Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Injury comeback?

Coming back from injury is a very difficult task, and I suspect the longer the injury, the greater the difficulty in returning with suitable slowness. Ian Sharman has some good insights on the process on his blog, although his issue has been a lot shorter.

I face a secondary issue now to do with fitness. Today I ran this easy 9 km offroad having felt really significant improvement after a 4km + 5 km + self-imposed day off. I had intended to do 6 today but went too far one way in unknown territory. Definitely a bad move.
Still, it has been amazing to do any running at all, I am grateful and need much wisdom for the next steps.

UPDATE: Feels like I might be back at square one :(

Monday, 17 November 2014

So hard

Yesterday there was the annual 10K run in my local park.

I went out to watch and encourage some of the children and teenagers racing. I don't know what it was, but something in me broke as I watched the final straight of the girl's race, truly they were giving it 100%.

I had to leave.

By the time I got home I was uncontrollably blubbing and my wonderful wife gave me a long and needed hug. I am so not over this.

I also have a difficult week ahead of me in December - I need to cause myself a lot of discomfort and even pain, in order to plead my cause with the surgeon again. I now do not know which will be the harder of the two, the emotional or physical discomfort. Add in a healthy dash of frustration as another three months fly (they don't fly) simply to see the surgeon again.


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Réflexion sur une blessure de cheville prolongée

Le 24 Mars 2013, j'ai couru mon meilleur temps pour le marathon, mon 4eme, à Marseille, en 3:01:30, à chaque fois c'était plus rapide que la fois d'avant.

Avec un nouvel amour naissant aussi pour les  trails et les ultra distance suite au saint-Elyon dec-12, j'ai vraiment senti que j'étais fait pour cela. Casser les 3 heures pour le marathon n'était plus qu'une question de temps!

Trois semaines plus tard j'ai eu une entorse au niveau de ma cheville. Rien de trop grave, rien qui empêcherait une reprise apres quelques semaines. Le plus important était le fait d'avoir assurée ma place, grâce à ce temps qualifiant, au célèbre London Marathon. Quel cadre pour passer en dessous des trois heures avec toute ma famille et mes amis présents aussi. Mais la cheville n'a pas été rétablie aussi vite que j'aurais pensé. J'ai abandonné les deux courses suivantes et je n'ai même pas pu assister au démarrage de Martigues-Carro. J'ai compris: il fallait que je libère mon programme de courses pour la suite de 2013 afin d'être sûr que je puisse bien préparer Londres 2014.

Mais la blessure, au niveau du cartilage, s'est empirée, et jusqu'à un point que je n'aurais jamais imaginé: avec peu de fitness et une cheville endommagée, il a fallu que je laisse mourir le rêve. En 12 jours j'ai la possibilité de reporter une seule fois ma place pour 2015. Mais je ne vais pas le faire.

La vie peut être dur, même dans la course à pied. Certains ont perdu leur vie l'ayant fait, alors que d'autres persévèrent avec des handicaps de toutes sortes. Certains aimeraient vivre la joie de courir mais sont trop préoccupés par des vies difficiles, des conditions de vie reportant à l'insalubrité ou à la guerre pour pouvoir prendre cette échappatoire en considération. Quant à moi, ma blessure est presque microscopique et ne touche pas à ma vie "normale" (et c'est clair que c'est une vie privilégiée) ma cheville m'empêche de pratiquer tous les sports, enfin presque, et, bien sûr, la course à pied.

J'ai réfléchi un peu à la question: "est ce que je suis marathonien?". C'était devenu difficile pour moi d'entendre d'autres me présenter comme quelqu'un qui court. Je voulais interrompre et corriger: "je pense que tu veux dire que je courrais." Mais est ce que c'est si irréfléchie que cela? Suis-je uniquement un ancien du sport?  J'aime encore la course à pied - et je ne loupe jamais mes émissions préférées de la course à pied - et je rêve d'un jour courir de nouveau. Peut-etre que cela se réalisera et cette histoire ne sera qu'un petit détail dans une vie sportive sinon épanouissante.

Conclusion: zéro appréciation pour ce qui est évident, mais plus 4 pour ce que j'ai pu vivre par le passé et pour pouvoir encore suivre le sport, ce petit marathonien de coeur.

Reflection on longer-term ankle issue (English)

On 24 March 2013, I ran my newest PB (personal best) in my 4th marathon, in Marseille, 3:01:30, also my 4th PB. With also a new love birthing for the trails and the ultra distance following my first forray into that, end-2012, I sensed I really was made for this. Sub-3 hours for the marathon was also surely just a stone's throw away!

Three weeks later I twisted my ankle. Nothing too horrendous, nothing I would not get over in a few weeks, the important thing was having bagged the good-for-age place at London, to be my first big-stage marathon, what a setting for smashing the 3 hours with all my family and friends present too! 13/04/14 - woohoo! But the ankle did not fix quite as quickly as I thought and I bowed out of my next two races, didn't make it to the start of the next, and began to clear the 2013 racing agenda to ensure proper recovery time for London. Only the injury, which either evolved into or always was a cartilage one, only got worse over time, until the unthinkable: with little fitness and a dicky ankle, this dream had to die too. In 12 days I have the opportunity of re-applying through a very thoughtful backdoor those nice guys at London Marathon have made for us injured / sick folks for the 2015 race. But I am not going to. Life can be tough, even in running. Some people die having run, others soldier on with missing or dysfunctional body parts, artificial limbs, with pacemakers. Many people would love the joy of running but are too preoccupied with difficult lives, squalid living or war conditions to even consider this escape. As for me, my injury is near-microscopic and while it does not effect my "normal" life, and in this context it is a privileged life, my ankle prevents me from nearly all sport and especially running. It's all about the gentle walks.

I have considered the question "am I a marathon runner?" a bit (previously discussed on running media). For a while it really got to me when I heard others, even my family, describe me as a runner. I wanted to butt in there and correct: "I think you mean EX-runner!" But is it so thoughtless? Am I an ex-runner? I still LOVE running - I never miss my favourite running shows - and I dream of getting better one day. Perhaps I will, and this will just be a blip in an otherwise fulfilling long-distance running career.

Conclusion: zero appreciation for the obvious but plus 4 for what I have enjoyed, the ability to still appreciate the sport and still being a runner at heart. 

Almost stopped... but persevering! Here's some more ankle advice

Just to let you know and to remember that I very very nearly stopped this blog - in fact I had drafted the announcement a couple of months ago and got interrupted by something, but I am glad I didn't go through with it. I recently wrote a reflective article which I am going to post in a second, but I have deliberately not focussed on any attempts to interpret any divine purpose or intervention, or lack thereof, as I felt like I thrashed that angle so thoroughly in the final quarter of 2013. One of my theological musings, which is a pretty significant one, is around the question: does s*$t happen? It seems pretty obvious to say yes! But the point of the question is not so much about bad things happening as bad things simply happening. But this is not the point of this post.

So we are 15 months into the injury now, but recent treatment using Hyalgan injections (I have actually had 5 injections in total now, although only the last three have been Hyalgan), which is hyaluronic acid for treatment of joint inflammations, cartilage trauma etc. I believe I am experiencing some improvement through this treatment. But imagine how hard it would be to measure a 5%, 10%, 15% improvement for something so hit-and-miss as this (reminder: pain or discomfort usually offset by at least 3 hours, sometimes as much as 16 hours).

A couple of videos I want to remember regarding foot exercises.
Heel walking and

and 2. another exercise to strengthen the shins:

That said, this article would suggest this is not the full story. Pronation on top of an ankle injury could have been worsening the injury. With that in mind, this chiropractor provides this exercise. WARNING - this reminds me of an early exercise I did with a French physiotherapist which made the issue worse (after seeing initial improvements in the first few months).

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Race predictor

Much better predictions in my view than the runners world simulator: http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/

London marathon from the sofa

Some very real emotions sat here watching the marathon from the sofa I should be running with my family even on the streets to support!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Out of London, but 2 new keys to recovery

So I gave myself one week of marathon training and of course just couldn't hack any of the quicker stuff. So by last Sunday the chouce was obvious- pull out! I am grateful for the support of family and friends who gave their wisdom and encouraged this.
I hadn't realused this but London have specifically considered the disappointment of injury and I will have a guaranteed place for 2015. This has softened the blow. This event has actually been a good prod to me - why do yoy run? The question is back! Because I could just rock up and trot round in 5 hours. But there would be no challenge here and perhaps a bit disrespectful also to race organisers and my other sub 3:05 good for age runners arpund me at the start.
My two keys to recovery:
1. Swede-O Ankle Lok. Amazed at the support that tgis product is giving me and the difference it is making.
2. A pace/distance chart, where I mark either 1 or 0 depending on whether there is discomfort in the two hours following the run. More on this in a future post when I have done a bit more work on this.