At last I have started to recover from the tendonitis that was first properly diagnosed in July. With the benefit of hindsight I now think it was certainly in its early stages by the time of my successful Brighton Half in February and may well have started during my exceptional mileage during January or maybe during my very long run in December 2014. Certainly when I return to running around 130 miles a month, as I did in each of the last four months of 2014, I will be wary about increasing it further quite as recklessly as I did, it now seems, in January.
Since the nadir of June – the only calendar month since my return to running in February 2012 where I have failed to record a run – I have made some progress. In parallel with continuing physiotherapy I have been running twice a week for three weeks now and cautiously extending the length of each run; sometime in the next few days I will run beyond 10k for the first time in over four months. I have felt entirely comfortable, at least as far as my recovering right ankle is concerned, throughout all my running of the last few weeks. My general fitness though has certainly declined though I have offset this somewhat by swimming twice a week for the last two months.
On Saturday I decided to parkrun at Crystal Palace and, in so doing, do my first run at anything other that easy pace in over three months. I started out steady partly to ensure that the increased pace didn’t trigger a problem in my ankle and partly because my fitness is still at the level where it is hard to believe that I’ll ever be able to run at my race paces again. I had it in mind that I certainly wanted to run faster than the easy pace of 5:00/km, 25:00 for a 5k, that I’ve been using recently. I felt sure that I should be able to run inside 23:00 and perhaps within 22:00 notwithstanding the significant elevation changes at Crystal Palace. Having completed the first uphill kilometre in around 4:40 and the second, mostly downhill, in around 4:00 I felt confident that my ankle was going to be fine. Fitness wise though I was breathing hard and wondered whether 22:00 would be beyond me. As I completed the second lap and so neared the end of the downhill section for the final time I saw that my average pace was just outside the 4:24/km required for a 22:00 time. I worked hard over the final uphill 500m and sprinted for the line confirming my maximum heart rate is still over 170bpm in the process! I stopped my watch at 21:55 which, whilst well short of my course best of 19:43 set in November last year, I was very happy with.
My ankle was a little sore yesterday, but I am fairly sure it is just tiredness rather than damage.
I am a runner! 🙂