This week, I made a very grown-up decision as regards my running.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing a chiropractor about my right leg. I broke it skiing in 2008 and have a pin down the tibia, screwed in at the knee and the ankle. It works pretty well, it’s not held me back at all. But for the past year I’ve had some discomfort with my knee. NOT when running, just when walking or even standing. So I decided to get it worked on.
It turns out that my body has been compensating significantly for the pin. My right knee is about an inch lower than my left knee. My left leg is about an inch longer than my right leg and the whole shape of my right calf is different to its pin-less sister. Have a look at this for fun. See the wonkiness?
So my chiropractor has got to work, doing her inexplicable magic and also using acupuncture. It’s been helping my knee a lot but has triggered some pain in my Achilles. Last weekend, the pain (which was actually a burning stinging sensation rather than pain) was significant. So I took two whole days off running and then, on the third evening, went out for a very gentle 2.5 miler with the running club. This past week, I’ve had plenty of rest days, alternating runs with rest days and monitoring the pain levels in my achilles. I had more chiro and more acupuncture and I’m fairly confident the problem will sort itself.
But I realized something as I spent more time chilling. I want to enjoy the summer’s running more than I want a half-marathon PR.
In a few weeks, we head off on a three-week road-trip round Europe. I’m super-excited about it and have already started investigating all the places I want to run at our various stops. And the prospect of being injured with a manky Achilles and NOT being able to run is most dismaying.
So I’m done training hard. I’m going to focus on running for joy this July and then running to explore in August. I’ll still do speed work because it’s fun but I’m taking the pressure off. The mountains are calling this summer and I’m planning to run in them.
My runs this week, short as they have been, have been gorgeous.
Monday evening’s short trail run wound through a field of wheat in the sunshine. The Dude joined us and it was pretty gorgeous.
Wednesday morning, I ran an out-and-back along a trail I’d been dying to explore. It was warm and utterly beautiful. It’s butterfly season, and as I ran through the long grass, butterflies fluttered up in front of me with every step. I ran up to Cherhill Monument, missed the lovely Nicola and relished the views. Also, new shoes.
On Wednesday afternoon, Californian friends Adam and Michelle came to visit. Michelle is a runner, so she and I joined the MRC and we did the lovely 6 miler across the downs to the pub at Avebury. It was really lovely, showing my beautiful homeland to my friend. The evening light was golden and the fields seriously glowed as the sun went down. Even the horrors of running en masse through a field of cows with calves and a gigantic bull didn’t spoil this beautiful run.
And Saturday morning, I got out early to beat the delicious, beautiful heatwave and ran around Marlborough for a bit – some roads and some new trails. It was great.
I’ve really enjoyed this week’s runs – I am so crazy in love with running at the moment. It just confirms to me that I’ve made the right call here. No more pressure, no more ‘training’. Just a summer of running in this gorgeous weather before university starts in September.
Heal up, Achilles. We have plans over the summer.