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.