Tag Archives: knees

My first half-marathon

Setting off


Nike+ claims I ran a half-marathon back in November, and at a stonking pace too. But the subsequent months have convinced me that this must have been some sort of glitch on the app’s part – I’ve never again been able to match it.

No matter. I definitely ran one on Sunday. And in driving snow, too. The picture above is what greeted me as I left the house. It was barely snowing at the time, although the wind was vicious and the temperature somewhere around zero.

But you just have to get on with it don’t you? So I set off, and ran to Leatherhead – a little under six miles away – and back, adding a couple of off-road loops into the run to make up the required 13 miles.

Crossing the frosted railway, heading out of Dorking

Crossing the frosted railway, heading out of Dorking

The route was suggested by Mrs Reed, who very sensibly pointed out that the tarmac roadside path would be much easier to run on than the thick, slippery mud-world all the local trails had turned into. And she was right.

Even better, my new Eat More regime proved its worth: my energy levels were transformed, and I reached Leatherhead quicker and more easily than I could have expected.



As I ran, the snow grew thicker in the air, although thankfully never quite developed into the blizzard it occasionally seemed to threaten. It came and went, and hardly settled, but having it whipped across you by that mean wind was fairly off-putting.

The good thing about running six miles away from home, of course, is that you have no choice but to run the six miles back again (with, as I say, some little extras to make the 13).

At Leatherhead, I made up some distance by detouring up a muddy track through the farmland, crossing an extremely high and energetic river Mole:

And meeting some hungry cows:

Then I doubled back and ran the roadside path again, taking a final little detour at the foot of Box Hill to make sure I hit 13 before I got home. Which I did. Thank heavens.

Yes, I was knackered, and yes, doing that distance twice in one day is a fairly daunting prospect. But with my newly improved knees, and considerably more protein and carbs fizzing round my system, I’m feeling a lot more confident.

I tested the legs on Tuesday morning with a quick morning run around Norbury Park, a local woodland. It was less than four miles, but involves a steep little climb (frozen mud: like running over shattered concrete), and that left me pretty exhausted.

But I remembered the wisdom of my trainer, who always says to keep going, just at a gentle jog, rather than stop. So I forced the legs on, and they gradually submitted and got on with it. You do learn, doing this stuff, how much more your body is capable of than you thought.

Next weekend: eighteen miles.


Brockham and back: 9.2 miles

My brilliant personal trainer, Karen Marshall, invited me out this Saturday morning for a long run. I’ve been having knee trouble, so we were both a bit nervous about the impact. But as Karen said, I need to get used to these distances.


Just can’t catch the women. Story of my life.

As it was, it went pretty well. Karen, mutual friend Wendy (not wife Wendy, those who know me) and I did just over nine miles (14.9km), running from the picture-postcard village of Brockham through the Surrey countryside and back to Brockham again. (In the snow, I might add.)

Surrey house

You see some lovely houses running in this part of the world

HGV sign

Well, I did have that big bowl of porridge…

I did it in an hour and 38 minutes, and felt pretty good – apart from the knees. Right at the end they started stiffening up a lot, with pains emerging in the muscles at the back of the knee. That seems to be my Achilles heel, if you will.

Karen knows a good physio, whom I hope to see soon. Really need to get these knees sorted out. The problem is partly due, I’m sure, to the fact I recently discovered (again, via Karen) that I have terribly flat feet, which means I’ve been over-pronating for my entire walking life (so over 40 years, I’m afraid). Now that I’m addressing that, my legs are being made to work very differently. And they’re complaining.

But I shan’t. (Well, not too much.) I was pleased with my fitness on this run. We did a couple of decent-ish hills, and a good stretch of time and distance, and I felt that – knees aside – I could have carried on for quite some way.

Maybe even 26 miles. Who knows?