I briefly mentioned in my last post about breaking my running streak due to contracting sepsis. While that was frustrating for me, the last few months haven’t exactly gone smoothly in getting back into running. I have to admit though, most of that is due to my own impatience.
In the weeks leading up to ending my streak, I struggled with a handful of minor niggles. Most of them were caused by continuing to run in my Nike running shoes after their realistic end of life. They were my second pair, the first lasted me about 500km, and I hit the same in the second pair, while also wearing them for non-running activities (dog walking mainly). The soles were worn down, and it caused the blisters on the lateral side of my right foot that led to the infection and sepsis back in January.
I replaced them with a third pair of the same shoe, but I mislaced these initially, which cause deeper blisters in my midsole. Taking more time off for recovery meant I got more stressed about missing key training goals for the Vienna marathon, leading to me forcing out a 32km “final” long run in early March. Unfortunately, a combination of heavy snow on the day of that run and an uneven training schedule over the previous weeks led to a new injury - iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) in my right knee. I think the main cause of this was tight hips trying to keep my balance running for twenty miles in the snow, but I guess I will never know for sure. In the end, this injury took until early June to recover from, having a serious effect on both my marathon (Vienna in April) and half-marathon (Edinburgh in May) efforts. Since then, I’ve been slowly trying to get back to the pace I was at before New Year, scrapping my new PB goals for 2019 in favour of just being able to run again.
It was going relatively well too, I was back up to 35-40km a week, although I hadn’t really figured out what paces I should be going for. But then a couple of weeks ago, I had some dull pain in my right heel. I assumed tendonitis, so I eased up for a week and didn’t run much at all. Last Saturday, I did a gentle 1km warm-up for parkrun, and the pain had pretty much gone, so I figured it would be okay to run. The first 2km were fine, and then I felt my Achilles ping. I stopped immediately (not that I had much choice, with a torn tendon), and walked back to the start line.
This is a lot more serious than my previous injuries. I imagine it’ll be at least a couple of months before I can run at all again. Fortunately, it is completely pain-free to walk, but if I run in any way (even just a slight speed up to cross the road), it is agonising. I’m going to resign from all of my road races remaining in 2019, with the target to just get back to Canicross for the winter season with Charlie.
The main thing I have struggled with is failing to adjust expectations for myself when injuries appear. At the beginning of the year, I decided on personal bests I wanted to achieve in distances from 5k to marathon. At the time, I thought they were realistic (I only wanted to improve my 5km by 14 seconds), but I put these ahead of listening to my body for when I needed to slow down and take time off. Hopefully, these next few weeks of no running will help me get perspective back - and I really want to get back to running, because I do love it. I should learn to be less competitive with myself, although from experience, that’s generally easier said than done.