Firstly, I apologise for the lack of a post last week. This was due entirely to my laziness and feeling a little miffed at not being able to run.
By way of penance, I paid a few quid to WordPress so hopefully you won’t see annoying adverts on the blog any more.
I have been managing an assortment of minor left leg injuries and niggles over the last few weeks. By running on alternate days and making sure that I undertook a long warm up before any fast runs, I seemed to be just about getting away with it.
In truth, I wasn’t doing anywhere near enough miles nor spending enough time on my feet to be properly prepared for a marathon. This wasn’t because I didn’t want to, it was because I couldn’t.
After the National 12 stage relays in Birmingham, I couldn’t run at all without pain. In fact, I felt discomfort even whilst walking. My foot was stiff, my achilles and calf sore and tender and I had twinging pain in the side of my knee and the bottom of the hamstring.
I went to see a physio at The Coach House practice in Headingley. He did the usual assessments, watching me walk up and down in just a pair of shorts (me, not him) with some bending and mobility tests.
His verdict was “You are totally stuck on you left side” – he said my foot and ankle was stiff and didn’t have much range of movement, as were my hips which meant I was ‘hitching’ and using all the wrong muscles to run.
I was told to lay face down on the couch and he gave me a right old battering. He hit quite a few really tight spots, inducing whelps and whimpers of pain from me.
“Is this your normal pain threshold?” he asked impassively.
How was I supposed to answer that? Was he calling me a wimp or complimenting me on my ability to withstand his aggressive dispensation of therapy? I muttered an incoherent response and buried my face in the pillow, praying for it to end.
On the positive side, he didn’t think that I had a serious injury, he just thought my body had rebelled and had gone on strike for a bit.
The plan was to let everything settle down, then try some running drills and then short runs if it felt better.
I didn’t run much at all for two weeks, save for a couple of tester runs which lasted only a couple of minutes before I realised it was pointless trying to run in pain.
I tried to retain some fitness by beasting myself on the Wattbike in the gym at lunchtime and going out on my bike once the weather warmed up (I am a committed and devoted fair-weather cyclist).
Yesterday, I went for a run around the wonderfully named Bedquilts sports ground – a huge expanse of grass playing fields in North Leeds. I managed to run laps for a whole hour, building it up from a timid jog to something approaching 7:30 pace. Running in a straight line felt fine, but my ankle didn’t want to make any sudden turns to the left or right.
After 40 minutes, my legs were feeling it, but I was pleased to stick it out for the whole hour.
I could try running London – with a bank of years of training, I could probably get myself round, but I know that I couldn’t run the whole way. However, I am not going to. Just getting round doesn’t really float my boat I am afraid.
It would be painful, I might make the injuries worse and I doubt that I would enjoy it much. A marathon is a serious undertaking that requires the utmost respect. I am nowhere near fit enough to run one.
Therefore, I am going to experience the London marathon as a fan and spectator for the first time, support my partner Liz as much as possible and just enjoy a weekend away in the company of people that I really like.
I’ll try to get healthy and then work on getting fit for some shorter races later in the year.
Liz is running London for the first time in a few years. She hasn’t had an easy build up, but has stuck to her plan diligently (unlike me) and I really hope that she enjoys the marathon. She is raising money for the brilliant Mini Mermaids run by our friend Hannah Corne. Liz has coached many Mini Mermaids programmes over the last few years.
If you are feeling generous, please donate a few quid to Mini Mermaids: here
You can read Hannah’s amazing blog here.
Good luck to all friends who are running London, I’ll give you a cheer if I see you.