Couch to 5K
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The Stranger Returns with incredible news (something I never thought I could do.....A RACE!)

Hello friends old and new

Thank you AnneDroid and McFitty for dropping me wee notes/nudges over the past few months. I had actually been going to post what had happened to me in March, and you will see why I didn't, because of the title of the draft post I had written. Read on......

On Feb 8-10th me and Mr Sofargoner were in London for a short break with Offspring No2. On leaving Elephant and Castle tube station en route to the Imperial War Museum I felt a sharp pain in my left hip and hobbled up the stairs there. I couldn't walk along the road so we jumped a bus and I hoped it was cramp and would go away. By the time I got to the museum I could hardly walk and to cut a long story short after a little bit of time in a wheelchair (that was an adventure in itself) and it was a case of getting to hospital as soon as possible as I was crying in agony.

So I got to experience the delights of the English NHS at St Thomas and Guys hospital in Westminster, crying in pain while my son marvelled: 'ooooh this is the hospital from 28 Days Later movie'

After a four hour wait (NHS in Scotland, how I love thee) I was seen and diagnosed with sciatica. The painkillers didn't touch it and a low moment was stumbling in tears along a long hospital corridor to the pharmacy with no-one with me, (had long sent son and husband away) and no-one sympathising or offering to help me. At the pharmacy I begged for some water to take the tablets with but they said they couldn't and I was in so much pain I could not get to anywhere that sold water.

Thank God for Uber drivers and the foresight to install the app before coming down to London. Managed to crawl to the hospital entrance and got taxi'd back to the studio flat. Around 9pm at night, with tears running down my face as I could hardly stand in the hot shower I was in to try to lessen the pain, something seemed to 'switch' and I felt an ease begin to come, still sore but no longer screaming in pain at every move. Plus the opiates were digging in to my system!

Back in Bonnie, (after an uncomfortable train journey, feeling sick with the Naproxen) I made an appointment to see a private physio and for the last couple of months I have been doing back exercises and gradually the pins and needles subsided. I was limping for a few weeks though as the left side felt weak and numb.

The reason why I went so quiet on here was that I wrote a big long post called 'MY TERRIBLE TIME IN LONDON' and as I was actually about to post it the news came through about the Westminster Bridge attacks/murders and it felt that my difficulties in London and the pain of sciatica were nothing in comparison to what people were going through in London at that moment in time. I was feeling really down about my lack of running/having had pain (was it my fault; I'm too chubby etc; I have lost all my mojo to run; I'll never be able to do the 5K I've entered for in May) so it was easier just not to post any updates as I was feeling miserable about it all.

But I have made progress and I thought that I would post again just before trying the Race for Life end-May (tomorrow!)

About 6 weeks ago I gradually re-started my running, under the private physio's supervision, worried that I had lost all my fitness as all-in-all I couldn't run for five to six weeks. I am glad to report that it was not too difficult to get back - the worst was the first run, 1 minute run, 1 minute walk and so on!!! Typical!

I then progressed to 5 mins // 1 min // 5 mins etc then decided to rejoin C25K podcast at Week 5. Then I jumped across to the Cancer Research Race for Life 5K training plan and this week I did the 20 min // 30 min // 20 min runs.

SO MY NEWS IS THAT I *AM* TRYING a 5K tomorrow! Even at my graduation I had only got to 3.75 to 4K (including warm up walk) so I am pretty sure that I will have to walk part, but the main thing is I am back in! I do feel I am not quite where I would like to be though therefore can anyone advise:

- should I run for 30 mins without stopping then walk?

- should I do 15 mins // 2 mins walk // 15 mins run // 2mins walk etc

- should I just keep on for as long as I can? ** this is the one where I am afraid about injury/getting that horrendous pain again.

I have never had sciatica before and the physio explained that pain meant 'change'. I ran just before my injury when I felt flu-ey and I went far further than I had ever gone before, I think 37 mins without stopping, and felt very sore afterwards, then in London four days later - PING - severe pain.

So I want to do tomorrow without injury yet I want to stretch myself a little too. Over to you - at a mass 5K what tactic should I take?

thanks for reading


9 Replies

Oh my goodness, you poor thing how awful to be in such pain and on your own in the hospital :(

So glad to hear that you are making great progress, very best of luck with the race. Difficult to advise really because you know your own body but the intervals sound a good idea. Take care, enjoy it :)

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Wow such a story! Sounds horrendous! And yet, you push through the pain and determine to run as soon as possible (don't know if I would be so breve!)

I'm afraid I can't advise re sciatica. As for your 5K, I would advise to take it easy as your post seems to make a connection between your last run ans sciatica onset. Please let us know how you get on Sofargoner


My husband is a great believer in run 8.5 walk 1.5 so the run is broken down into 10 minute segments. It means you aren't running for too long at a time and gives you frequent recovery times. You can always change the pattern as you are running and run for longer if it's going well. Have a great time.



I'm late seeing this so you may well already be on your run. I can't really advise on the 'how to do it' as I just go with the flow and slow up when I run out of puff! So so glad to see you back on here and that you're recovering from the horrendous time you've been having.

However you do your 5k...enjoy it. That's the aim😊😊😊


Good luck!!!

You know you can do it!


What a horrible experience for you and really glad that you have now returned to your running and are making such good progress. Like others, I think you should run without 'expectation' - just see how you feel on the day and listen to your body. Race for Life runs are great because everyone feels so united by the cause - good luck.🙂


I did it!!!

I ran 20 walked 4 (there was a big hill there)

Ran 15 walked 2

Ran last 10-12 mins with a 1 min walk in there somewhere.

I am so so so chuffed as I have never done a whole 5K before. It was actually 5.13 K on my Fitbit!


Well done Sofargoner. Quite a story of misfortune and pain, but thankfully there is a happy ending. You have real spirit and determination.

Hope you suffer no ill effects from the race. Well done again :)

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Fabulous! Well done😊

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