What a running rollercoaster. That naughty, niggly calf held out for the Great North Run and I thought that meant the end of this year’s little issue. Well FSB, I was wrong ( personal acronym = Fuck, Shit, Bollocks ) but I’m a lady and I don’t like to shout such obscenities! As I braved my last 10km training run the week before my next half marathon, the Tissington Trail half which I’d looked forward to all year, that bastard calf gave out big time. It stopped me dead after 4 miles. What to do when you’re out and about ? I walked a bit, tried to trot but decided with a week to go I didn’t want to do more damage so I decided to call on ‘med evac’ as they say in war films. Where is your bloody husband when you actually need him ? Not answering the home phone, or answering his mobile I can tell you. I left an urgent sounding voice mail, I sent an emergency text…..not a bloody sausage by way of reply. I sat on a wall by the river and had a little sob…..yes me, Mrs together, Mrs tougher than anyone….. But I could see the half I’d really looked forward to slipping away and Ellie being so disappointed. I know she won’t do these things without me.
Ok after a brief wallow, it’s reality time and I needed to get home. I started to walk, phone in hand ready to receive the return call and confirm my location…..but I kept moving. Catch a bus from the main road was a consideration ? Doh, no bus fare. It wasn’t long before I realised…….
1. Walking is really boring and takes, like, forever!
2. I was getting really cold
3. I had a hair appointment at 11 and needed to get back quicker than this
There was nothing for it but to trot. The last 2 miles are sadly nearly all uphill, just to add extra strain to my calf. I made it back, the relief was palpable and there he was in the garage tinkering with his true love, the car! “Good run?” he asks cheerfully! I head in for a shower and try stretching my poor calf out painfully whilst ringing my physio to leave an “OMG when can you fit me in?” message. I need that bloke on speed dial. Thank god for work’s private healthcare or this free running lark would be much too expensive!
I limped embarrassingly into the hairdressers before heading home for RICE time. I am currently using a bag of frozen rice, how appropriate. The next day I could hardly put my foot flat, the stairs were a hilarious spectacle and it was too tender to massage or roll. Another problem was the oldies, my parents and the outlaws were coming for Sunday lunch…..imagine trying to hide it completely. I couldn’t face the ignorant chatter around running is bad for you, you’re too old to run, blah, blah. So I gamely walked slowly, with purpose, but no limp which took some doing. One homemade soup, one roast dinner and one homemade, very moreish, tiramisu later and it was back to RICE time.
I had to let Ellie know all may be in jeopardy as my calf had never felt so bad! I couldn’t see the physio until Wednesday, and despite my usual total blinkered pig headedness, I would stick with his verdict to run or not to run. He threw it all at that poor calf. Shock waves, usually used to blast gall stones. Apparently it breaks up bits of wayward muscle fibre too, the tens machine next turned on to assorted pulsing and vibrating settings and good old fashioned massage. He’s a rugby player so has suitably big hands !! How did it feel after? Couldn’t feel a bloody thing, it was all so numb. And the post treatment verdict? Strap it with KT tape in a way he demonstrated, add a compression sleeve over the top, promise to run like a nice training run in the country no pushing for a PB, enjoy the scenery and give it a go !
Game on. Shame in some ways as I thought Tissington might finally be a PB and a shot at a 1.50, but Ellie, feeling relieved and undertrained was glad to have me slowed down.
The day was perfect, sunny, cool and dry. The race was well organised, not too big and the scenery was stunning. I have Derbyshire on my doorstep and I don’t make the most of it. The route was flat and straight down the old railway route. We chatted most of the way and paced three ladies from a Solihull club, one coming back from injury too. We shared club stories and all sorts of chit chat. I kept the pace steady and my calf stayed happy, not a twinge, not a complaint. I daren’t say too much when asked if it was ok, I tried not to jinx anything. It felt firmly encased. I’ve never run in compression sleeves before, always a sceptic, but it felt well supported. I tried to make the most of the views which perhaps you miss if you’re ‘going for it’. Rolling Derbyshire countryside in the sunshine, wooded glades, pretty bridges. The water stops were friendly and old fashioned, plastic cups of water for a quick wet of the whistle plus jelly beans and jelly babies. The scenery was so lovely it felt sacrilege to the throw the cups down.
It was Ellie who slowed at the 10 mile mark. She hadn’t trained beyond 10 and psychologically I think she panicked. We let the Solihull ladies take the pace but we dropped off. I willed her on into miles 11 and 12 and the last mile of woodland soon went by. I pushed just a little in the last mile. The thought it wouldn’t be a PW ( Personal Worst) at that distance was a pleasant surprise.
What a great medal, it’s a train of course and how it makes the Great North Run medal look rubbish all over again. More water and a Jaffa cake and we headed off. My very first half in 2011 was 2.11, this was 2.07 and I live to run another day. Thank you KT tape and sensible pacing!
A pub lunch was well earned!