Injury strikes again

I’m injured…again!

I was just starting to feel really fit after my knee injury. I’d got a few PBs, training was going well. I was enjoying my running. And then it started…

I got a calf niggle. That calf niggle became an Achilles niggle, that niggle became painful. My hip started hurting in sympathy. I carried on training. I hoped the pain would vanish and all would be well. I ran 12 miles last Sunday with my hip and foot giving me a bit of pain. By the twelfth mile they were screaming at me. I ran home. My foot was three times the size it should have been. I iced it. I knew I’d have to rest.

I had Monday and Tuesday off. On Wednesday morning I ran three miles to test my foot. It seemed much better. On Wednesday evening it was my club’s charity relay event. I’d planned to jog round. I didn’t. I set off at 5.40 minute mile pace and finished like a sprinter. When the endorphins were flowing and I was racing and having fun, I didn’t feel any pain. When I’d finished I didn’t stretch. I clapped and cheered and enjoyed watching my teammates run. When I tried to do a warm down after the race, I couldn’t. I could barely walk.

I had a few more days off. I iced my injuries. I went to yoga and pilates, but I didn’t run.

On Saturday I ran three miles. I didn’t feel right, but I felt better. On Sunday I agreed to meet a friend to run six miles. She was doing 16 but there was no way I’d be able to manage that. Even without injury I’d struggle with that kind of distance. We were running out and back on the canal. It was sunny, we were chatting. We ended up doing eight miles together. I hoped my body would cope.

I’m touching wood as I type this, but my injuries seem to be getting better. I’ve also had a good look at my training to work out what’s going wrong. Basically I’ve neglected yoga and core work. I love running so I never miss a training session, but with yoga and strength training there are times when I have missed it, or not done it at all for ages. But if doing a yoga or strength class means I can run, then that’s what I will have to do. It really is worth it!

Raising money for Sarcoma UK

Members of my running club, Kingstone Runners, have raised more than £300 for Sarcoma UK, the bone and soft tissue cancer charity.  charity Kingstone

Around 50 runners took part in our club’s annual team-relay race, nicknamed the Dearne Valley Dash. Teams of three each completed a tough one-mile lap. It’s an off-road course and involves climbing rather a few steps. And, to make it even harder instead of a relay baton teams had to carry a teddy bear safely around the course.

It was a fantastic event with runners of all ages and abilities taking part to raise money for a charity very close to my heart. I am so grateful to my teammates for their efforts – not just in the running, but in organising, donating prizes for the raffle and, of course, for their generosity in donating money.

Sarcomas are rare cancers that develop in the muscle, bone, nerves, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and the fatty and fibrous tissues. The money raised will help Sarcoma UK to raise sarcoma awareness and improve standards of treatment and care. I was running in memory of my grandad, Geoff Hughes, pictured below enjoying a glass of wine at his 90th birthday a few years ago. Cheers Team Kingstone!

Me and grandad at his 90th

Celebrating my first year of blogging

This weekend it’s a year since I launched my running blog.

A full year. It only seems two minutes since I was writing my first blog post.

I started Champion Running because I love running and writing, and wanted to combine my two hobbies. I’ve certainly enjoyed writing the blog and I’m already looking forward to my second year of blogging. But first I’d like to look back, reflect on the events of the past 12 months and celebrate reaching the one-year blogging milestone.

It’s not been easy. There have been weeks when I just didn’t have the time to focus on my blog. There were times, especially after the death of my grandad where I couldn’t be bothered to write or run. It was like in a race when you’re crawling up the last hill and every muscle in your body is screaming out for you to stop, but somehow you struggle on, you keep going. You know that when you get to the finish line, you will feel fantastic. You know that the effort will have been worth it. After the death of my grandfather that’s how it felt. It was a struggle.

During the dark days of my grandad’s illness and the even darker days after his death, running and writing kept me going. The irony is that although it’s been a very sad 12 months for me and my family, it’s been an amazing year for my running and writing. When you channel all your energy into one thing day after day, you get better, you see results. Running and writing helped me to cope. The process made me happy, seeing results made me happier still.

I gained a place at Sheffield Hallam University and started studying for a Master’s degree in writing, something I’ve wanted to do for many years, but always thought it was a little indulgent. My 35th birthday last year was a turning point in my life. I was no longer young enough to be considered for young writers’ prizes. In running it was even worse. I was a veteran.

If I was going to achieve my running and writing ambitions I knew I had to work hard. It was a case of now or never. Running and writing have been my priority for the past year. I’ve passed modules in novel-writing and contemporary literature, and even combined my interests academically by researching the role that running has in my creative practice. I’ve written 30,000 words of my novel and I’ve almost finished a children’s book. I’ve written some short stories and have just started sending my work out to competitions. I’ve also discovered that I love creative non-fiction, so much so that I’ve started a book about running. I’ve also launched my freelance writing and copywriting business, and my book blog Cosy Corner Books. Writing-wise it’s been a good year.

When it comes to running, I’m still in shock about how far I’ve come. I smashed my personal bests for 5k, 5 miles, 10k, 10 miles and half marathon. I’ve even picked up Yorkshire Veteran Championship medals for 5 miles, 10k and 10 miles, not to mention a few boxes of chocolates at local races. I even won a race. Me? Winning a race! I still can’t believe it, but I did. It even sounds glamorous, the New York Canal Race. I don’t mention that it wasn’t actually in New York, but in Rotherham. My prize was a box of Cadbury’s Miniature Heroes. And just last week I was part of the Kingstone Runners ladies team taking a gold medal at the South Yorkshire Road Relays. It’s been an amazing year.

Losing someone I loved very much made me consider what was important to me. I’d always wanted to be a writer of fiction, and I’d always felt I could be a better runner, so I changed my priorities and worked hard at achieving my ambitions. After the worst 12 months of my life, it’s nice to look back and celebrate how far I’ve come.

Here’s to the next year ahead!