My stumbling and stuttering recovery pretty much hit the buffers last week. I was the author of my own downfall. My physio had stressed that I should only run: (1) very slowly, (2) at most, on every other day and (3) for no more than 5 minutes longer than my previous run.
Last Saturday, I broke rule (1) by running Roundhay parkrun in just over 20 minutes.
On Sunday, I contravened rules (2) and (3) by running out to Golden Acre Park on Sunday morning. I intended to run for a bit with John from Valley Striders. As I met him in the park, a group of Valley Strider mates ran past, part way through their Sunday morning long run.
It was a lovely day, my achilles felt OK and I wanted to go for a run and a chat with my mates. So I tagged on and ended up running 12 miles in about an hour and 40 minutes. Quite a bit more than my allotted 25 minutes.
I felt pretty tired once I got home and my leg muscles were certainly feeling it, but my calf and achilles weren’t feeling especially sore.
However, on Monday morning I knew I’d blown it. My achilles was worse than ever – extremely tender to the touch and it was painful even when walking. “Shit, I’m completely fooked”, I thought to myself.
My injury – Achilles tendinopathy, is notoriously slow to heal, it often takes up to six months for a full recovery. I think that if I keep running on it, maybe I’m just knocking my recovery back a few weeks each time. I’ll have a serious chat with the physio on Tuesday – I’m seeing a different physio, maybe it will be good to get a different opinion.
I think it extremely unlikely that I will be running Comrades this year, so I will never get a back to back medal. You only get one chance for that, it has to be done in your first two Comrades.
Some people have said to me that I should still run Comrades – start right at the back and run/walk it, aiming to complete it before the cut-off with the 12 hour bus. I could do that, but for some reason, my heart isn’t really in it.
If I can’t train for a race, I feel a fraud, a fake. My brain is wired in a way that I have to stand on the start line wanting to give of my best. Jog/walking round just to complete doesn’t really do it for me – because I know I should be doing much better. There is also the fear that I might completely trash my Achilles for good.
I don’t know what to do, I’ll think about it. I’m still going to South Africa, I’ve paid nearly £600 for flights and I can’t get my money back. It might become a golf holiday rather than a running one.
Last Christmas, I dreamt that this year’s blog might be a record of several near 100-mile training weeks, interspersed with a couple of PBs and would culminate with me recounting my heroic run into Kingsmead Stadium to complete the 2016 Comrades Marathon in 7 hours 29 minutes and 56 seconds, thus claiming a Silver medal by the skin of my teeth.
The reality is that I’ve barely run the distance of Comrades during the last 10 weeks of training combined.
On this very same weekend last year, I ran possibly my best ever race – a PB at the Thirsk 10 when I beat the hour and came third in my age group in the Yorkshire Championships. I was super fit and nearly a stone lighter than I am now.
I’m not giving up on running and certainly not giving up on keeping fit, but my body is telling me to give it a rest for a bit. I’m not happy about it, but I don’t think I have much choice.
CM -10 weeks
Weight 11st 13 lb
Parkrun – None
Longest run 0 miles