Dineke Austin - Blog 5: Virtual Running - Al Fresco Running 'Good Vibrations'!

I ended my last blog with the tension of a possible stress fracture of my right navicular, on top of the long-standing hamstring tendinopathy; and the l  o  n  g wait for the X-ray result. Although I bravely mentioned high spots as well as low spots, in fact this was the lowest point in my so-called training: another injury really would kibosh my VLM chances this time.

‘Patience is a virtue’: so we are told. Having been informed that the X-ray result would be with my GP in one week’s time, exactly 7 days later I ‘phoned. And ‘phoned. And ‘phoned. (How to make oneself popular with a new practice!) Eventually, a practice nurse with the patience of a true saint promised that after 8 ‘working days’ she would be on the ‘phone to Ealing Hospital on my behalf twice daily. (I think it helps that one of the receptionists is a recent EE graduate from the Beginners, so is able to ‘translate’ the agony to lay nurses!)

True to her word, at the end of this period she rang again: instead of the news via ‘phone, I needed to go in person to pick up a copy of the report.


The quickest hobble-jog-run in world history. Breathless. Report to be photocopied… s l o w l y. Fumbling fingers (mine). ‘No fracture is demonstrated.’!!! (Weasly words: avoidance of litigation in the event of problems and contrary evidence/opinion? Or am I just a cynic, as well as an ageing biddy!)

Back home for fuller read: lots of ‘normal’s and ‘no abnormal’s; but ‘mild flattening of the second and third metatarsal heads’ – a Homer Simpson moment. (?!) Then: ‘No evidence of Freiberg’s disease.’ – was that a possibility as well! (I am sure there is a point early on in ‘Three Men in a Boat’ where the narrator looks up symptoms in a good old-fashioned medical encyclopaedia – no Google back in the day – and decides that he has everything except housemaid’s knee! Reader, I resisted.)

I had got away with it, through no wise training decisions of mine, far more than I deserved. Make the most of it Din!

So, what did my ‘training’ comprise, while I waited…and waited…and waited… for my X-ray result?

All of the following in addition to a minimum 1 hour’s strength/rehab exercises daily in the gym; my treadmill running challenge:

Mon: treadmill 5k in 33’10”

Tues: THE NEWS THAT I COULD START ‘REAL RUNNING’. (65- year- old biddies don’t often/ever fling their arms round hunky 30-something physio’s. Try NOT to picture the scene. Health warning: at your own risk. If interested, read Jenny Joseph’s poem about the freedom of older age!)

Wed: treadmill 5k in 34’29” (:0()

Thurs: after NT volunteer training, 8k run around Osterley Park!!! 48’58”. Dreadful time, but the freedom!!! (Fotherington-Thomas: “Hello trees, hello sky.” Those in the 60-65 bracket will understand.)

Sat: Parkrun – Old Deer Park so no respectable Eagle would witness 30’19”.

Mon: treadmill 5k 30’00” (pb!)

Wed: treadmill 5k 30’00” (hmn: where’s my treadmill pace?)

Fri: treadmill ‘tempo’ 3k 16’26”

Sat: Parkrun – Gunnersbury with Beginners 39’37”

AND – THE 2 WEEKS’ HIGHLIGHT – Victoria Park 10k in 57’19”. Despite slowest time for years (well since my first race at Osterley in just over an hour in 2015), childishly pleased at my #1 for age!!! Much more importantly, my first real race in 2018! And even more importantly: no ill-effects on hamstring. I cried. And talked incessantly at every single runner. And cried.

I am not normally overtly religious, but on 14th February I had already promised the God of all Runners that I would give up all three of my running favourites:

Dark chocolate


Fruit bars (nakd etc)

And would donate the proceeds to a running charity.

(I did at least learn from last year that giving up peanut butter would leave me almost nothing to fuel up/repair muscles with, and the odds were already somewhat against full fitness.)

No need to list high and low spots.

Now the real race: against time…..

20180225_132326 (002) Victoria Park.jpg