The Stratford half marathon has been cancelled due to low entry numbers. I’m a little bit irritated by this because I think it’s the organisers’ own fault. I hadn’t signed up yet, because I was signed up in 2020 when they cancelled it and didn’t offer refunds. Entry was instead deferred to 2021… which was also cancelled with no refunds. So I was waiting until nearer the date to sign up this time. Entry numbers are low with 8 weeks to go… Hmm well there’s a mystery 🙄
If things were different I’d be very disappointed, but I’m not really sure I’d have been up to it anyway. My post COVID or whatever fitness is nowhere near being able to run a half in a decent time and I think if I tried I’d have a very bad time. I’m quite glad I was injured for Warwick because I think I would have blown up very quickly if I’d tried to race it.
I aimed for a 22:30 Parkrun this week. It’s a nice round number of 4:30 per km. Pre-virus, I was regularly doing 10k tempo runs at that pace which felt like moderate effort, so it seemed very achievable to keep that pace over 5k running with other people. 23:11 is what I actually ran. Not even close! I tried to really push on the last km but my legs weren’t interested.
It’s weird. I can still do very short intervals at reasonably fast paces and I can still do 60 minute slow runs, but the middle ground of trying to maintain a moderate speed for any length of time just isn’t happening.
I’ve been reading articles on running after COVID and a few other people have made similar points. I think it’ll just take more time. In the meantime, the fact I can still do the long slow runs is encouraging. Hopefully that will actually translate to aerobic fitness at some point…
The physio news is that I have tight calves and I’m overpronating, probably because my calves aren’t allowing enough mobility so my ankles collapse inwards at push off to compensate. Same as last time, really. I’m trying supportive insoles and lots of stretching for the next few weeks and then see how it goes. I think the stretching will be enough though.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve missed three of the last four weeks, or whether it’s still the flu lingering, but my fitness has dropped off a cliff. I treated Parkrun this week as a progression run and did the last and fastest km in 4:16, which felt like pretty much max effort. Normally on a Parkrun I would do all my splits comfortably faster than that…
Yesterday I did intervals. It’s been weeks since I did any tempo speed work, and even longer since I did short intervals. I went with: 3x1min, 2×2, 1×3, 2×2, 3×1. I averaged 3:57/km which wasn’t too bad considering that it’s a loop with a significant elevation change, but I had to ease off after the third 1min rep because I was feeling nauseous and lightheaded.
My ankle feels a little worse for wear after the intervals but it’s not too bad. Overall I feel pretty tired today though.
Bonus Monty pics.
He looks so intelligent sometimes, you wouldn’t believe that a few hours later he was running around a field with a poo bag in his mouth (unused, thankfully), and then a few minutes later found ANOTHER one. Yes, he ate them both. They came through him on Sunday morning.
I tried a 10 minute/2k test run on Sunday and it didn’t really seem to affect my ankle at all, so I then did 5k on Monday, which I also seemed get away with. Tuesday I did a 5k progression (i.e. gradually speeding up, every KM faster than the previous), and it was fine until I came home and did 20 calf raises. It started to hurt after about 15 and then seemed quite achy for a while, but it was fine on the dog walk two hours later. Wednesday was an easy 30 minutes, which was also fine. Thursday I took a rest day just due to scheduling, so of course on Friday morning it was hurting more than it has done recently. Doing a quick calf stretch took away 90% of the pain but it’s still worse than it has been.
So anyway I’ve got a physio appointment for Tuesday.
I have been focusing on eccentric exerises for it, which per my non medical understanding means loading the tendon while it’s being stretched. Usually to load a tendon you contract the muscle, but apparently going the other way encourages ‘remodelling’. I think really it means you’re damaging the tendon in such a way that the body wants to heal it, (hopefully) without the problems it had built up before. Eccentric exercises seem to be the most effective for tendonitis from what I can tell. But we’ll see what Mr Physio says. He’s the same one I saw a few years ago and seemed to know what he was talking about.
Unrelated to the above, here is Monty in a cafe at the weekend. I know, he’s really cute. Let me know if you want to send him a Valentine’s day card.
I’m still injured, which is a bit rubbish. I haven’t run for over a week now. My ankle feels a lot better in general but it’s still achy. I thought it would have been back to normal by now and I’d be tempted to try a test run, but nope. I think I made it worse a few days ago by trying some resistance band exercises. The pain is down the inside and I think it’s the posterior tibial tendon, so I tried doing some inversion and eversion exercises with the bands. The inversion works the muscle, the eversion stretches it. I think it’s the eversion (stretch) that set it off again.
The mechanism of injury seems to be that you overpronate i.e. the ankle collapses inwards too much, leading to the tendon getting repeatedly stretched just a little bit too much. So probably I should be avoiding exercises that stretch it. Maybe I should just focus on inversion exercises to work the muscle and hopefully trigger some healing. Overpronation is always a strange one with me because I have visibly high/strong arches and I tend to put the weight more towards the outside of my foot when I stand, which would make you think more of underpronation. But I really do overpronate when I run (sometimes), which I can see on the wear of my shoes’ insoles and the calluses I get down the inside of my big toes. The physio I saw a couple of years ago thought it was a bit odd but said it was probably my tight calves. So I stretched them a lot and the old wear patterns never formed on new shoes. I wouldn’t say they’re too bad at the moment but my achilles tendon on that leg does feel noticably tighter than the other, so that could be it.
In TV news:
I finished Star Wars Rebels. The first season is a bit rough but by the end I think I was enjoying it more than Clone Wars overall. It really makes me want to see an Ahsoka series (which I think they are making?) to see how it plays out between her and Thrawn. I’m now two episodes into Kenobi and it’s… alright. I mean, a lot of things don’t really make sense, but you don’t watch Star Wars for brilliant writing. I don’t know, ask me again when I finish it. Next up will be Bad Batch and Andor.
I’ve almost finished Orville and Lower Decks. I have to say that neither Orville or Lower Decks, both essentially being parodies, have any business being as good as they are. I’ve enjoyed them far more than serious Discovery (which I gave up on) or Picard (which I didn’t give up on, but wasn’t that great). People say that Strange New Worlds is better but I haven’t seen it yet.
I also watched the last Expanse season a little while ago. If that’s the last one they ever make, then it’s very underwhelming. It peaked around S2-S3, though S4 was still pretty good. S5 started off OK but became a chore and S6 was forgettable. It’s a shame because S2-S3 was very good.