Catching up – long runs, rides and a sensitive health issue

It’s been several weeks since I last blogged so I’m feeling guilty about that hence today’s post.

It’s been quite uneventful really. A few excesses have resulted in some extra lbs and I’m now trying to shift those.

I’ve competed in another aquathlon which was good. My swim was awful though and I travelled all over the lake adding extra distance on each of the 2 1/2 laps. As the lake temperature was well over 22 deg C, we weren’t allowed to wear wetsuits so I donned my tri-suit instead. I thought I’d struggle without the wetsuit but it was actually quite nice not having to struggle to put it on and take it off.

The first 100m or so of the swim were a real struggle and I couldn’t control my breathing. I almost gave up and called it a night but decided to relax and get in with it instead. It wasn’t pretty but I eventually got out of the water and had a half decent run (for me) to finish 2nd to last. I could have been more disappointed than I was but I was there, I did it and I finished. I learned some lessons too.

My training has been going fairly well. An improvement in the weather has seen more runs outside. Having the treadmill has meant I had got lazy. I could do a short session with zero degrees elevation and cut it short if I was feeling tired, etc. getting outside meant inclines and the need to commit.

I’ve stepped up my running training and have signed up for RunCamp, a weekly session on improving your running. The sessions are run my fellow Lordshill Road Runners member, Ant Gritton. I’ll blog more about my RunCamp experiences in the next week or so.

Having decided that to complete my forthcoming races and triathlons, I needed to start upping my distances for my run sessions, I needed to try and fit in one long run in a week. However, finding the time for such a session was proving a little difficult. Fortunately, fate intervened with an early morning wake-up call from the dog barking. I decided to grab my run gear as I got out of bed and head out.

I left the house just before 6am and headed west. I didn’t have much of a plan of the route to take but thought that getting to Southampton Common would make for an interesting run. With an out and back, the distance is a little over 7 miles. Incorporating a loop of the Common would add some extra distance. Once I was on my way, I set a goal of running about 14km.

Once I reached the Common, I decided to include the hill that we use for Southampton parkrun. This is a bit of a challenge after 1km of the parkrun and more so after about 6km.

A couple of weekends ago, I went out on a long cycle ride with Neil. In my previous rides, the maximum distance I’ve covered is about 16 miles. The plan was to go out and do 30! For many that won’t be far but for me, it was a reasonable step up. I’m normally time limited and knew the extra distance wouldn’t cause too many issues. The hills, however, were another matter!

We met at Neil’s at 7am. The course took us from Chandlers Ford to Winchester, Stockbridge, Romsey and then back to Chandlers Ford.

Having got our cycle shoes clipped in, we were off. Setting off early meant two things. The roads were quiet and the ride wouldn’t eat too much into the day.

The route was great. A great mix of flat, inclines and descents. Some of the inclines were quite a challenge and a little tougher than either of us had imagined.

I suffered two falls. Both due to the same cause. Jamming the chain whilst peddling uphill, losing any momentum and then not unclipping fast enough as I toppled over. Numpty!!

Freeing the chain was a real challenge the first time this happened and I really struggled. I also got covered in oil and proceeded to cover most of the bike in it!

The second time, I was further into the road and that was dangerous. Luckily, the nearest vehicle was far enough behind that I could drag my bike to the safety of the verge before it got to me.

These incidents taught me a few things:

(a) check and adjust the limiters for the rear derailleur
(b) carry some latex gloves
(c) change to the lowest gear early before the ascent
(d) consider unclipping early
(e) get lots of experience on hills

After the 2nd fall, my confidence was a little knocked and I was struggling to get clipped back in. The combination meant it took a fair time to catch up with Neil.

Once I did, with confidence restored, the rest of the ride was uneventful. Thankfully. Although the forecast was for a dry morning, the rain arrived and gave us a welcomed shower. It was quite refreshing so no complaints.

Overall, I really enjoyed the ride. The distance was manageable but the ascents were a challenge. I hope that we can do a session like that regularly through the rest of the summer and autumn.

In the last few weeks, I’ve also marshalled at an RR10 (Itchen Valley) and run at one (Hursley). The latter was last night. Last year, I didn’t really enjoy the experience but this year I did. I felt stronger and faster and, yet, it turns out I was slower. Hmm! It was still enjoyable though and I’m pleased with my efforts, particularly the last 500m!

Having the issues with my cycle ride proved that my bike gears weren’t optimally set particularly the limiters which stop the chain coming off either end of the cassette. Fortunately, I’d already signed up for a basic cycle maintenance course run by RideRide. I’ll blog about that separately.

I guess I should really mention an issue that’s been plaguing me for a few weeks. It’s a delicate subject and therefore one I’m a little reluctant to share but I will anyway. Frequent urination. About 3 weeks ago, I had a day where I constantly felt the need to urinate. Not the usual few times a day but several times an hour. I’d wee and then feel the need to go again almost immediately. It wasn’t pleasant and meant I could barely concentrate on anything else. I googled and several causes were mentioned:

– urinary infection
– irritated bladder due to caffeine
– diabetes
– enlarged prostate
– prostate cancer

I called the doctor and had to wait a week for an appointment. I’m a positive person and didn’t worry about the latter possibility… until I mentioned it to Denise who was rather upset that the Big C could be the cause.

I immediately stopped drinking coffee and began to worry. Not a lot but every now and again, googling lead me to an article about prostate cancer, its symptoms and outcomes.

Over the next 4 or 5 days, the symptoms eased and I was beginning to think the issue was temporary. However, a day before my appointment, they returned.

My doctors appointment was very matter of fact. I had to provide a sample and was told that nothing could really be done until a urinary infection had been ruled out.

A couple of days later, I called in for the results of the test. Negative. Although that ruled out one possible cause, it was probably the one result I didn’t want. However, I was still hopeful. I spoke with the nurse the following day and organised another appointment.

Last Friday, we travelled to Burnham-On-Sea for a weekend under canvas with friends. The journey was very difficult with the symptoms which had become worse again. This was compounded by the expected 2 1/3 hour journey taking twice as long due to traffic.

After 3 or 4 days, the symptoms had eased and over the last day or so I’ve felt almost back to normal. It struck me yesterday that there was a pattern and the pattern was related to my cycle rides. The days when the symptoms were worse were a day or two after a bike ride. Could the cause be those? Or, at least, aggravated by them. I ordered a prostate-friendly saddle just in case.

My next doctors appointment is today. Will report what happens soon.

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