Monthly Archives: February 2013

London Calling but Injury Calls It Off

by Paul Thompson

Two weeks ago I completed a 20 mile run in Central Park, New York with the last 3 miles at 5:45 minutes per mile pace scorching my way through midtown Manhattan, dodging tourists and snow left over from Nemo. I finished at Grand Central Terminal (celebrating its 100th birthday), met Shamala, grabbed a latte and toasted bagel with butter, and boarded my train home for Peekskill. The London Marathon was calling and preparations were going well. Life was good.

Two weeks later my marathon plans are off. I am writing this while sitting uncomfortably on an aching butt having done 30 minutes easy on a Polar turbo trainer. London will have to wait another year. Life is not so good anymore.

Riding the train home two weeks ago I could sense something was not right. But like most of us runners faced with injury I steered clear of common sense. I spent two weeks in denial, hoping it would be a niggle that would soon pass. I was wrong. Despite running less and slower, the problem got worse.

So what am I doing about it. Well I am following the proven 4 step formula us runners are used to.

Step 1 – sulk and feel sorry for myself. That’s easy given that I feel I am owed some sympathy. Shamala is dolling it out but she has little left as she has her own injury woes. Eating (sugar, fatty) and drinking (alcohol) comfort food helps.

Step 2 – research online about what might be wrong and the consequences. According to some coaches few weeks off does little harm but of course  psychologically we aren’t convinced. Step one above may exacerbate this.

Step 3 – take to alternative forms of exercise. Hence the workout on the turbo trainer in the gym at our complex. Boy was it boring. I wonder how folk can bear running on a treadmill for more than 45 seconds. We are not cut out for being a mouse on a wheel.

Step 4 –  make an appointment with a specialist doctor, preferably one who understands the upside down mind of a sports mad person. Of course, in an ideal world we’d go to straight to step 4. But hell we just wanna run.

My injury is a mystery. The early warning signal was a slight ache at the top of my leg, just as the hamstring enters the butt area. Since then the pain has gotten worse and seems constantly on the move – turning up variously in the front, then the rear of my hip, top of my hamstring, top of my quads.

So life is not good right now. Barely a month ago I was running further than I’d ever done. Now I’m running less than I’ve done in years. But it will get better. Boulder beckons. Two weeks today we’ll be back in Boulder, CO.

Running in Boulder in February 2012.

Running in north Boulder in February 2012.


Running Through Nemo: It’s Snow Fun

by Shamala Thompson

On Friday with blizzard warnings and anything from 3 to 30 inches of snow being predicted we knew that snowstorm “Nemo” was likely to affect our week-end running plans. In the end the storm wasn’t so bad – for us at least. The New York area saw about 8-16 inches of snow and high winds. While damage was limited getting some good runs in was still a challenge.


Our neighbor’s car coverd with snow after the morning after the storm.

With trains to New York temporarily suspended and trails covered with deep snow, our usual Saturday morning long run venues were out of the question.  Paul couldn’t get into Central Park to run with his Warren Street mates and I’d need snow shoes or skis to tackle Rockerfeller Preserve with my running partner Kelly. We made the sensible decision of staying in bed and catching up on some television until we were sure the roads were clear.

We decided that running local would be our best bet. Well ploughed roads laid with salt provide a good running surface. You just need to keep an eye out for the occasional icy patch! And the roads were quiet owing to cars having been advised to stay off the roads. But the highlight is to take in the winter wonderland post storm sights.


Blue skies and sunshine made Peekskill Bay particularly picturesque after the storm.


One of the “sights’ Paul saw on his run.

I headed up to our closest park, Depew Park, to see if the Blue Mountain trails were runnable. Turns out I was too optimistic but at least the road around the park was clear enough to trot on. And I got to take some good photos. Paul, being perhaps more realistic, stuck to the roads and covered 11 miles. (But being half his usual Saturday mileage left him with his lowest weekly mileage since November.)


Under all that snow is a baseball field and a track.

We were looking to do a longer run on Sunday morning and decided that the best bet was to head to Central Park. It was an early start but at least we avoided icy roads. Metro North was operating a normal serice again.


The Central Park bridle path attracted a few skiers today.

Paul had arranaged to meet his running mates at Engineers’ Gate so we parted at 110th street. Today only the roads were clear enough to run on. The bridle path, my preferred running surface, was covered with frozen snow making it too icy for a good run. Unfortunately that meant everyone was on the road. Compared to the quiet trails in Rockefeller, Central Park was crowded. Or maybe I just didn’t enjoy being overtaken by groups of fit, young runners in the latest high-tech running gear. Still it was a glorious winter day – cold but sunny – and according to my Endomondo running app I covered 11 miles. (the two 5 minute miles were definitely an error!) And Central Park covered with snow is magical – if you can get away from the crowds!