Following my vertigo and vaccine reaction I was fairly convinced there wasn't much more that could go wrong. Well, how wrong I was! I'm still not feeling 100% now (writing on September 9th) albeit a lot better than I was. I'm sure there have been lots of lessons learnt but I'm still recovering and so don't feel totally ready or able to analyse everything yet.
What I will say is that it's clear from reading my blog back is that my body was obviously crying out for a break after the vertigo/vaccine. Just terrible timing with the race in that I didn't want to take a break then.
Week starting 2nd August - 59.15 miles
After a couple of shocking weeks of training due to the aforementioned vertigo and vaccine I was ready to get some 'decent' training in. Instead of running my peak weeks 4-5 weeks out I've been wobbly/unable to train hard so my taper was been adjusted.
Monday - Easy run in the morning - 5.75 miles and S&C mid morning. Rash definitely receding and vertigo isn't too bad. Still struggling with some of the jumping/pogos as it really puts my balance off. The Northern Irish ultra team called in the evening and I got a late call up to the Anglo-Celtic team. Over the moon but a bit anxious about the training I've missed over the last few weeks.
Tuesday - 60 minute build (8.08 miles). Paces ok but ran too hard in terms of perceived effort. Motivated by last night's news no doubt! I always worry about running my steady pace too slow and inevitably I work too hard which isn't the point.
Wednesday - 4 x 6 minutes off 2 minutes. 6.82 miles total. Given what I'm missed over the last couple of weeks the paces just reflected where I was sharpness-wise.
Thursday - 45 minutes relaxed, 5.41 miles.
Friday - Out on time this evening which felt like a small miracle. Friday afternoons are notoriously busy. Managed to get my planned session done which feels like a huge triumph. 4 x 10 minutes off alternating paces. I did this on the track with Tom timing/shouting encouragement. Maybe a bit fast but it felt sooooo good to smash a session and really important for my confidence. Last day at work for a week- woohoo! 10.26 miles.
Saturday - Easy run with my teammate Sam. 6.43 miles. S&C session afterwards. Off to the Cotswolds with my family in the afternoon - the first time we've all been together since the start of the pandemic. My new niece was born 6 weeks ago so lovely to get in some auntie cuddles.
Sunday - I'd hoped for a decent last long run today and went to the canal in Banbury thinking it wouldn't be more path-like. Mistake! I should have run around the roads instead. We're staying at an amazing lodge but I didn't think about breakfast and in my efforts not to substitute family time I didn't organise pre-run breakfast. Total fail. Hungry throughout and paces were way off due to the terrain - just felt super frustrated. 16.4 miles. Busy day of walks and family activities.
Week starting 9th August - 59.6 miles
I know I my head I've done the 'work' over the last 18 months but I wanted this build up to be as good as it could be after the knee fracture shenanigans. For whatever reason this week I felt like I needed to catch up even though I knew that concept is incorrect, stupid and completely the opposite of what my coach would tell me. And with the benefit of hindsight it was the worst decision to push it....
Monday - Recovery run. 6.04 miles.
Great day with family although it's exhausting! I feel like I'm 35 going on 85. All I want is a coffee shop and a good book!
Tuesday - 40 minutes easy to steady in the morning and strides. Ran too hard! 5.53 miles. Recovery run in the afternoon. 4.21 miles.
Wednesday - 'Undulating' run in the morning aka hilly!! 9.67 miles. Ran too hard again (what am I trying to prove?!?).
Thursday - 70 minutes with 10 x 4 minutes off 1 minute jog. The route was hilly so my paces were all over the place. Hanging today after yesterday.
PM - 60 including a 5 mile tempo run. 8.49 miles. So hot today and again a really hilly route. Didn't fuel well and really pushed it. Almost vommed by the side of the road.
In the evening started to feel really sick - didn't make dinner, just lay in the car feeling horrible while my family went out. Felt a bit better before bed.
Friday - Better in the morning but then the nausea came back in the evening again. Home today and spent the afternoon/evening in bed.
Saturday - Woke up with nausea and epigastric pain (abdominal pain under my ribs and top of abdomen). Cancelled S&C. Was supposed to do a longer run today but moved it tomorrow and jogged 35 minutes when I felt a bit better in the evening.
Sunday - Didn't feel too bad when I woke up so got my last long run done - 12.14 miles with 2 x 25 minutes at marathon pace in. Nausea in the evening again.
Week starting 16th August - 79.5 miles
Race week! By the start of this week it's fair to say that I wasn't sure if I would race. Every day I kept hoping I would feel better but I never did. I did get a doctor to examine me midweek and they diagnosed gastritis. Apparently I'd be more painful if I had a gastric ulcer to which my husband rolled his eyes and asked 'did you tell them you are an ultra-runner and ran 40 miles on a fractured knee'?!
Monday - 4.71 miles easy in the morning. Binned second run as felt too nauseous. Struggled through work. Tried to drink a coffee and had to abandon.
Tuesday - Unscheduled rest day as feeling very sick. Not vomiting but feel like I might do at any moment.
Wednesday - 30 minutes steady in the morning. I feel a lot less nauseous when I wake up so trying to get my runs in then. S&C before work (on call so a later start). 4.01 miles.
Thursday - Off work today and feeling a bit less nauseous. Manage 4 x 5 minutes (5.59 miles) with a warm up and cool down. Should have done this session earlier but felt too rough. Hopeful that I'm on the road to recovery!
Friday - Shake out in the morning - 2.08 miles. Bad day today - feeling really sick all day. Had a cry in the evening and the usual meltdown - 'Why am I sick now? After all the crap I've been through over the last month why am I ill?'. Not sure if I'll be able to race.
Saturday - Into race kit and off. Tom flew with me to Dublin where the Anglo Celtic Plate was held this year and my mum and dad drove down from Portstewart in Northern Ireland. The usual pre-race nerves and wanting to get going. I brought anti-nausea medication as I thought that it might be a disaster. It pretty much was from a health point-of-view. I started regurgitating from 20 miles in and couldn't keep anything except flat coke down. The only reason I managed to keep flat coke down was that I had dispersible anti-nausea medication with me. At just over-marathon distance I was pretty much done but a teammate - Dave Andrews - gave me a talking to and said that other people were being sick too but that I was tougher. Every time I thought I was going to drop out I felt a bit better at the crew point and decided to run another 400m. Somehow I kept going like that for the next 30+ miles. I've never gone so deep in a race.
The good: The NI 100k record, Silver in the Irish Champs and a Bronze team medal.
The bad: I wasn't well enough to race and I've probably put myself in a massive hole that will be difficult to get out of!
Nausea horrendous after the race and I can't sleep because I feel so bad.
Sunday: So ill! I lie in the car feeling AWFUL while my mum and dad have brunch. Discuss whether I'm well enough to fly back but I'm keen to get home and can't face 3 hours in the car. Get back and sleep for 16 hours straight.
Week starting 23rd August - 0 miles
Rest week. Unfortunately for me we're super-short on anaesthetists this week which means I drag my sorry self into work each day. My husband is livid as he thinks there's no way I'm well enough to go in. There's a daily battle with him and myself. Struggle all week to eat much at all and get straight into bed after work each day. At least when I'm asleep I don't feel sick! Can't even process the race mentally as I'm feeling so terrible.
Week starting 30th August - 10.57 miles
Monday to Wednesday - Nausea is reducing but is replaced with crippling abdominal pain. See another doctor who was wonderful - lots of tests. At some point this week realise I have secondary lactose intolerance. Eliminating that makes me feel marginally better and is apparently very common after GI upset. By the end of the week the abdominal pain starts to ease as does my nausea - most days are ok and I only have a couple of hours of feeling sick. After this week at work I have some time off so hopefully time to recover.
Thursday - S&C - all mobility/rehab today to see if I can get my body moving.
Friday - fly to Edinburgh after work for my friend's 40th celebrations. Not feeling 100% but much, much better.
Saturday - very, very gentle run around the meadows with my friend Karen. 3.61 miles. Legs feel AWFUL! Nausea minimal today which is WONDERFUL.
Sunday - Easy run with my old teammates from Edinburgh AC - so lovely to see these ladies - it's been over a year since we've seen each other. 6.95 miles, very easy pace. Still have intermittent nausea but feeling much, much better and almost human!