I’ve succumbed to another injury – this time a calf strain. As often happens, it was sustained in an innocuous manner.
I was all revved up and eager to smash myself at the Abbey Dash 10K last weekend – the highest profile 10K race in Yorkshire and run on a very fast course.
The day before the Dash, I thought I would have an easy jog around Roundhay parkrun. I intended to pace one of the high 20 minute times so I put my name down for 27 minutes. Unfortunately, somebody else had already nabbed the ‘27’ tabard and the slowest time available was 22 minutes, so I put that one on.
If I was running that quickly, I really ought to have done a bit of a warm up, but there wasn’t time.
I was also beset by an incredibly annoying blockage in both ears – caused by impacted wax I later found out, that rendered me temporarily deaf. It was a thoroughly miserable experience – I had perhaps 10% of my normal hearing and it showed me just how dreadful it must be to be deaf. One feels completely cut off and alone, it’s awful.
On the first lap of the parkrun I had a couple of lads following my pacing. One tried to engage me in conversation, but I couldn’t hear a word – “sorry mate, I’m deaf” I said.
With virtually no hearing everything felt a little weird – sounds were internalised and each step produced a booming echo in my head and early into the first lap my left calf felt very tight.
I really should have paid heed to the signs and stopped running, but I didn’t and on the sharp downhill half way around the last lap my calf pinged. I had to stop immediately and hobble back.
No Abbey Dash for me then, no 10K PB I thought to myself. I was thoroughly pissed off.
As it turned out, I probably wouldn’t have run a PB at the Abbey Dash, the conditions weren’t great – very chilly and breezy, although many of my team mates overcame the conditions with some excellent times. I went to the 5K turnaround point to cheer them on.
My absolutely wonderful weekend was completed on Sunday evening when I discovered that fraudsters had stolen several thousand pounds from my bank account. Cosmic! To be fair, my bank was absolutely brilliant and I had the money paid back within 18 hours, still it was a huge hassle and worry that I could have done without.
I hoped the calf strain would be a minor one and I’d be able to run again after a few days.
Being in good nick, I wanted to retain as much fitness as possible. To me, fitness feels like a capricious lover – you have to nurture and pander to her daily or she will leave you in a heartbeat.
To try to retain her attentions I jumped back on the rowing machine, bashing out 5000 metres each day. The first time back was horrible, but it has felt easier each time since, almost to the point of perverse enjoyment.
I also invested over £300 on a new turbo trainer for my bike, one of those fancy ones that you can hook up to the t’internet and ride around Tracey Island with some imaginary mates. I had my first go on it yesterday. Despite basically being a sweat generating machine, I quite enjoyed beasting myself for 40 minutes.
However, when I got off, my calf felt bad again – although I thought cycling would be low impact and low risk, I’d obviously irritated the injury.
With all this and a case of the November winter blues, I’m ashamed to say I have felt a bit sorry for myself this week, which is never a good thing.
I think we have to accept that injuries are an occupational hazard of being a runner. In the whole scheme of things, it probably isn’t a bad time to have a bit of down time. I don’t know about you, but to me November really is the shittest month – really dark and there aren’t many races to target.
Thankfully, I have an exciting holiday to look forward to – next weekend I am jetting off to India for a two weeks of guided ‘Adventure cycling’. I’m hooking up with my Comrades buddies Jock and Karen in Dubai then we fly down to Kerala at the Southern tip of India. I’ve never been to India before, I can’t wait.
Hopefully, I’ll return fit and rejuvenated ready to attack some races around Christmas.
I really ought to rest completely to make sure I am fit for the holiday. Why do the rowing machine and turbo trainer keep winking at me?