I should have known, as soon as I read those fearful words, that this next phase of my training was likely to involve some suffering.
I remain plagued by an ongoing foot issue that seems to not bother me when running, by and large, but it hurts quite a bit when walking / daily life, and sometimes enough to even put me off attempting a run for fear of it starting to hurt whilst I am out. This week started positively with a trip to the doctor who prodded and squeezed the offending limb, commenting that I had particularly bony bits “where they always like this?” Difficult to say when I don’t think I’ve had cause to fondle my feet before. However, he said the words no runner wants to hear, “stress fracture”, and sent me off with a letter to get an x-ray. Also, the faithful motor vehicle sailed through another MOT so that was nice!
So… in the name of speed I trotted off to the track on Tuesday evening – taking advantage of the half term holiday to hit up the earlier session. My training plan called for the ‘short’ session (we tend to have two on offer; one for 5km/10km runners, and a second for 1/2 / Marathon runners, typically referred to as the short and long sessions.) This week however, short was a misnomer : 4.5 miles of effort does not a short session make. It was a tough session too, not only because of the distance. With decreasing recovery between reps, two 1200m’s in particular were exceptionally difficult as they were completed following just 30 seconds rest after a 400m effort. Ooooh-eeeeeee : feelin’ the burn!
Wednesday was time to make my latest donation to the blood bank. With this in mind I had already decided to shuffle my usual Thursday tempo session back at least a day. This was one of the more sensible decisions I have made recently. It also meant I could attend my x-ray appointment in the morning with no concerns. The radiographer had a quick look at the pictures she had taken, but couldn’t see anything obvious, but then again x-rays aren’t exactly the best for this. We’ll see what the Dr says when he sees them. Once Friday morning rolled around I laced up my trainers and headed out the door for some more ‘speed’. This time, I was aiming for three sets of eight minutes running as fast as I could. This turned out to be about 6:50 / mile pace : pleased about that, but in an ideal world I would like to be able to run 6.2 miles at that pace in just a few short week’s time at the Jigsaw 10km. Later in the day I headed over to Horsham to take advantage of a groupon offer for a sports massage at Hands On Sports Therapy, who had been recommended to Lyndsey. Deep was an understatement, the guy found knots in muscles I didn’t know existed. I felt tonnes better afterwards and I am looking forward to going back for a followup session this week.
The only problem with this plan was that it then backed up my weekend of running. Saturday only called for five steady miles, but the Cranleigh parkrun team had decided to celebrate Halloween by running the course in reverse. I missed it the only other time that they have one this, so I was super keen to attend. I ran an easy mile to the start line, and made as conscious an effort as I could to run steady during the run, and then slowed the tempo a little back to the car. It was definitely harder running the course in the clockwise direction – the hill is a longer drag, and the downhill section doesn’t allow for quite the same build up of speed – but it was enjoyable to go in that direction for a change.
In the afternoon we headed to Secretts in Milford for their pumpkin extravaganza which included a ride on a tractor and picking our own pumpkin from a whopping great field of the things. The choice was huge and we selected one that we considered to be perfect. Almost as soon as I cut the top off it, I was regretting our decision. I have never seen pumpkin innards so liquid, and the smell was a little offputting to say the least. However, Delilah wanted the pumpkin so I set about carving it, and I am pretty pleased with the result – even if it does have to live outside because it smells so bad!
The only directive I had for today’s run was “hilly”. I sought a little clarification from the coach who simply requested that I head off road, and try to ensure that as little as possible was flat. I think I managed to achieve this as I headed up to Winterfold for the first time in a long time. Sadly, the view wasn’t up to much as the fog had really pulled in, but at least it was dry. I really enjoyed it; I hadn’t realised quite how much I had missed being out on the trails.