Yesterday evening I went to my second track session with Kent AC at Ladywell Arena. Slightly delayed by a late running train I joined the group on their second warm up lap and briefly renewed the acquaintances I made last week. After a few dynamic stretches we returned to the track for a few strides before starting the session for the evening. In only my second week I still have the sensation that I’m missing something and asked for clarification; eight sets of 500m with 100m walked recoveries. “Right, this week I’m going to remember it and complete it with everyone else”; last week I managed to convince myself we were doing 5 sets of 800m with 200m recoveries and so was a bit surprised when everyone else took off for the sixth 800m just as I was about to leave the track.
Initially I settled into 5k PB pace as this was what I’d used the previous week (based on the rationale that 6 x 800m = 4.8k). As we approached the 100m point of our recovery at the end of the set I was surprised that the group seemed to be intending to walk 200m. All but one other runner seemed certain that this was correct; that sensation again. So, given the proportionately longer recovery period and the shorter total distance (8 x 500m = 4k), I decided to increase my pace by 10 seconds per kilometre to about 3:30 per km and set off on the second set.
As I approached the end of the second set I felt physically comfortable, clear in my head what I wanted to do in the session and relaxed. The runners in front of me slowed as they approached the 500m point at the end of the back straight, slowing further before stepping off the track to the infield where they began their 200m walked recovery inside the bend. I remember noting them slowing and being aware that I was maintaining most of my pace right to the end of the straight. I slowed a little into the bed and, mindful of my newly learned track etiquette responsibilities, knew I needed to leave the track into the infield. In that real time slow motion that one’s brain records of such moments, with an understated lowercase “oh shit” subtitle, I realised I was going too fast and that skipping over the small railing was going to be an awkward manoeuvre. Stepping my left foot over the railing, I attempted to do the same with my right, but already into the bend and being very close to the railing I couldn’t put it down securely enough to produce the force to divert my whole self over the railing. My right ankle turned over and I fell grazing my right palm and left knee heavily. I found myself in a heap, in the infield so etiquette observed, and hurting.
Once the cold, heavy, inert sensations in my ankle thawed enough that it could no longer limit my thoughts to “Bugger!” and synonyms thereof I moved on to “Bugger! I’ve sprained my ankle. Again. The same one.”
I’m so annoyed with myself, primarily because it was my own fault; running too quickly and not taking enough care in an unfamiliar environment. I have been running well, have recovered fully from spraining the same ankle in December and was beginning to browse for upcoming races. Also I had just begun to get to know a new group of runners whose impression, after just two weeks, could well now be “the guy who can’t remember the sessions and falls over”.
Looking for positives …
From the beginning of two interminable hobbles, one from the track to Ladywell station and one from Clock House station home, I found myself looking for positives in the situation …
I have not pre-entered any races. Certainly there will be races that I would have raced and parkruns I would have run, but at least no entry fees wasted and no race day deadlines to coerce me into running and racing sooner than my recovery dictates. Also I had seen my GP earlier in the day who advised that refraining from intense workouts would help the recovery of “strained breathing/chest muscles” (my paraphrase) possibly strained during the Brighton Half Marathon last month. They will now be getting the most thorough rest possible short of getting myself a mobility scooter. Ummm … My wife would be working from home the next morning and so I wouldn’t have to hobble my eldest daughter to school. Finally, as a data obsessive, the fact that I’d forgotten my heart rate monitor and so would have not had so much data to pore over anyway after the session. This struck me as a positive quite quickly.