And then it all went wrong

by mphcrawley

Back in January, when we discussed a then freshly printed, crisp training schedule (now dog-eared, grubby and covered in barely legible annotations), my coach pointed to the week after Wilmslow half and said ‘that’s the big week, if you can get through that one we’ve cracked it’. And I nearly did. During the acceleration run I did on the Thursday night I was aware of a bit of tightness in my back and glute on the left hand side, but I got through the run alright and only felt a bit of discomfort the next day. Since then, though, the pain has worsened, and returns every time my left foot hits the ground.

I’ve seen a couple of physios (‘this is the kind of appointment you probably dread. Before Michael explains what’s wrong I just want to preface it by saying he wants to race a marathon in less than a week…’) but when I still couldn’t walk properly on Wednesday I realised I’d have to accept defeat.

Marathon training is a tightrope walk with injury on one side and illness on the other, but I was so close to reaching the other side that it feels like I’ve wasted a huge amount of effort and energy. Anyone who has prepared seriously for marathons will have been through similar disappointment, and it has helped that my coach and his wife both had similar experiences (she ended up having to sit on a bench on the riverbank in Durham, unable to run another step on the Wednesday before Boston, having come down with bronchitis the weekend before). Anticlimax is a serious understatement.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to running sooner rather than later, and there will be other marathons. For now, I’m giving myself a couple more days to sulk and then I’ll probably have to join a gym and do some cross training. This is not something I look forward to, especially with the arrival of sumer. I’m with Will Self on this one and fail to understand why ‘the generality have become seriously comfortable about handing their money to Richard Branson for the privilege of working their own bodies’. But then I don’t suppose Will Self would see the appeal of marathon training either, and I enjoyed the ride while it lasted.

I’ll post an injury update at some point. In the meantime, though, thanks for reading.