It was great to be back at parkrun this week. Once again, the plan was for a double run, with a fast race and then another lap to make up 10k and my long run.
‘Twas wild and windy on the moor, and with many opting for cross country later, a good chance to enjoy a blast and see where it placed me. I have to admit I wasn’t really feeling it as I jogged along warming up.
I’m a bit concerned about a niggling pain in the bottom of my left foot, towards the heel. I’ve had it most of this week and although it’s not too painful it’s not right. So I’ve been tennis ball rolling and stretching and trying not to self diagnose. It has eased and the last couple of days have been pain free, which is why I decided to run today.
The wind made the first straight rather meaty, though there was some shelter in the pack. It seemed to hit us from the sides, gusting runners edgewards over the paths. I was taking a cautious approach, just running to feel, pushing quite hard but not flat out. As I settled into the first kilometre I was just over 5min/km pace.
Out along Grandstand Road and the shelter of the trees and I started to chase down runners. A guy in a black hat close ahead who I scooped up on the tail of a faster group who overtook me. Through the gate with Rob minding I didn’t get my trainers muddy and back out onto the moor and I started to look ahead for my next target, a girl in blue.
That was a good wee battle as she knew I was coming, my breathing growing cough like at times. And she kept pushing so I had to work for it. We ran side by side for a while and I even thought she might take back the place, but I kept my head down and fought on. Once past I knew I had to keep going and open up a gap or else she’d be back on my tail.
Over the gravelly bit around the back of the museum and another girl in my sights, but she dropped back and made it too easy, so I pushed on. Through the gate just before 4k and a smile of encouragement from the marshall as we head into the wind.
I try to find shelter behind the nearest runners, but I still need to make my own space. There’s a young girl and I presume her dad running together. I’ve seen them a few times on this course and we’re quite well matched for times. They continue just ahead of me and spur me on.
As we turn into the last long straight marked out by the lamposts the wind drops and the smooth tarmac puts a spring in my step. I stretch out my legs and have that glorious feeling of running free and easy. It’s more like the first kilometre than the last one. I keep up the flow, passing the girl and her dad, sights focused on the last corner and the final short sprint to the line.
Turns negotiated it’s hammer down and pile it on for the finish, cheered from the sidelines by Jeff. I stop my watch, get my breath back and go to check in – the time on my watch says 25:29. The official time clocks me at 25:31. And I’m happy with that. It’s consistent with my recent runs, and still over 60% WAVA.
I pause for a breather and to gather up my long sleeved top, which I tie round my waist for later. I’m still not sure about running another lap, but I set off at a steadier pace back into the wind once again.
It’s a real contrast to the first lap. Runners still stream across the exposed moor, but now I’m out on my own. I try to relax and enjoy, just look around and appreciate the still mild autumn. I alter the route so I don’t interfere with those finishing their race and so I get the gravelly bit out of the way early on. It’s still tough though and I slow down quite a bit out over the back and along Grandstand Road.
But once again when I turn back in and follow the lamposts, my legs come back to life and I feel like I’m pushing the pace again . It’s not my aim to run this section fast, but I know I’m edging on 5k pace again. I go with it and finish with another breathless sprint even though the finish flag has long gone.
I stop and stretch and chat to the couple planning to set up a Whitley Bay parkrun in the new year, then make my way back to my car where a warm fleece and a bottle of water await my efforts.
Stats and stuff:
6.23 miles 52:59
1) – 0.62m – 5:07(8:14/m) – 64cal
2) – 0.62m – 5:09(8:17/m) – 65cal
3) – 0.62m – 5:05(8:10/m) – 65cal
4) – 0.62m – 5:18(8:31/m) – 65cal
5) – 0.62m – 4:54(7:53/m) – 62cal Parkrun
6) – 0.62m – 5:30(8:51/m) – 65cal
7) – 0.62m – 5:22(8:38/m) – 64cal
8) – 0.62m – 5:42(9:10/m) – 64cal
9) – 0.62m – 5:46(9:17/m) – 63cal
10) – 0.62m – 5:01(8:04/m) – 64cal
11) – 0.01m – 6(6:58/m) – 2cal
Back home for a shower and lunch and there’s no doubt this time. The tight feeling pain has returned to my left foot. Once again, it’s not agonising. But it’s not right and I’d be foolish to ignore the warning signs.
So I will continue rolling the affected area over a wooden massage roller. And I will stretch, particularly the calves and IT band. And I won’t run again until I’ve got it checked out.
I have an appointment with my sports massage lady on Thursday. She’s very thorough and has pointed me in the right direction for treatment she couldn’t offer before. I’ve also left a message with my podiatrist to try and make an appointment there.
I don’t have run mileage targets and no big distances to train for in the near future. There’s a 10k in 3 week’s time that I was hoping to sharpen up for, but it’s no big deal if I don’t. I’d rather be cautious and get this sorted now than have it spoil my race plans for next year. And it may be a challenge to see how much cross training I can safely do instead. Maybe I can really improve my swimming (which is what I said I would work on over the winter).