Once again that I have been really slack at writing these last few months. After my confident declaration at the start of January that I would like to write more regularly, I went in the opposite direction and have written nothing at all.
The reason? Yes, you guessed it, injury once again! As you can imagine, this got me quite down and that, combined with the fact you are probably sick of me banging on about a running related injuries by now, had me avoiding writing at all.
It was an ankle injury, something that seemed trivial at the time and I only became aware of as I got out of bed early one morning to go for my usual run. No recounts of some heroic tumble here, I could walk and it just felt a little different when I jumped out of bed.
As you’d expect I still ran, mainly because it didn’t feel like anything serious. By the end of the run however it was extremely sore and a few hours later, despite a lack of bruising or swelling, it was extremely painful to even walk. That was it, no running for nearly six weeks!
I consulted with John and Marcus who both diagnosed a strain to the peroneus, probably as a result of a slippery run in the mud the day before. Rest didn’t seem to help and after two weeks I paid a visit to the excellent Ed Stephens at Grosvenor Physio for a physical assessment.
The pain was in my right ankle, the one full of metalwork after a previous rugby injury. The dislocation at the time meant there was a good chance there was some osteoarthritis in there as well but generally it didn’t give me too much grief, apart from cold days when the metalwork would drag the cold into my bones.
A scan showed a potential minor strain to the peroneus and small retrocalcaneal bursitis. Both tiny in comparison to the discomfort I was in but this seemed like the best diagnosis.
Over the next ten days, I saw Ed five times, as we followed an aggressive rehab protocol. This resulted in some sudden improvements, followed by equally sudden deteriorations, which was strange and not what you would expect from a typical muscular or tendon injury.
As we both gave up hope and talked about a referral for an X-ray and/or MRI it suddenly seemed to settle – hurray! We agreed to see how it went with a little running and at the first sign of any issues I’d be off for the MRI.
That was when the flu struck! After four weeks off running, I was desperate to get back running, with Dragons Back now less than twelve weeks away and my warm-up event, Jurassic Coast Challenge (JCC) just three weeks away. Three days in bed, following by generally feeling rough and below par for a further ten days ended up with me on antibiotics as I fought to clear my chest. Finally, with less than two weeks to go before JCCand nearly six weeks off running, I tentatively pulled on my trainers and headed out the door.
It was so frustrating. I had gone from probably the fittest I have ever been to back where I was last autumn. All the training of the last three months seemed to have evaporated as I slowly ran those first 30 minutes. Those first few miles felt like such hard work and my hips and adductors were grumbling like mad. The good news was that the ankle seemed ok, which was one positive at least.
There was no way I felt I could attempt three marathons back to back but a chat with Marcus calmed my fears and we agreed that we should build the running slowly back in and leave it to as late as possible to make a decision.
So what is the Jurassic Coast Challenge? It is a three-day event along the beautiful South West Coastal Path in Dorset. Each day is just over a marathon in distance and being on the coastal path, it’s hilly, to say the least.
I identified this event as the perfect event for me before Dragons Back, to get some hills in my legs and also test out my recovery strategy in a multi-day event.
The event is run by Votwo, a company I was familiar with, having previously done a number of their duathlons and triathlons. With transport logistics handled from race HQ each day, it would be just a question of running, admiring the views, recovering and repeating the next day. Perfect!
My body responded well to the running and after covering 25 miles last week, Marcus and I made the decision that I would head to the south coast on tomorrow and give it a go.
I won’t be racing, this is all about time on feet, getting some hills in and practising that important recovery strategy. I will take it steady, walk where needed and see how the weekend develops. If I can only manage one day then so be it. I have the option of missing the second day and then tackling the third day as a walker. The key thing here is not to overload my body and enhance, not damage my preparations for The Dragons Back.
The Dragons Back
Follow my progress
This year Votwo are trialling the use of GPS trackers for the first time. You can follow our progress over on their website. I am number 198. Feel free to send me encouragement via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.