Wankle Woe

Chase the Moon Olympic Park 12th February 2020 – 35:06.  My slowest run at this venue for god knows how long.  I ran as fast as I could but I didn’t even feel out of breath.  My legs can no longer keep up with me.


I am feeling very down at the state of my running today.  It’s been four months since I developed what seems to be posterial tibial tendonitis in my left ankle.  I have asked for a referral to orthopaedics but the waiting list just for a clinic appointment is months.  Even when I get an appointment, I’m not sure what they will be able to do for me.  My left foot is completely flat and the ankle is collapsing, a sign that my tendon is on its way out.  There’s an operation that can be performed but it seems to help people who are completely unable to walk regain a bit of mobility and weight bear – not get them back to running.  I already see a sports therapist and she is really good but she does tend to think everything in the entire world can be fixed by “activating your glutes” and while I have been doing my best to follow her instructions I can’t help but think I could have glutes of steel and it still wouldn’t alter the fact that vital components of my ankle no longer exist.

One of the worst things about being injured is the lose fitness/make it worse dilemma.  I wish there was someone who could tell me definitively that it is fine for me to keep running or that I should stop and maybe stick my foot in a boot and give up walking too.  When I had the stress fracture I had no choice but to stop running.  At the moment I can run, and so long as I avoid running up hills, it doesn’t seem to make it worse or better (while everyday things like going down stairs or attempting to stand on tiptoes definitely make it worse).  But part of me thinks that maybe if I just knocked the running on the head for a few weeks, then I would recover.  If I knew that was the case then I would do it.  But I am scared of not running.  I am scared that if I stop I will mysteriously be catapulted back to 2012 and will overnight gain 20 kilos, lose my marbles and have to get back together with my awful ex boyfriend.  Some people struggle with the motivation to get out there and go for a run when conditions aren’t great, I have the opposite problem: I struggle to stop running even when it is in my best interests to do so.

Part of the reason that I am having this big whinge on my blog (which I appreciate is completely lacking in my usual sense of humour or any useful information about anything) is that I am having to hold back from having a go at well-meaning friends on Facebook who are saying things like “Never mind the times, just enjoy the run”.  I mean, it’s all well and good to not look at the times when you are having a joyous little pootle round the marshes, or even when you are having a bad day and things aren’t going to plan.  It is different when you try your hardest but still can’t achieve the time you aim for.  It is different when you have trained and trained and finally after five years of hard work you are now right in with the back of the pack rather than trailing miles behind praying not to be last and preventing the marshals getting home for their dinner, and you feel everything you have worked for slipping away and know that things are likely to only get worse and that if things continue at this rate you will be right back where you started.  For a lot of people being five minutes slower just takes them from the front of the race to the middle.  For me it takes me right out of the race, into billy-no-mates primary school failure zone with Sam Beck’s mother making cruel comments at me from the sidelines.  People don’t say this sort of thing about other hobbies, do they?  “Oh, that cake you baked tasted like shit, but never mind, you enjoyed cooking it so that’s all that counts!”  It’s a bloody load of nonsense and people should stop bloody saying it.

I am going to attempt to end this post with a bit of positivity and list my action plan for recovery:

  1. Cut mileage
  2. Do glute activation bollocks as above
  3. Take up pilates (for fuck’s sake I hate pilates)
  4. Lose some weight (have been really inspired by Moneil‘s posts about this – he was already training really hard but after losing 9kg he has taken THREE MINUTES off his 5km PB!!)
  5. Wear splint on foot indoors
  6. Spend more time doing genealogy (but not the scrambling through graveyards aspect)
  7. Moan at doctor for earlier appointment with different hospital
  8. Possibly get private MRI depending on outcome of point 7
  9. Chop leg off with rusty axe and get a blade like Jonnie Peacock.

2 thoughts on “Wankle Woe

  1. I was in a similar boat to you recently when I had a hip injury start after a half marathon in October. I cut mileage for a while expecting it to get better and then ended up stopping running entirely for about four weeks throughout January, which was incredibly depressing. When I started again it didn’t really seem any better, but after some very simple stretching it’s feeling ok again. But the funny thing is that since I stretched out my hips, my calf has stopped aching too.

    I know what you mean about it being hard to stop running.

    Some things you can try:

    Do you stretch your calves?
    Stretch your hip flexors out – they can inhibit the glutes if they’re tight, and everything is connected.
    How about your shoes? Are they supportive enough or maybe too supportive and pushing you onto the outside of your foot. You can look at the wear pattern on the sole for a vague idea.


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