Given my new and extraordinary ability to get injured, Rachel and I recently attended an ‘injury talk’ at the Victoria branch of Run and Become. This talk was given by a world-renowned sports and physio coach whose name now escapes me.
The evening started off well with the wrong PowerPoint presentation. This meant we were treated to a few minutes of inadvertent shadow puppetry as our presenter faffed around in front of the projector looking for the right file.
At last we were up and running – so-to-speak – and after being treated to a dreadful picture of a runner whose leg appeared to have snapped in half (cue lots of wincing) we at last got down to what most of the small audience really wanted to know: would they be able to run London? We asked because between us we had managed to injure our Achilles, knees, hips, feet, shins, toes, earlobes, duodenum or whatever other stupidity we had managed to inflict upon ourselves.
Clearly the invite to this event had failed to manage some expectations (though not mine) as it soon became evident that a free one-hour talk was no substitute for spending forty quid down the physio.
Nonetheless we were dutifully informed that the cause of any injury is either intrinsic or extrinsic. This is a rather grandiose way of telling us something most of us already knew; our injuries are either self-inflicted in some way or it’s just unlucky genetics in which case you can blame your parents.
I’d like to blame my parents but I have no evidence to support this – my mother being an injury-free 80-year-old who manages three to five miles of walking every day. Even getting hit by a car didn’t seem to slow her down, so what possible excuse have I got?
The truth is I don’t know and our guest presenter, well-informed as he appeared to be, wasn’t about to tell me. Besides he was dressed in a suit and tie which didn’t exactly make him look ‘sporty’. Now I know we shouldn’t judge people by the way they’re dressed and there are times when a smart suit is probably the most appropriate attire. I’m just not convinced a sports related talk in a running store is such an occasion. Perhaps I’m being unfair.
At the conclusion of the talk the store manager had promised us she would demonstrate some stretching and strength building exercises we could all benefit from. Unfortunately she struggled to complete the exercises because she had come dressed in a business suit that was too tight to allow for backward lunges and the like. Again, perhaps sports clothing would have been more sensible? Let’s face it she manages a running shop, so they’re not exactly in short supply.
I didn’t go to this event naively hoping for a miracle solution to the numerous injuries I’ve endured despite near religious adherence to ‘preventative measures’. And I was right not to.
At the time of writing it’s been two weeks since my last run. That was the Cambridge half where the last two miles were exceptionally painful on the hip and I could feel the right knee heading in the same direction. This picture was taken moments from the finish line and at this point I was in a lot of pain.
My hip now makes an audible pop when I lift my knee up and even the cross-trainer is now proving painful. A recent five mile walk in the country with friends was uncomfortable to say the least, so what chance have I got running 26.2 miles?
To be honest all of this injury malarkey has long since sapped any enjoyment out training. Instead it has become an extremely stressful process of trying to climb back from yet another injury only to be met by a new one, or an old one popping up for a second crack at the whip. I’ve found myself compounding this misery by looking at my training plan and seeing where I should be and comparing it to where I actually am – quite literally miles behind.
I know this is not how it’s meant to be. Whilst marathon training can be tough with its highs and lows, on balance it should be reasonably enjoyable. When it’s long since ceased to be anything like enjoyable it’s time to have a rethink before all joy of running is lost for good.
First thing to do is visit the doctor to find out why my painful hip has taken to making popping noises. This is now a work in progress and will no doubt involve a scan of some description.
The second thing is to face up to the one thing I really didn’t want to do: contact VMLM to defer my race entry until next year. I did think about requesting a wheelchair entry but figured they might tell me to sod-off.
I’ve done this with heavy heart, but I’m nothing if not a realist. So it is with huge disappointment and great sadness that I must report I am out of the running – quite literally.
The plan now is to get to the root of the problem so that the process of a recovery can be put into action. Hopefully it won’t involve PowerPoint slides on Justin Bieber; if so I’d rather keep the wonky hip. And if you haven’t read my previous blogs you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about.
Anyway, I feel I should round this last blog up before entries for 2018 open. I would like to thank my coach Jesal who it turns out had an impossible task. Good luck with your three marathons this year Jesal!
And thanks to all those Eagles who gave many kind words of encouragement. This really is a terrifically supportive club.
And of course thanks to Rachel who despite her own injury battle has put up with me moaning about an array of far more ridiculous injuries. Perhaps together we should form Parked-up Run.
Finally, I’d like to wish the very best of luck to my fellow ballot winners and all other Eagles running London and other marathons this year. And let’s not forget there’ll be a fresh hatch of Eagle marathon runners next year.
Hopefully I’ll be one of them…