42/80 – It’s London Marathon Week!

I’ve been a little off the pace with updating the blog in the past weeks due to work commitments and some days in the sun in Croatia. I’m currently tapering for London Marathon, which is this Sunday. It feels strange to not have any half-marathon distance runs planned for these days and it will leave me with a few to catch up after the event, but more than sensible to rest my legs ahead of the big day.

An update on the past 7 runs…

36/80 – Temple Newsam Daffodil Dash [30th March]

Another run in the sun! A hilly, tough course, but as with all Grim Up North events there was plenty of home-made cake and chocolate at the finish to be worth the struggle!

37/80 – Treadmill Half Before Flight [1st April]

The day before I set off to Seattle for a work conference, I ran a treadmill half-marathon distance in Reading before heading to the airport. This was the first treadmill distance of the challenge and I forgot my headphones… much prefer running outside!

38/80 – Seattle, Washington [4th April]

Seattle Sean McGibney 80in8

One day to adjust for jet-lag and then I went out around the conference location in Seattle to explore and soak up the sun. The “no jay-walking” rules in America meant it was a little more stop-start than usual, but I enjoyed the run nonetheless.

39/80 – Seattle Treadmill [7th April]

The routes around the conference centre weren’t the best for running (uneven pavements and lots of traffic lights!), so I completed another half-marathon distance on the treadmill before heading home. A huge thank you to the staff at Hilton Hotel in Seatac for allowing me to use the gym.

40/80 – Half Way! [11th April]

On 11th April I ran around Roundhay Park in Leeds to complete the half-way point of the challenge. It feels like a great achievement to get this far after the leg-break after month two, and I can’t wait for the final three months coming after London!

41/80 – Sunny Croatia [16th April]

Croatia Sean McGIbney 80in8

A week’s holiday in Croatia meant that I was able to squeeze in two runs along the coast in Croatia. The scenery was brilliant and I really enjoyed the run.

42/80 – Sunrise in Croatia [18th April]

An early start the day before heading home, I was up at sunrise and finished in time for breakfast. Time to taper…

I will update the blog post-London. I’m really looking forward to meeting the other Dementia Revolution [DR] runners this weekend. DR are on track to raise over £3.5mil for dementia research through this year’s marathon efforts. It’s brilliant to be part of such a deserving and valuable cause.

Thank you for all of the donations so far! You can donate here.

35/80 – Heavy Legs, Back on Track!

It’s been a brilliant (and busy!) few weeks of running and I’m well back into the swing of things. A busy April with work commitments, holiday, and London Marathon means that I have been trying to fit as many runs in as possible to ease the strain on the final months of the challenge (May-July). I have a target list for runs in the final months of the challenge now, so will update the page as soon as I have the events confirmed.

An update…

31/80 – Slow Leeds [14th March]

Tired legs after a busy week of running the week before, I set off for a slow evening half around Leeds.

32/80 – Big Bear Challenge [19th March]

I  had a great time running the Big Bear Challenge by Big Bear Events last week. It’s a 6-hour lapped event in which you can run as many laps as you choose around Pitsford Reservoir and country park.  The event was brilliantly organised and had a really supportive atmosphere.  I’ll definitely be back for another Big Bear event in the final three months of the challenge. I ran 6 laps which is around 19 miles – perfect prep for London!

Sean McGibney Big Bear Events

33/80 – Trail / Fell Half in Peak District with Duncan [21st March]

I ran with my friend Duncan around the Peak District last Thursday. My first time running on proper fells / trails in fell running shoes and I had an amazing day. Duncan is a survival coach with North Ridge Adventure and is going to take me back out in the summer to learn navigation so I can plan my own routes. Can’t wait to get back out  in the countryside, opened my eyes to a completely new side of running!

Duncan Clarke Sean McGibney

34/80 – Leeds Liverpool Canal [24th March]

Another great It’s Grim Up North event. I ran with Ollie and Lance who were both competing in their first half marathons. An out and back route along the Leeds-Liverpool canal and a sunny(ish) day to boot!

35/80 – Heavy Legs Around Leeds [26th March]

I headed out for a solo run around Leeds last night after a busy day at work. My legs felt heavy after 4 in 8 days, so I will be planning a few rest days now until the next Grim event in Temple Newsam this Saturday.

Less than 5 weeks to London Marathon! I am happy to  have completed a 19-mile run last week in preparation and although I’m not going to set the world alight with my time,  I’m really looking forward to London.

Then the final three months of the challenge where I will need to average 12 halfs each month. Bring it on!

Thank you so much to everybody who has donated so far!  Donate here.

30/80 – Draycote Water Half

An update…

10km with Dave [27th February]

I had originally planned to run a half-marathon distance and meet up with Dave for the last 10km, but bad traffic put a stop to that. We met at the start of Wakefield Thornes parkrun. Dave is over from Australia visting his Mum who has dementia and it was great to meet up and share stories over a slow run in the dark around Thornes Park and Pugneys Country Park.

28/80 [3rd March] Warwick Half Marathon

I met up with Steve and Dr Chris for the first time since my injury and Chris helped to pace me to my first sub 2-hour half-marathon since returning from my broken femur. We finished in sub 1:50. It feels great to be back and to already be posting times comparable to where I was before the injury.

Sean McGibney, Steve, Dr Chris

29/80 [7th March] Steady, Hilly Morning

I took myself out before work last Thursday for a run around Meanwood Park and Headingley in Leeds. It’s a real benefit for running living in Leeds, as it’s impossible to avoid hills. A hilly, steady morning to add another to the total.

30/80 [10th March] Draycote Water Half

A wet and windy (45mph) morning around Draycote Water. I am practicing negative splits which means you get faster as the run progresses. I was happy to start at a steady 5:30/km, increasing to 4:50/km average for the last 5km, and finishing in just over 1:50. This run ended up being 22.5km, as the registration area was a while from the start line. I didn’t fancy walking in the cold so jogged to the start!

Next  up is a run with a friend tomorrow in Leeds before a 6-hour event next week with Big Bear Events which I’m really looking forward to. I’m going to use this as a training run for London Marathon, which is now less than 7 weeks away!

A busy few weeks (and months) of running ahead, and it’s great to be back!

Thank you to everybody who has donated so far, I’m delighted to be at just over £1,600 raised already, with 4.5 months left in the challenge.

Donation link.

27/80 – Slaithwaite (“Slawit”) Slog

My leg has been feeling stronger with each run and I have been working in the gym on off-days. I’m hoping to get back under the two-hour half-marathon mark in the coming weeks and then will work on bringing my time down further in the lead-up to London!

25/80 [15th February] Winter Sun

15 weeks since surgery, my legs felt much stronger on this run. I went on the Meanwood Valley Trail to Eccup Resevoir and Golden Acre Park.

26/80 [19th February] Roundhay and Out with Mick

Sean + Mick

Last Tuesday, I met fireman Mick after his night-shift. Mick reached out after my injury to say that we would run together when I get back, so it was great to link up for a run around Roundhay and out. We talked all things life, work, and dementia. We’ll be running together again in the coming months – hopefully when I’m running a bit quicker…!

27/80 [23rd February] Slaithwaite (“Slawit”) Slog by It’s Grim Up North

Another brilliant event by the Grim Team. We ran along the canal path from Slaithwaite out to Huddersfield and Marsden. I ran the whole route with Andy who left the military a few years back and now works in construction health and safety. As always with Grim events, there was an awesome medal (below), chocolate and home-made cake at the finish line.

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This is the most miles I have done in a week since my injury, so I am happy with how my leg held up and I can feel my muscles strengthening again. Roll on the next few weeks and London Marathon in nine weeks!

Thank you very much to Lisa and the rest of the volunteer team at Wakefield Thornes parkrun who welcomed me to run a Dementia Revolution takeover on 16th February. It was great to talk to all participants just before the start and three people came up to talk to me about their own experience of dementia.

Next up is a run tomorrow with Dave who I met recently at the Dementia Revolution parkrun takeover. Dave is over from Australia visting his mother, who has dementia. He will join me for 10km of a half-marathon distance.

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!