Sunday, 21 December 2014

A little more running practice...

As we are in winter and the weather isn't exactly kind I have found it increasingly difficult to get any real running practice in. My dad has been scouring our local vicinity to try and discover a running specific track and we have even looked at  trying to find somewhere indoors, large enough to have a jog around.
 
One of Ade's images which I played around with using Snapseed

 I have tried learning to run on a treadmill at our local community centre, however that proved even more difficult than I thought and ended up in a fail as I lost my footing and ended up falling and being unceremoniously given a free lift to the end of the treadmills running belt, then dumped on the floor. Yes it was probably worth a £250 prize had it been caught on camera and sent to You've been Framed.  I think I know where I went wrong, it was my stride pattern. As the belt goes at a constant speed (whatever you set) and my stride pattern must have been out well I just didn't anticipate one of my steps. Anyhoo I much prefer to run on solid ground, really it's my cardio not so much my technique as that I improving each time I go out.
 
Found it a little more difficult running on the track, less energy from the blade
Obviously there are some minor tweaks required in my running prosthesis. This is something Paul Richardson of Pace Rehabilitation is working closely with me on. At the moment Paul has a shift adaptor firmly secured in place. This allows him to make various ranges of movement and when we get the ideal one my final socket will be made with the knee adaptor (prong) and pylon/blade in the correct position. Paul has discussed with me how very aware he is of the strength I have in my adductor muscles and is pondering whether to re-cast to more define this region as at the moment I have a whip when running which can be seen in the blade. This could possibly be because my socket is grabbing as I fire off my adductor's. Wow it's all very interesting and technical stuff, even the slightest fraction of an adjustment and I can feel the whole prosthesis change.

And so as I mentioned earlier looking for somewhere to run. My dad came in the other day after being out shopping and having a ride around in search of somewhere. He mentioned that he had discovered a proper track down at Blaydon. It's owned by Gateshead Council, located right beside one of the slip roads to the A1.

Upon getting up this morning I asked Ern "do you fancy a look down to that track". "I really must get some practice in". To which Ern replied "yeah we can do". I also gave my friend Ade a call and asked him if he would like to come along. Ade's photography skills have really been helpful throughout my time as an amputee. They have helped  me promote whatever I am doing and have enabled me to gain new opportunities. People appear to take more of  an interest in images and they really get the word out much better than me writing a whole long boring narrative of what I'm up too. I mean how many people actually read my blog, most much more prefer to just look at pictures as they can say so much than words. Ade had took some photo's a few weeks back and they had proved invaluable to Paul as he could see exactly what was going on as I did my stuff.

Puffing and blowing
A short ride up to pick Ade up and we headed down to just give the track down at Chester Le Street the once over. Ade knew exactly where it was, however when we got there, there was a barrier up and we weren't entirely sure of where or who to go and chat to about using the track. Ahh well another day maybe. From Chester we got on the A1 and it was straight down past the Angel of the North and the Metro Centre, then we turned off for Blaydon.

Once at our destination we were able to park real close to the running track, it was ideal. It's a canny track and even has floodlights. I immediately started warming up as Ade got his camera gear out the back of our car. Well I didn't want to stand around as it was rather chilly, with a little bit of a fresh wind. After warming up I proceeded to have a jog around the track, only managing around just over 100 meters before feeling knackered and my hamstring becoming tight in my stump. I had a short rest then set off again, again doing another 100 meters. I did this until I had completed a loop of the track. Dear me this running is hard, so much going on, technique, fitness and not to mention this dodgy good leg of mine which has been playing up of late. I've been to see my G.P, now off for an appointment with a physiotherapist on Tuesday to see if they can spot anything. Really want to get it sorted early on so that I can prevent anything long term.

Anyhoo as is usually the case with me I gave myself a hard time. At times I'm my own worst enemy and certainly biggest critic. It wasn't until Ade came over put an arm around my shoulder and told me how proud of me he was saying " you know what probably the last time you had a proper run was when you were a teenager". We then shared a laugh and I thought back to school...God I hated when we used to do cross country. We had to run right along the school playing fields and way past the tennis courts. This is where we would cheat and have a snaky lie down out of view of the P.E teacher.

Ade then asked me to run a few short back and forth's taking some shots that Paul could use to get a better idea of the whip and set-up of the prosthesis. Having had the opportunity to view the images myself is a great way of working on what I think I'm doing wrong. Tracy my physio at the Lombard Physiotherapy Clinic has given me some exercises so that I can work on strengthening certain areas.  Take for instance this next image you can clearly see that my prosthetic knee is turned way out, along with my blade. This appears to be coming from my residual limb. The faster I run the more whip as I rotate my pelvis. And like I mentioned earlier if the socket is indeed grabbing on my adductor's, when they fire the socket will twist upon my stump. I rely on the images as when I'm actually running I can't really feel the rotation and whip. I have way to much to concentrate on without looking down lol.

   
Lateral Whip
After completing these I had a good stretch. the time had gone by quickly, both Ern and Ade were freezing, me I was red hot. As we viewed the images it appeared as if my blade was rotating internally on my forward step. So Ern went and grabbed an Allen key and we loosened the pylon, rotating the blade a fraction outwards. Ade made sure to take a few snaps, like a before and after and I tried running again whilst Ade took some more photo's. The minor adjustment appeared to make things slightly better. Will be interesting to see what Paul thinks. Obviously running on the all weather surface was totally different to running on tarmac. I felt my blade wasn't giving me as much return and required a lot more energy.
 
"One final loop of the track before the off "  I said. This time I was determined to beat my last 100 metre attempt and was pretty pleased when I ran just over 200 metres without stopping. I know it's not exactly a monumental achievement. But we all have to start somewhere. It takes me back to the time when I first attempted riding my bike on the road for the very first time. I went over by Craghead and there is a little hill, in-fact I wouldn't even go as far as to say a hill, more of an incline. Well I couldn't even get up it. I remember being close to tears and gutted feeling like a complete failure. Of course the fact that I had never ridden a bike in over 13 years and had done no physical exercise since retiring from work as a postman in 1995 due to the tumour in my leg never crossed my mind. I'm pleased I can still recall times like that, as it allows me to see how far I have come. I aim to lock everything I am struggling with at the moment in my mind, all the pain, the  lack of fitness and just how I'm feeling so that when the day comes where I can pop my running leg on and go for a run without giving myself a hard time comes I can reflect back and say "See you did it".

Of course none of this would be possible if it weren't for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Arctic ONE. Being able to run is something I have wanted to do for a long time now, but it's more than that it's also now something I really want to do as a thank you to these amazing organisations and of course all those people who have supported me.

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