Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pre-Race Night

I said all along that I was treating my cross country races as training sessions. Which means that tomorrows road race is the first race this year that I'm counting as a race! Wahey!

5km is a new distance for me so I'm not sure how the pace is going to be. I've been told it's to hurt from the start or more precisely "your tongue will be hanging out from the start". The lack of speed work training lately could mean that I won't be that fast, then again I could wake up fresh as a daisy and have the race of my life!

The last two days have involved me winding down for the race, a 4 mile easy jog today and 5 miles yesterday. Tuesday saw the only hard session of the week - 8 x 800m - and could god did I feel that. My coach reckons that after a few weeks I'll have a fair few seconds off the 800s and come spring/summer and track training I'll be flying along. It's always nice to hear you're heading in the right direction.

Tonight now will be a very laid back affair, probably some coffee drinking and book reading in the local coffee shop, dinner, TV and to bed early. I'm not too concerned about tomorrow mind you, it's nice that the road races are starting back and from here on in until September I should have a race every 2 or 3 weeks. That's the great thing about these short races is that if they don't go to plan it doesn't go to plan you can just dust yourself down and forget about it as there'll be another race just around the corner.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shiney (really) new shoes!

I didn't manage to get my new race runners on Saturday as the shop didn't have them in my size... Damn big feet! They did however have another branch who had a few pairs so I went there today.

They told me they didn't have the new style in my size, just the old ones. I said that didn't bother me in the slightest, who cares what they look like, sure they're only for running in. That was of course until I was given them to try on...

Whose smart idea was it to cover the Asics DS Racer in glitter??! Seriously, they look ridiculous, a bright green shoe covered in glitter. Is it some sort of special trick to play with your head and make you run faster so no one can see you wearing bloody glittery shoes?

The guys in the shop reckoned it's similar to the way footballers are now wearing gold boots. Gold, I could deal with, the fact that they are stupidly green is not the issue, it's the damn glitter! It's right up there with the Stade Francais rugby team and their stupid pink flowery jersey's.

Worst of all, it's speed work training tonight. That's why I was making sure I had them today, so I could be sure to get a speed work session in with them before the race on Friday. The problem is that there's no changing facilities at the place where we train tonight so we arrive ready to run. I've been getting used to being the eejit on public transport wearing my running get up, but today I have to be the eejit in my running get up with sparkly shoes!!! Aaagh.....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Around and around...

My Saturday was dominated by rugby watching and what watching it was....
- Ireland are back playing decent rugby
- Who'd have guessed that England actually could still play rugby, albeit only in Paris, but they can still play!
- if results go as I hope in the next round of games the top 4 teams should all be level and playing each other on the last day... what a day that'll be!

I had to stop by my doctor their earlier today just to register in the area. Turns out that with after my blood pressure, height and weight were taken that I'm actually taller than I thought I was! All these years I've been saying I'm 6'4" and I'm one inch taller!

Oh and training wise. I ended up just doing my long run tout seul again. It's getting fierce boring doing laps of the park on my todd. I'm going to have to change that fairly smartly. The idea of getting up before 7am to eat and meet people by 9 is alien to me though. What I did do by myself went well mind you, boredom aside. 15 miles at a comfortabley easy pace, around and around and around (and once more around) the park.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"How hard should I do Friday's session?"

Very was the answer from my coach. Back to the intervals today. It was just random bursts of around 250m, then jog until I'd got my breathing back to normal, then do it again and so on until I was shagged! I can't say it was the most pleasant of training sessions but I'm well chuffed with how tough it was. Only one more speed work session and then it's the first road race of the year.

Tomorrow I'm off to the running shop to see what goodies they have in store for me. I had to throw out my old race shoes last weekend so I need to get some new ones before the race next week. I think I'll stick with the same ones as last time... not because they were comfortable or anything, mainly because of the name. The Asics DS Racer... how could I not get a race shoe that shares my initials?! And the last ones were in green, that was surely a sign.

Other things on the list aren't to exciting. Energy gels and energy drinks. I spied some highfive gels a few weeks in a store that didn't need to be taken with water. I'll have to get my hands on a few of them bad boys and try them out with my long run this week.

Besides that my Saturday is taken up with 6 nations rugby. 3 games, back to back, 7 hours of good sport watching. Bring it on!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Nemesis

Recently on Michael’s blog he mentioned a race that he was beaten by his nemesis and got me thinking of my nemesis from last year and how I need to get one this year.

He didn't start out as my nemesis, just some guy down the track who was faster than me. I didn't really race against him so he didn't bother me so much; all I knew was that he was ahead of me in every track session. No problem there with me, there's many people faster than me on the track. He was the closest too me of the people faster than me!

The first time I trained with him was the first time I turned up at the track in Montpellier. I told the coach there that I had previously done a 3 hour marathon and had another one in 6 months. He wanted to see how fit I was so he put me in a training session with my nemesis to be... 4 x 3000m!! My first ever track session and I was left for dead. I remember losing count of the number of laps we'd done and struggling half a lap behind hoping that we'd be stopping at the end of this lap... no, he's doing another one! Hell!

At the end of this session I found out that he was in fact deaf. Nice, I thought, they've only gone and paired up the deaf lad with the big Irish lad who is struggling to speak the language. For the rest of that year I don't think we raced against each other but every now and again I'd start training with him but end up finishing the training by myself, a fair few minutes after he was done.

Last year though he started popping up in races. The first race, a half marathon, he beat me by a minute. Then the race where he became my nemesis, a 6.8km race, a race that I thought I should do well in. I finished and there he was standing by the refreshments table, cup of water and a bun in either hand, fresh as a daisy, smiling away. I was in a 90 degree angle position, sucking in air for dear life... he had beaten me in a shorter distance by a minute and a half.

That was it as far as I was concerned. Whatever training session he was doing on the Tuesday I was going to do. Again I'd always start out with him. We'd be told that we'd have a 60second break, I'd do a few hand gestures to indicate that we'd run them together and that'd be fine for the first one or two. Then every week without fail when ever I took my eye off him during the recovery he'd be off and going on his own again. I'd look at my watch, only 45 seconds had elapsed and he was gone.

At the start of last summer there was a 10km and yet again there he was at the starting line. I'd trained hard, I was in the form of my life, I could keep up with him. The race started and all was going to plan, I was behind him, but not too far behind. Then I started to suffer badly, the race turned into a nightmare. I couldn't keep the pace going at all and started to fall back down the field. In the end he finished 3rd overall and I've no idea where I finished or how many minutes behind him, all I know is there was a lot of minutes this time.

At the end of the race I needed a lift back and it turned out that he was the only driving that was going back my way. Have you ever tried asking a deaf person for a lift?? It's not easy but I managed it alright... even more difficult was trying to tell him where I wanted to go. A few hand gestures, pointing, speaking French slowly and loudly (that's what you do when someone doesn't understand you in a different language... you speak loud and slowly!! That'll make them understand you), and eventually we figured out together where I was going.

So my nemesis was a really nice guy, happy to go out of his way and give me a lift back home, but I still couldn't beat him and now it was feeling like he was racing just to beat me. The fact that he had no idea that I was comparing my races to him and track training to him had no bearing on this. He was out to beat me!!

A few races past that he wasn't competing in and I was training hard, my aim was now the marathon, thoughts of a nemesis were leaving me. Then came the last race of my time in France. A 6.6km road race, the same distance(ish) as he beat me on at the start of the year by over a minute. It was set in my mind; I was going to beat him.

The race was three 2.2km laps and fierce fast. I started well and after the first lap I knew I was ahead of him. The second lap was slightly slower but I was still ahead, by how much I've no idea. After 5km I was struggling but pushing myself on, two people passed me so I knew I must've slowed down somewhat. Then it happened, he passed me out. The other two guys that went by me I let go but this was personal! I gave it absolutely everything I had to stay with him. 1km to go, still with him, 600m to go and I was still there, I was managing somehow to keep going. Then with 100m to go I tried to pass him, he upped the pace, neck and neck heading to the line....

.... I made my burst too soon.... he beat me by one second...

Granted I was disappointed to have been beaten by him, but considering he'd beaten me by over a minute in every other race and one minute twenty over the same distance 6 months earlier, I had to be happy with it. So now in London, I've no nemesis... looking at how much it pushed me on last year having one I'm going on the look out for a new one!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Faster and Faster

Good god, last night was my first time doing "real" speed work in a long, long time. I think the last time would've been the start of September. Over the past few weeks I've been doing a lot of lung busting intervals, one mile, two miles, four minutes, etc etc. Last night we took on 1km intervals at 5km pace. I thought with the recent intervals banked in the legs I'd cruise through a change to shorter, faster intervals. Not so! Half way through the last one I was convinced I was going to throw up... I'm fairly sure I had the same feeling near the end of the second last one, but not nearly as intense as on the final one. The added bonus was that each interval was slightly faster than the one before it. Ideally it'd be great if we could bang out 5 or 6 at the exact same time, but for the moment gradually getting faster will do.

Thankfully it's two days of jogging now before more intervals...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wait until spring, Private

"This park will close today at 5.30"

We're getting ever so close to bright evenings! The bonus of running in the evenings rather than lunchtime is that my productivity in work should shoot through the roof. At the moment by the time I've stretched, jogged, stretched, showered and eaten lunch a fair chunk of the working afternoon has passed. I start getting far too tired to be productive in work. I reckon once the park is open until 6.30 I'll be able to work until 5 and then shoot out for my run. Then for every 15 minutes later the park is open the later I'll be finishing work. My clients will be delighted once I start back running in the evenings!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The troubled sleep of Private

For some reason last week I was shattered from morning until night no matter what. I was sleeping fine, eating well, training the same as normal but within hours of waking up I'd be tired again. By the end of the week it was really getting on my tits. Sitting at the computer, trying to work while trying to stay awake is no fun at all. Maybe I was still tired from the race the weekend before, although this is unlikely as it was a short race. Maybe I just never caught up completely with my tiredness though.

Generally I sleep 7 hours a night, from the minute I close my eyes until the alarm goes in the morning I'm out for the count. Friday I had to take a 30 minute power kip after work. Normally trying to sleep during the day is fruitless but not this time. I was straight out and don't know if I'd have woken back up if it wasn't for the alarm I set.

Thankfully though the weekend came and with it was the chance to catch up on my sleep. As I was out with friends on Friday I didn't get to bed early and I can't really manage to stay in bed late in the mornings so come Saturday I was still tired for most of the day. With that in mind I sacrificed my Saturday night socialising and went to bed stupidly early. And now I'm back!

Yesterday I woke to no alarm, pretty much lay in bed until I was happy that I was awake. The day started as it usually does when there's a long run on the cards, a bowl of porridge followed by a trip to the local coffee shop for, uhm, some coffee. By the time the run came around I was bouncing about the place. 15 miles at a casual pace around the park, not a bother to me. Bizarrely though this sun thing is back and yesterday I was training in short sleeves and sunglasses... sunglasses in FEBRAUARY!

The day got better as I headed out then afterwards with no ill affects to meet some friends for a few casual pints. The pints went on longer than they should have with it being après run but I think I was just so happy to not be tired that I let them continue.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Making a plan to race

Over the past few months I haven't committed to whether or not I'll do a marathon this spring. Currently I'm just over half way through the 7 week training program that's main aim was to have me running stronger. I toyed with the idea of maybe concentrating on a marathon after these 7 weeks. Take a weekend off and then into a ten week program. There were two marathons that would have fallen nicely into this plan, Copenhagen or Prague. Ideal, weekend away and all!

However, I've talked it over with my coach. Both of these marathon's would work fine if I was doing the Dublin one again this year. It'd pretty much give time to wind down after the marathon and then start into a new program. The only thing is this year I don't want to do Dublin. I have my heart set on Berlin in September. The fastest marathon course in Europe would be ideal to try and get under 2h 40m. The length of time between the spring marathons and Berlin just isn't enough so the Copenhagen and Prague or out.

What now? Pretty much for the coming months I'm going to concentrate on getting my 5km, 5 miles, 10k, 10 miles and half marathon times down. I've been repeatedly told that if you can do 5k fast you can 10k fast, and if you can 10k fast you can do 10 miles fast and so on....

That's it so. The first 5k is in two weeks time. There after I'll probably take each 6 weeks as they come, look at the race calendar and see what's coming up, racing everything that I can race in. 10 weeks before Berlin will be here in no time.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yesterday was sunglasses, today was gloves

I got lulled into a false sense of security there... the under armour cold gear was back today though. Winter has not passed us by just yet, it just took a week off.

My legs were a bit heavy yesterday when I was out for my run but today there was a bit of a bounce about them. I'll put that down to the race last weekend and the hard session on Tuesday night.

Not much else in the world of Private planned on this Valentine's day. The flat mates are both out with their other halves this evening so I've the place to myself. A chilled out, book reading evening lies ahead of me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Entertaining Private Lately

Just Finished - "If nobody speaks of remarkable things" by Jon McGregor
Started - "The plot against America" by Phillip Roth

Recent Movies
No country for old men - I read the book last year and couldn't wait for the movie and I certainly wasn't disappointed. The Coen brothers depicted the book brilliantly on the large screen and that's the best performance I've ever seen from Tommy Lee Jones.
Juno - Absolutely adorable movie. Funny at all the right times.

What I'm Listening to Now
The National - Boxer. How nobody told me about this album I'll never know!
Holy Fuck - LP.

Lung Busting Intervals

Last night was interval training night. Over the past few weeks on a Tuesday the intervals have changed every week, some weeks we'd run for 4 minutes, other weeks it'd be mile repeats, others it'd be pyramid intervals. Yesterday all the previous weeks training was used for two intervals of two and a half miles.

I was grand on the first one, stuck with two other guys before trailing off slightly in the last 30 seconds or so.
Two minute recovery.
On the second one I couldn't keep up with the others. I dug in and kept as close as possible to them but they gradually got further and further away from me. I thought that this one was one to soon for me but kept with it and pushed myself so that I'd come as close as possible to my first interval.
I finished it. Stopped my watch and was shocked. The exact same time as the first (well 3 seconds slower). I couldn't believe it. I'd paced myself perfectly the other two lads had ran the second one over thirty seconds faster than the first.

The fact that the other two were able to push themselves that bit more than me doesn't concern me in the slightest, it just gives me something to aim for in the coming months.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Training like clockwork

There's nothing I like better than a good routine! Generally my friend's will slag me off a bit over routined I am, such as last week when I didn't go to the running club on Wednesday evening because I wanted to go to a friend's for dinner I got the mocking of "What about the routine Private?". I prefer to see myself as disciplined rather than routined but I suppose it's mainly a routine... discipline is giving up all cakes, sweets, biscuits and what not for lent even though I'm not the least bit religious. It's just something I've done every year of my life so why stop a "routine" now!

For the few years I lived in France my morning routine was so well known that I barely had to speak a word in the mornings. Early doors I'd head off to the local boulangerie and I'd start to say what I want but the girls behind the counter would always finish off what I was saying. If one of them ever asked me a question one of the other girls would answer before I even had a chance to open my mouth. Then I'd take my bag of pastries and head over to a little coffee shop run by a French couple I got to know, mainly by sitting there and drinking coffee. When I went in in the morning the owner would immediately put my coffee on before coming over and saying good morning to me. This I loved.

In my coffee shop now in London I'm asked every morning with out fail, "that's to take away right?". I've been going there pretty much every day for almost 4 months and not once have I had a coffee to take away, but still the question all the time, no look of recognition at all!

I found getting into a routine necessary to help me work as I work from home. Start work at 9 at the latest and finish in or around 6 (later if there are a few projects on the go). That's why when my coach said to me that we were going to get a routine going in the training I thought "no better man". I've been warned that it can get very monotonous after a while but for someone who ate the same breakfast and lunch every day for 4 years I don't think it should be a problem!

Weeks only really tend to vary if there's a race on the horizon, so normally it'd be along the lines of one long run, two speed sessions and two or three easy runs a week. Under my coaches instructions I've been doing this type of schedule for about a year and a half now. So far I don't really have that many race distances in the past to compare my times too. My marathon time has obviously gone down dramatically after one year with my coach so what will happen in the coming year now that I'm more focused, disciplined, routined than before is anyone's guess!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Race Report #2

For some bizarre reason we're currently getting weather that is more common in May, from my college days it's what I remember as exam weather. That time of year when you were meant to be sitting in the library, studying away, but the weather has other ideas. Blue skies, no wind, people shedding clothes, t-shirts and shorts are the order of the day, college park full of people drinking beer outside... how is someone meant to study?? Anyway that was long ago, but the weather over the past few days has mimicked that.

Therefore the conditions for the last cross country of the year were ideal. There was a bit of sloshing in the mud when we went under the cover of trees, but for the most part the ground was steady underfoot. Again, it was another division one race so the standard was super high. I decided again to start in the middle of the field and just to run steady over the opening few minutes and then eventually start picking people off. As I'm no expert at this XC lark, these past few races have been nothing more than training for me, positions and times mean nothing to me.

For the first lap I couldn't get over how comfortable I was getting on, I was cruising effortlessly past people. Happy Days I thought until the second lap started and I realised that I had to really dig in to keep this up. There were a few people supporting from my new running club, but as none of them really know my name yet the majority of shouts were just along the name of the club. I can't say I feel like I have that much of a link to the club, so them shouts didn't really push me on the same way when I hear my name being shouted. The lad in front of me was called Larry and he seemed to be getting plenty of shouts
"Come on Larry"
"Dig in Larry"
"Push it Larry"
In the end I decided I was going to use his shouts instead, for the remainder of the race I answered to "Larry".

"Almost there Larry"
"Damn straight I am, Grrrrr (Dig in)"!!

All in all I'm happy with how it went, the legs got a good work out, the heart was pumping and it was a pleasant day out, although Ireland losing the rugby was a real downer.

Friday, February 8, 2008

In my face! In my face!

It hasn't been raining all week and this is the forecast for tomorrow. The slush fest that I anticipated may be well and truely out the window. Wahey!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Insane Intervals

Up until recently my interval training was pretty much done solo and would mainly comprise of something along the lines of 16 x 1 minute or 8 x 2 minutes or 5 x 3 minutes. I'd jog the recovery until my breathing was back to normal and on I'd go to the next interval. I used to do these sessions solo. Now I've changed to training with a group on the days I used to do these and I as I said, my longest interval prior to training with them was 3 minutes with a decent recovery time. This weeks session??

2 x 5 minutes, 2 x 4 minutes, 2 x 3 minutes, 2 x 2 mintues. The recovery time in between each one got shorter after every repetition. So much so that for the last one it was 10 seconds. TEN SECONDS!! That's right, run at 80% for 2 minutes, ten seconds to "recover" and off you go again for another 2 minutes. How the hell do you recover in ten seconds, there's barely enough time to stop! Infact I think my ten seconds went something like this
*Stop and mutter obscenity*
*Deep breath (or one and a half)*
*Mutter obscenity and begin*

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Race on

I called the pub to make sure they'd be showing the rugby on Saturday and it turns out they don't have a television. Seriously, in this day, what pub does not have a television?! Yes, they are going for the traditional English pub lark but come on... pubs need sport! Thanks to google though I've found a pub between the train station and the race that'll be showing the race. Granted I had to repeat myself three times before it clicked with the landlady, "ohhhh the SIX nations..." as if I'd said something completely different, but I'm well sure they will have it on. Crisis averted, I will race this Saturday!

Usually on match day, I end up sitting in the pub for ages in advance, nervously waiting for the game to start. This weekend however, I'll be spending the build up running around like a mad eejit. There's some motivation for me anyway, the sooner I finish the race the sooner I get to watch some rugby. There'll be no nerves before this race, I'll be too preoccupied with thinking about the Ireland game!

Last cross country of the season, three weeks to the first road race, Ireland to win in Paris for the first time in years?! I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Heads I race...

I'm not about to hide my dislike of cross country races. Slogging around in the mud, up and down hills in the cold and rain just doesn't appeal to me. It may to some people, I think they're crazy but I'll accept it. What I do realise is that it's a great tough session that'll only make me stronger when the road racing comes back at the end of the month. With that in mind I'm prepared to take on the slush this Saturday, especially with it being the last cross country of the season.

Where's the dilemma?? This Saturday is day 2 of the Six Nations and the race will end about half an hour before the first game. The race is in the middle of nowhere so if the pub we go to doesn't show it I'm stuck. By the time I get myself home I'd have missed it completely. There are a lot of things I'm willing to sacrifice for running but international rugby, I'm not so sure.

The 6 Nations is built for this time of year. Five rugby weekends over the next seven, why did this race have to fall in the middle of it? The last race caused me to miss the final round of the group stages in the Heineken Cup and I was raging at that so I don't think I could live with missing it. I'm the eternal optimist so in my heart I think Ireland have every chance of winning in Paris this weekend, do I want to miss such a historic event?

The only solution is to find out what pubs are in the area that the race is on and start calling around. If they are showing the matches I race, if not I don't. Time to start flipping...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Wind, wind and then some more wind

After a weekend spent back in Ireland I've come to the following conclusions... Ireland is ridiculously wet and gale force winds are the order of the day. You'd think I'd have been aware of this prior to now, and in fairness I knew Ireland is wet and windy in winter, the difference is I've never really trained in Ireland in winter.

I've only taken running anyway seriously over the past four years or so and in that time I was either in wind free France and now England which mightn't be wind free but it hasn't got a patch on Dublin. So before now the winters in Dublin didn't really affect me like they did this weekend. If it was windy years back the gym would be where I'd have ended up and its not like I concidered myself a runner then so it'd have just been insane to go out running in the pissing ran and wind. Living at the foothills of the Dublin mountains probably doesn't help matters in the wind stakes. Of course the weather would have annoyed me all them years back but it's not as if I was anywhere other than indoors then so I'd complain like everyone else about the weather but now as it directly affects what I want to do I reckon I'm complaining more.

Anyway, bitching aside training was text book this weekend. I had a fartlek sesssion on Friday incorporating some hills... ok they weren't real hills, but a bit of a climb... and the wind was shooting down them so the first one hurt more than it should of. The Sunday long run was along the Dublin marathon route. By some act of God the rain stopped just as I was going out the door and stayed off for the 2 hours I was out there. I just tipped along fairly comfortably although the return to the house was against the wind so it slowed down somewhat. Today then it was a comfortable 8 miles, again with the wind slowing down the return home.

So another week starts and another cross country is on the horizon... ugh... on the bright side though it should be my last one of the season.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A trip to the physio

Today I'm off to my physio to get all the knots that have built up in my legs rubbed out. It's not the most pleasant experience in the world, but the best thing about it is tomorrow the legs will feel good as new. There's nothing in particular wrong with me, just the usual constant niggles. The right ankle may be tired one day, the achilles the next, tight hamstrings another and so on. When you push your body as hard as you do in marathon training there's always going to be a niggle here and there, so a rub down every once in a while does the legs the world of good

I've been using the same physio now for three years, unfortunately he's based in Dublin where I don't tend to be most of the time but whenever I am here I schedule a visit with him. It's got to the stage now that yesterday in the lift home from the airport my mum asked me what time I'd need a lift back from the physio at. She doesn't have to ask me if I'm going to visit him or not, it's a case of "Ah Private's home for the weekend, he must have to see his physio"! In an ideal world I'd be able to take him around with me. "But, there's physios everywhere" I hear you say. True, although you don't know what you're getting until you've seen them. Finding the ideal physio can be a tough job.

In France, myself and a friend who played rugby used compare notes on various physios to see if they were any use. More often than not I used to find that if you had a problem you'd be better getting the physios there to kiss it better rather than the softly softly approach they used to take. One physio strapped a machine to my knee and left the room for 15 minutes as the machine caused my leg to jump up and down. Know that's a cushy number for a job.
Buy Machine. Attach machine to affected area. Have Cup of tea. Take payment.

Another was shocked when I wanted a rub down on both legs, and then quickly doubled her price. On another occasion during a rub down the physio told me to let him know if it was getting sore. I was there to rid my legs of all knots, from experience there was no possible way this was not going to be sore. He then got annoyed when he realised that I hadn't said anything and quickly put on this cold cream to my legs. When I mentioned this to my physio in Ireland he said that this would have cooled down the legs and that the physio had probably thought he had done some damage and was trying to reduce it. The point of a massage is to get the blood flowing through the legs and this cream would have stopped that in its tracks.

In the end I settled on a French physio that the local running club recommended. He wasn't great but he was €15 a session... You can't argue with them economics. Granted for the most part he just told me to stretch before and after training and to drink loads of water rather than actually giving me a tough massage. Apparently because my French wasn't perfect he thought this foreigner is an idiot and I'll tell him every week to drink lots of water in the 30C weather outside!! I still went religously week in week out.

With all this in mind I'm scared to look for a new physio, having to go through the same rigmorol, asking them if that's the best they can do, could they not hurt me more, did they get rid of every last knot in my calf, did they give 100%?! Seems like too much hard work on my part to find... and at London prices I think not. Why bother when I have a magician at home who will do everything possible to make sure I'm up and running?

Right so, I'm off to visit the magician who will no doubt inflict a lot of pain on my legs today...