The highs and lows of winter training.

Hi All,

So I’m back in the saddle after an enforced 12 day training break. Holiday? I hear you ask. I wished…

Firstly, following a pretty good training effort over New Year, our youngest son Max came down with something called Stevens Johnson Syndrome on or around the 2nd Jan (have you Googled it yet? – yeah it really is that bad). 5 days / 4 nights in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, 2 nights each for myself and Mrs F, watching Max pumped full of antibiotics and fluids (1 IV in each arm), given oral antibiotics, painkillers, mouth washes and gels, various eye drops and topical skin treatments. He bounced back pretty quickly (amazing little dude that he is) but the road to full recovery is still being travelled and it has been a traumatic road.

Quick aside here: “NHS at breaking point”?

“Humanitarian Crisis in the NHS”?


We’ve now had a couple of brushes with Stoke Mandeville over the past year or so and I can’t speak highly enough of the service they offer. Top top doctors, consultants and – the lifeblood – Nurses, all with seemingly good morale and fantastic attitudes. Plentiful pharmaceuticals. Excellent in and out patient care with some really professional and well run clinics and clinicians. Clean wards. Good food. Even reasonable wifi. I cannot, repeat cannot, see where the problem is.

Okay so my kids are kids and were maybe prioritised due to age / type of illness. Maybe the paediatric provision at Stoke is different from the rest of the country. But, as with most things, I wouldn’t quite trust statistics.

Austerity measures have of course put more strain on the NHS, I get that (the best is yet to come people, remember we’re heading back to the 1970s again…). And I’m sure if you’re elderly and have had a fall or if you’re drunk and waiting a long time for a nasty wound to be stitched or if you’re obese and waiting for a nasty swelling to be looked at you’re going to a) be deemed low priority but b) significantly affect waiting time stats and c) you’ll make for some great stories in the press.

But it’s all these people who are helping to create the perfect storm here – an ageing, more obese, more reckless society coupled with massive budget cuts is going to skew figures. I’m not saying it’s right and I’m not saying I don’t sympathise with these groups – but needs must and when the good stuff is on ration then the most deserving will get to the front of the queue.

But, speaking personally, when we’ve found ourselves in massive need, when our hearts have been in our mouths with fear at our kids being sick, when these kids have needed urgent diagnosis and treatment – we’ve not been found wanting. And for those reasons I’m going to keep praising the NHS and I’m going to do my best to stay fit and healthy so that I give myself a better chance of not getting into any of those risk groups…

Anyway, sermon over, back to the story. So once Max got released it was time for me to get sick. As often happens, the adrenaline from the crisis wore off and so I then caught a cold. No training there either for a good few days.

On the plus side, once I did get back into things from the 17th onwards, I’ve made up for lost time. Although easing back into it, I’ve managed:

  • A 3mile / 5K comeback run on the 17th which despite being my first run in 12 days brought me an all time PB on the 5K. I must have been pleased to back! Just over 34 mins which is not fast, especially as I know people who are doing the same distance now in 19 mins (you know who you are!), but I’m happy.
  • Two 3mile city runs in Roermond (Netherlands, where our group head office is based and practically my second home).
  • A 7mile hill training run around Speen and environs; not fun or relaxing but necessary.
  • A 3.5 mile time bound run today (time bound as I couldn’t shift my carcass out of bed early enough.

Yes there have been some god-awful cold mornings but the cold brings great sunrises and some lovely crystalline vegetation. And that makes it all the more worth it.

Running into the sun

Ramping up now to the half marathon at the end of Feb via some long weekend runs – I’m nearly on 10 mile constant long runs now and ramping up so I’m well on target, and 13 miles is where I need to be for the end of Feb for the marathon training.

Onwards and upwards!

Peace and love,


4 Replies to “The highs and lows of winter training.”

  1. Andy it sounds like you are nailing it. The joys of the marathon runner – running on days no one else would consider because you HAVE to!!!! Get some Berocca and if you love peanut butter then I found that my best running fuel xx

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