The weekend before last saw me up in The Lakes for another road race, the Coniston 14 which is what it says, a 14 mile road race around Lake Coniston starting & finishing in Coniston where a good friend, Rob, whom I met in Nepal in 2012 lives. Having run the route at leisure in 2016 the day after Rob had helped me complete the Wainwright’s I had some idea of what I was letting myself in for but the size of the event (1,300 runners) took me a little by surprise. The quality of the runners (it being The Lakes) did not surprise me so no chance of a category win from the off but I was pleased with the way I ran & picked up quite a few places from the 5 mile mark onwards. However with 6 miles to go the deep ache I had just above my right ankle (hangover from Wrexham Half & an ill advised 8 mile recovery run the next day) suddenly morphed into a sharp tearing pain ‘oh s… it’ll be a long way to walk back from here’.
Over the next minute or so & a few more shooting pains later I did the only sensible thing a runner can do when faced with the surety of a serious long term injury, I pulled out.
Well when I say I pulled out what I actually mean is I pulled out of my usual running style & adapted my foot strike from a front foot to a flat foot, a cunning plan to reduce impact & power going through the lower leg. Not being a sports scientist you can imagine my pleasure when this logic worked allowing me to complete the race still gaining places & finishing well inside the top 200, it felt like a step forward from Wrexham.
Next morning I woke & began to pay for staying in the race, something was seriously tight & that something felt like a tendon. With the Manchester Marathon only a week away ‘Paul be sensible, you have pre-booked physio on Wednesday, no running until then & take Sam’s treatment & advice’.
Sam asked ‘Paul what is your record when faced with injury mid-race, do you pull out?’ ‘Well to date Sam, no, not once’, her eyeballs rolled as only a physio’s can when talking to a runner.
The hour long session was the most painful I can remember but the diagnosis was muscular rather then tendon, the green light to Manchester was on. The next 3 days still no more running but the pain had eased so Saturday evening saw me heading over to coach Kean’s for an early night & early start, thanks here to Sandra for an excellent breakfast.
However Manchester would prove a race too far, the shock, the analysis, the aftermath are still being worked out in my head but more importantly Sam’s assessment had been correct & my ‘injury’ was not a factor in my demise. More on Manchester to follow once my head is clearer.
Having bumped into Matt Ward in Manchester who was doing the commentary & prize giving it is timely to wish him, all his team & all the runners the best of luck for this coming Saturday’s Goldrush race in my backyard, the CyB. I will see you there & contrary to appearances I will be running, lets hope for wonderful weather to match the wonderful course.