Monday 26 September 2016

Berlin Marathon 2016

Here we are, finally. Two years after my first marathon, I'm back on the starting line, this time with my sweetheart. 40 000 runners, the waiting, the countdown, the human wave pushing us forward. An amazing feeling and well-earned reward after weeks of hard training :)

The wife and I stay together, progressing with caution, enjoying the last sunny day of the year. Brother-in-run started in a better block and is probably far away. I keep an eye on my foot, carefully monitoring the signals its sending me. The first steps on the asphalt are not really pleasant, but after a few kilometers, it's feeling ok.

The sightseeing of Berlin are popping around us, the mood is great, the music along the road awesome. Thanks to my assiduous training, I get to the half marathon in no time, my foot barely complaining. It's not a PR, not even a PB, but it's a victory, compared to the last half I ran!

Around 22km, very my for start feeling numb and complaining. The Asphalt feel harder and hitting my sole without merci. Know your limits, it's time to stop. I give up after the 23rd km and let the wife disappear at the horizon. No regret, I'm so proud of me! I walk a few km more but the crowd keeps urging me not to give up. I smile, for me the race ends here.

That's when a crazy idea pops in. At a nearby station I jumped in a metro, which takes me 15 km forwards, right before the last one. No barriers separating crowd and runners yet, I jump back in the race and wait for my favourite running girl... Well, one and a half hour later, here she is! Not looking good, but that's another story. We share the last straight line and cross the finish one together, hand in hand. I get a medal, I get a good bag, people congratulate me, hell my name will even be in the paper tomorrow! Not bad for a "24k marathon" :)

I really enjoyed running this event, even if I couldn't finish it. But that I did 2 years ago so I don't have anything to prove anymore! It's another step on my path of recovery and another run on my way to the ultra. Yeah me!

Monday 19 September 2016

Weeks 6 and 7/18, getting ready for the M-Day

Two more weeks of training, slowly but surely building kilometrage. Trying to run everytime I can, between late work deliveries, daddy duties and giving the wife some training time too.

After two runs of 16km (including one with some creepy under-the-bridge action, check my last post), I did a giant step forwards and ran 20km yesterday, plus one with my little cheese cube. I feel therefore ready for a proper half marathon, not like the last one that broke my foot even more!

Which is perfect, since next Sunday is the big Berlin Marathon. This year, I'll be running with the wife and brother-in-run :) When I subscribed last year, I was sure to run and finish it. But recovery is a long road with many traps. I will be happy if I run at least half of it. But I'll stop at the first complaint of my foot. This is indeed just a long run on my road to the ultra!

Monday 5 September 2016

Week 5/18, water under the bridge

Another one bites the dust!

Finishing this 5th week of training. I ran 34km times over 4 runs. Oma was still home so I could run with the wife, damn she's really getting better at this than me. I can't believe she will run her second marathon in 3 weeks and I am struggling to finish a half without hurting myself... But I have some nice plans in the tank for next year ;)

Finishing with a long 16k yesterday. I wanted some adventures and I got it! The weather was threatening but I went out anyway. Heavy rain caught me halfway and thunder were beating. I had to stop running and seek refuge under a bridge where I stayed 45min until the storm passed! Little to eat or drink, no warm clothes... and my mobile only had 10℅ of batterie left! Best plot ever for a (bad) Hollywood movie!

When the rain stopped, I found my way home. Eventually I noticed that with all this fuss going on, I did not think once about my injured foot. I was running the last kilometres at a very good pace (5'20) and I could barely feel it. It has therefore become a more psychological issue. My foot may well have completely recovered now but my head keep messing around about it!

Wednesday 31 August 2016

Weeks 3-4/18, back me up !

Almost a month without posting any news... But a lot going on in my life, as usual!

I finished on schedule weeks 3 and 4 of my training plan, respectively with 24 and 30km a week. But I had to take a 2-week break, after hurting my lower back pretty badly while trying to put my bike in the trunk of the car. Aouch! I am used to lumbar pain but usually not that intense. I tried to run a bit but it seemed to make things worse after that, so I decided to take a break and avoid any risk. My plantar fascia being connected to my leg and my back, I should be really careful not to make them both worse than they already are.

I used this time off to have my back checked through a MRI. Nothing serious, but my encouraging doctor advised me as usual to stop running and switch to swimming or I might get more back problems in the future. We'll see about that, in the meantime I intend to stay on the trail! However, I do belive I should limit city runs on hard pavement and stick to dusty roads, which was already my plan!

I finished these two weeks by enjoying three days of vacation in the mountains: sunshine, fresh air, healthy food, pool, sauna and an amazing back massage. As it turned out, I have a very stressful life, according to my back, and I accumulates a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders, which might be a cause for my lower back issues. I am reading more about it right now and the proper way to get all that stresses out.

I celebrated my recovery by enjoying a nice little 5k with my honeybunny in the hills, soooo good!
Back at my training plan this week, and still 14 weeks to go. This shift in my schedule set a 21k run on Berlin's marathon day, so I'll run at least half of it with my little wife. Then I'll take the subway up to km 40 and wait for her to finish :)

Monday 1 August 2016

Week 2/18, cut me some snack !

I bravely finished my 2nd week of training. Since I only have time to run 3 times a week (the wife is running too) I need to wrap up 4 runs into 3 to keep up with the weekly mileage. Which means that I have to face 6km and 8km runs on working days, before the long run on Sunday.

My foot is carrying me pretty good. I sometimes feel that I'm at the edge of injuring it again, but then I rest a day or two and it's up and ready for a new run. However, I noticed that my body is not as effective and economic as it used to be when dealing with food reserves. I can have a consistent breakfast and lunch, I still feel very hungry when running after work. Tuesday I felt hypoglycaemia pretty hard and strived to finish my 6k. I decided to get a consistent snack (milk and chocolate cereals) around 18h. I then ran much better 1h later.

Third week is a resting one with less mileage. Let's enjoy it, it's not gonna last!

Monday 25 July 2016

Week 1/18 marathon training

Helloooooo !

Yes, still alive and better than ever ! I apologise to all my fans (my fan?) (my mom!) for my unusual silence in the past month. I've been caught in an exhausting project, with 4 weeks of shooting in Paris. Running along the Seine? You wish... With my 16h of work a day, I barely had time for a short 5k. Which means that I can already get my hopes out of the Berlin Marathon in September, I won't have enough time to get ready. Nonetheless, I can still prepare for a later marathon. I aimed at 50km before the end of the hear. If I manage to tackle one, I won't be far away from my goal!

Sooo, the time has come to browse through training plans, nutrition advice and resting techniques again. Finally! Lately, I built up enough mileage (around 15km a week) and long runs (12km) to start a training plan. Once again, I'll put my trust in Hal Highdon's plans. His Novice 2 did brought me up to my first marathon! Let's downgrade to the Novice 1 and take it easy this time.
Great first week. I ran 3 times: 5, 7 and 10 for a total of 22km. I feel great, my foot doesn't complain too much. I ran the week runs on my way back from work, with backpack and all. Love it! So much memories. I'm already exploring new routes, with more trails and less roads. It's gonna be a top notch summer... I'll keep you in the loop :)

Thursday 2 June 2016

Getting in shape for a marathon training

Yoooooo back on the trail, this once hopefully for good and up to the Berlin Marathon in September! I ran 4 times last week, finishing with a 5k on Saturday.

I tried my new orthodics at the same time. Made in Romania from a scan of my feet, they match the surface of my whole perfectly. Contrary to the old ones, these are made for runners and consists of a very compact memory foam that doesn't deform and covered by a leather strip. I first tried them on a regular day and found them insanely hard, it felt like walking barefoot on concrete. But it's not so hurting while running, when I put less weight on my feet. According to the doc, it is supposed to be hard, thus sustaining the plantar fascia and preventing it to stretch too much. And I think it does its job. I noticed less tension and threatening thrills in my sole. I tackled the 5k within a week, whereas it took me way more time to reach it in January.

Aside from that, my recovery routine has become more aggressive than ever. I stretched my whole leg 2 or 3 times a day, apply intervals of hot and cold water on it everytime I shower, and I keep on icing and rubbing Voltaren on my sole. I still sleep with my orthodics and I never run outside of training sessions.

To finish, I am quite satisfied with my new Asics Nimbus 18, although I have the impression that the new materials are a little cheaper than the 17th version. But they are definitely lighter, which is a good thing. We'll see how they look like in 500km :)

Back on the trail

Finally, after more than one month of rest, I am back on the trail with brand new shoes! Taking it easy of course, I ran 2,5km on Sunday and again this morning. I warm up my calves and stretch my whole leg before and after. No pain, just some unpleasant tension in my sole. I need to build mileage from scratch again, like I did in January. I hate myself for getting injured again, I need to grow up and start taking care of myself!

I felt some numbing and scratching in my foot today, meaning the blood flow is good and my foot healing. After reading a lot on PF, it seems that recovery is faster when you stay active: exercising with caution and stretching. I will try to run every two days on my way back to work. I still have no idea if I can run a marathon in four months. I should start a training plan this week, but I cannot commit to the mileage. We'll see how things goes, I'll skip the event if I have too. I won't do the same mistake twice!

Tuesday 24 May 2016

1 month of rest and first therapy

You won't feel a thing!

Howdy! It's been a long time, more than one month since the half-marathon that has left me injured again. As I was telling you in my last post, I was planing to get at least one month of rest, and so I did.

Orthodox Easter brings me once again to Romania and at the heart of the Carpathian mountains for some sun and fresh air. In Bucharest, I have the opportunity to finally visit a podiatrist and get an advice on my foot. After a short ultrasound session, he confirms the diagnostic : Plantar fasciitis it is! Thanks doc, now I am relieved :)

What's more concerning is that he notices some oedema below the plantar fascia, which means some swelling or fluids trapped and causing the acute pain I felt the day after the half-marathon. This could get nasty! Fortunately I stay a week and he books me for three sessions of naked voodoo dancing rituals (actually I asked and it's called cryoultrasound). Basically they start by running some electrical current in my leg to create a burning heat in my sole, thus dilating the veins and improving blood flow. After that, they use an ultrasound machine to stimulate the healing response. In order to increase 3 times the intensity (hence the healing response I guess), they put some very cold balm on my foot first (-1°C). Very high tech material, as usual, I love Romania for that!

Overall about three times 15min on the table. Not really painful, but the burning sensation was hard to stand! According to him, this would reduce the swelling and I'd be back on trail the next week. Well, I prefer not to get my hopes too high too quickly! The 3 sessions go smoothly. I feel some pain after the first two, which is normal since the foot is healing. As long as I'm here, I get my feet scanned for new orthotics. Finally, he shares some ideas and tips on the subject, most important being:
  • Healing starts from the tight, I should stretch my whole leg regularly and not just the foot
  • Icing can help reduce swelling, but to increase blood flow, it's better to alternate cold and warm water (again on the whole leg), at least once a week
  • An important one I hardly ever heard about: To trigger a healing response, the brain needs to work using low frequency waves, which it does when it's sleeping or when the body is at rest. He advised me to sleep well at night and get some time to rest everyday. That might be the simplest yet hardest thing to do in my everyday life!
  • Voltaren, night splint? Why not, if it helps. I should listen to my body signals
  • Orthodics help rest the feet, I should wear them when I run
And that's it. Overall a wise decision to consult and finally get some professional advice, other than my German physician top notch solution: "well, just stop running... NEXT!"

See you on the trail in two weeks!

Monday 11 April 2016

1st week of rest

It's been a week after running the half-marathon of Berlin and I think I should keep track of my recovery and my mistakes, to avoid doing them again!

Let's recall the facts shortly: after a gentle training of 10 weeks, reaching a distance max of 16km, running mostly on trail and smooth surfaces, I attempted to run the 21km half-marathon last Sunday. Overall everything went well, despite the big step in distance and changing for a hard concrete route. I finished in a reasonable 2h30, not bad for a crippled runner like me :)

The after race went well too. Except for some stiffness in my muscle and sole, I had no pain or discomfort and I could walk normally back home. The next morning, nothing more to notice, apart from light muscle pain in the legs. I was delighted, already planing to resume my training on the next weekend!

You would think I should be wiser and really careful, and you would be right! That's the thing: I was so focused on pain during the event that I forgot to pay close attention during recovery too. Although not feeling anything, my plantar fascia was undoubtedly weakened after running 21km on concrete, and I should keep it at rest fore some time.

However, the next day was one of these Mondays when nothing goes right and I had to run to catch the subway... 3 times! Wait for the next one? Nah, that's for losers. I had just tackled the half-marathon, I could do a few sprint sessions... Well, as it turned out I couldn't!

A massive pain stroke me on Monday evening after running for the 3rd time. The kind of pain I haven't felt since the day of my injury. Fortunately I was almost at home but I could barely walked the last hundreds metres. I was furious at myself - I still am - and decided I really should take better care of myself if I ever want to run long again.

As a start, no running until next month! My foot needs a lot of rest. I resumed and intensified icing and stretching sessions of my calves and plantar fascia, rubbing Voltaren on it three times a day. I also got my tennis ball and foam roller back to work. Finally, I am wearing my Asics all day long and my orthotics in my slippers at home, to get the best cushioning possible and give my foot some well-deserved rest.

It's been a week now and my foot is already getting better, though I feel I am still more injured than two weeks ago. I hope I will be back on the trail for some short runs next month. In the meantime, my four favourite letters are R-E-S-T ;)

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Half-marathon Berlin 2016

Here we are... 

The big day I have been waiting for 10 months, since I first injured my foot... The 3rd step of my recovery plan after a 5k and a 10k... The day I will strike and put 21km between me and this dreadful injury... The day I will be convinced that my foot will heal one day completely...

Today is the day and I will attempt to run a half-marathon!

It's funny how relaxed I feel, picking up my bib at the event, looking at all these marathon ads thinking which ones I should run next, preparing everything for race day without worrying a bit about it. That's because I'm terrified and I force myself to concentrate on sth else! My foot hurts just at the idea of running the event. It's not really the distance per say, 21km is not such a huge step after my 16k a few days ago. I can see myself covering the extra distance, slowly and carefully. What scares me the most is to run the whole distance on hard concrete ground. I ran mostly on trails and soft surfaces during my (easy) training and it felt right. How will my foot react, hitting a wall of pain every step of the way? I pray that my Asics are still in good condition (about 300km old) and will cushion my stride to minimise the damages.

Fortunately, I am running this year with my sweetheart, thanks to grandma keeping an eye on our little cheese cube. I feel so motivated, and the sunny weather makes it just perfect. I have to be careful, motivation makes me do stupid things!

The atmosphere at the event is awesome, as always. 35 000 runners lining up at the starting line (and at the legendary porta potty!), warming up, dancing, clapping. The gut-wrenching music right before the start and the rush of adrenaline when you are pushed forwards by the mass, with no turning back! A last blurry selfie, starting the watch and let's go!

The first and last kilometres are the hardest. You don't really control your pace when you start, you are caught by the mass during the first kilometres, and like swimming in a river, it is hard to speed up (overtaking a lot) or to slow down (blocking everyone). But since we start amongst the last wave (though I was allowed to start in group C thanks to my finish time at Potsdam last year), the pace is relaxed, we cover the first 3km at an easy 6'45.

Right after passing the Brandenburger Gate, we arrive on the large boulevard along the Tiergarten. Much more space here and the mass spreads. My lady aims at a new record today and she won't do that by staying at the back of the heard with the grandmas and the crippled like me! So we wish ourselves good luck and she disappears at the horizon. I am all alone now, my foot is grumbling and I still got 18km to go... More than the longest run of my recovery!

Caught by the excitement at the start, I forgot to warm up and stretch my calves. The first kilometres therefore feel a little stiff and my foot doesn't like this hard and inhospitable floor. I did run a few times on concrete in the last weeks of my training, but way not enough to be prepared. Hence, I keep a relaxed pace. My only goal today is to cross the finish line before the limit time (3h30). Due to my body size (1m92), I cannot really slow down more than a pace 7'00 or this is too hard on my knees. Which means that I should finish the race in about 2h30, providing that I don't walk too much or stop more than necessary at the supply points. Also, to give my foot regularly some time to rest, I am planing to walk a few hundreds metres at each point. Let's see how long I can hold that pace!

Around the 6th km I meet a firemen squad from Paris and start chatting with one of them about living in Berlin. This is perfect, since it drives my concentration away from my foot for a few km. After passing by the Charlottenburg Castel, he's pushing up the pace and I eventually let him keep on to slow down a bit. We are at km 10, almost half of the way, and I am still in the game!

After a well-deserved break at a supply point and a quick visit to a porta-potty (you wouldn't miss that for the world!), I am back on the road. Water, sweat tea and a power gel in my belly, I am enjoying the ride. The sun is shining, music bands and people cheering along the road, happy runners smiling all around me. The back of the pack is really nice, you don't feel this competitive way of running, people here are just happy to run and finishing the race is all that matters! Today I am one of them too :)

When I hit km 15, right after Kurfurstendamm, I know I am entering the danger zone. My average pace until now has been an easy 7'00, I did my walking breaks at every supply points, but my foot is having a hard time and complains a little more every time I resume running. I try to run on the dirt and grass, along the road. People look a me like I'm crazy!

When the 16th km bips at my watch, the first wave of pain and discomfort hit me, and I start thinking about quitting for the first time. I see the dome of the Sony Center and the towers of Potsdamerplatz so close to me! I decide to walk a bit and lower the pace until it feels better. Is it wise to continue? Well, let's find out. Life's kinda boring without risk!

With Potsdamer Platz behind me, I resume running slowly towards the Checkpoint Charly. My foot does not hurt anymore but I feel pain is not far away and might rush back any moment. I also feel some pain in my right knee. Unconsciously, I am putting more weight on my right leg to relieve my foot. I stop now and then to take some pictures, check Milady's performance on the event page and I'm happy to see that she just finished in 2h09, a new record for her, congrats! She calls me quickly after and ask me to take it easy.

I cover the last kilometres half walking half jogging. My average pace updates to 7'09. Excited supporters yell at me to keep on running, that I will make it. I'd like to explain to them that I am everything but tired, almost bored to go that slowly, but my foot just cannot keep the pace! All around me, runners are turning red, sweating and crying, fighting the inner voice imploring them to stop, while I am strolling around like a tourist!

I cross the finish line 2h32 after the starting one and raises my arms, not because I beat my previous time (47min more!), not because I am exhausted and this is my last drop of energy left, but simply because this is a new step on my recovery road and I trained hard to succeed. Three months ago I was incapable of running more than one or two kilometres pain free and today I just finished a half marathon! That's the beauty of this sport: we may have different goals but we are all winner in the end :)

Medal around the neck, plastic sheet on the shoulders, banana in one hand, a beer in the other (I love Berlin)... I find my way amongst the euphoria of finishers to join my darling who's been waiting for me and we head back home. This was a big day for both of us. Now it's time to take some rest, since the next step in September will be a whole other adventure!


Monday 4 April 2016

26th run and 16km

New record today: 16km!!

Yeah! Another victory to my board :) It's Easter Monday and only 6 days left before the big event! I need to run long one last time before resting until Sunday. Let's increase my max distance by another 2km. It seems a lot but I got no choice if I want to nail the 21km on Sunday!

I go out on a sunny peaceful morning and head for an old route I used to like, well, until it hurt my foot so bad! That's kind of like going back to the crime scene... Spooky! As usual, my foot complains on the first 5-6km until my muscles get warm, then calms down. The weather is perfect. I am all geared up for a long run: bottle of juice, carbo bars and pepper spray for the old ladies dogs... I mean, for the wild bears!

I follow the route, amongst kids, bikers and old couples wandering hand in hand. I am breathing the early spring with all my heart, hoping this will be the spring of my comeback too!
The kilometres beep at my watch. At 14km I start worrying a little, but the last two just feel right, I don't feel like pushing it too much. Heading back home, ready for 6 days of rest and the head full of questions... Am I ready for the half? Will my foot cash in another 16km an the additional 5 up to 21km? All that on hard concrete floor? I guess there is just one way to find out... See you all on Sunday at the starting line ;)

25th run and 5km

Small 5k run on this Easter Saturday. I am giving my foot some well-deserved rest between two long runs. Only one week left before the big event... Will I make it? Oh what an unbearable suspense... ;)

Wednesday 23 March 2016

24th run and 14km

Can't read the watch, but it says 14km!

And what a pace: 6'12 overall. I don't push it at all, I just let my body get to a comfortable speed. Run after run, it feels healthier, lighter and faster. Without paying much attention to it, focussing on my foot signals, I am catching up with my previous cardio level. But I need to be careful and don't let motivation drive me up to injury... One time is way enough!

What started with very short runs of a few km two months ago is now shifting to long runs above 10km. I need to be technically prepared for such distance, and by that I mean starting to carry the appropriate gear and supplies. This time I pack my running bottle with juice and a power bar, to fuel my system on the way.

As I noticed, not paying too much attention to my foot seems to help: no pain, just the uncomfortable sensation that my plantar fascia is working and does not really enjoy it. But it takes the load pretty well and seems to have now more rebound and deforms much better, less demanding on the base of the hill.

The 14km pass by quickly. A few short breaks to drink, a few deviations to avoid threatening dogs - my pepper spray is ordered, I should have it for my next run. I have been running more and more on concrete lately and I start to feel it in my legs today. At the end of the run, I feel sore muscles and pain in my joints... FINALLY! It's been 9 months since my last long run and sore muscles, I feel alive!

Heading back home, I have a good feeling about the half marathon in ten days. With the Easter weekend coming, I am planing to run short on Friday and 16km on Monday. I will then taper until the race. If I manage 16k, I should be able to cross the finish line. It is still 5km more to run, a big step, but I should manage if I taper correctly before and run easy with many breaks on race day. Hey, if it were a sure thing, the adventure wouldn't be that exciting ;)

Sunday 20 March 2016

23rd run and 8km

Easy 8k today. I am trying to get some rest after the 12k and before my two next goals: 14k on Wednesday and 15 or 16k on Easter Monday. I will then taper for a few days to be fresh and ready for the half marathon in 2 weeks. We will see how my foot feels and how long I can run!

But for today, nothing big, nothing new. I am changing areas, running on an old friendly route with less trail and more concrete, to get used to it. This brings me close to where I got injured, coming back to the crime scene! I notice sth interesting on the way: if I pay too much attention to my foot signals, I start to feel some scratching and unpleasant thrills in my sole, which make me anxious and wondering if I should continue. However, if I focus my mind on sth else, start telling myself a story in my head and completely forget all about my foot for some time, any unpleasant feeling disappears and my foot is going well. A very good example of how powerful our mind is at convincing ourselves that we are in pain, the minute we start worrying about it. I should definitely relax and trust my body, so I can recognise the real signals if I push it too much!

picture from

Final note: I almost got eaten by a very angry dog today. It wasn't on a leash and just jumped at me, with the firm intention of biting. I was very lucky and barely avoided the bite by running backwards and yelling at him. He came so close that I even hit its snout with my fist. Fortunately the owner was able to stop it in the end and I escaped swearing (in Fench) at them both. I was so angry! One bite and I'm up for 3 months recovery. Bye bye half-marathon! This is not the first time this happens to me and I often read stories of runners victims of dogs attacks. I have more than enough and decided this time to buy a pepper spray and carry it with me every time I run. Beware angry dogs... A runner's bite can be bitter too! ;)

Thursday 17 March 2016

22nd run and 12km

Who's the boss?

New reccord: 12km today!

Don't you just hate catching a cold and being forced to a week of rest? I'm just getting out of one and I feel a ferocious need to put on my shoes and head outside. Let's beat the hell out of some new record today!

Sunny day, finally spring is coming. Light clothes and sunglasses, this feels great! I figured out my foot will be all rested after a week, turns out it is complaining right from the beginning. But it doesn't last. I know the plantar fascia (injured part of my foot) is a tissue band and therefore cannot warm up, but I guess my calves and feet muscles take on most of the load after warming up on the first 2km.
I run long, longer than before, always a bit further away from home and metro stations. Taking some (limited) risks is part of the game. I complete the 12km quite easily, watching my pace and staying on little trails and soft routes. No music in my ears. It feels right, it helps me concentrate on my breathing and on my foot signals.

I am now covering distances considered as long-runs in a beginning marathon training plan. This way, I should be able to start one after the half marathon in 2 weeks, and a week or two of rest, of course. I also need to start packing some gear and food now, at least water, to keep my body well supplied and ready for new challenges :)

Wednesday 9 March 2016

21st run and easy 5k

Sometimes you just need to keep it short and get some rest! After breaking 2 records in a week (8 and 10k), this is some wise advise I should follow. Especially if I want to nail 11k or 12k on Saturday.

Short run today then, I'm out for my favourite 5km trail run. Cold and sunny morning, my favourites. I can feel from the start that my foot has not recovered yet, it complaining a little. No pain, but it definitely needs one more day of rest after a long run.

Anyway, I feel good, I go easy on the pace. The last thing I want is to crash at 3 weeks of the half! No music today, I forgot my mp3 player at home. It is very nice actually, I live such a noisy life than calm is almost frightening! Almost get bitten by an angry dog... Why do dogs like to run but are always mad at runners!? Shouldn't we be like best buds?

Heading back home, that's enough for today. I need all my rest for Saturday :)

Monday 7 March 2016

20th run, 10k and 2nd goal achieved


Exactly one month after achieving my first 5k and for the 20th run of my recovery training, I AM NAILING THE 10K!

I am so happy, and for many reasons: First because 10k is my favourite distance - long enough to challenge me but short enough to give all I have without the fear, not to finish it -, then because I have been unable to run this long since my injury 7 months ago (my max was 9km in Prag, with excruciating pain at the end), and finally because 10km is a very common distance in many race events, especially charity ones. This new record (re)opens many doors for me and the possibility to subscribe to events, even if I can't compete at my previous level for now.

Nothing crazy about today's run. I haven't run in 5 days so my foot is well rested and I figure out I should push the distance a bit if I hope to complete the half in 4 weeks. My foot complains a little on the way but stays docile. The pace is good, 6.20 overall, I feel good, peaceful, confident. When I hit the 8th km, my previous record, I start paying close attention to my foot signals. The route alternates muddy trail and concrete roads. Everything alright. I slow down a bit, as a precaution. The 10th km bips and resonates in my ears, like a well deserved reward. I did it!

It took me almost 2 months to complete the first 10k, and I need to run more than twice the distance in four weeks... The adventure goes on, with exciting new challenges! :)

Wednesday 2 March 2016

19th run and 8km

New record: 8km today!

Running again in the morning, after two days at home. I really feel better this way, I think my foot is all rested from the night and complains less on the way. Lately, the additional kilometres feel easy and right. I don't have the impression of doing too much too quickly. That's a relief. I'm convinced my recovery is on a good path and I am less and less afraid of hitting a dead end.

Four weeks only until the half marathon. I should break the 10km distance next week, second step of my recovery plan. Then I am planing to switch to a training-plan approach, with two short runs during the week (less than 10km) and one long run on weekends, increasing them by 2km every week. I don't think I need easy weeks for now, as long as my foot is going well.

With this plan, I should hit the 16th km the week before the half. A few days taper and I'll be ready. Will my foot carry me for an additional 5km on race day? Only one way to find out...

Monday 29 February 2016

18th run and 5km

Small 5k this Friday. It is late and night is coming earlier than expected. Should I rather reschedule my run and spend the night watching Transformers 7 (revenge of the revenge) with beer and tortillas? Que nenni! Night lamp mounted on top of my head, I'm out in the dark :)

I like how everything looks bigger, stranger and threatening in the night. Your everyday routes become adventurous, you feel like exploring territories unknown to mankind! I can barely see the path in the spotlight. But I know this trail better than my apartment and my footsteps bring me safely back home. Small run today, taking it easy to be fit on Wednesday and beat new records!

Friday 26 February 2016

17th run and 7km

NEW RECCORD today, with 7km painfree !

I'm convinced that good gear doesn't make a good runner, but it's nice and really motivating to get new stuff now and then. Thanks to my brother-in-run for this awesome birthday present: a new pair of sunglasses, that makes me look like I'm about to jump on my snowboard and descend the Mt. Blanc on immaculate snow... Yeah right, I'd like to see that! :)

Perfect sunny Sunday to try them on. Oh right, I got an haircut too. About time, I was starting to have difficulties seeing in front of me! I feel great today, let's break down in pieces some new record. I'm out for a "long run", following my favourite trail even longer, rediscovering these nice places that have seen so many of my past trainings. My watch marks the 5th and 6th kilometer, still no pain in my foot, maybe just some discomfort.

I'm trying to leave the cushioning trail to wander a bit on concrete, since Berlin's half and full marathon only consists of such. Not a big fan of hard surfaces, but my foot doesn't complain more. The 7th kilometre shows up like the finish line of an ultra. I'm kinda proud of me, 2 new reccords in a week. I really feel that the 10k, second step of my recovery, has never been that close!

Wednesday 24 February 2016

16th run and 4km

Small 4k run this morning, I jump out of bed and land directly into my shoes. Sunny weather but freezing cold. My foot complains a little, I usually wait one hour after getting up before running.

I follow my favourite little trail, nothing new today. Oh yes, true, I got a new running buddy: He's small and I carry him inside my running belt: my new rugged smartphone! The old one was getting way too old. This time I picked a solid model with a strong battery pack and a reliable GPS, to satisfy my craving for exploration. I'm already addicted to it!

Monday 22 February 2016

15th run and swampy 6km

New record today: 6km pain-free at pace 6:40!

Who said you need to wander deep into the forest for some adventure! I found it right in my back yard ;)

It's been raining for 3 days straight and my favourite trail changed into a swamp. But with just one run last week, I gotta get out! Mud up to the knees, I fight my way out, tracked by hungry piranhas biting my calves... Ok, I may oversell the story! You want action or what?

The narrow trail gets wet and slippery, but I am targeting a new record today so I hang on. I realise I don't really have the proper equipment for that. Water-resistant socks would be the minimum, trail shoes a must! I am adding this to my list to Santa.

The swampy trail makes it really hard to stay steady. The more I progress, the more I need to watch where I put my feet. Water wets my socks, I have dirt all over me, rain is forcing me to shut my eyes... The good thing though is that my foot is "digging" this cushioning ground and I run through the 6th km easily, no pain whatsoever. A new amazing victory, over nature, over man, over myself :)

Wednesday 17 February 2016

14th run and 5km

I'll be doing whatever snow does IN SUUUUUMMER!
Olaf, Frozen

Another 5k this morning, after 5 days of rest. I skipped running on Monday, since I was exhausted and did not want to catch a cold.

I'm not sure if skipping a session is a good thing, I should really try to commit to running every 2 or 3 days, so my foot doesn't get lazy.

Time to bring my little prince at the Kita and I'm on my way. Pace is good, a little too fast at the beginning. I need to slow down a bit after 1km, feelings some scratching in my sole. But nothing painful. I keep on smoothly, enjoying the sunny morning and the frozen trail. Zero degrees this morning, brrr!

I finally head back home, tackling down the 5th km. My watch indicates 30min, pace about 6:00. Not bad for someone who couldn't run a month ago! I think I can move on towards greater distances, like the 10k. Not sure if I'll be ready for the half  in six weeks, but that's ok. I am enjoying this adventures one step at a time :)

Friday 12 February 2016

13th run and 4km

Don't be in such a hurry! Work on your technic, speed will come later without you even noticing.

Li Xu

How many times have I heard that from my former kung fu master, who learned amongst the shaolin monks? In our daily life, we are obsessed with speed, always trying to do everything as fast as possible. But speed is merely the habit of repeating the same action thousand times. If we work on speed instead of technic, we will end up being very fast at performing poor quality actions!

It is the same with running. Don't think about speed at the beginning. Work on your stride, your position, your landing, your arms, your breathing, your mental and so on. Soon you will realize how all that has become easy and how fast you are now.

Why am I playing the old wiseman this morning? Maybe because one more time I realise that my master was right. After a month working on my stride, not paying attention to pace or time, I run this morning at 5'55, whereas I was barely under 7'00 a month age. No rush, no pain, my usual pace is just coming back naturally. Let's hope my foot will get along with it :)

Wednesday 10 February 2016

12th run and 5km

"Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweat"
J.J. Rousseau

Nope, last Friday was no miracle! I ran my second 5km today, at a better pace! Not even worried this time, just a regular 5k, like I used to run 4 times a week last year.

Now I can say that my foot is definitely getting better. When I tried to resume my training last September, just 3 months after my injury, I crashed at the 5k distance and couldn't keep on because of the pain rushing back. That's when I started a more aggressive recovering phase, with daily stretching and icing of my foot, and Voltaren applications. Finally, I can say it was energy well spent!

Well let's not get too excited too soon! There road is still long up to the 50k :)

Monday 8 February 2016

11th run, 3k easy

Very short 3km run this morning,  to keep a stepped progression after my amazing 5k last Friday!

I had an exhausting weekend, with a 12h mocap session on Saturday (yeah to carrying heavy boxes around) and hardest of all, a Kinderkaffee and pickup mom-in-law at the airport on Sunday x_x

Anyhow, even with all that moving around, my foot seems to recover quite rapidly. Good thing, cause I got plans this month and I need its support!

Friday 5 February 2016

10th run, 5km and 1st goal achieved

"Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy."

Wooooh! 5km today and the first step of my recovering program achieved: the 5k!

Now, 5k can seem like the end of the world for many couch-addicts, but it used to be my keystone, a reference distance I used a lot. It gives you a good idea of your average pace, it's a nice segment in a marathon (run 5km at a time!), it's usually the distance separating two supply points (who doesn't like them?) and it's a nice distance for a short run. I usually never ran shorter than this. But today I kinda feel like a couch-potato myself, striving to see that 5 beeping on my watch!

No rushing though, I take my time, let's see how far I get today. The stepped training and running only 3k on Wednesday is working. My foot feels rested and ready. I warm up my calves before starting, as usual, and follow a narrow trail I know well.

Last night I watched 'Run Free', the documentary on Caballo Blanco, the famous ultrarunner who lived amongst the raramuri indians in the Copper Canyons. He used to run more than 100 miles a week in the mountains and had a very distinctive stride: small steps, back straight, arms low... I'm trying to copy his posture, quite different than mine. It feels smooth, relaxed, I like the small steps, which are less demanding for my foot. Before I even notice, my watch marks the 5th kilometer. I did it!

It took me 3 weeks to reach my first goal, but I really feel everything is on its way. I still cannot commit to any training plan right now, with only 15km a week, but it shouldn't take long. The recovery train is up and running! Next stop: 10km station :)

Wednesday 3 February 2016

9th run easy

Easy 3km run today, since I started this stepped training, alternating easy and intensive runs (don't laugh, 4km can be intense!)

Nothing new, following the trail, I stride across little paths. Always this pleasure of discovering hidden areas.

Reaching 3km, my foot starts to complain. It is most probably still recovering from Monday. The stepped training is definitely a good choice! Let's see how it feels on Friday.

Monday 1 February 2016

8th run and 4km

Big step today with 4km painfree!

Slipping out in the rain, I am pretty sure I won't last long, since I had a tiresome weekend with lots of walking and carrying boxes. Thus, I listen carefully to my body signals. My foot feels good and enjoys the swampy cushioning trail. Something different today? I removed my orthodic sole, which seemed to bother my foot more than helping it! My stride is now smoother, I bounced back nicely. I think this orthodics is not made for running and kind of impairs my stride every time I step on it. I run now with the regular soles from my asics nimbus and it feels right.

I warm up my calves before starting, the usual 50/10/10 and stretch. Feels good too, no starting pain, not even unpleasant sensations.

Since I am now close to the 5k, my first recovery goal, I plan to switch to a stepped progression with an easy run between two "longs". I will run 3km only on Wednesday and come back to 4 or 4,5km on Friday. This should give my foot more time to recover.

It's going pretty well guys, the ultra is just a footsteps away :)

Friday 29 January 2016

7th run

Seventh run today. I have some time and decide to run in the afternoon. I'm planning 3km, maybe a little more if I feel ok.

As planed, I warm up my calves before starting: 50 get-up on my tip-toes, then 10 on my left foot (whole body weight on it), holding the last one for 10 seconds. Then I stretch my calf against the wall, leg wide and leg bent.

Running feels good at start, better than the previous runs. I guess my calves are ready and take some weight off my feet. I'm already considering pushing to 3,5km today, even 4km! The weather is cold, windy, penetrating.

I run about 3km, when I first notice some spark in my foot, very brief. I reduce the pace but keep on moving. Is my foot in pain? Hard to say for now... After another hundred meters, the spark occurs again, this time at the base of my sole, a clear signal! I stop immediately and walk back home. No real pain, but I can feel that my sole is asleep.

It is really bugging me, but I have to be careful, always play the safe card and listen to my body. I hope that this is only temporary and that regular training will push this limit little by little. I can't imagine a life of running no more than 3km!

Will do some research on warming up and cooling down from runners who recovered from PF.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Sixth Run

Nice weather for my sixth run today, I barely put a jacket on my shoulders!

3km as on Monday, not rushing anything. From the beginning, I get a burning sensation in my foot, like hot water on my sole. The feeling goes away after a careful first km. I am wondering if I should maybe warm up my calves and stretch my foot before running. After all, I run about 1h after getting out of bed! Will try this on Friday.

Other questions are filling up my mind: resuming my training and pushing the distance feels heavy on every step. I want to ease the process but not sure how. Building up my calves or feet muscles to lower the impact? Engage these so called glut muscles, but how? And above all, what should I correct in my stride? I know the first step to recover from PF is to learn how to run properly.

Let's try sth... I change my contact position, landing on my forefoot and unrolling up to the hill. It feels a little easier on my foot and harder on my calves. That could be the way... Or just peace before the storm! I shall definitely read more on that matter.

Monday 25 January 2016

5th run and 3km

"Highway to the danger zone" - Kenny Loggins

Outstanding run and a stunning new record of 3km today!

Well maybe not that great, rainy weather and crappy trail... The temperature went up during the weekend, snow melted, leaving the ground all wet and slippery. I have to leave the trail for some off-road and daring steps into the wild, very exciting indeed :)

Since I had two days of rest, I push the distance up to 3km. Can't say my foot is happy. No pain, but it feels a little sore at the base of my hill, probably because I run on harder ground. Or is that all in my head? I read that pain due to PF is usually not as serious as it feels, our mind tends to over dramatize the whole thing. And I can be quite the drama queen!

Friday 22 January 2016

Forth run

Damn it's a cold morning! I think I never ran by -10°C before... But this shall be the year of all my records, so heads up and let's do it :)

It was quite nice and sunny actually, definitely more pleasant than scratching the ice from the car's windows outside... and inside! After driving my little prince at the kita, I ran the 2,5 km to home. Still a lot of snow cushioning my stride, small steps, easy pace, my foot does not complain.

This is such a nice feeling, the sensation of being healthy and that nothing, not even the cold weather, can stop me! If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should try it sometimes... ;)

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Third run

Nice little run of 2,5 km this morning. Making good use of starting my job late to run right after breakfast.

-2 °C today and still a lot of snow cushioning my steps. I ran with my orthodics (left insole) and had the feeling that it was easier for my foot. Will experience some more, also with KT tape.

I have set a new goal in my Garmin profile: 200 km before the half-marathon of Berlin this April. No time to loose! :)

Monday 18 January 2016

Second run

Nice little run today, for my second going-out! -5° outside and 10 cm of soft snow under my steps, cushioning my stride. Although it's not easy to keep a steady pace, I feel much less the impact on the ground, so I'm guessing this is good for my recovery!

New outstanding record today: I ran 2,5 km, 500 m more than during my last run... When did my life become that exciting? :)

Saturday 16 January 2016

It's about time!

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Told you "I'll be back!" :)

Today's the first day of my comeback, after being struck by plantar fasciitis 6 months ago... I did have a few attempts during that time, but my foot just wasn't ready and the pain came back quickly. But after 3 months of complete rest and taking care of my foot, I feel ready and up to the challenge!

11am, I take my new pair of Asics I barely had the chance to wear out of the cupboard and slipped into warm stretchy clothes. Zero degree and perfect weather for a first run!

There is dust and cobwebs on my watch, which needs like 10 min to find a GPS signal. Has it really been that long? I take a deep breath, pray my lucky star to keep the pain away, and the game is on... God it feels good to be back on the trail! A few running steps and the whole pleasure hits me. I forgot how I loved running, how this may be the only thing in my life that helps me get rid of my stress and find solutions. The pleasure to be free!

I follow a path I like, mostly running on dirt, grass and snow, to minimize the impact in my left foot. I also try to put more weight on my right foot, knowing that it's the propulsive phase (i.e. when my foot pushes my body up and forwards) that harms my foot. All in all, no pain, just some tingling in my foot that I attribute mostly to my anxiety. Because yes, I really am anxious to feel some pain again, meaning that these last month counted for nothing... But no pain!

Time to head back home, after a lungful of nature and fresh air, and an amazing long run of... 2 km! Hey, don't laugh, I gotta start small and go easy on my foot. Besides, only 48 km more to achieve my goal, I have never been that close to be an ultra-marathoner :)

Next run on Monday, in the meantime I shall get some well-deserved rest after this exhausting run!


Thursday 14 January 2016


"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."
Lao Tzu

My running blog is finally out ! I've been planing it for some time now, but never had the time to get to work. Well, that's the (only) advantage of 6 months recovery without running, you suddenly get some spare time to do other things.

I have a lot of ideas to share on this pages: Pictures of my runs, favourite routes, events, PRs, trainings and nutrition of course. But I will start with a page on my plantar fasciitis condition, to discuss this dreadful matter and give you advice on recovering from it. Indeed, it can be really depressing not to be able to run more than 5km without any pain, when you used to run half and full marathons...

Therefore, as a motivation, my first goal with this blog is to start again from scratch and train up to the ultramarathon. The five steps of my progression will be a 5k, 10k, half, marathon and 50k ultra. Only then will I consider myself healed and fit again.

Without further ado, let's start with a few kilometres and see what incredible journey my footsteps will take me on!

Happy running and be safe out there :)