In May I ran the North Downs Way 50, an ultra-marathon over the North Downs of Surrey and Kent. It followed marathons in London and Belfast, both run while suffering from sciatica.
Once the North Downs Way 50 was completed, I took some time off running in an attempt to shift the persistent sciatica. I duly did, and in mid June sought to start running again without a nagging pain in my left leg.
Horror of horrors though, I couldn’t run faster than 9minute miles. And that was a real struggle. At the same time I was feeling exhausted, falling asleep on my daily commute to and from the office. This is so not me, and I knew there was something wrong. I persisted with resting for a few extra weeks in a attempt to break out of the exhaustion, but nothing gave. I raced a hilly 10k locally known as the Hurt and had my worst ever run, finishing literally miles off where I should. I attended a track night with my club, but headed home after one lap as I had zero energy. That forced me to visit a doctor who after blood tests suspected I had some type of “virus”.
In late July, I started running again while in the Isle of Wight with the family. Sometimes once a day, sometimes twice, it was lovely to be back running again. I didn’t think I was over the virus as my pace was still slow, but with hindsight this may have been down to the big elevation around Wroxall where we stayed. When I returned to Surrey my legs felt good and my pace picked up dramatically.
Last week I visited my home town of Bangor for a few days. I ran every day and felt great. So much so that last night I was able to return to my local Club’s track night and complete a full session for the first time in many months. It’s a great feeling. Runners face injuries, illnesses and other pressures just like everyone else, but the feeling we get from experiencing a good session after so long off though is unique to our community. It’s good to be back.