March was busy enough, some walking, a few runs and a few hikes. We also did some fundraising doing bag packing at a local supermarket. Below are the overall stats for March’s training: 204KM total, split between running, walking and hiking. Also doing some free weights intermittently. I’m tired now, so have a read:
As I mentioned last time, I have been slightly out of action running wise since the end of Feb. I went to a bonesetter in Newmarket in the real capital of Ireland – Cork! This dude can only be described as a skeletal maestro. He will play your spine like Elton John plays the piano. You just get the feeling, he knows every bone in your body intimately and knows where and what to move and where to apply pressure to relieve pain. The first thing he said was “how can I help you today”. This man is a healer, you sense a vocational presence in his tone. This is not like a career for him, this is his calling. He wants to take your pain away.
I didn’t go to this chap lightly. I did a lot of research online and asked several people before deciding to give it a go. It’s worth noting, most people don’t go to a bonesetter first at the onset of a pain, e.g. back pain that develops into a chronic situation. That’s the funny thing about pain, you kind of get used to it. It becomes part of your life and you grow accustomed to it. From what I can gather, people usually end up at a bone setter having exhausted conventional medicine (and thousands and thousands of euros…..personal cost as well as the cost to your health insurance provider which is obviously higher) and what it has to offer as I also had (several MRI’s, Epidural spinal injections, Pilates etc over the years). I’m not saying the bone setter should be a last resort, I actually think the opposite, but I think for most people, its viewed as a last resort and “what’s the worst that can happen” as they are in pain anyway.
He began by getting a history and what the issues were. He then asked me to lean over the table he uses for manipulation so he could feel the spinal column. Then he took his right hand and put under my chin, moving my head in a near circular motion while feeling my back at some point with his other hand. He then asked me to lie face up on the table (this is an actual hard solid oak table with a cloth on it.) The reason it’s a hard surface is so your body lies as it should with no softness that an artificial surface which you would sink in to.
He joined my ankles together and noted they were not in symmetry. Similarly, he asked me to raise my hands above my head and he lifted them (whilst keeping them loose). If someone is “aligned” correctly, then the fingertips should meet like the clap part of a jumping jack. Mine didn’t, I’d say they were several inches out of sync, my left-hand fingertips falling below my right one. This proved an adjustment was required. The slipped disc I have is on my right-hand side. L5/S1. He asked me to lean on my left-hand side, raising my knee, similar to the recovery position. He told me to relax. Then F&*k me, I felt what I thought was being what it was like being hit by an articulated lorry to my back right-hand side back. He repeated this on the other side and then finally again in the original side.
After I got over the shock of the manipulation, I’d swear I felt instant release. When I got off the table, something just felt right. Victor knew exactly the right amount of force required to realign me (of which he told me I was very very out of alignment). He actually said I should never have had been running with my disc like this. He was reassuring all the time, and I genuinely felt I was in safe hands. This alignment was approx. 6.30pm on Wednesday. Recovery to heal post, was some anti-inflammatory’s (just over the counter Nurofen) and Epsom salt baths. Did you know the correct way to apply salts to a bath is to fully dissolve a large handful in some boiling water prior to adding to the bath to get the maximum effect of the salts? Me neither, when I used salts before….I just threw them in fecklessly like I was feeding some pigeons some breadcrumbs. Dissolving prior to application to bathtub gives optimum relief. I took the best part of a week/8 days to relax and do no exercise whatsoever.
Beast from the East
As I couldn’t get any running done due to getting the disc put back in, I decided to get some walking in – 67k to be precise. The beast from the east had started down my way around Feb 28th, so I decided that some walking in snowy conditions for a few consecutive days would be different/good training. My train of thought was:
- To get used to walking in snow and using the walking poles, and
- To get used to consecutive days exercise to mimic the 7 days that Kilimanjaro trek will take and to see how I was over the course of a few days and what impact several days in a row had on my body (and mind)).
So I did walking from Feb 28th, over 5 consecutive days – covering a distance of 67.1 KM’s. Pics below. The first walk on Feb 28th was the most difficult, very slippery and I was not sure where to get the best footing. I slipped and fell 4 times, and several times, just got that disconcerting jerking slip feeling where you as good as fall but managed to stay vertical – a jolt of sorts. What I learnt was, stay off shiny snow, stay off compacted snow, stay out of grooves in snow created by cars/tractors etc, walking on fresh snow is least slippery.
IT also takes a while to adjust the walking poles to suit, but they were an excellent aid and support. March second was the deepest snow, the day after the Thurs storm. There was literally feet of snow outside my house and down the rural road, I live on. I have never seen such deep snow! If I’m being honest, walking did get a little boring to be honest, so I arranged to do a hike on the ARRA way with a colleague from work.
March 8th – ARRA Loop – with Liam O Donoghue
While the beast from the east snow melted on the low lying areas, it still remained several feet deep across the top parts of this loop. This time it took 14.1 KM’s to complete the loop, albeit a shorter version this time than the first time I completed this with the Limerick climbing club. The main reason was that we got lost about halfway through, the snow looked to have covered a lot of the route and I missed a right turn and ended up god knows where. It had just started to rain, there was a road that I could see about 2 large fields (about 600 metres) from where we were. I thought if I could get to the road, then I could get my bearings. Liam was a tad concerned as he thought we were properly lost! We had to get through into the field, there were some barbed wire fence and those really prickly trees that have those yellow flowers on it. I ripped the underneath of my pants and jacket navigating over the wire and the brambles, it was raining – I let out an expletive-ridden “F&*k this, F**K you……..etc). Many cow pats later, covered in shit, we made the road and decided to go left. About 2 K later, I recognised where I was and re-joined the loop. Good trek overall. Strava Map and a decent shot of the Millennium cross below:
Fundraising –March 10th
We did 1.5 days bag packing at a local supermarket in Castletroy. I had never done it before, but it was great craic to be fair. After about 30 mins, you started to loosen up and the banter with the lads on the tills and for the most part, the customers was great fun. There was one contrary woman I met. I asked her could I pack her bag and she started giving out to me that she gave a fiver to some other charity a few weeks ago, and that she wasn’t made of money and I would swing for a donation. I didn’t know what to say other than, that’s fine and would she still like help with her bags regardless. She threw me what could be described as the geriatric death stare, and said “NO, I’ll pack my own sausages” – I just stood back, let her pack her bags and said God Bless as she left. By the end of the day, I can honestly say that I am a master bag packer after the experience. People can be very generous towards the Irish Cancer Society. Pics of some my minions below:
March 12th – Galtees with Dan Collins
I and a mate, Dan said we’d do the Galtee mountain range walk – Took about 14km all in. The galtees are the highest inland mountain point in Ireland. It’s roughly on the border between Limerick and Tipperary. Details here. It covers mountains of Slievecushnabinnia, Galtymore, Galtybeg and Cush. The toughest part and steepest part is the Galtybeg and the start ascent is definitely the toughest section. Most of the tops of the different sections were covered with snow, quite deep in places, you could be walking along and suddenly sink into 2/3 feet of snow. Would be really easy to twist your ankle! Some pics below – took just over 4 hrs in total. Few pics below.
ARRA Loop (Again…….) – with Eddie Clancy– March 21st
As I got a bit lost on this route on March 8th, I wanted to complete this loop again to see where I went wrong. Nice fresh morning, pretty cold and definite wind chill. It kept dry though. It’s a nice loop. It’s steep for the first 3k, flat for a couple and then steep for another 1.5k. Then bar a couple of rises, remains flat for the looped part. Views on the day were clear and spectacular. Pic of the strava detail and 2 handsome bastards below.
Next month, we will look at doing Carrauntoohil. Really need to look into getting some gear for Kilimanjaro also, so will do a bit on that.
We are also doing a charity cycle at work with all proceeds going to the Irish Cancer Society.
All the best,