One of the things that I tell myself all the time is that the universe has not really got it in for me and that runs of poor luck are in fact nothing more than an entirely biased over emphasis on a set of coincidences. Or that actually the luck, bad or good, is due to personal choices and/or actions making certain events more likely – the ‘harder I work, the luckier I get’ principle (which is certainly true at times). All very rational you would think, but the problem is I do not really believe it. Because we all have little (and not so little) sections of our lives where things do not go our way – apparently one thing after another and creating a deep unreasoning sense of unfairness.
For me this year it is leg injuries. It is becoming tiresome.
I have made no secret of the fact that while I am no way the fittest person, running to keep the fitness ticking over – and to give me reflection and prayer time, as well as getting to enjoy how lovely outside can be throughout the year – is really important to me. That is true even when you get abuse from idiot van drivers (another issue entirely) or have apples thrown at you. It happens. Anyway, pounding the streets and footpaths is a pleasure, most of the time. I have been blessed over the years to somehow avoid major injury. This year however, maybe because of my age or accumulated bad luck (see above) it has been one thing after another. Since April I have managed to tear muscles in three different places, each time just at the point I felt I was over the previous injury. Worse in a way was the way in which the injury arrived. The first one at least had the legitimacy of occurring during a run with a sudden weakness and then pain at the back of the knee bringing me to a painful halt just before a holiday in Somerset. Annoying but at least, I thought, not too much of a penalty as I could and did compensate with a lot of nice walking with the Lovely Wife. Then it was off to Singapore with work and by then I was starting to feel it was better, and some gentle runs later it seemed I was back.
Then at the airport on a short flight to Malaysia I had to take my boots off in security and tried to lever one off with my other foot. Suddenly I felt the muscle in my upper thigh snap under the strain; and that was that. This was a more severe tear and had the additional benefit of giving me the largest bruise I have ever had, all the way down the muscle at the back of the leg, as the blood filtered down the muscle and gradually faded as the muscle healed. Again, I got used to doing a lot of walking to compensate for again being banned from anything more energetic.
Now I was starting to feel some pressure. You see, as I’ll blog next week, I had entered the Great North Run for one last time and the weeks were now starting to whittle down to be fit for that.
So I was delighted that a few weeks ago, again after some gentle try outs, things seemed to be getting back to normal. Plus, and we do have to learn from these things, I am stretching more than I used to and mixing and matching the running and walking which is also a good thing. But paying more attention to the muscles has made me a bit paranoid, easing up at the slightest twinge.
So it was especially galling when last week I tore a muscle in the other calf. By falling over a log, while going for a walk instead of a run because I was worried I had overdone it and did not want to damage a fragile recovery this close to September’s race. Honestly, I could have cried. It seemed such a stupid way to give myself another setback, and in a year I had committed to collecting for charity too. But realistically it is often the stupid, unforeseen little accidents that get us. We can try and be careful but often it comes down to can we get away with a quick recovery.
Practically I’ve had a few days to get over the frustration and the injury does not seem to be very severe managed to get out today and give it a gentle test, and it seems to be holding for now.
So it is in the balance regarding the Run. I will not be fit enough to go for a proper time, but since I’ll be dressed as a Bull with a full head piece I know that was never going to be the case anyway.
But I owe anyone who actually sponsor’s me the knowledge I’m actually going to give it a good go and show some damn perseverance. So if I have to crawl the 13.1 miles that is exactly what I’ll have to do (but I’d rather jog and wave at the kids) – if I can stay injury free in the next four weeks.
Next time I need to address something that several of you will pull me up on… Didn’t I swear that last year’s Great North Run would be my last?
Um, yes I did. I owe an explanation…
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