This could be my last ramble across these pages for a while unless I can find the inspiration to say something interesting about life, the universe, or the social implications of plastic beermats, because it won't be about running. For a while, running is off. And as reading about the not running part of running must be even more dissatisfying than writing about it, this will be my last post on the subject of injuries!
It seemed to be going well. Since getting back into action in the middle of December and taking things easy, I thought I was making progress. I was running 3 or 4 times a week, albeit quite slowly. I had run a marathon around the local roads, just to see if I could get the distance. Ten days ago I had managed 8 miles at just on 9 minute mile pace, far from spectacular but if you were generous an outing you might actually call running. I had walked up a few mountains. I had planned an exciting looking year of events. I was looking forward to the South Devon Coast Ultra due to be run today (if it happened in the prevailing weather conditions). But last Sunday I set out on a 15 mile run along my local Cheshire Sandstone Trail which I had done plenty of times before; I had already done a similar run back in the middle of January. I was, I thought, taking it fairly easily but then after around 10 miles the calf strain which first troubled me back in October started hurting noticeably again. While I wasn't stopped completely, I ended up walking the last few miles. Things felt like they had before Christmas. When I got home there was a neat little bruise indicating the latest area of torn muscle fibres.
Wednesday saw me back at the physio to restart the sorting out process. As she worked on the scar tissue we discussed how to approach recuperation this time. You're going to have to stop impact loading it for longer she said, walk, bike, don't run. But then another observation, you know you have noticeably less muscle mass in your right calf and hamstring compared with the left, not really surprising that they're the ones that give you problems. I didn't know, I don't spend a lot of time looking at the backs of my legs in the mirror.
I know I've had a bad knee for over 10 years. It always hurts, sometimes more, sometimes less, but I've always got by with it. I've always taken the view, in consultation with the knee surgeon, that if I don't get any clicking, swelling, or restriction of movement that I would leave it alone and live with it. But looking back I've been kidding myself for the last year or so. Over this period it's always been bad on uneven ground, especially on descents. In a situation like this, however much you try to "shrug it off" as my hero Joss would say, I'm afraid you always favour the other leg. First to land when you come downhill, stronger to push off with on the climbs, consciously or subconsciously that's what you do, you arrange your action to minimise the pain. So I guess that's how one side gets stronger; or the other gets weaker which comes to the same thing.
Can't go on like this, it's not going to work, it can only get worse. So I'm back to the knee guy on Tuesday, to see how much he can fix. When he's done what he can, I'll maybe try running again. I'm not going to rush. I'll post again when I've got something worthwhile to say!