Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Loneliness of the Injured Medium Distance Runner

So I've started running again.

But here's the thing: I'm nearly one-minute-per-mile slower than I was this time a year ago.

On March 13th 2010 I ran 8.94 miles in 1hr 17mins - 8:37 per mile.

On March 13th 2011 I ran 10 miles in 1hr 19mins - 7:56 per mile.

On June 19th last year I set a personal best for the 10k of 46'20".

The quickest 10K this year was 1hr 50secs on March 5th.

So what happened?

Well on June 24th last year my left ankle suddenly and dramatically swelled up. At first I thought it was an insect bite from a World Cup garden barbeque. Then it spread to my right ankle.

A sight to rival the Golden Gate Bridge

I couldn't walk, never mind run. Anti-inflammatories had no effect. An X-ray and two MRI scans failed to diagnose the problem.

Was it the statins I started talking for high cholesterol in March? I stopped taking them - no effect. All I could do was rest.

So no running for six months. A juddering halt from a schedule that was averaging five runs and 30 miles per week.

And then on January 4th the first tentative jogs. Six minutes on a treadmill. Then a gentle 15 minutes a week later. On January 21st the first outdoor run - a canalside jog for 20 minutes. Last month the first five miles along the Thames. And then on March 5th a nine mile trip from Hammersmith to Lambeth Bridge and back.

No ankle pain.

It feels good to be back - even if the running is heavy-going and sluggish. But last Sunday felt a bit better than the Saturday before.

And tonight on the treadmill - 5K at 25'11". Nudging closer to a reasonable time.

But I'm also a year older. Will I ever get back to sub-25" 5Ks, sub-50" 10Ks and sub-1'44" half-marathons (at Marlow in 2010)?

If not, I'll settle for pain-free running and slower times. But it'll be fun trying. Sort of.

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