Back to the Halfbike

Running appeared to be going well, but a 4 mile run on Thursday aggravated my ankle and hip again, so rather than the planned long run on Saturday I decided it was time to bring out the Halfbike again.

If you haven’t read my previous posts on the Halfbike, it’s effectively a standing bike with a larger front wheel and two small rear wheels – balance is key to riding and steering. I am a Halfbike ambassador and have coupon codes for 5% off. I do get a commission for codes used, but as I’ve noted before this does not affect my reviews.

As part of the original sales campaign on Kickstarter, Halfbike was supposed to come with fenders – a year and a half after getting the Halfbike, the fenders finally arrived after a myriad of design and production problems.

I put the fenders on this week, not expecting to ride for a while, but luckily (I guess) it rained overnight so there were puddles on the ground for my Saturday ride.

Attaching the fenders was simple, but putting the pieces together for the rear fenders was not at all. In the end I used a rubber mallet to force the pieces together. The fit was a bit tight.

I wasn’t too bothered by not having fenders as I use it for exercise and don’t care how muddy and wet I get when riding, but I have to admit to not having used it in the rain and I did wonder how far up the front wheel would fling the water, so I no longer have to worry about getting a mouthful.

They seemed to work well – I deliberately rode through the puddles – but I did still get a slight spatter on my ankle so they don’t fully protect you.

My ride was about 10.5 miles and by the end my calves were definitely feeling it.

Building up, and the Newport Half

Since my last post I have started to build up my mileage. That doesn’t mean my issues are gone. The Achilles Tendonitis is still there but improving, so much so that it is not felt during a run (well… mostly). My right ankle still swells up, but the stresses that cause that seem to not be running related (I started going to Bodypump again and that seems to cause it). My right hip does hurt a bit during longer runs, but massage is helping with that it seems.

So, now we’re up to date, it’s time to look ahead.

The Newport Liberty Half is coming up on September 17. I love that race and have done it every year since I started running more than just 5ks.

This year I’m not sure I’ll be able to run. I’m lucky enough to once again be a blog partner for the race and I will definitely be there, but more than likely it will be with my camera and not my running shoes.

Sign up for the race, and let the organizers know where you found out about it. Read some of my previous posts about the race here!

St Ives 10k in England

It seems to be pretty normal for me to look for races when travelling, and this trip included a 10k on Sunday. In my last post I mentioned that I may fill my blog with my runs in England, but after that post my Achilles was pretty bad, and being on vacation I decided to take a break instead. There was plenty of walking during the vacation so I was at least active.

So, after 9 days without a run I went along to the St Ives 10k unsure of how it would work out. The morning started with a 3k fun run that my kids entered. They had a lot of fun and got a medal (not at all bad for the very reasonable entry fee).

The 10k started at 10:30am. I didn’t know anything about the course and thought I would take it easy to start to see how my ankle would hold up. Of course, I failed. It seems that racing brings out a need to push myself. At first it felt easy but I knew I would need to ease back a little on the initial pace because I have only run 6 miles a couple of times in recent months.

Soon after the start the course turned up a gentle hill towards an airfield. A left turn took us into a strong headwind and a long straight with a slight uphill grade (I’m glad I didn’t know how long that section would be – sometimes it’s better not to know the course). Of course, we had the tailwind on the way back, but I knew how long that straight section was and psychologically it was tough.

By around 5 miles I was suffering – this photo at the finish shows that. Despite that I managed to finish in 45:32. It’s a long way off my times from even last year.

As for the Achilles, that was painful at the finish but not noticed during the run. The worse problem was the next day (and the day after), my calf, quads, everything were incredibly tight. I haven’t felt like this after a run outside of running marathons.

Delayed update

So much for more regular updates to my blog on my progress. This is mostly because I don’t really feel like I’ve made much progress. Right after my last post I had an issue that I hadn’t had for a few months – a swollen right ankle (not the ankle affected by the Achilles tendonitis). No real damage and it disappeared after a couple of days, but it gave me enough of a scare to slow down a bit.

The good news is that I’m able to run between 4 and 6 miles without too much pain (I definitely feel it in the Achilles, so progress on recovery is slow), but I’m only running 3 days a week.

I’m visiting a Sports Medicine doctor on the 24th to check in on progress and see what needs to happen next, but in the meantime I’ll be running on vacation in England so will hopefully post about some scenic runs.

Progress update, or “why I should have had PT earlier”

My intention was to keep my blog updated on progress mainly so I can look back on this time if it can help me in the future, but as usual the intention has not turned into action. So, here’s the last month in summary, and now I hope to update more often.

It is clear now that I should have gone to Physical Therapy sooner. The weakness in my right hip probably got worse over the last year as I continued to run with the ankle issues. PT has been working to get rid of my Achilles tendonitis and to strengthen my right hip. I have difficulty finding the time for the exercises every single day but I am gaining strength, and the Achilles problem is getting better.

This past week I decided to run a couple of 5k races, partly because I wanted to see how fast I was, and partly just because I have not done any speed work for a while. On Saturday it was the Pancreatic Cancer 5k in Edison where a 6-year-old girl beat me (she happens to hold the world record for 5 and 6-year-old girls). My time was about what I expected given the circumstances (21:40). My Achilles hurt in my warm up and a little early in the race, which is pretty typical now. My second race was the first RVRR Summer Series race of the year. As it was hot on the day I decided to take it easy but it’s easy to get caught up in the race and soon it turned into another speed workout. This time there was no Achilles pain at the start, but there was after the race.

I finally decided I need to apply my coaching toolbox and set myself a plan to get back to form, so last night I planned to run an easy few miles with RVRR. Early in the run I realized that my cadence seemed low (at least for me – historically I’ve run at 195+), so I wondered if that could be causing issues and spent the rest of the run trying to keep my cadence over 190.

Will it make a difference? I’m not sure, but I ran longer than planned (4 miles instead of 3) and mostly felt good so I will try to maintain that. At around mile 3 I did wonder if my Achilles would hold up as I could feel some pain creeping in, but it ultimately didn’t cause any problems and felt reasonable when I stopped.