AAAGGGHHH, what is wrong with my leg?! - March 18th 2014
18th March 2014
My last run... my very last long run, just 5km to go out of the 28km and BANG! Massive pain down the outside of my leg. Hmmm... I can't run. I can barely walk. This really isn't good at all. I hobbled back to my car, with that intense paranoia that only a sportsperson (or me in this case) can appreciate - the worry that you can't compete in something you have been trianing for for over a year.
Familiarity of annoyance
It had previously occurred to me that I had been extremely lucky in my preparations to date without so much as a twinge - a similar experience to my North Pole training. However, just like my North Pole prep, where I got my first cold in about 3 years, just 2 days before leaving for the arctic, this injury could also cause me serious issues - potentially not even being able to take part.
Today I went to see my physio Sam who, for the last 6 months, has brought me close to tears on a weekly basis with her version of a 'sports massage'. I can't fault her, she has kept me injury free for a year, but for almost the full hour, I am biting my lip trying not to groan in pain as she puts her full bodyweight through her elbow, into my legs. She was less than impressed with me. My ITB (Iliotibial band - running from your hip to your knee) was in a bad way... it was 'buggered'. It 'clicked' every time I straightened my knee and was agony when Sam put any pressure on it. Fun.
Needles to 'cure' pain?
That's the theory. Ram a needle 3cm into the muscle and everything will be fine... that was my hope, Causing micro-trauma to increase blood flow is one of the latest tricks used by physios. The theory sounds good, so am happy to give it a try. So, I lay there, needles in my leg, just 3 weeks before the run and was being told that the prognosis was not great. 'I won't lie, it's not great and probably won't heal in time. However, more positive news soon came...
You can't 'snap' your ITB Paul, it will just hurt like hell'. Oh, that's fine then I thought. Just one more thing to add on the pile. The MDS was still on.
Sand running and volcano climbing - November 29th, 2013
Why am I going so slowly? 8kph? Really!? My feet are on fire. There is sand in my shoes. This hurts. There are people staring at me. I am sweating more than I thought was possible. Hmm... This... more »
Intercontinental running - November 3rd 2013
A half marathon in Joburg. Have a shower, get on a plane, 16 hours later, get off the plane, run a half marathon in Washington DC. This style of life is becoming the norm and trust me...... more »
Facing up to the Marathon Des Sables - September 8th 2013
The (other) 'Toughest footrace on Earth', as described by the Discovery Channel. 7 brutal days of running 250km, through soft sand, in temperatures exceeding 50c, whilst carrying about... more »
Altitude, heat and hoodlums - August 25th, 2013
Move aside Thames Path with your variety of interesting historical monuments, your traffic free running lane and your shady tree laden shores. I am moving to Johannesburg, city of gold, hills... more »
Part 2: Cruising to Polaris - April 11th 2013
The weather was amazing as we left Resolute for our epic journey ahead. It was ‘only’ about -17c, no wind and beautiful sunshine. For the next few days, we would be pushing forward... more »
Part 1: Journey to the top of the world - April 6th 2013
The nostril hairs and my eyelashes started to freeze up – something that has only happened a few times in my life – typically at about -25c. The worst part was that I was still a two... more »
'Adventure is just bad planning' - March 31st 2013
It is with Amundsen's quote that I start my final blog before my own attempt to walk to a pole. Whilst I doubt my effort will be as celebrated, I hope it will be as successful. In the final... more »
Counting Down... - March 13th 2013
100s of KGs of kit, hundreds of individual items, food to be purchased in Canada, guns and ammunition to manage and sponsorship/fundraising efforts to sort out - the lead in to the North Pole is... more »
Success on Aconcagua - February 9th 2013
100kph winds, -40c, deep snow... I had it all in my fight to get to the summit of the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemisphere's at 6,962m (22,841ft). Whilst telling everyone... more »
How cold is 'cold'? - January 6th 2013
One of the most common questions people ask me is 'how cold will it be at the North Pole?', to which I normally reply 'could be anything from -25c to -55c... and with windchill,... more »
Maps & Tracking
You can explore the full route to the North Pole and follow Paul’s progress with live maps that will plot his position each day as he progresses towards the pole more >
VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries (www.vso.org.uk). The Fire and Ice Challenge is aiming to raise £50,000 for VSO’s secure livelihoods programme more >