Very rarely does life follow the path we intend it to and in athletics, it seems to be even more uncertain. Over the last three weeks I’ve gone from executing plan A with military precision, to currently having to resort to an unprecedented plan H.
My first two weeks in Flagstaff couldn’t have gone better and I was consistently running PB sessions. Although training at altitude has been tough, the weather has been brilliant and it’s a fantastic group of athletes out here preparing for their respective summer seasons. After a flurry of indoor races and a dabble at the 10k, I was beginning to feel stronger after longer and more consistent training. Unfortunately it wasn’t to last as I picked up an injury which stopped me in my tracks.
Annoyingly, I didn’t hurt myself running… but from cross training! It has been really frustrating and although I still don’t know what I’ve done, an MRI showed that everything was clear; no bone or tendon issues. Obviously this was good news but I had no explanation as to what was causing the pain. Personally, I feel it may be more nerve related as I have been experiencing tingling down the outside of my foot and into my ankle. The metal plate and screws in my left foot do restrict movement slightly which may have contributed to tweaking one of the nerves that runs up into my calf. On a positive, after three weeks I can now go for a jog in my trainers, almost pain free.
However, opening my season at Payton Jordan over the 5,000m last Friday may not have been my smartest idea. But I was frustrated to have been in such good shape and didn’t want to miss an opportunity to turn my efforts into a quantifiable time. I didn’t realise how flat and heavy two weeks on a cross trainer and in the pool would make me feel. There was no chance of being able to put on a pair of spikes and so we made the decision that I race in flats. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have raced. My calf muscle wasn’t feeling good and afterwards I was struggling to walk again. It felt like a step backwards and a huge knock to my confidence rather than a positive experience. It’s certainly another lesson learned, I shouldn’t race when things aren’t right as there will always be another opportunity. Always listen to your gut feeling!
The only slight positive that I could take from the race was that on a truly awful day, I came within 0.12s of the World Qualifying time. I am still hugely disappointed not to have sneaked under the time and given myself a little reassurance for London 2017, but I’ve got a few more opportunities to really have a go at breaking my PB of 15.05. My aim for the year is to run as close as I possibly can to 14.50. I feel this is a realistic goal.
I was due to go home after my race but I’ve decided to stay in Flagstaff for treatment and get rid of my calf issue once and for all. My physiotherapist, Chris Bramah, is now in Flagstaff which is brilliant news. He has been a godsend over the last year and played a major role in keeping me in one piece. In fact, this small niggle has been the only injury to stop me consistently training since I broke my ankle in 2015. I’ve had a great run of things and know that he’ll be able to turn things around pretty quickly and help me get me back on track again.