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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Taper/Change Of Plan!

Waiting in a doctors office is a pain, literally and figuratively. Its quiet, real quiet. Glances and nods are exchanged, everyone wondering what's wrong with the other. Or maybe that's just me. But its exactly where I found myself yesterday evening, in the salle d'attente of my sports doctor with the weight of six months of hard training and organising resting heavily on a crap ankle. Since my 118 km training run a few weeks back my form had been returning at an almost too perfect rate. Any residual stiffness had disappeared just a few days afterwards and I was back logging competent distances in no time. I felt that with this return to form so quickly and smoothly it would be a good idea to get in a final week of hard slog to galvanise my base mileage and start a three week taper. My left leg however had other plans. After clocking roughly eighty km from Mon-Weds I began to notice a recurring, almost scraping kind of pain stretching up from my anterior tibial tendon towards mid-shin area. I decided that ice was the way to go for the remainder of the week with liberal applications of an Ibuprofen gel and some rest. But yet the niggling, nagging sensation kept creeping back. Mornings were fine but any attempt to walk for more than twenty minutes brought that scraping back. Fast forwarding to yesterday I was feeling spectacularly average and said enough is enough, I pulled on my shoes and an old tracksuit pants and put my (enforced) rest to the test. Boom, after three km it was back to torment me. The pain was bearable, what was unbearable was not knowing what the cause was and further pressure coming from the little issue of a 570km run eighteen days away. So as opposed to waiting another sleepless night in wondrous worry and discomfort I made a bee line for the docs office.

Luckily my doc is top drawer in the business and had it down straight away. Tendons!!!! The tendon is surrounded by a sheath that is lined with synovial tissue and lubricated by synovial fluid. This permits the tendon to glide smoothly. My problem was lack of this fluid and he aimed the blame squarely at bad hydration, when I told him how much I drank for long runs and such his response was to double it. Coach Tess is gonna kill me as all she ever talks about is "sip, sip, sip" and I now know just how right she is. He then questioned my future running plans informing me that a week off was mandatory, failing to comply punishable by death, upon hearing about the summer trek it did get him slightly worried but hey, what's the worst that could happen? So as it stands I am on my second day of some high grade anti inflammatories, both gel and tablet form and I gotta say the difference has been welcomed. Knowing what it is has taken that edge of irritability away and left me to focus on all the other logistics and plans that need attacking. I am going into this with less training than I would have liked but I have learned that if you can't control the situation then it is better to go with the flow than dig your heels in and lose it all. I can't wait to get back on the road, but having said that in seventeen days time I think I will have my fair share of asphalt to contend with.

See you round the bend.



  1. Poor Malcolm !! This is not serious, but you must be VERY careful !! The real treatment is complete rest of the tendon, to move him lowest as possible for 8-10 days ! The drugs are useful, but ineffective if the movement maintains the inflammation ! Be careful and patient, so summer trek is very certainly possible !... I follow you... best regards, Daniel.

  2. Egad! I need to hydrate more on my own runs. I'm glad it's not too serious. What's certain is that there will be pain on the Mizen-Malin, so if you can start off healthy, that will be malin.

  3. Malcolm. I had the very same thing for a couple of weeks before the Wicklow run and anti inflams, a bit of rest and icing did the trick for me. You will have so much other soreness over the course of the week that your anterior tib tendon will be the last thing you will probably feel. You are gonna be perfect come D Day and ripping up the road to Malin!!

  4. Deep breath. Your body and mind are capable of a whole lot and while you are probably going to need to deal with some seemingly unnecessary pain during the week of "smiles," I'm confident in you. Definitely err on the side of safety but for what it's worth, doctors usually think runners are stupid and their prescription is always "well, don't run idiot." I don't find that very helpful. Prayers for that ankle!

  5. Some great comments from some great runners. I think I should be OK. The major freak out was being unsure. Now that I know I can focus on other things and let it slip to the back of my mind. The plans are laid so all I have to do is run, and thats something I adore. It will hurt all over for sure but I am inspired by you all, by my family an when I think of my kids I just want to throw down all I have. Should be fun whatever the result. Thanks again guys.


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Running for Pearl

This blog is dedicated to my daughter Pearl who was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in August 2009. My goal is to raise funds and awareness by doing what I love....Running.