Monday, 23 September 2013

Twenty Days and Counting

It’s been 20 days since I last ran.

Well that’s not strictly true. I did try running about a week ago, at a tempo of 8km/h and 0% incline, but managed a feeble 400 meters before the shooting pain in my knee became so severe that I was forced to hit the big red button on the treadmill and limp over the stretching area.

The ache that started in my hip and groin has now extended to below my knee cap and into my shin. To make matters worse, the muscular discomfort has forced me to change my gait - even for walking - and placed an unnatural strain on the lower part of my back. It aches whenever I get up from sitting down and is even preventing me from doing the core strength exercised recommended to alleviate illiotibial pain.

A few days ago I clocked up 40 minutes on the elliptical trainer, but while I felt fine during the training, the aching kicked in just hours after cooling down. I had dinner at a restaurant that night and when I stood up shakily and teetered over the to the bathrooms before dessert, I once again felt like an arthritic octogenarian, learning to walk on her new prosthetics pins.

Swimming is ok, but I’m far from a natural in the water. I can manage a mile in a calm pool, but throw in 20 city workers aggressively competing for lane space and swimming even a few laps becomes an arduous task to say the least.

 I’ve booked an appointment to see a physiotherapist in four days’ time, but my plans to run a half marathon in 13 days look to be on very thin – if not already melted – ice.

It’s frustrating on a number of counts. First and foremost, I miss the buzz and rush of thudding along the streets and paths of London, mulling over my day or the week to come and realising that even the biggest issues weighing on my mind are conquerable. Of course I miss the aftermath; of sitting down to a plate of pasta, revelling in the sensation of having performed and being proud of my body.

There’s also an element of feeling like I’m letting people down. Realising that you might not be able to run makes you wish you had never told people you were doing it in the first place; never had asked for sponsorship.

Fortunately, all is not lost just yet. Miraculously, I may wake up tomorrow to find myself pain free and ready to squeeze in some last minute training. The physiotherapist may administer a magic potion that loosens up my joints and puts the proverbial spring back in my step.

And if none of that happens, then I might take my place at the starting line anyway.

A wise man once told me that a runner should never be too proud to walk – even for 21 kilometres.
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