Rising Sun Parkrun 21st July

Well it’s been over a month since I posted on here. I’m not sure why I haven’t posted as I do enjoy blogging.

I guess I was worn out with the “Gillmore Groins” diary through May and June.

I’m glad to say that all has gone to plan with the operation and I have been gradually getting back to some running. That has been supplemented by a good background of cycling which I must say I’ve been enjoying a lot.

I’m now pretty much commuting to work on the bike everyday which is about a 13-14 mile round trip. And I’ve been doing a longer ride on a weekend. So in total I’ve been been doing about 70-80 miles cycling per week. I remember reading that Frank Horwill suggested 1 mile of running is like 6 miles of cycling. But I’m not so sure.

What I’ve noticed is the cycling is keeping me very lean. Perhaps too lean. So lean that I’m always now around what I regarded “race weight” of approx 73kgs. Indeed a few people have commented that it looks like I have lost weight recently. That despite an obscenely low running mileage.

Once again the key takeaway from my injury and operation issues over the last few months has been to not get sucked back into the running addiction. Perhaps addiction is too strong a word but it is easy to get sucked into a mentality of just running running, running.

Yes I have running goals (I don’t have cycling goals – maybe why I’m enjoying it so much! No pressure etc.) and logic would say to achieve those running goals I need to do as much running as possible. However, I am adamant I need to find my own way. What I do know is my way will never be to run 100 miles a week. It won’t happen and I don’t want it to either.

I have decided to focus solely on 5k, 10k and XC. Any HMs will mainly be for training and fun. I still have no desire to run a marathon although I love watching them.

So I feel I need to find that running sweet spot and maintain the cycling supplementation to the point where I reach a high fitness level without injury or illness setbacks.

I also want to focus on quality. I want to hit some good sessions in training and translate that to racing. At the moment I feel like I train quite well at times but don’t transfer it to racing.

My recovery has been good enough so far to warrant a return to Tyne Bridge for my first club training session since March.

It was good to be back and to be running in a good group again after what felt like an age of walking and going to the gym alone.

Those were lonely days but I also look back on them with fondness. It was a challenge. A challenge I tackled head on. I proved to myself that I have the patience, discipline and determination to get through the programme required. Now I need to continue that discipline as I get fully tuned up for my next challenge.

My key goal now is to have the best ever XC season of my life here in the North East of England. And then translate that into a sub 16 5k.

I was keen to not overdo my first club session but I felt so good. The session was a structured pyramid Fartlek with the shorter efforts at 5k pace and the longer at 10k pace. I was planning on 5:20ish and 5:40ish respectively.

I didn’t get the session up on the Garmin before hand so I can’t really report on my paces but I felt like I was completing the 10k pace sections in more like 5:30-35. I was surprised my “engine” felt powerful. If anything I had to hold myself back, reminding myself to not overdo it.

This weekend was an ideal opportunity to get out for a parkrun. I was keen to find a run with a nice bike ride from my home, similar to my work commute. So Rising Sun in Wallsend suited nicely.

I set off at 8am and the 6 mile ride was enjoyable and I was there a little early. I warmed up for 10mins and it was quite warm when the sun came out.

The course itself is excellent. I had decided to run to heart rate, keeping my effort around threshold of 180-181bpm.

The first section is pretty fast until you hit a wooded section. Strangely there is a fork with an option to go left or right. Having not run the course before I was unsure which would be best so I instinctively opted right. This was undoubtedly a slow section of the course until it wound down back onto the gravel tracks.

Coming out of the woods I was sitting in 3rd place with two guys well ahead although 2nd place seemed to have been dropped.

I tried to focus on working back to 2nd and I did feel like I was making headway. That said my heart rate had increased to 184-186bpm which was pushing into 10k effort.

I had no idea where I was in relation to the finish and I must admit turning a corner to be disappointed to realise I wasn’t as close to the finish as I thought! But that’s understandable given how long it’s been since I’ve tried a decent effort solo.

I did feel like I was slowing. Second place was looking around a lot and obviously slowing too. Had this not been a training run I would like to think I could pick up and take the bait but I kept it controlled into the finish.

In the end I was a significant 10 seconds behind 2nd, crossing the line in 17:53. The Garmin measured the course at 3.16 miles and as a result Training Peaks indicated that 5k was complete in 17:34.

All in all pretty pleasing given the last few months…

On Sunday I got out for a 10 mile long run with Michael Hedley and rounding off the week with approx 31 miles of running and >100 miles of cycling. In total I’ve exercised >10hrs all in and I believe that’s probably a record. Even at the heights of my running (completing approx 50 miles a week) I’d probably only be exercising approx 6hrs per week so I believe this balance of running and cycling could be the key to unlocking some faster running over the next 6-12mths.

Watch this space!

Thanks for reading.

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Gillmore’s Groin Diary – days 13-18 – trying to move to Phase 3 of rehab and some jogging on the horizon…maybe!

Things were getting easier and the time felt right to make a return to work after two weeks off.

It would have been good to have been eased in gently but life being life I was straight back in the deep end!

I’m still not able to comfortably wear jeans or work trousers so the “Primani” tracksuit bottoms were the only option. Actually by the end of the day rushing around meeting after meeting I felt pretty hot and bothered and heading back in the car afterwards I felt physically and mentally drained…

Still I managed to get out for a couple of walks before and after work but now the Phase 2 part of rehab was calling for some upright cycling at the gym. But I couldn’t face it…

Tuesday (day 15) was much the same although I felt slightly less irritable around the operation area. Again though struggled to get the full routine in. I stayed with my beloved 2 mile walking route that has served me well.

Wednesday day 16 was much the same but Thursday involved no exercise at all due to work meetings in the morning and trying to sort some stuff in the house in the evening. This 3rd week of rehab was going down the drain…

On Friday I was able to make amends at the gym after work as I finally embarked on Phase 3 of my rehab. I had been to see Kevin Bell physio on Wednesday and (despite my lacklustre rehab Monday/Tuesday) he was very happy with how everything is going. I received some ultrasound treatment and also got the go ahead to move onto the next stage.

Phase 3 involves increasing the bike to 30mins and introducing some light Elliptical Trainer work at 25% resistance. I also need to continue with the walking (one per day 30-40mins) and the general stretches and exercises.

I was also delighted to here Kev say some jogging could commence next week if all goes well between now and then.

So the plan is to continue with Phase 3 until my next Physio appointment on Wednesday 13th June and from there I’ll be hoping.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I’m closer to closing the chapter of this Blog that is and has been the “Gillmores Groin Diary”.

I am planning my first “normal” blog after this as a discussion on why I still feel capable of producing PB performances and why I am still very confident I am capable of a sub 16 5km, as well as explaining what I think I need to do to achieve it.

Watch this space.

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – days 11-12 – the corner is turned!!!

On Thursday I was back to see Kevin Bell physio. I’d been given the OK to drive again which was a good first step back to normality.

Kevin has seen hundreds of GG rehab patients so it’s been a great help seeing him so far and I feel 100% confident of getting back when good and ready under his watch.

Everything is going well so far. We went through the Phase 1 exercises again and everything looked and felt good.

So it’s time to move onto Phase 2. I will continue with the walking and exercises with the number of reps of the latter being increased slightly.

I’ll also now bring in a daily upright cycling routine of 20mins on a low resistance and cadence. All going well over the next 4 to 5 days I will be hopeful to move onto Phase 3 which will be to lengthen the walk duration to 45mins and bring in an elliptical trainer element. I don’t want to think further ahead than that and it will all depend on my next physio appointment on Wednesday 6th June.

Further return to normality next week as I go back to work after two full weeks off.

And a real breakthrough was felt yesterday when I finally got to remove my dressings and get some fresh air to the operation area. That was a huge lift and made me feel like a real corner had been turned.

Onwards and upwards.

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – days 5-10 – update

Alas the daily diary proved all too much to maintain despite the down time…

So what has happened since the last post?

Apart from Chris Froome destroying the field in spectacular fashion at the Giro d’Italia things have progressed somewhat and I’ve been continuing with the daily walking regime.

The walks have gotten easier and naturally I’ve been walking at a faster pace. I decided to walk more like 3x 25-30mins per day rather than the proposed 4x 20mins. This was logisitical as much as anything. I found with the 4x 20mins it always felt like it was time to go out again before I knew it and 3 walks a day seemed more sensible.

A lot of the bruising has started to dissipate but I am still generally uncomfortable and feel myself tiring quite early on an evening and clearly the body is fighting to repair itself.

Despite that I managed to do some nice and normal things over the Bank Holiday weekend like have a BBQ on Sunday and pop out for some brunch on Monday. Thanks Jasmine for looking after me.

On Tuesday I went to see the surgeon for a post op appointment and it was a very quick one. I got some fresh dressings. He was happy with how things looked. Surprisingly he said it could be up to 6mths before the swelling completely resolves itself(!).

At this point I have to say I am already itching to get back to training but I’ve just got to be patient. This can’t be rushed and I don’t know exactly how long it will take. The not knowing does not sit well with me but I have to trust I am in good hands…

Today I’ve been feeling some nervy type pain on the left side which I expect I will experience for the next couple of weeks at least.

The next landmark is my 2nd physio appointment tomorrow where I hope to move to Phase 2 of the rehab protocol.

From there I should be ok to drive again later this week and go back to work next week. Hopefully that will get things feeling more normal in my life as I feel a bit spacey at the moment. As I explained in an earlier blog I find it difficult to just switch off and rest and I feel ready for something mentally challenging if not physically (yet).

On from there I will see the surgeon again on the 19th June. I would expect to be discharged then and I suppose in my mind I am thinking like I could maybe be back to some kind of jogging or running around then(?). But let’s see what the physio says over the coming weeks in between now and then.

Thanks for reading and for all of the support.

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – day 4 – first physio session…

“Remember these days because of course they are tough but they can define you. And when you feel pain in future you know it is only temporary” – short note to self in diary Wednesday 23rd May

The physio asked me how I was getting home today. I said – “I’m thinking about walking home”. He said – “how far is it?”. I said “about 5 or 6 miles”. He said “no you’re not son”.

I suppose I’ve always got my thoughts ahead of the game. I’ve never been good at being in the present. How do you do that? You know, when you’re sitting watching the sun setting and you are already thinking about what time you have to get up in the morning. It’s an affliction!

I’ve considered meditation but I’m scared of it. I don’t think I’d be very good at it. Instead I’m constantly thinking about everything.

At the moment it’s constantly thinking about my rehab. Of course I could be thinking about work but I’m off and I’ve decided to try to shut that down.

So seeing the physio today gave me a whole lot more to think about. It’s perhaps a 6 to 8 week process. Because my operation was bilateral (on both sides) I should be thinking more 8 weeks than 6 weeks.

On my way to the physio in the taxi I tried to think about what my answer would be when the physio asked “how are you?”. In a word I came up with “tender” but in a sentence it was “like a dog that’s just been castrated, a shrinking violet”. It got a laugh but I’m trying to avoid belly laughs at the moment. But I rest assured I’m doing quite well and the physio said he sees quite a spectrum of conditions after this surgery. I’m doing pretty well.

But to be honest it would be difficult to work at the moment even though my job is “desk based” and theoretically I could work from home on my laptop. The problem is it’s bad for me to be sat around at the moment. If I sit I get tight and if I get tight it feels bad. And things are a little tough mentally to get my head round even opening my inbox…

So I prefer to lie for a bit when I’m not out walking.

Today Simon Yates showed some fragility in the Giro d’Italia. I would liken it to the boxer who has outclassed his oponent for 10 rounds and let’s the guard down in the 11th only to finish it off in round 12. The end is in sight and he’s preparing for the killer blow. Give your opponent a glimmer of hope then BAM!!!

The physio has given me a sheet with about 6 or 7 exercises all lying on my back. I need to do them before going out for my walks. He wants the 3*20mins to become 4*20mins. And he wants me to do my exercises before each walk.

What with my exercises, walking and the Giro when would I have time to work anyway???

P.S. thanks to Jasmine who bought me a load of “getting well” clothes from Primark or as I called it Primarki. Jasmine was quick to say “do you mean Primani???” I had to curtail my own belly laugh, ouch!

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – day 3 – keep on keeping on…

I went to bed on the day after the operation feeling very tender and tired.

So I was grateful to get a good nights sleep. I was in bed by about 10ish and I didn’t feel like reading or watching anything so I just tried to get comfy and to lie slightly on my side. I drifted off and didn’t wake up til 3am. I was then able to get on my other side and sleep until about 6.30.

That was pleasing.

Today has been much like yesterday. Same routine. Get out 3 times for a 20 minute walk. I have to say it felt slightly easier getting round. That same strange feeling and certainly tingling at the end but getting it done.

I watched a documentary on Netflix about the tennis player Maria Sharapova about when she was banned for testing positive for a banned substance. I was impressed with her ability to overcome adversity, actually improve herself and come back stronger. Although different to my current experience I could relate to it and there were plenty of takeaways. You can do things differently if you are able to take a step back and look objectively at what you are doing. Sometimes you get “lost in the weeds” and it takes something bad to happen to shake you up. Overall you can become a better person through adversity. Life is there to give lessons, the important thing is to learn from them.

I also watched some more Giro d’Italia. A sprinters stage and I look forward to some GC action tomorrow in the mountains.

It struck me today that a song can get you through. Today for me was about The Deftones. A band I never thought I’d like but one I’ve listened to a lot in the last year or two… The song that got me through walk #3 was “Minerva” from the self titled album released in 2003 –

I get all, numb
When she sings it’s over
Such a strange numb
And it brings my knees to the earth
And God bless you all
For the song you saved us

~~••••~~

Onto tomorrow and I will be seeing Kevin Bell Physio to discuss my first phase of recovery. I feel like the operation has gone to plan and now I need to get on track with the rehab. This will be the first step of a multiple week process. I’ve had more than a kick in both groins(!). I have to be prepared for some bumps in the road and keep strong.

Gillmore’s Groin Diary – day 2 – first day after the operation… getting out for walks

So I got through the first night OK.

Unusually I didn’t feel very tired. I went for a lie down around 22.30. I’d taken 2 strong paracetamols and 1 codeine (I had the option to take 2 but wasn’t keen as the pain wasn’t any worse than previous).

I watched some Netflix and read and before I knew it was after midnight. Still didn’t feel tired and I ended up reading until around 2am. I had one more codeine before trying to get some sleep.

I decided to stay lying on my back which is not how I normally sleep. So unsurprisingly I lay there a while.

I think I got to sleep about 3ish and woke up about 5:30.

I decided to have a move around and got a fruit bowl of grapes, banana and apple.

The pain was still OK. Got back into bed to read some more. Plan was to get out for a 20 minute walk at 9am.

Disappointingly the weather was crap compared to yesterday. I could hear the wind through the night and it had definitely been raining. Shame it wasn’t like this the day of the operation… Such is life…

The walk was a bit groggy and gingerly to say the least but it was good to get some fresh air. And I didn’t feel anymore zombie like than the kids who obviously weren’t looking forward to getting to school.

Spot of breakfast and back to some reading and decided to register with Eurosport player as I might as well take the opportunity to watch the Giro d’Italia. It’s not often that Chris Froome is the underdog but Simon Yates seems off the map so far…

I got out for my 2nd walk around midday and felt about the same.

I decided to have a few more paracetamol as I was feeling more pain on getting up and down.

Also had a strong Ibuprofen.

Watched Simon Yates keep the Pink Jersey and looks unbeatable this week now.

Read some more of the Marcia Clark book “Without Doubt” that I got into after watching the American Crime Story series on Netflix.

Felt pretty knackered and probably could have done with a nap but decided to get my final 20 minute walk done.

Overall feeling pretty tender at the moment and expecting tonight/tomorrow to be much the same.

Case of digging in and getting over the hump.

BTW I will be talking about some running stuff in these daily diaries as it is something I’m planning for. I am very keen to take one-day and one step at a time but I’m also keen to do some reading and planning for my return. I don’t actually know at this stage when I could return to jogging and I don’t want to think about competition (yet)! One day at a time but more to follow…