I tried a run on the Monday, the day after the Coventry Half Marathon. It was just over a mile and was effectively abandoned after a couple of minutes of running, my left leg feeling for all the world like the running equivalent of trying to drive a car with a couple of tyres shaped like a 50 pence piece.
With less than three weeks until Rotterdam I called a physiotherapist right away and was able to get an appointment for the following day. I took a punt on them being top of Google when I put in appropriate search for being injured in Grantham.
The next day and I spent an hour on the physio’s bench, a lot longer than I was meant to. Purely assessment, it seems things were potentially complicated. To surmise, the left leg is broken because bits of the right leg were broken first: the lower back isn’t bending properly; the SI joint or something near it isn’t moving as it should; and the right glute isn’t firing properly or maybe not at all. These all putting too much stress on the left leg and causing a raft of problems.
Several pounds lighter in the pocket, another session was booked for the Wednesday. Running was verboten, for now. Just as well that the continued fighting off of sickness from everyone else in the family was continuing to leave me sufficiently sub-par to not particularly care about the loss of exercise.
Wednesday’s physiotherapy session was largely consisting of loads of exercises to try and get the glute firing again, increasing flexibility in the thorax and improving core stability. There is though the nagging problem that whenever I tried to put weight on the left leg when climbing onto or off a step, there was a fairly noticeable pain. Despite this and other woes, the physiotherapist did at least allow me to commence exercise before I saw her next in six days time. The instructions were: two minutes walking; two minutes jogging; two minutes running – and repeat. I headed home, no run for me that evening, but ready to test the leg the following day.
After working through the early morning and up past lunchtime on Malaysian Grand Prix preparations, I had lunch, a little rest and headed out for the fartlek session. My hopes were not high for a successful run, given that walking around the house was still fairly uncomfortable. However after two minutes of unrecorded walking, I commenced the run with four minutes of jogging, the left thigh was a little painful, particularly at first, but then less so. Then after two minutes of walking and another four minutes of jogging and another walk, I began the run proper, with a two minute jog then a two minute run. I tried not to notice the rather lamentable average pace figures, slow because a fair chunk of the mile was spent walking. Little things like this shouldn’t matter, but I couldn’t help but try and at least walk a little faster.
A bit like an F1 designer taking a rule book then interpreting the rules to push them to an inch of legality, the definition of two minutes running could be taken many ways. I, for better or worse, decided to take two minutes of running as pretty fast running. I did this for two reasons: 1. walking every two minutes in six is pretty frustrating and for my peace of mind running two hard minutes at least makes the session feel worthwhile. 2. As I’m convinced the IT Band is causing a fair chunk of the discomfort, as some piece of work floating around on the internet suggests, running fast is actually less uncomfortable than running slowly.
So I ran pretty quickly, and as the run progressed the leg was less painful. Still noticeably uncomfortable, but not enough to consider stopping and almost good enough to consider running a little further than planned. In the end I decided to stick to plan, partly because now the right hip was beginning to show signs of distress. I’m almost glad it is because in my my mind its showing where the root of the problem is and hopefully all the phantom pain in the left leg will disappear. Wishful thinking most likely, but at the moment I am very much clutching at straws.