Long time no blog… when injured, unsurprisingly it is hard to get inspired about writing about running – and there is not even much running to write home about!
Since last writing in July, I am still battling with my left Achilles, which although improving, is being stubbornly slow to get back to normal. I am now a spinning expert and feel quite strong on a static bike, which is perhaps not too shocking considering I have been cycling six times a week for most of Summer (anyone know of any cycling races?!) I also incorporate daily rehab to try and build back strength into my Achilles and supporting calf structure – boring, but essential.
There has been some running since July, and following a careful rehab plan set by my Sports Therapist, I have gradually started to incorporate some walk/runs into my week. At first, I did these runs on the treadmill – I will admit I felt too embarrassed to be seen walking around my local streets which I used to stride almost effortlessly along. As the running intervals have increased slightly, I am now venturing around small circuits close to my house. Those brief moments of running feel joyous and frustrating at the same time – I love the feeling when I am running, but its hard to feel true euphoria as there is a niggling worry in my head about a sudden Achilles pain. The stop start nature of these runs also means it is hard to get into a flow or even begin to assess how much fitness I have lost.
In brighter running news I have actually managed five parkruns since the long awaited return of the weekly 5k events following the Covid enforced break. One was whilst visiting my parents back in Suffolk, where I took on the relatively new Chilton Fields parkrun in Stowmarket. This is my childhood hometown and the event is set on a playing field which I ran around a lot during my youth; so I felt I had to take the opportunity to run it. I ran it very steadily and slowly, simply enjoying my first parkrun since March 2020. I volunteered at the first two Lincoln parkruns back – my now home event – and since then have been running this event each week with a new little running buddy I have acquired. Way back when I could run (which does feel an eternity now even if it is ‘only’ eight weeks) my friend’s son was inspired when I ran Peterborough Marathon and told me quite confidently, he wanted to run a marathon with me. At six years old, I obviously admired his determination, but instead (perhaps more realistically!) reasoned we try some parkruns together first. We now have four runs under our belt, with a debut time of 57:44 now shaved down to a PB of 45:41. I am really proud of his enthusiastic, determined running and the way he is adapting each week. It is even more wonderful how the Lincoln parkrun community have embraced my little buddy, cheering him round and encouraging him to keep going. Running together has certainly made me smile in recent weeks and helped me find some joy from running.
I do still feel a bit disconnected from my running identity though, and indeed my running community, what with being unable to run with friends or attend Run Club, however I have tried to find some positives from a summer of little running. Usually during summer I am in training for an Autumn marathon, and battling summer warmth with a training plan is often quite grueling and life consuming. However, this summer I have had more freedom – freedom from training and freedom from Covid restrictions. It has meant I have been able to enjoy some ‘life’ again without trying to combine being a marathon runner. I have missed a couple of 10k events now, but with no Autumn marathon looming over me it takes off any pressure, and perhaps in the grand scheme of things, if there was any time to pick up an injury, this was the best time.
So the future… I am hoping to be able to at least run Lincoln 10k at the end of October. I then have a couple of other 10k events in November and December. I would love to build my fitness up to be able to run these with a bit more confidence and to challenges times again. The goal will then be to build up mileage again in the New Year. That may sound like an awful long way away, but I really do not want to take any steps backwards and see no need to push excessively in the remainder of 2021 when there is no real need to. I have goals to chase in 2022, and I need to be fit to attempt these, build back, and find peak fitness again.
Injuries are rubbish – and at times in recent weeks when work has been stressful or I have needed to switch my head off, I have missed my miles dearly. But I will be back.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...