Nikki's Guest Blog - A week and no running at all... yes really!!

So, forgive me Father but it has been a week since my last run. This is something that I thought I would never do, well not in the last 9 years anyway. Running and me we are one, if I am not lacing up my trainers I am searching the internet for new trainers or chatting about running and races or, just plotting my next route. When a knee niggle caused me to be sensible whilst out running with a group of likeminded crazy hill loving trail runners I decided rest was the only option.  Rest and ibuprofen/stretching/supplements and tiger balm, I love the smell of tiger balm!! 

The knee thing was due to many things starting with a nice and challenging Purbeck Marathon (love this race) then, the next week racing a 5-mile race and, the week after that running my first 38-mile race in a respectable 7hrs14. That was the running stuff that stressed my knee and ITB but, I think what tipped it over the edge was the fact that the day after the ultra we had a lot of building work start in the house: wall came tumbling down, kitchen ripped out and washing up bent over the bath went on etc. These things are not ideal for a relaxing way of life and mean that you and your knees are often bent for long periods of time! 

You can see the pattern of little extra things that put strain upon my legs and what I have failed to mention is the little 9 mile run I did on tarmac with Mr Y aka eGlove and his friends who were getting ready for the Great South Run. At mile 8 my knee felt odd, I stretched out and carried on. The following day I wanted to go to a friend’s Run Talk event that he was doing for England Athletics and MIND.  This was all about raising the profile of mental health and how it affects us all.  This is something I am particularly passionate about having spent time with the Samaritans in their centre’s and raising money for them at various races.  So this run saw me hobble about as we ran around and chatted. Did I rest much that week? Erm nope, in fact I carried on and gave myself just two days off! 

I am lucky enough to be tail running/sweeping the rather beautiful yet tough Meon Valley Marathon on Sunday 6th November so, I went on a recce of the course that the Second Wind Running crew had put up on their website as one of many for the marathon.  It was great and I felt fine, so of course I increased my HIIT at home (High Intensity Interval Training) and left out the beloved yoga that I have been practicing all year. Mistake, big, huge as it turns out! 
Another week went by and I ran a potential new parkrun course, marshalled at the Great South Run which was brilliant despite being out on the course and on my feet for a long time! Half term started and the work at home just left us with some decorating to do, which of course I made sure that I used every hour of the day and went running and did more HIIT.


This brings me to last Wednesday and a group run, once again in my favourite running playground that is Queen Elizabeth Country Park. I happened to mention hills to the mountain goat that is Mr Second Wind Running! Off we went up and down and round and round, I slipped on a little narrow chalky path – could it have been this that jarred my knee? The route was fab and we went through East Meon which is quickly becoming one of my favourite villages, it is so gorgeous and there are so many hills around it! As we climbed up through a field of sheep and rejoined the South Downs Way I felt that my knee/ leg wasn’t quite right. I decided to walk the last mile or so.   Sensible is not something I normally do, but I didn’t want to be a hero/martyr! The descent of Butser was interesting and I did so want to fly down but my friend made sure that I didn’t!  


As soon as we got back to the car I stretched and did the normal things and it felt fine.
Thursday was the worst day with stairs being annoying and not to help matters I spent most of the day and evening sat either in the car driving or at a football match. I started the day feeling like I would never walk or run and was quite frankly very grumpy! I went to Boots and bought ibuprofen, a knee support and some Glucosamine with Chondroitin tablets, all magic healers obviously. Weirdly, by Thursday night things were much better.  I still took the ibuprofen and one more dose on Friday morning on the way to London to stay with friends for the weekend. I resisted the temptation to parkrun on Saturday, something that I have done religiously for over 4 years, that felt odd and I avoided looking at Strava to see all the runs that had been done.  But, I am sure all of this rest and relaxation and yoga will mean that I am all good to go this weekend. 
Strangely I don’t feel as bad about not running as I always thought I would. I haven’t gained any weight, but there is always time! I haven’t done any cv stuff apart from my yoga which I neglected since May and had swapped for knee killing burpees and mountain climbers and a things HIIT. I have rediscovered my love of yoga, I have caught up on many things in the house and I don’t think that I have been horrible to my wonderful support crew that is Mr Y and my family. So, you see a rest can be just what we need and the running will always be there.
There you go, now where did I put my trainers and ooh look another race to enter!

Meon Valley Marathon – Second Wind Running
Saturday morning parkrun