Positives from Negatives…

Negative: I’m injured. I can’t run without it feeling worse or maybe doing more damage to myself. I’ve had to withdraw from the National Cross Country Championships.

Positive: I can focus on strength, conditioning, pilates and doing non-running things at the weekends with Gabrielle for a while.

The italics above pretty much sum up how I’ve been looking at my strange foot injury for the past few days. In times gone by I would have been angry and distraught at not being able to run and I would have entered into an all or nothing swimming regime that I would hate at the start and then, occasionally, feel a bit of love for!

Not this time though. I decided at the end of last year that 2015 would be the year I put everything I’d learned about running and about  myself to good use! I said to myself I’d make sensible decisions and that I would totally, 100% listen to my body and not ignore the warning signs until they became painful. So it is that I’ve been trying to embrace this particular injury so early in the year as a positive thing! It has given me a chance to slow it down a little and a chance to focus on my neglected core and upper body. It has also given me the chance to live a little vicariously – I get a kick out of  looking what others are up to on Strava, particularly if Gabrielle logs a good run. Granted, I still feel a little pang of jealousy once in a while looking at all those great routes I could be running and looking at races I might have jumped on at the last minute in my more carefree and stupid early running days!

The injury itself reared its head during a run on January 25th and it was enough to warrant me cutting that run drastically shorter than I’d planned. I laid off for six days and focused on strength and conditioning and then hit the road on January 31st – my training entry from that day notes that apart from a corresponding lack of ‘Ooomph’ in the run having been out for around a week my foot also felt “…not quite right and [it] feels a little bruised although nothing is visible.” After this I laid off until February 4th when I did a treadmill incline workout at marathon PR pace – I didn’t note anything about how my foot felt then but I can remember that it felt much the same the following day as it did after my January 31st effort. So, after this run I took 4 days off and then hit the trail for a pretty easy effort with Gabs on February 8th. My closing remarks from that particular training entry are:

 “I am definitely feeling discomfort and a strange sensation on the outer side of my right foot, just under the ankle bone and I’ve felt it after every run I’ve done since Country to Capital on January 17th. So, I think I’m going to lay off the roads, treadmill and trails until next weekend when I will be running in Bracknell Forest with Gabrielle…”

As regular readers will know, I post an entry about every training run I do and you may have noticed I certainly did not run in Bracknell Forest this past weekend. In fact, my last run was that easy trail effort on February 8th – the only running I’ve done since then is to attempt a sprint for my train home and even that caused enough discomfort (bordering on pain) for me to pull up and hobble it. This all means it has finally come down to me calling the doctor for an appointment and people who know me will tell you that this is not at all my usual course of action! I’m sitting here typing and the area I described above is feeling warm, uncomfortable and not so easy to walk on – I’m not hobbling along but I am definitely feeling discomfort when I push off, when I walk upstairs and when I walk down stairs. I am booked to see the Doc on Tuesday morning and I’m hoping my request for an X-ray will be granted ASAP so I can see if either of my hypotheses is correct:

  1. Bruising
  2. Stress fracture (pleeeeeaaaaaseeeeee don’t be a stress fracture)

Who knows, it might be neither of these things. If it’s number 2 then I will make the correct decision based on everything I’ve learned – I will withdraw from South Downs Way 50 and take a break from running for 8 to 10 weeks! As I’ve said above it’s not such a bad thing – I’ll lose 30% of my entry fee and will have to find another race to get my qualifying points for UTMB/CCC 2016 but at least I’ll be able to compete at my other booked races throughout this year. If it’s number 1 then I’ll just keep listening closely to my body and when it gives me the thumbs up I’ll resume training and keep on keeping on! I’ll keep you posted, make no mistake.

And with that dear reader, I shall bid thee adieu…I’m off to a pilates class via the sauna!

Peace Out x

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