Huge relief as my shoulder was massaged into submission on the Monday to give a fuller range of movement that I hadn’t experienced for a few days. It was also good to get a good long sleep that night, knowing the dreaded threshold runs were the next day. I took Colin’s advice to warm-up more gradually, but it was so cold I probably broke into a jog quicker than I should have. I repeated the same awful procedure as last week in the hope that they would be more bearable. Sadly, they weren’t! They were still the devil’s work, but my times were an improvement over last week, so Satan still may have a part to play in the big day after all.

On Wednesday I went to the gym, only my second time since parting with my membership fee a couple of weeks ago. With 45 minutes on the bike and another 15 minutes on a cross trainer I completed an hour of low impact exercise without the aid of the rower this time to reduce the risk of any scapular related flare up.

Despite doing nothing on Thursday, I woke up early Friday morning with a now familiar intense pain in my shoulder. Icing the area and copious painkillers had little effect, but I eventually managed a mid morning snooze that did help ease the pain.

Later that day I had an induction at the gym to view all their instruments of fitness, some standard, some not and some just damn weird. Lewis shown me around the showroom of gadgets and instructed me on all the non-shoulder related toys and how they would benefit me in my training. An online guide and various exercise strategies and classes, including one called ‘Core Blimey’ did give me a feeling that I wasn’t wasting my money and that I would make more use of this facility.

Having said that, I will now contradict myself and say that some hill running was on my agenda now, so I left the gym, changed my shoes in the car park, jogged off and 10 minutes later assumed the position at my little bit of Kenya in Verulamium park. Adjusting my GPS from three to four minute intervals this week I sprinted like a gazelle (in my mind) up the hill, only to jog back down like a warthog (to keep the analogy going) before repeated numerous times until it was time to return to the waterhole in Abbey Avenue.

Saturday was another day of aggravating pain in my right shoulder and arm and despite not sleeping well Saturday night, I woke up the next morning with barely a twinge down my right side. However, I didn’t get up until close to 10 am so after having breakfast I wouldn’t get out until at least midday.

Sue’s initial offer to cycle with me soon evaporated as it started to rain and a solitary 90 minute run was now my only option. I chose a route that should achieve the mileage using the well sheltered Alban Way as a base. If you thought running for 90 minutes is boring, it is strangely not as boring as the five minute brisk walk used to warm up, but with this and a quick stretch over with the run could begin.

Despite wearing a hat and a rain jacket, I warmed up quickly and wondered how I could jettison these items to help with my comfort levels. I could run by a friends house and leave them there, or pop into Morrsion’s and pick up a bag, put items into bag and conceal them in a bush for collection later. Running is good thinking time, unless of course you have something ridiculous like this occupying your head, then it becomes an obsession. So the hat and coat drama played out to 30 or 40 scenarios, by which time I had got to the bottom of Colney Heath Lane and turned along the A414 towards London Colney where I was confronted by a heavy head wind full of the wet stuff. The conflict was now over, hat and coat now had purpose, I put my head down and ran into a 15 minute private hell and didn’t look up until I reached Tyttenhanger Lane.

It was at this point the unthinkable happened, my stomach cramped and I knew then I was in an urgent need of a toilet stop. I can only apologise to the inhabitants of Tyttenhanger village for not having a bag with me, but I did my best to bury the evidence.

Feeling much better and dare I say a bit lighter the run home was a bit easier out of the wind and rain as the Alban Way tree canopy offered good shelter back to Cottonmill.

I was going to say it was less eventful from there on, but as I was running into Highfield I saw two guys, one on a motorbike, while the other one was straightening his wheel with his foot. However as the two parted the language, albeit East European, seem a bit more heated than I first thought as the hooded youth leapt into a car and sped off. He may well have been un-straightening the wheel after a previously unseen altercation.

I got home and stopped the GPS on just over 10 miles in 1 hour 35 minutes, which despite the heavy weather down the A414 and toilet drama, wasn’t too bad. I also eliminated the blackcurrant gel as being a supplement of choice in future runs as it was quite unpleasant.

At the end of the day I thought I would treat myself to a bath to rest those well-worked muscles and hopefully soothe my shoulder pain. As I descended into the furiously hot bath I became acutely aware of the violent pain on my nipples as they submerged below the water line. This was my first case of runner’s nipple and hopefully the last as an anti-chaffing agent will now go on my Christmas list.

Distance run since last entry: 17.20 miles
Accumulative distance run: 181.78 miles

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