On Your Marks

Chester Half Marathon is on the 18th of May. I signed up for this race back in my enthusiastic days of early January as a bit of a relaxing run and a motivator to keep up my fitness after the Paris Marathon. Which I would have totally nailed, of course had it not been for what we will call an unfortunate injury. But now I’m able to run again and the Chester race bib is probably on its way to me in the post, daring me to take my position in the crowd with the fitter competitors who will leave me for dust in the first ten metres.

If I am going to do this, I need to seriously start training again to even be able to finish it – a run that was a ‘medium run’ for me just a couple of pages ago on the calendar now seems daunting or exciting, depending on my current optimism.

Yes, it’s just over two months since I have put the lycra on and hit the Cheshire roads. Two months of relative inactivity, which, for anyone who has secondary lymphedema knows is a huge backwards step. Blood has not consistently pumped through my thighs at the required rate for a long time and the effects are noticeable. Sure, I’ve not gained any weight and I’ve not bloated up like it can do for some people, but I can tell the difference all the same. Those with this condition know the heaviness of limb, the stiffness and the aches that come with it. I’m barely able to squat and sitting cross legged is something I can only dream of. To you, I look well. And mostly, I am. I’m just lazy about managing this condition, given the excuse not to. Favourable weather conditions and a new bike will see this improve, I’m sure.

So, it’s time to charge the Garmin, activate the Strava and get out there and give this thing a shot. I have five weeks. All advice for someone attempting a half marathon with dormant fitness appreciated – leave your tips in the comments. And your encouragement, I’ll need plenty of that.

12 thoughts on “On Your Marks”

  1. The key to coming back from injury is holding yourself back so that you don’t got too hard to soon.

    Concentrate on keeping your pace below what you were doing before, resist the temptation to run just as fast only shorter.

    Only train to 3/4 of the race distance. Adrenaline will take you the extra quarter of the run.

    1. In gratitude for the advice I was going to let that one through. 😉
      Solid advice there, thank you, I’m going to head out for a simple 5K tomorrow morning. Aiming for a slow 9 min mile pace as well, expectations are super low. I think just the first mile is going to suck. If it goes well, maybe treat myself to a little ride on the bike in the evening?
      Hope the hangover eases. Was nursing one this morning. Been a while.

  2. If it makes you feel any better then I have never been able to do the crossed legged squats, my youngest son is the same. Its just never worked for me. It has also been a huge source of embarrassment when a guest to formal Japanese and Korean business meals up there. I remember once in Korea where they had to set up all these cushions for me, I was the only Westerner there, then they plied me up with their sweet wine in-between bows and I literally had to be lifted up at the end as I couldn’t move my legs. I go to extreme lengths to avoid these kind of situations now.

    1. I guess that answers a nagging question I’ve had for some time now; “is Bardon’s secret identity actually Bob Carr? I guess the Pilates and Bikram Yoga sessions passed you by, eh?”

      1. Nope on both counts. Plus I wouldn’t get staffers to empty my bar fridges as I am perfectly capable of doing that. I tried yoga for a year at a posh Melbourne class, I was one of only two blokes in the entire class and I used to fall asleep and snore during that last cat stretch thing.

  3. Is the problem with your legs common for long distance runners who stop running? It sounds bloody awful, and as good a reason as any not to run stupidly long distances! I’ve never heard of it before.

    1. Nah, it’s due to the cancer treatment. They remove some lymph nodes to check whether it’s spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system. As a result you have reduced drainage. I got bonus nerve damage leaving me without the use of my left leg totally for a bit. I had to buy an automatic car (good excuse for a Benz as if I needed one) to get about. I have gradually regained use of the leg, but I’m keeping the car :)

        1. It’s okay, I have it pretty mildly, so I’m very lucky. Just needs a bit of management. Regular exercise does the trick.

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