Working in a running environment when you’re injured isn’t easy, especially during the run up to the Great North Run. Our customers are coming into the shop buzzing with excitement and panic with the event fast approaching.
I am also seeing my friends racing in the local scene, doing well and races like Tynedale 10 mile have past me once again. I saw some of the times at the Tees Pride race too and thought of missed PB opportunities.
Out of sheer frustration I put my shoes on and went for a run with Clare. We did 2.5 mile around Houghall woods. I was extremely uncomfortable the whole way, but it felt good to be out running again. That night I was on a high, still uncomfortable, but Hey! I could live with this.
However, the next day was bloody awful! I spent the whole day in pain, I walked around doubled up in pain, even walking was uncomfortable. Bugger!!
So, back to the bike.
I’m really enjoying the bike now and can see some decent improvements. I’m still using the Strava cycling app on my phone and I’m steadily working my way up the leaderboards on the local climbs. I have to be honest with you all, I’m killing myself on the climbs. I’m giving them everything I have, I think when I’m hurting on the climb I’m taking out all of my injury frustrations and meeting my competitive needs on the hill.
The majority of my cycling is too and from work, but at least twice a week I’m trying to get a long ride in. Last Wednesday was a belter, I loved it.
I’d already had my morning ride and been to work all day. Clare was working late so I took the opportunity to get a long ride in.
I set off from Durham and headed for Chester le Street, the A167 to Chester is undulating but fast, I got low and pushed hard. At Chester I looked to the sky, I was in two minds; do I head off on a loop towards home and do small circuits, keeping within a few miles of home, or commit to a big loop out over the hills?
The sky had some big black clouds, but they were high and moving fast. What the hell! Let’s go for it. I turned out of Chester, dropped a gear and headed for Waldridge.
I kept on through Waldridge, over Waldridge fell and up towards Sacriston, a good climb. I would have liked to have kept climbing at a steady pace, but because I had my Strava app turned on I didn’t want to post a bad time.
From Sacriston I headed for Burnhope on a quiet, undulating, twisting road. The sky was still threatening, but I could see the whole of County Durham in front of me and could see no sign of rain, ok, lets bang on.
I dropped down Lanchester Peth. The peth is steep to start, I was decsending well and cruising round the bends, but I just got the feeling that I needed to back off a bit. The road was getting steeper and I couldn’t see if the road had a good run out.
I was now riding with my chest on my seat and my bum hovering over the back wheel. I was pulling the break levers so hard that my forearms were trembiling. It’s a good job I was under control as I came round the next bend there was a set of traffic lights on red and road works.
I continued down the Peth to Lanchester, but there was no rest. I was tempted to pop in to see my Mother in Law, but I knew that I wouldn’t get any further so I set off for Tow Law.
From Lanchester to Tow Law is an unrelenting climb that never seems to end. Funny, I love the climbs. I think it’s the runner in me, the pain is good, the pain reminds me that I’m still keeping fit and training hard, I know pain, I can fight it, I can push myself. My legs were burning and my lungs are screaming for more Oxygen. This is bloody fantastic!!
I reached Tow Law and heard my phone ring. It was Clare, she had expected me to call her about an hour earlier to let her know that I was safely home, she was now worried. I told her where I was and how long it would take to get home, she was happier now.
By now it was getting dusk and I still had a long way to get home, best get going. From Tow Law to Crook I flew! I was in my top gear, I was on the bottom of my handlebars, head down, bum up and riding on the rivet!
I passed through Willington and in a blink of the eye through Brancepeth. I still had a way to go, I hadn’t eaten since lunch at 12 oclock, it was now nearly 8 o clock. I was starting to wonder if I should stop and buy some food or crack on. I could feel that deep hunger you get before you hit the wall, I’ll stop at the next shop.
I got to Meadowfield, I saw a shop, but there was some kids hanging around outside, so I didn’t stop. I didn’t fancy leaving my bike outside the shop without a lock, I’ll stop in Durham.
By now it was getting dark, I couldn’t convince myself any longer, it wasn’t dusk anymore. My ride home from Durham is about 7 miles, mostly uphill, but it’s a familiar ride, so it passed quickly. I got home at 8.30, a long day.
I loved the ride, I found some new roads, some great hills and danced with my old friends, Pain and Fatigue. Good stuff!
Well, this week is GNR weekend and another target race will pass by, I’ve also sent the English Masters team manager a message to say that I won’t be putting myself forward for selection for the Home Nations international in Belfast this year. I hated doing this, but I have to at long last accept that I won’t be able to get myself through an operation and recovery in time. So I sit here now setting new targets. The first, running pain free by Christmas.
I’d like to wish everyone running the GNR all the best of luck for the race. I’m hoping it’s a good day for you all and if you watch out on the course you might spot an injured runner riding his bike alongside shouting his friends and rivals on.