24/80 – Clyde Walkway and I’m Back!

After 12 weeks without running post-broken femur surgery, I was finally able to do some light miles on the treadmill. I had been doing 3+ hours of exercise each day since leaving hospital – a combination of rehab physio exercises, swimming and cycling. My fitness has definitely decreased, but the time I was able to dedicate to recovery has certainly helped me get back on the road faster and maintain a base level of fitness on which to build now I’m back.

I have restarted the clock on the challenge from the beginning of February, starting the final six months of the challenge.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has helped and supported me through the injury – I know I wouldn’t have been able to get back on the road so quickly without all of your help!

There’s now less than 11 weeks to London Marathon!

23/80 [2nd February] Roundhay Park

I chose Roundhay for my first half marathon distance back because of the softer ground which lessened the impact on my leg. I took the pace very steady and was really happy that there was no pain or discomfort, although both of my legs are noticeably weaker and I’ll have to work to get back to the level of fitness I was at before the injury.

I plan to take the next few weeks a lot easier in terms of miles than I was doing before I broke my leg, so that I can build my strength back up in the gym and also include some shorter runs. I am also aware that with London just around the corner, I am going to have to do some longer runs to build up distance ahead of the marathon.

24/80 [10th February] The Clyde Walkway with Derek

I ran with Derek this weekend who I met at the Great Scottish Run back in September. Derek has a very personal relationship with dementia and it was great to meet and catch up over some muddy hills!

Derek Millar and Sean McGibney

The Clyde Walkway is a 40-mile footpath that runs from Glasgow to New Lanark. The scenery was breaktaking and the elevation was a good test for my legs. We managed to see some waterfalls and follow the river through Lanark and New Lanark. I’d suggest anybody who visits the area to run or walk a section of the route, although I was fortunate to have such a good guide and route-planner in Derek!

We ran just over 16 miles (~26km), so this run is my first stepping up distance ahead of London Marathon.

Sean McGibney Clyde Walkway

This weekend some friends and I are running a Parkrun takeover in Wakefield to spread the word of Dementia Revolution and the great work they are doing to raise awareness and some much needed funds for research.

I have also planned all of my official runs up to London, which can be found on the website. If anybody would like to join me for a run, please get in touch here or on social media.

Thank you also to everybody who has donated so far and I’m going to be pushing on with the fundraising activities over the next few months!

If you would like to donate to Dementia Revolution, please click here.

 

Broken Femur – My Road to Recovery. Week Four!

It’s four weeks today since my surgery on a broken femur in my left leg (oblique fracture treated with intramedullary nailing — a titanium rod running the length of my femur with two iron nails at either end, for anybody who’s interested).

None of the consultants or doctors would give me a best or worst case scenario in hospital, which I found frustrating. But everybody’s healing is different, so I set about researching and getting to work on giving my body the best chance of healing quickly.

I stayed in hospital for 10 days after my break, due to blood loss during surgery that left me anaemic. Progress was frustratingly slow and I could feel my swelling and range of movement actually getting worse during this period, rather than better. It was only a week after surgery that I was finally well enough to get up and about on crutches and really crack on with the physio exercises.

I thought I would summarise all of the things I have been doing in case it might help anybody else in a similar boat, and I will share my progress over the coming months.

Broken Femur
4 days post-surgery vs. 8 days post-surgery… I really needed that transfusion!

Nutrition / Supplements

Daily Supplements

  • Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D3 – calcium for bone healing and strength, and vitamin D for calcium absorption.
  • Turmeric – with black pepper to enhance absorption.
  • Iron (GP prescribed due to my low blood count post-surgery).
  • Vitamin C to help with iron absorption.

Foods

  • Healthy diet!
  • No drinking – I have given up drinking completely until fully healed (at least to London Marathon), as I want to give my body the best chance of being back fighting fit.
  • Bone broth – rich in minerals and healing compounds, like collagen. Also a yummy alternative to tea and coffee.
  • Green juices high in beet veg (recipe: kale, sweet potato, beetroot, cucumber, celery, apple, carrot, lemon). This helps promote an alkaline diet for good bone health and to help with inflammation.
    • A note on alkaline diet: lemon and limes, which we would usually associate as acidic, becoming alkalised once metaboilsed.
  • Tangerines, nuts…

Exercises

I have been varying my exercises each week after meeting with my sports therapist. A big milestone came in week three when I was finally able to do straight leg raises. Small victories!

By the end of week four, I am now doing 1hr 15min of exercises each day + 1 hour on the pedal exerciser shown below + at least 3km of crutches walking. I started with no resistance on the pedal exerciser and have been slowly increasing each day. Walks started by going to the end of the road and back, but I can comfortably manage the distance now.

Pedal Exerciser Broken Femur

From tomorrow, I will be back in the gym on the stationary bike and swimming (had to wait until a slight wound infection from surgery healed before being cleared to swim).

I will aim to publish a video blog with some of the exercises I have been doing in the coming couple of weeks. I have also been doing core work and press-ups to keep a strong core and overall strength, and will introduce more all-over body exercises when back in the gym this week.

As well as the pedal exerciser, I purchased a sandbag for additional weight on glute bridges. I’ve also got some super un-sexy grippy swimming shoes so I don’t slip when I go to the pool this week.

Acupuncture

I’m very lucky in that my Mum is an acupuncturist, so I have been receiving a treatment every couple of days, particularly targeting bone health, inflammation, blood, and overall well-being. I often feel a lot more calm and energetic (yes, they go together!) at the end of the sessions.

Zheng Gu Shui

Literally “bonesetting water”, this treatment has been used in China for over 500 years in promoting bone healing. I apply it daily and then wrap my leg tightly in a towel or compression tights. It makes the area go really warm and it feels looser after the treatment.

Zheng Gu Shui

Ice for Swelling, Heat for Bruising

Straight after the surgery, ice packs helped with the swelling around the injury (particularly around my knee). I would apply for 20 minutes and then re-apply an hour later. Since then, a hot water bottle has helped to bring out the bruising.

Sports Massage

Weekly gentle sports massage has helped with bruising and pushes the toxins towards the lymph nodes in my groin. I’m already dreading the deep-tissue massage that will follow in the coming months!

I haven’t set a target to restart the challenge yet, as I need to be able to walk before I can run. Feeling so determined to get back out there when I am able to, but also enjoying the challenge of getting myself back to full-strength.

Will keep you all updated with my progress!

 

To be Continued…

I’ve had to put the brakes on the challenge at the end of month two due to a fall in which I broke my femur. I was sitting at 27.5% (22/80) of the challenge completed at the end of month two.

I have just got back home after 12 days in hospital. Everything took a little longer than expected after I lost quite a bit of blood during surgery, but I’m now feeling much stronger and more positive about the challenge that lies ahead.

Have been doing great the past few days and already walking with crutches. A few months of hard work ahead – lots of physio, acupuncture, and pilates, but I’m determined to re-start the challenge as soon as I am able, and also to make London Marathon at the end of April.

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My surgeon has given me a 12-16 week window for full recovery, so I’m hoping to push this forward as much as possible. Of course my muscle and everything else around the bone has also taken a battering, so it will be some time until I can hit the road again. I’ll manage expectation by setting realistic short-term goals and reassessing each week.

A huge thank you to all of the medical staff who looked after me. We should do everything we can to protect the NHS as it’s an amazing institution staffed by brilliant people.

When life throws you femural nails…

Thank you to everybody who has supported me so far and I will keep you all updated on my rehab progress. Excited to see you all back out on the road soon!

20/80 St. Aidan’s Trail Half Marathon and 1/4 of the Challenge Completed!

16/80 [15th October] Eastbourne Coastal Run I

I travelled down to Eastbourne for work last week and ran along the beautiful coastline into the centre of town and back out again, which formed a convenient half marathon distance route. I felt strong throughout and finished in my second fastest time of one hour 46 minutes. Apart from being a really scenic route, the coastal flat path certainly helped me keep the splits down!

Sean McGibney Eastbourne

17/80 [17th October] Eastbourne Coastal Run II

On my third day in Eastbourne, I decided to try and pace myself to a two-hour half marathon. Pacing is something I have struggled with that I am keen to develop through the challenge. A two-hour half marathon works out at five minutes 40 seconds per kilometre (just under nine minutes, nine seconds per mile). I finished in a time of one hour, 59 minutes, maintaining a steady pace throughout.

18/80 [19th October] Steady Morning Around Leeds

On my return to Leeds last Friday, I ran around familiar sites before sunrise. My legs felt strong and I think they are adapting to the distance and the regularity of the runs. I always find my speed much slower – up to 35 seconds per kilometre – when I wake up and run, as opposed to running later in the day after I have properly fuelled and hydrated.

19/80 [21st October] St. Aidan’s Trail Half Marathon, Leeds

On Sunday, I ran at St. Aidan’s Trail Half Marathon, organised by Even Splits. The course and organisation were both fantastic, and I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of St. Aidan’s Nature Reserve before the event – despite having lived in Leeds for a total of five years! I will definitely attend more Even Splits events in future.

I set off at PB pace, but my legs quickly reminded me this was my fifth half marathon distance in nine days. They say a smile costs nothing, but you wouldn’t think so by my face in the race-day photos!

St. Aidan's Trail Half Marathon Sean McGibney
Source: Yorkshire Runner Photos

Really happy to have completed my first trail half marathon and excited to take on a few courses that are hillier in the coming months (particularly the one described as “Grimmer than Grim”).

20/80 [ 23rd October] Kirkstall Hills

I ran the 17 hills of Kirkstall Road this morning built into my run. The hills are a monthly visit of Hyde Park Harriers and it was certainly a different experience running them alone at six in the morning! The frequency of runs in the past two weeks (this is my tenth since the start of October) have taken their toll slightly, and my legs feel heavy this evening. I will make a call tomorrow as to whether I rest until Rugby Half Marathon on Sunday, or whether I fit in another run on Thursday or Friday.

And so brings about the quarter-way point of the challenge! It has been a great experience so far and I’m excited to meet lots more people in the coming months and share our stories.

If you would like to run (or walk!) with me, please get in touch. Thank you also to everybody who has donated, I’m delighted to be at 18% of my funding goal, but there’s a long way to go!

If you haven’t donated yet but would like to do so, please click here.

15/80 Coventry, Kenilworth & Leeds

12/80 Coventry <-> Kenilworth with Dr Chris

I put a post on running tracking app Strava – which I use to track all of my runs – to see if anybody would like to join me for a run last Saturday. After each of the official events so far, I have followed all of the people who have matched the route on Strava to try and spread awareness of the challenge. Dr Chris, who also ran Kenilworth Half Marathon at the start of September, said he would drive from Leamington to join me for an afternoon run.

For anybody who has Strava, please follow my runs for pace, distance, heart rate, elevation, and other stats! There’s a link on the navigation bar of the website or search “80in8”.

It was good to talk to Chris about our training – it was actually Chris’ first time running with a partner. For me, running alongside somebody helps me to keep pace and push myself. We kept a strong pace throughout and Dr Chris managed to reach his PB – hopefully he will go on to get a similar (or better!) time at Rugby Half Marathon at the end of the month! We finished the run in a time of one hour 49 minutes.

Sean McGibney &amp; Dr Chris

I talked to Chris about how after some of my longer evening runs I wake up during the night with hot sweats. He put this down to hypoglycaemia and said I should take on a sugary drink and some slower release carbs – I find Lucozade energy usually does the trick!

I’m hoping to run with Chris again in the coming months and will look forward to catching up with him at Rugby Half Marathon later this month.

13/80 Tough Morning Coventry <-> Kenilworth

I set off on Monday morning before sunrise – my first head-torched run of the challenge! My legs felt quite tired from my run with Chris, and the “all you can eat” Chinese meal the evening before didn’t do me any favours. I completed the distance in a slower, steady pace, no doubt carrying a few extra pounds than usual!

Headtorch Morning Run

14/80 Roundhay Park, First Interval Session Built into Long Run

After speaking with Duncan of North Ridge Adventure last weekend, I decided to build an interval session into my midweek run this week. I set off at a steady pace and then after around five miles (~8.5km) I did intervals of 100, 200, 400, 800, 800, 400, 200, 100-metres at a fast pace, each interval followed by a 200-metre slow paced recovery. I really enjoyed the interval session and will try to build one a week into my sessions, as well as more hill running, as I try to improve my pace throughout the challenge.

15/80 Meanwood Valley Trail, Eccup Reservoir, Golden Acre Park

I set off first thing Saturday morning to Meanwood Valley Trail in Leeds, which transports you immediately from the city into what feels like a countryside escape! I took a wrong turn on the trail and ended up having to slide down a fairly steep bank, over some tree trunks and boggy mud to find my way back. My pace was kept quite slow throughout, but I worked out that I had completed around 55 miles in the past seven days – the most I have ever done!

Horse Meanwood Valley Trail
Me and the neigh-bours!

I am heading down south for work this week, so will look forward to some runs along the coast! Thank you to everybody who has supported me so far. Donation link here.

11/80 Great Scottish Run – New PB, New Pals!

10/80 — Great Scottish Run, Glasgow

I drove up to Edinburgh on Friday ahead of a day in Aberfeldy with my family friend Ruth. She made me an amazing breakfast of ‘smokies’ – looking back I’m sure this was what provided the fuel for my PB at Glasgow the next day!

Smokies - traditional Scottish breakfast

I woke early on Sunday for my usual pre-race meal of overnight oats, before setting off to meet Daniel and David – who are both also running 2019 London Marathon for Dementia Revolution – to travel together to Glasgow by train. Dale, a friend of Daniel and David, also met us on the train and he was running his first half marathon for MIND. We got on like a house on fire and all said at the end of the day it was as if we had known each other for years!

We arrived in Glasgow early to meet Derek, who very conveniently has an office by the start line of the race, to make introductions and talk through charity work. Derek also runs for dementia charities, but was running on Sunday for JAPES – a charity that works to provide people with mobility challenges the opportunity to participate in mass running events. Derek and his team pushed a charriot throughout the half marathon distance. An absolutely brilliant achievement for all involved!

I managed to get an interview on BBC which was broadcast across the UK ahead of the start, which can be seen here.

We set off at 11.30am after a group warm up. I’m not sure if group warm ups at events are overly effective, but they’re definitely a way of building atmosphere ahead of the start!

On the route we saw bagpipers, bands, magicians, and the support was fantastic throughout. Lots of children were out with their “push to go faster” signs, and the overall experience was brilliant. We set off at a pace faster than I usually would start at, but I was delighted when we managed to keep pace throughout and I finished in a new PB of 1:43:31.

Glasgow Half Marathon PB

I am excited to travel back to Scotland for Hogmanay this year and will meet up with David, Derek, Daniel and Dale again, as well as some of the members of the Running Friends Scotland Facebook group.

Finish Line --  PB David, Daniel, Sean

And there completed month one of the challenge — on to October!

11/80 – Leeds Solo Run & #RunandTalk with Hyde Park Harriers

I set off on another run on Tuesday and completed a solo 21.1km route around Leeds, before meeting up with Hyde Park Harriers for a #RunandTalk mental health run, to promote the positive impact of running on mental health, and the importance of talking openly when we are going through a tough time.

You shoud look our for #RunandTalk events local to you!

On Tuesday, I ran approximately 28km, so I will call it the first day of “longer distance” training ahead of London!

I am delighted to be at 12% of my funding goal at this stage of the challenge and thank you so much to everybody who has already donated through the following link.

9/80 West Coast of Ireland and a Run Out to Dún Laoghaire

8/80 I set off from Leeds at 4.30am to catch the first flight to Dublin on Friday 21st. We arrived on a bus to the plane to be told that there was no crew for the flight and that we wouldn’t be leaving until at least 2pm. Ryanair…

Thankfully the flight took off later that day and despite from the drunk woman stroking my hair – eight hours in Leeds Bradford Airport had clearly taken their toll – it was a fairly uneventful 40-minute journey over the Irish Sea.

Camping plans unfortunately had to be laid to rest, so I spent the night in Dublin and I travelled with my friend to the West Coast early Saturday morning in time for the start of Clew Bay Half Marathon.

Running in the beautiful Irish countryside

The undulating route left Louisburgh and went along the Atlantic coastline. It was a really stunning road race and by far the most scenic of my runs so far.

It felt like the entire local town had either come out to support, or run, and there were loads of snacks at the finish and lots of friendly faces. I would love to come back and run this event again and would suggest it to anybody. The drive was approximately 3.5 hours from Dublin, with views of lovely countryside. My flight from Leeds was only €9.99. Really cheap, if you ignore the huge delay…

Following the Wild Atlantic Way, we made our way back to Dublin via an overnight stay in Westport and a daytrip to the beautiful Achill Island. There is an ultra-marathon in May which follows the Wild Atlantic Way, for which a flyer was handed out at the finish. Safe to say I’m more than a little tempted as that will be a month after 2019 London Marathon! Would anybody like to join?

Sean McGibney -- Achill Island
The idyllic Achill Island

9/80 I set off from the centre of Dublin to run out to Dún Laoghaire, the port where many Irish relatives waved to their loved ones as they set off to war, many never to return. It’s a really significant place that evokes a lot of memories of songs from my childhood, so I was happy to be able to include it as part of the challenge.

I took a wrong turn and almost missed the start of the run with Dublin Runners and Dún Laoghaire Pier Runners. My friend picked me up on her way to the run, so thankfully I managed to make it in time for the start!

The running club were an extremely welcoming and lovely group of people, who ran alongside me and pushed me to finish my ninth run of the challenge. I really hope to be able to make it back to run with them on my next trip to Ireland.

Sean McGibney and Dublin Runners
Dublin Runners / Dún Laoghaire Pier Runners

I plan to arrange a trip up north to Armagh at the end of this year or beginning of next, to run around places familiar to my Grandma from her childhood. I will also be on the lookout for official events in the new year that I can enter.

My next run is Great Scottish Run on Sunday in Glasgow. I’ll be meeting up with two other runners who are raising money for dementia research, so it will be great to support each other along the route.

Thank you to everybody who has donated so far. For anybody who would still like to donate please see click here.