Welcome to my Web Site
JOGLE - John O'Groats to Lands End
30th April to May 14th 2010
How does it work?
There are 11 UK runners and me.
3 women and 9 men.
My JOGLE BLOG beginning with:
10 days to go and all is not well! I have a posterior tibialis shin splint in my left lower leg. I damaged my leg weeks ago when I jarred my leg whilst running without noticing the pavement had dropped away. Initially it was diagnosed as a stress fracture and I lived on crutches for 3 weeks. I attended the hyperbaric chamber for treatment with hyperbaric oxygen to speed up its healing. My Vicar has also laid his hands on my leg too. I did alot of gardening at the weekend and have aggravated the injury. So I am using R.I.C.E. I am not running at the moment and using frozen sweetcorn as ice. I am seeing my sports massage guy tomorrow at Crosby Injury Clinic. I am back in the chamber as well afterwards. I am hoping the stretching and massage and ice will heal my leg by the 30th April. A positive thing is that once the muscle warms up there is little pain. I am hoping I am okay to run JOGLE!!
So far I have run 2,400 miles since last May. I have run an average of 200 miles a month and 50 miles a week for a year! I am pleased with all the training I have done, including the 6 marathons in 6 days. I am determined that a shin splint will not stop my JOGLE. I am excited and cannot wait for 10 days time.
Wednesday 21st April
9 days to go! 6 days until I leave the island. I visited my massage guy, John, and he stripped my left calf muscle. The pain was excrutiating! He placed ultrasound on it. He recommended ice and stretching. I hope it works. I am going back on Monday for more pain. My leg feels sore but I hope it is no pain, no gain. I would love to be running but swimming will have to do instead! I had a 90 minute session in the chamber today to help heal the muscle. Then it was shopping, tiny tts with my young nephew, and then home to ice my leg! The weather is glorious and I am desperate to run outside. Oh well, a hobble in the sunset will have to do!
Thursday 22nd April
8 days to go, 5 days before I leave the island. It has been an interesting day. My leg was sore even on walking. The pain comes in my left leg as I move forward with my right leg. It feels tight at the top of my calf muscle at the back and the inside of my leg. I spent 90 minutes in the large chamber with 5 other people. Then I swam 100 lengths of Mount Murray pool - 1250 metres. I have noticed my arms and shoulders have got stronger and bigger with the swimming I have done in the past 8 weeks while I have had injuries. Then I took David shopping. Following that I drove to Kirk Michael to have my feet treated by my podiatrist. He filed my toenails down. He also told me that he thinks this latest injury is different to my supposed stress fracture. The pain is round the back of my leg and could be a calf injury involving gastrocnemius or soleus, a shin splint of the posterior tibialis muscle or possibly a tear of a long thin muscle down my bottom, inside leg and foot. This muscle tears on the tendon near where my pain is. The muscle is not used in humans but rabbits use this muscle alot. My leg does feel a bit better now. I will try to run on saturday morning. I am still positive about the injury and that it will not stop me. More chamber tomorrow.
Friday 23rd April
7 days to go and I feel like I am on a cruel emotional rollercoaster. I went swimming this morning. I then tried to run on my sore leg and hurt it that much I could barely walk! At the chamber the nurse insisted I went to A+E for a professional opinion. Fortunately the hospital was quiet and I had 2 x-rays which showed no boney problems. Therefore the conclusion was that I have a tear in my gastrocnemius muscle in my left calf, on the inside of my left leg. The leg is tender in a specific place. I then went to the chamber for hyperbaric oxygen. The treatment is to keep off my leg as much as possible so Ernie got a wheelchair for me from CIRCA. I am to do nothing for a week and Rory hopes I will be able to do JOGLE. If I cannot run, I could maybe racewalk. I am feeling positive that a complete rest, lots of ibuprofen, acupuncture and more hyperbaric oxygen, I will be okay. I am going round the Castletown Ghost Walk in a wheelchair, pushed by Ernie! Nothing is ever simple with me, is it, infact my life is never dull! Please pray my leg heals, thanks.
Saturday 24th April
6 days to go. Being in a wheelchair is embarrassing and an experience into the difficulties disabled people face daily. This morning I rested my leg. The acupuncture session was interesting. I had needles in my calf for 20 minutes, then massage followed by ultrasound. The therapist, who was in his seventies, recommended plenty of calcium and magnesium in my diet. My leg felt warm and relaxed when I left. This afternoon I was back in the wheelchair for my sisters hen tea party. She is getting married in 4 weeks time. Tonight I am out at an Italian Retaurant with Ernie. Tomorrow I am watching the London Marathon - I ran it in 2008.
Sunday 25th April
5 days to go and my dream is slipping away. My leg is no better. All I can do is sit and watch the London Marathon and dream about running. It is just not fair. I tore my muscle last Sunday at church, then again on Tuesday walking up a hill and on Friday, trying to run in the garden. I will know tomorrow at the scan what the prognosis is. I have a back-up plan if Rory allows it. I would like to help out at JOGLE, as a support crew, as I will have my car if Ernie makes his own way back to Liverpool, and I know the route. That would mean I would still be part of JOGLE. The thought of coming home on the boat next saturday is devastating. I am free for the next 3 weeks - please let me help Rory! I have another ambition now to make up for JOGLE. I hope to start training again after TT mid-June. That would give me 3 months to racewalk before the end to end walk (39.22 miles) from the North to South of the Isle of Man on September 26th 2010. I hope to walk this 10 times - 9 times over the 9 days before the race and the 10th time on the sunday. I would walk North the first day on the 17th September, South the next day, North the next etc. I would complete 400 miles in 10 days, supporting myself as there are 2 shops on the route. Something to look forward to. As for now I am resting....
Monday 26th April
4 days to go. It has been a difficult day and the decision to run or to crew is not an easy one. In the chamber the oxygen supply was low and I felt ill and the session was cut short. The scan was more positive and this has created a dilemma. I was certain I had ruptured the muscle. However it is a strain and no fibres are torn. However it could rupture as I run which would mean months of healing. At the moment the ultrasound showed it would heal in 1-2 weeks. In the evening I had acupuncture and the most painful needle was in my right foot, showing that I may have an imbalance which caused the injury. The leg isd painful still to walk on. I am running out of time fast. The other JOGLE runners are hopeful I will be able to do JOGLE. I hope to racewalk the first few days, aiming to get in just before the cut-off time. However if I cannot walk properly by Thursday I will be crewing.
Tuesday 27th April
3 days to go. I am on the boat. I should be feeling excited but I am really scared. I want to run JOGLE yet my leg is still painful when I walk. My God, why did you have to test me like this?
I am now in Edinburgh. The disappointment is immense. JOGLE was my ambition, my dream. I do not know how I can cope with crewing. Ernie tried to get me racewalking today but I just cannot do it. It hurts and I am so scared of the pain. The muscular pain is awful. I have a heated pad next to the muscle. I just hope it will heal but am running out of time. God, please help me, please make my leg better now.
Wednesday 28th April
2 days to go and good news. My leg is alot better today. I think one problem was the tubigrip I had on. It was squeezing the muscle and making it agonisingly painful. I now can walk on my leg properly. Even if I racewalk the first few days, I hope to be running eventually. I still have a day of healing left. I am so happy to be going to run rather than crew. I am really looking forward to JOGLE now and meeting up with the other amazing runners. Have recc'ed the route through Glasgow and up to Spean Bridge today. The scenery is stunning but Glencoe is steep. Day 4 will be hard. I am in Fort William now and Ernie will drive me up to Inverness Airport tomorrow to meet the coach. My prayers have been answered and I hope I get to Lands End!
Thursday 29th April
1 day to go and I cannot believe I am sitting on the bus driving up to JOG and my leg is good and I am sssooooo..... looking forward to the adventure! I have met my 11 fellow runners. I have met and run with about 6 of them before. The scenery is spectacular. Ernie left me at the tour bus to go back to Edinburgh. The bus is amazing: 16 bunks upstairs with a lounge and TV, a kitchen and driver's room downstairs. There is also some seats downstairs too. Paul is driving, the bus cost him £385,000! Ann made us sandwiches for lunch and dinner is at 7pm each night. There is a toilet on board for wee's. Tomorrow Rory wakes us at 4.15am. We all start running at 5.30am. I plan to racewalk the first few miles to see how my leg holds up. It will be a long day - 14 to 15 hours I think. Lights out is 8.30pm each night when we will all be exhausted. Wish me luck as the adventure begins....
Wednesday 5th May
Well, I had hoped to update my blog every day but I was far too tired to do so. So here is the story:
We arrived in John O'Groats about 6pm on Friday. After the coach took a wrong turn, we found the end of Scotland and parked up. We all had photos taken by the signpost. I was worried as I walked up a short slope and my leg really hurt. I went to bed wondering if I could walk the 63 miles in the morning. Had I made the right decision to run? Was I going to damage myself for life? After dinner we were all in bed by 10pm ready for the start.
5am on Friday Rory woke us up. After porridge, tea and toast 12 of us lined up in height order at the start. We decided to do a sprint start for fun. None of us knew what lay ahead of us. 6am and we were off. All the others ran into the distance as I hobbled along. I soon discovered that if I did a very slow jog, my leg was a little better. However the slopes crucified the muscle. Rory and Jen drove by and Rory told me I was the only one running at the correct pace. The first checkpoint was 10 miles. I was last and in pain. This was not going well. however by 18 miles I caught up with Graham and passed Annette. At the 33 mile checkpoint I sat down with Jo, Colin and Justin for tea and sandwiches. Feeling better i set off ahead of them, amazed to have overtaken 5 runners with a dodgy leg. Then the miracle occurred. The more I ran, the more my leg got better. Suddenly it loosened up and there was no pain. Amazing! Also the scenery was getting even better. The moorland of the north was replaced by trees and fields full of lambs. Rain showers passed overhead but they cooled me down. However I was struggling to eat and at the 55 mile checkpoint I was nearly sick and nearly passed out. Rory gave me a full fat coke and I struggled to the finish. A 15% hill at Berriedale at 43 miles had completely wiped me out and I had no sugar left in me. It was a long walk to Brora. After 14 hours 10 minutes I arrived at the coach exhausted. 63 miles done but my leg was fine. I ate some dinner, had a cold strip wash in the public carpark toilets and went to bed.
I slept for 3 hours and then had to leave the coach to pee. The coach was hot and stuffy and I felt like I was suffocating. I had a mild panic attack and could not sleep. It has been years since i have had a panic attack and did not know what was happening. Everyone else was asleep.
At 4.15am the 8 slowest runners, including me, were woken and had breakfast. I was very stiff and sore. My quad muscles were in agony. At 5am we lined up and started hobbling and walking. It was light and a beautiful morning. Slowly after a few miles I loosened up and was jogging slowly. I was also trying to eat as much as possible so was eating brunch bars and energy bars. I needed to eat 8,000 calories each day! The hills were not so severe today but they took their toll. Jo was the first to pull out of the race with a foot injury - she could barely walk. Then Graham, Justin and Annette all pulled out by checkpoint 4. That meant a third of the runners had gone and I had won the ladies race. Colin was behind me and getting slower. Ahead rob was running 4 hour marathons which was far too fast. At checkpoint 3 I ate lunch and tea. Rory got me to start running again so quickly that I forgot to fill up my water bottles. I had an inch of water to last me 9 miles and I was eating crisps! I found a house along the A9 and a kind lady, with a very docile and friendly dog, gave me water. The A9 is not nice. It is busy and fast. Some cars came so close to me that I could feel the draught as they sped by. I thanked kind drivers who gave me room. Several cars tooted their horns nicely at me and made me feel good. However several honked me in anger and I wondered where they expected me to run as the gutter was broken and uneven so I had to run on the edge of the road. I was wearing my high-viz JOGLEULTRA T-shi rt over my anorak so I was very visible. At checkpoint 4 I took a piece of fruit cake. However it made me start retching so I drank the coke instead. There was a very long hill off Cromarty Firth. The scenery was stunning and suddenly i felt really good. I racewalked up the hill and ran down into Beauly. i felt terrific and finished in 14 and a half hours. It had been a good day. I ate dinner but then felt really tired. A meeting was called for the runners and I was told i would start at 5am with Colin, who was still out running. I had a shower, which was cold, and retired to bed. However another panic attack saw me have only3 hours sleep again and I ended up sleeping in the lounge where it was cooler and fresher. I was exhausted when I woke up at 4.15am.
Sunday morning was cloudy but dry. It was light and Colin and I ran together. We chatted about lots of things. The first 10 miles flew by as we ran and walked for 3 hours. The road we were on was quiet, a nice change from yesterday, but it would not last long. The hill into Drumnadrochit was 15-18%. It was a killer - my quads screamed! Checkpoint 1 was at the bottom and it was good to see Rory and Jen. However Colin and I were going too slowly. Several runners had commented I was leaning forward alot. I thought it was my waistpack doing so as all the other runners were using camelbaks. By 20 miles I was in alot of back pain, so Rory and Jen emptied my pockets and pack. I was scarrying far too much, even spare headtorch batteries(!), and the reduced weight was wonderful. Colin and I carried on to Fort Augustus. Loch Ness was stunning - it was so still. However the traffic back on the A82 was awful and scary. Why do people have to go so fast round narrow windy roads? At Fort Augustus we stopped at the toilets and generated a crowd of inquisitive people who wished us well. At checkpoint 3 we ate pasta and drank tea. Rory stretched my back in an attempt to relieve the pain and told me to run with my shoulders back. My waistpack was removed. I held a bottle of water and Colin carried one of mine too. I felt less sick without the pack tight round my waist but even after a mile my back was very sore. Soon it had gone into spasm and I was nearly bent double. I stopped regularly to hyperextend it but the relief was temporary and soon I was bent over again. It was sapping my energy and my morale. Suddenly I began to realise this may be it. I was so angry as my legs were fine, although with all the walking I could feel the beginnings of shin splints in my left lower leg. Colin bought us ice creams at 38 miles which energised us. At 42 miles Rory drove up to us. I was now in agony. Rory got me to lie down on my front and massaged and stretched my back to loosen it. It gave me 2 miles of relief before it went into a severe spasm again. At 44 miles Colin and I missed being run over by a snowplough by inches. It was speeding and we ended up jumping onto a wall and bending our knees as it just missed us. we were both in shock for a minute afterwards. This was getting nasty. At 45 miles I was bent double in pain and walking. I told Colin to go ahead and leave me so he could get as much rest in the coach. It was 9 lonely miles to walk to Spean Bridge. Every 100-200 metres I had to hyperextend my back either lying down or stood up. I must have looked like a little old lady. The sceney and Loch was stunning but I was too tired to notice. This was Hell. After 5miles I discovered if I pushed the 2 water bottles into my back and leant back on them, I could walk upright. Twice I sat down to phone Rory to see if he could come and help me, but there was no phone signal. I was even contemplating trying to contact the police for help. There was 1 runner, Mike, behind me struggling with an agonising shin injury. Then wonderfully Rory and Jen appeared. I explained how I could walk with the bottles in my back and Rory had an idea. He put my hands in the small of my back and tied my arms behind to extend my back. It was like a reverse straightjacket. I had 2.7 miles to go to the end of Day 3. It worked however. I walked upright to the end. I am surprised no cars stopped to see if I was okay. I was exhausted when i reached the end in 16 hours 20 minutes but had done it. It was one of the most courageous things I have done. On the coach I could not eat dinner as the sweets had caused an ulcer in my mouth. I told Rory i could not go any further - my race was over. Rory said to decide at 4am the next morning. I went to bed but had a severe panic attack. I tried to wake Rory and Jen for help, but realised they were not on the bus. I spent 4 hours crying and trying to calm down and breathe slower.
At 4am I was that tired I could not even stand up. I felt really light headed and dizzy. Colin and Mike started the run without me. I was out after 3 days. The disappointment was immense. Jen held me as i cried. Rory told me I had to stay on the coach for 24 hours to recover so i was well enough to go home. I had run 177 miles in 3 days, running for 50 hours with 6 hours sleep. I felt a failure, but what I had achieved was amazing. I should be proud. I spent the day sleeping and feeling very ill. I had 2 more panic attacks and never left the coach. The cook, Anne, looked after me. At times I was so tired I could not life my head off the pillow. However by the end of day 4, Mike, Steve and Rob had quit too. Two thirds of the runners had gone and we were not out of scotland yet! Only 4 runners were left. Would anyone reach Lands End?
Yesterday I felt much better. I slept in the lounge where it was cooler and fresher and didnot have a panic attack. i did hallucinate though and took more of my medication. I said goodbye to the 4 runners left and Rory and Jen. The coach drove to Glasgow and I enjoyed chatting to Anne and Paul. Ernie met me at 1pm at the stop in Pollock. It was so good to see him. All I wanted to do was go home to sleep. I was a bit embarrassed about not having done it, but people must remember what I did do and how hard it was. To come 8th out of 12 and 1st lady was good. It had been amazing I had started anyway and my calf muscle was fine. I was even getting less sore the more i ran.
Today I am on the boat with Ernie. I have no regrets doing JOGLE. It was an amazing adventure with amazing people. Manx Radio and the Newspapers have been good. I am on the front page of the Examiner! The 4 remaining runners are doing well and I think Colin can do it. If it had not been for my back I would be with him now. My parents are proud of me. I am suntanned and have lost quite a bit of weight. I will take 6 weeks off before training again. I will start doing pilates to strengthen my core muscles.
The next challenge.....
I, unbelievably, have signed up for JOGLE 2011! I must be mad! However I have had the experience of it and know what I need to do to run all the way. I have started core stability work to help strengthen my back. Before April 2011, I am doing another challenge, if i get permission from the end to end walk committee. I plan to run / walk 400 miles in 10 days on the island. On September 17th I run from the Sound to the Point of Ayre - 39.22 miles south to north with 1.5 miles to walk from the bus to the Sound. The next day I will run north to south and so on. I then hope to finish this challenge on September 26th with the walkers in the end to end walking race. This challenge means I can get in much needed miles for JOGLE 2011. I hope my calf muscle gets better soon though, as I am having to rest at the moment. This does not come naturally for me!