stupid boy: should know better

stupid boy should know better (photo © https://unsplash.com/@armin_lotfi)

I’m one of those guys who always advises fellow runners not to be a stupid boy and to take a rest if something is not right. I’m really good at dishing out such advice. In fact, I’m so good at dishing it out that it appears I am completely incapable of taking any of it in!

Tuesday evening, I went for a regular run. All I planned was an easy 12 miles with a few strides in the middle of it. A few miles from the finish I could feel my left ankle was a little unhappy. I thought that I must have gone over on it slightly on some rough ground. It wasn’t too bad though so I thought nothing else of it and finished my run.

Wednesday morning, it was apparent that all was far from well. I knew the pain, it was familiar. It was the unmistakable pain of an anterior tendon strain. I had it about 3 weeks before the Dublin Marathon last year too. It was a light strain in the right foot then but it cleared up quickly. This time it felt worse and on my weaker side too. I applied the usual precautions of ice and elevation but to no relief. I stayed off my feet Wednesday (despite having a 60+ mile week planned).

sure I’ll run it off!

On Thursday, I was walking fine. There was a slight niggle but I thought it was just one of those things. I planned to do about 8/10 miles that evening and decided I’d go for my run. Only 3 miles into the run, the pain started to indicate that I should not continue; I turned home and wrapped up with a slow 5 for the day. I grabbed the ice pack from the freezer when I got home and rested for the evening.

Yesterday morning I get up, things don’t seem so bad again. I’m hopeful that the weekend won’t be a complete write-off and I will salvage something from a terrible week. Still brimming with confidence last night, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to jump onto the treadmill. Only to do a few miles to see how things really were of course. My thinking: if it acted up, I was already home and didn’t have to walk/run any further.

A couple of miles into the run on the treadmill and there was slight pain but not as bad as yesterday. I thought, “perhaps it’s in my head at this stage” (stupid boy). I kept running and past the point of warm-up, onto just over 7 miles before calling it quits. Happy out: I broke through the pain and got some miles in (stupid boy). I put the ice pack on again as a precaution and rested for the remainder of the evening.

you stupid boy!

Last night I didn’t sleep very well. I suffer a bit from ‘restless leg syndrome’ anyhow but the area over my left ankle kept going into painful, involuntary contractions during the night. These were magically counterbalanced by calf cramps when I plantarflexed to alleviate the initial pain. I knew things were not right.

This morning I woke up to a swollen ankle, the likes I have not seen since I once twisted it badly as a kid. There goes the weekend miles! In fact, there goes most of next week more than likely. I see lots more ice in my near future.

oh stupid boy, you should really know better than that
oh stupid boy, you should really know better than that

What kills me most is that this injury was obviously something I should have heeded but either through ignorance, ego, or defiance decided that I could progress in spite of. What should have been a tame week could now be turned into 2 weeks of almost no mileage. Next time I’ll just have to speak to myself in the third person!

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