boy. I mean, I was slowly killing myself through my addiction to nicotine. Thankfully, my other half bought me Allen Carr’s book “Easyway”. I started reading that book on the morning of Friday, 27 April 2007 and by that evening I was a non-smoker and I have been ever since. What a great woman my other half is!
After that my running started to get better and the amount of walking time on the treadmill started to reduce. I mean, I wasn’t breaking any land speed records or anything (I’m still not) but I was making progress.
Around May 2007 I had an idea to keep me motivated in my running. I decided I was going to log all my runs (date, distance, time, pace) and keep a record of the totals over time. I also thought I was usual a visual aid and run across a country (virtually) by mapping my distance on things like Google Earth. Hence thevirtualrunner.org was born.
On the 10th June 2007 I logged my first of many runs. I ran for an hour at a 06:31 min/km (10.30 min/mile) and covered a whopping 9.20km (5.72 miles).
This logging of runs has helped me to push myself that little bit harder and to improve over time.
I’m now lighter and ever so slightly faster.
Thanks to Matt for getting me started down the running trail and many many (yes twice) thanks to my fiance for buying me the book that rid me of my addiction to nicotine and also supporting me through all this.