So, not shin splints. Halfway through February, a Saturday long run following a pre-Valentines night on the tiles in unsuitable shoes caused a minor disaster to strike. Heading for lunch after an uneventful 16 mile pootle I went to put on my favourite Converse and OUCH! Major pain in the outside of my right foot, which got progressively worse over the next few days until I could barely put weight on it. My rather stern but terribly helpful physio informed me I had stressed my peroneal brevia, which turns out not to be a cheap Italian car but rather a somewhat crucial but overworked tendon on the outside of the calf.
I was out of action completely for a week, before braving the Wokingham Half Marathon and managing a respectable new PB of 02:12:18, which was entirely due to the amazing support of one of my club mates who point blank refused to leave me at 10 miles when my hips seized up. She was having none of my ‘go on, leave me, save yourself’ melodramatics, for which I was beyond grateful. I was in quite small pieces by the time I crossed the line. But I was relieved – if all stayed well, I had only lost a week. Not the end of the world, and judging by the marathon blogs I was seeing from the Eagles’ London Marathon runners, being out for only a week seemed pretty lucky at this point.
Apart from the mental challenges of trying not to freak out over having an injury to manage, February in general was tough. Partly because the changes I had to make to my form to sort out the stress injury meant that my biomechanics felt all over the place, and the strength work I had now had to start incorporating on a more serious note seemed to be causing more new problems than it was fixing existing ones. But mainly it was tough because it seemed to be a month spent doing endless foam rolling – during one particularly memorable session the pain and sense of weakness was such that I ended up just lying on the living room floor in a pathetic heap, simultaneously swearing and sobbing into my yoga mat – and equally endless slow mileage. Banned from track or tempo work, I ended the month’s training by plodding my way around a tough Gade Valley 17 course, willing my calf and hips not to fall off or go twang, and glad to see the back of the last few weeks.
There’s an episode of Sex and the City in which one of the characters complains that their body is ‘all f*cked up because of the marathon’. I was really starting to understand what she meant. I’d just been hoping I would at least have got as far as running the damn race before it happened to me!