OK well it took me about 3 weeks to recover from the Tan Ultra. That’s 3 weeks of attempting to walk, only to hobble home in agony. 3 weeks of trying to run every now and then but making things worse and hobbling home. 3 weeks of eating lots and getting fat. 3 weeks of lost fitness.
Last weekend was my first proper long run since the ultra and it was just an absolute disappointment. The Melbourne Marathon is on in about 3 weeks so I really wanted to get a good run in to build up some fitness again. Last weekend I aimed for 25k. It was very hot (about 20 degrees at 7am) and I stupidly forgot the lack of shade along some parts of the Yarra Trail and Westerfolds Park. I decided to wear Dunlop Volleys due to the amount of rocky gravel on some of the path. I don’t know if this affected things, but I did find my feet getting tired. At around 17k my body just stopped. One minute I was running, the next I wasn’t. It took me by surprise and I said angrily to myself I can’t believe you just stopped! Fuck! I can’t believe it! What are you thinking? and a quick check of the HR saw it at 185bpm which is when something happens in my body and I do stop without actually deciding to. This hasn’t happened since around January this year though. My HR simply hasn’t been that high. Was it the heat? Lost fitness? Different footwear? Who knows. I was pissed. I decided to take a short cut home and although total distance travelled was around 23k, I did walk the last 3k home. Even when walking my HR was high.
Today was supposed to be different. Today was supposed to be a casual 30+k run to get some aerobic fitness back. Now I guess anyone who doesn’t run these kind of distances would think What? You must be a fitness machine to even consider going that far! but any long distance runner would probably feel the same as me. Anyway, my right achillies has been very sore lately. Very sore. Basically it’s where the achillies joins the heal bone, mostly in the right foot. I have a lump on the back of my heal there now. At first I thought it was swollen bursa, but it didn’t diminish after a few weeks off after the ultra so my internet diagnosis suggests a boney growth has formed. They call it Haglund’s Deformity. Now I don’t really wanna get a professional opinion about this. I don’t want to be deformed! And I certainly don’t wanna be told to cut back my mileage. What aggravates it is shoes. So I am strictly in Five Fingers now including all long runs. The FFs also aggravate it a bit but not as much. Hills also hurt. A lot. Earlier this week I ran home from work. it’s 17k mostly uphill. The next day I decided to go for a morning run and couldn’t even walk to the end of my street. That’s how much hills make it worse.
So today I decided to drive further down the Yarra River where it is fairly flat and just run from there instead of home. I wanted to cut out the worst of the hills, and I did, but it wasn’t enough:
There were quite a few gravel paths which were a little bit ouchy in the Five Fingers so I was naturally going slower than usual. Then I took a nice mountain bike trail around Fairfield. I have done that in the past thinking how lucky it was I was wearing Asics. Today was a bit different! I took it slow. Lots of concentration was required because one wrong step and I would be down a cliff into the river! As the run went on, each hill gave me more pain. In the end, it was pain overload as I shuffled along the ouchy gravel path trying to convince myself that it’s only 10k to go, I can pick up the pace if I want. I was running not much faster than my top walking speed. Ever since the ultra I have felt that I am only capable of shuffling. It is like I have forgotten how to run. I know that it is just my achillies holding me back. Cardio wise I feel fine. Muscle wise I feel fine. But when one foot just doesn’t want to move as fast as the other, there is nothing you can do but shuffle along like an invalid. It was a bit of a let down today, but the run did go much better than last week.
I guess now I have just about accepted that I will not make my goal time of 4 hours at the marathon. Should I make a new goal of 4:30? Or should I just aim to complete in one piece? Next week I’ll try another long run. If only I could find somewhere flat! Even a 10k loop to do 3 times would satisfy me. I’ll have to study the street directory.
And what I am also concerned about, is the Bruny Island Ultra is on just 7 weeks after the Melbourne Marathon. Sooooo that’s say 3 weeks to recover, 3 long runs that may be dismal failures, a quick taper then the race! At the moment I am just so over this pain! Make it go away!!! I just want to run freely again. To feel happy at the end of a long run. To discover new places, new trails, new streets. To enter a race feeling confident. To run with ease and that feeling of joy. I know my body just wants me to take a break, but I just want to do these 2 races and then I can take it easy. But I want to do these 2 races feeling good. I am not sure if that is possible, but tapers do work wonders.