Long run rescue and a training camp in Portugal

I set off on a long run a few Saturdays ago and learnt a lesson…always take some money in your back pocket and perhaps a small phone! I started out on my supposed 20 mile run which is the normal distance for my long runs at the moment as I am in training for the London Marathon. My planned route to go out for 10 miles along a disused railway path and then to turn around and come back the way I came. I was to vary the pace from marathon pace to steady pace along the way. My body had other ideas. At 9.5 miles I suddenly got an unusual pain in my quad muscle. Not just muscle tightness or fatigue but a feeling like cramp or that the muscle was about to pull. I slowed down to steady pace and carried on as the pain seemed to ease off a bit and then the pain came back. I had made it to 14 miles and had come to the realisation that I should try and find a different means of getting home. I still had 6 miles to go and a huge hill to get up to get back to our house which I didn’t even fancy walking up with a bad quad. My Spanish skills were about to be put to the test!

I saw a petrol station and thought that would be a good place to try and call Rich from and an easy spot to be rescued from. I walked to the garage and unfortunately it was closed. I had seen a car parked close by with hazard lights on and a family sat inside the car so that was my next port of call. I had seen that the man in the car had been on his phone so this was my chance to try and borrow his phone! I managed to get my point across that I had hurt my leg and that I needed to call my husband. He agreed to let me use his phone and asked me what the phone number was. I started off with 0044 and then I saw the mans face drop. I explained that is was an English phone number but my husband was in Spain and please could they help me. Thankfully he agreed and let me dial the number. Rich didn’t pick up the phone so I left a message and hoped that he would call back.

In the meantime the lady in the car had explained that they had run out of petrol and were waiting for a friend to bring them some petrol before they were continuing to Girona. She said that they could give me a lift to Girona. They seemed a nice family and I felt that I could trust them so I agreed. In the meantime Rich called back and I explained that I was getting a lift home and would see him soon. The friends arrived with the petrol and off we went. Shortly after the journey commenced the lady said that they had to quickly go to a shop first and was that ok. I didn’t feel that I could protest as they were helping me so I said that it was fine. We then turned off a round about away from the direction of Girona towards the motorway signposted Barcelona and France. At this point my heart sank I asked if the shop was far away. The couple started to laugh and said that they would call Rich to tell him that they were taking me to France, to Paris. I smiled with them but was starting to worry that this was a big mistake. They then said tranquilo and explained that this was a way of getting around the city avoiding traffic. Sure enough it looped around.

My nerves weren’t helped as the man’s driving was rather erratic! We drove towards some furniture shops and they pulled up beyond them just outside an empty warehouse just to get me even more worried! They got out the car and said that they would be back in 5 minutes. I was waiting in the car with the baby. The man had kindly given me a jacket to keep warm as I waited. They were true to their word and returned in 5 minutes with a big cardboard box that they put in the boot. I was thinking the worst about what was in the box but decided it was best not to keep looking at it. I was very relieved to arrive home safely and in one piece! Lesson learnt and I won’t be accepting lifts from strangers in future!

I am very grateful to be married to a physio. After a couple of days rest and Rich ascertaining that my quad pain was in fact nerve pain coming from my back. With a bit of treatment the pain disappeared and I have been able to resume training as normal.

I have just returned from a weeks training camp with 209 Events in Portugal which was fantastic. A chance to focus on training, to be amongst like minded people, to be inspired and to spend time with my coach Bruce and his wife. I have been on this training camp almost every year for the last 12 years. We stay in a hotel 200 metres from the beach. The morning runs often consisted of running along a trail towards Vilamoura and then returning along the beach. I love running bear foot on the sand. The orange rugged cliffs are on one side and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. A great way to start the day. Other training sessions were on the cross country course, the athletics track or around the orange groves. A good block of training was banked including a 24 mile long run and a 5km race. I have come away feeling more confident and excited about racing in the London Marathon which is in 4 weeks time!




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