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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Nutrition / 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.