Monday, 28 March 2011

Willy Knees

When I was a lad and living in Crewe there was a local heating engineer who went by the name of Willy Knees (pronounced Villee Ker-nays I think).  I seem to remember him being a German PoW who'd settled here after the war to ply his trade.  Anyway, his name sprang to mind about 10 miles into Saturday morning's run of just a tad under 18 miles, because it seemed an apt description of the problems I was having at the time.

I'd decided to do a long run, as the Duathlon's in two weeks and so next weekend I want to do a dress rehearsal (ie run-cycle-run), and that won't involve going too far.  A day out in Manchester was planned, and a train into town was booked for 10.41.  Allowing plenty of time to shower, breakfast etc meant I had to be home by 9 am, so I was up at 5.30 for stretching 'n' stuff before leaving at 6.30 to take the usual route down the Macclesfield Canal towards Congleton. 

The usual theme emerged - a delightful first 9 or 10 miles, followed by increasing amounts of pain in my knees, particularly the right one, which goes away literally the moment I stop running.  It doesn't hurt so much that I can't run, it's just quite uncomfortable.  Willy knees indeed.  It's frustrating - I know I have plenty of aerobic fitness to propel me round a marathon, but the last 10 miles of it are going to be a mighty slog at the current rate.  And I don't mean in time terms - I was actually running on Saturday for 2 hrs 23, which would put me in line for a 3 hr 40 marathon, allowing for water stops and no deterioration in pace (probably quite a big assumption). 

So I've decided to look into the principles of Chi Running a bit more, and Amazon will hopefully supply me with reference materials tomorrow.  I've had a good look round t'interweb on the subject, and I don't think my current technique is disastrous by any means, but I'm sure there are things I can do to improve, and with luck, lessen the impact on the knees.

I also managed a turbo trainer session on the bike yesterday, plus an hour standing round waiting for one of my La Manche buddies (Neil), who was participating in the Cheshire Cat Sportive which trundled through this neck of the woods yesterday.  I'd done it myself in the previous 3 years, but a combination of cost (£32.50) and the familiarity of the route meant that I decided to give it a miss this year.  I'm glad I did too - although the route was good and the weather kind, there were apparently massive queues at the finish for medals, certificates and food - all of which have been paid for.  Neil for one decided that the wait for those things was not tolerable after finishing a long ride when you need to get changed and warm, and so went without.  Sounds like in jumping from 2000 to 3000 participants, the organisers might have over-extended themselves. 

Don't want to finish on a negative note though, so let's toast the arrival of British Summertime, and the opening up of possibilities for evening rides and runs. 

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