London Recap

Well Dick Whittington was wrong – the streets of London are NOT paved with gold. However, I can attest to the fact that the parks – Hyde Park, St James’s Park, and Kensington Gardens – are teeming with runners. Or maybe it’s like that time I was trying to get pregnant without success and it seemed that every single other woman on the streets of Singapore was sporting a baby bump. I couldn’t run but everyone else could, and did. Despite being benched, we had a fabulous time. London really is an easy city to navigate, whether by foot, bus or underground, and there is so much to see and do that you find yourself saying ‘Well, next time..’ a lot.

Me and Mo
Me and Mo

One Direction were strangely absent from Madame Tussauds much to D2’s disappointment. A Twitter search after our visit revealed that the wax versions of the boy band are currently in Amsterdam. I guess Madame Tussauds London are keeping this important fact quiet lest it deter Tweens from visiting. The Natural History Museum was a big hit. In fact, at the end of our second visit I had to send out a mayday call for D1 who had failed to show up at our designated meeting point and the museum was closing. ‘We have found the missing child’ a member of staff relayed back to the exit through his walkie-talkie. As D1 was escorted to the exit, she assumed a case of mistaken identity- she couldn’t possibly be a ‘missing child’ – and worried that she was being kidnapped by some strange family. A few years in KL can make a child paranoid about abduction. Once reunited with her sister and me, her only concern was if the Gift Shop was still open. No, she had not heard any of the multiple tannoy announcements about closing time. So, yes the Natural History Museum is engrossing, and it’s free to visit (donations are encouraged).

We were too late at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre for a tour as apparently it’s a working theatre and there are no tours whilst plays are showing. Lesson learned there. ‘Mamma Mia’ was a blast; despite having seen the movie several times, the live show was still entertaining and brimming with talent. The quick visit and lunch at the Victoria & Albert Museum, a dash past Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s, a lot of walking in parks (trying to ignore runners) and a rather long visit to Top Shop completed our little trip – until next time.

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Tomorrow we move to Australia. As you do. No big deal at all. I’ve a feeling that the parks in Perth are also teeming with runners; fingers crossed that in another few weeks I’ll be one of them.

ITB Saga continues

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‘She’s chomping at the bit so she is,’ someone said yesterday. I wasn’t anywhere near a racecourse or stables but lying flat on a physiotherapy table. The ‘she’ in question was me; the inference being that I was dying to run again, raring to go as they say (on racecourses). I was near the end of my third physio session in a week and the student physio who had just spent an hour pummelling my ITB and glutes with his elbows was updating the senior physio on my progress. I thought I’d been very good about the whole ‘don’t run for ages thing’ but I guess it’s still obvious that I want to run. Immediately!

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I’ll rewind a bit. Last Monday, I walked the three-minute trip down the road to a physiotherapy clinic I had found online and got an appointment for that afternoon. I don’t know what I expected but I hadn’t really anticipated being told not to run for 6-8 weeks. What?! A week before, in the midst of moving and bidding farewell to friends, pets, and life as I’d known it for four years in KL, I’d cried over the idea of taking a few days off. To be fair, I cried about just about everything that week. But here in Kilkenny, I didn’t shed a tear or even try to appeal the jail sentence. For one thing, the ITB problem had been going on far too long so that even I, obsessive that I am, knew that running wasn’t helping me to get better. It was in fact making the injury worse. The other thing was that the physio’s offer to show me his scar from ITB surgery. Er surgery?! Yikes! OK, a few weeks off didn’t seem so bad after all, even if it did mean missing the half marathon in August and jettisoning all dreams of running in cooler weather, climbing up the Kilkenny Strava ladder. My choice of physio may have been haphazard but I was lucky to end up with someone who not only is a runner himself, but who has also had an ITB injury, though hopefully much more serious than my own.IMG_6540

Unlike in KL, the physios here are not averse to causing pain, and I’ve the bruising to prove it. The idea is to break down the scar tissue on the ITB and promote healing by sending blood to the area through deep tissue massage. There has been no mention of exercises yet though it has been agreed that foam rolling is a great idea. Everyone I mention ITBS to asks if I foam roll. Well I do. And I’ve started to do some body weight exercises on my core, upper body, abductors, and adductors, in the hope of not losing the little strength I had built up, and even perhaps building up some more for when I return to running.

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Physio-inflicted bruising on my thigh.

Initially I thought the timing terrible – to be injured when home, where I have no access to a bike (it has just arrive in Perth apparently) – but I’ve now committed to a routine of walking a 6km loop in the countryside everyday (see photos), and with the glorious summer weather we’re currently having, it’s impossible to feel sorry for myself. Sure, my cardio fitness is really suffering but I’ll just have to accept that. As long as my ass doesn’t go south, east and west too I’ll be fine.

Before I took up running I was a keen walker so it’s no hardship to return to it once more – temporarily – and enjoy the summer weather without breaking a sweat. The ITB feels sore from the physio but other than that, it’s impossible to know whether it’s healing or not. Any temptation to try run is quickly tempered by the thought of the scar on my physio’s knee, which I didn’t look at by the way. Sure, I’m chomping at the bit to get back out there, clocking up the miles again, but I know I need to be patient – or I might end up in the knacker’s yard! Or worse, be forced to become a cyclist!

 

A little bit back, a little bit forward

We’re in Ireland now, enjoying the cooler weather and eating our way through the tin of Cadbury’s Roses my mother has kept for us since Christmas.  I’ve tried running twice but a week’s break has done nothing to improve my ITB. Sigh.

When I left Oslo in 2010, I regretted not having taken photos of the walking loop I loved so much. My ITB injury, which allows me to walk but not run, offered me the opportunity last week to snap for posterity before we left, or at least until my iCloud implodes, images of the Mont Kiara loop. This was one of my regular KL running routes. Here’s a taster of the cracked pavements, traffic junctions, and urban chaos that I came to love so much:

 

I’m sure if I returned to Oslo today, I’d find my old walking loop unchanged except for an imperceptible heightening of the trees, lengthening of the branches. The Tanum area I loved so much is a development-free zone. The same cannot be said of KL. The cityscape there is constantly changing so I’m glad I managed to capture what was so familiar and make digital copies as a reminder.
Roses
And of course, the trick to moving is to look forward, not back. Today, I’m looking forward to my first visit to see an Irish physiotherapist as a week’s break from running has offered no improvement to my ITB problem. I ran 2.4 km this morning – gloriously fast, thanks to the cool climate – but that was all my ITB would allow before stiffening. I’m also looking forward to the arrival of the foam roller I ordered online as it’s been five days since my Malaysian one was packed up.
Other than that, it seems I’d better start looking forward to doing more walking, as after five weeks, this ITB issue isn’t going to be easily resolved. Pass the chocolates.