Sunday, 15 June 2014

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. 

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