Being sensible – why I’m not running the Belvoir Half

I wanted to wait until I’d had my sports massage/physio advice before deciding, but I knew in my head what the outcome would be. My heart is still at odds with head, but it’s too late now.

I’ve had some ITB trouble (the illiotibial tract/band) recently. Ever since my last marathon, I’ve neglected my stretches, so it’s no surprise, even for a bendy person. Yes, I know, the ITB isn’t stretchy, it’s the muscles around it that have been affected. It means that my loose knee cap has been pulled ever so slightly out of place, enough to cause Kniggly Knee™. I had been making good progress with it, by making time to stretch, and by subjecting it to the torture of the foam roller. Yes, that noise you could hear, was probably me squealing.

A few weeks back, I was out running, and tripped on a raised leaving slab. I kept myself upright, and managed to run off the initial discomfort around my hammies and glutes. However, I developed a nasty pain in Kniggly Knee™, and had to cut my run short. Since then, I’ve been having problems.

I’ve also had to deal with a nasty stomach bug, I’ve since found out has been doing the rounds. I’ve heard of some fit and healthy people being hospitalised with it, so despite how it felt at the time, I think I’ve got off lightly.

Consequently, I’ve not really done enough training for this half. My friends told me I was panicking, but I had no confidence. I had a disastrous long run a week ago. My knee has been feeling progressively worse. I went out for a run on Monday, just to test it, and ended up with a painful, short, slow run. 

I’d already resigned myself to not running in Sunday, when I had Kniggly Knee™ checked out. On the plus side, the ITB was a lot less tighter than it had been. But the stumble had caused some patella tendinitis, further loosening the knee cap, and some damage to a muscle at the back of the knee/top of the calf. I can’t remember the name of it, and anatomy charts aren’t helping. I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called. All I know is, it’s small. Typical.

The massage did help to loosen things up. Basically, it feels as though my knee cap has been banging the outside of the joint, and I can’t fully bend my knee. I’ve not been able to do my piriformis stretches, and that’s induced a bout of sciatica. I’m a wreck. It’s all pretty much self-inflicted. I was given the task of re-stretching the patella tendon, which is basically easing my knee into a fully bent position. After my massage, not only was this possible, but it was a lot less painful than it had been! I will continue to work on this over the next few weeks. 

As far as running is concerned, did I stop? Of course I didn’t. No runner I know stops running, unless the pain becomes unbearable. From my observations, we are great at telling other runners what they should be doing, but never, ever follow our own advice. I know from my point of view, I hate not being able to run. The fact that continuing to run on an injury can mean more time away from running never seems to come into it. I always think I’ll run through it. Thankfully, I was advised that I could still run, as long as I didn’t push it, and I didn’t do too much. I should also try and run on softer ground, where possible. 

With regards to the Belvoir Half. I was advised that I may possibly get round, but given my run on Monday was painful, I could be running ten miles in pain. Maybe more. I might not, but the odds weren’t good. If I had another week, then there was a good chance I could run 13.1 miles. On top of that, I also hadn’t got in the number of long runs I felt that I needed. Mentally, as well as physically, I am not ready. I made the decision to pass my place on to another runner. 

This is where the conflict lies. I know it’s the sensible thing to do. There are plenty of half marathons to run. I’m better off getting back to full fitness, and starting all over again. But I’m gutted, absolutely gutted. Belvoir is supposed to be a great race, stunning scenery, and a PB course, to boot. There are loads of Westies running, and friends from other clubs too. I will be going along to watch, but part of me will be devastated I won’t be joining in. 

The Bloke is after a half marathon PB, having run his fastest in our first ever half, and without a doubt, the toughest of the lot (the old Leicester route, starting and finishing in Desford, that was a huge shock to the system, I tell ya). Since he’s banished his injury niggles, he’s suddenly come along. He set a PB at parkrun the other week, without trying, and his last long run was at pretty much race pace, and this was the day after a flight back from Japan. He said he found the pace “easy”, and hadn’t thought he’d gone that quick. The signs are looking good for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he smashes his target of sub 1:50. Whatever happens, I will be at the finish, waiting for him!

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