Bringing you up to date with what has happened so far this year turned out to be a pretty long blog so I’ve split it up into two sections which I’ll post over the next few days. Here’s the first instalment so go grab a cuppa and a biscuit, sit back and enjoy the read!..
After running a big PB (2.31.08) at Brighton Marathon back in April but missing out on the time needed for selection to the World Champs by just 8 seconds I immediately set out plans to attack the 2.30 barrier.
In terms of female marathon running times under 2.30 are classed as world class performances so I knew that this was a big task. My time from Brighton had bettered the Commonwealth Games qualifying time by nearly 4 minutes but it still gave a lot of scope for some of the other girls to run faster and knock me out of the chase for a spot on the England team for next year’s Games.
I knew that I needed and believe that I am capable of running under 2.30 so I set about on project sub 2.30. I picked Frankfurt marathon in late October as the marathon to do it at. Frankfurt is a good course and always has a great strength in depth field plus it’s a mixed race so I should be able to get some assistance from the men in the latter stages. Being in late October it also meant that I could enjoy some track races for once in many years.
The track season came and went; I achieved my goals of running sub 16minutes for 5,000m and winning the British and English 10,000m title. I also gained a surprise GB vest for the European cup 10,000m challenge where we picked up the team silver missing out on gold by just 4 seconds! I also ran the fastest 5km road time by a British female since May 2012.
Marathon training started at the beginning of August. Everything was going well until I started to notice an annoying ache in my left Achilles. Being a distance runner I am used to my Achilles being a tad sore first thing on a morning but this usually disappears at the tendon warms up after walking about on it. However, this time the tendon wasn’t settling, it was getting worse. As we runners do I continued to run on it and went over to Holland to run a 10k road race in Tilburg. After the race I was in agony but still ran a 6 mile warm down to get some extra miles in. The next day I hobbled the first 3 miles of my run before realising that I was being stupid and needed to turn back. I sulked as I walked back to the hotel.
I rested from running for the rest of the week using the cross trainer to get my runs and sessions done and the then tried a run session on the Saturday. All was going well until part way through Parkrun a stupid dog owner allowed his dog to walk in front of me with his lead stretching across the path. I went to jump the lead, shocked the dog, the dog ran round my ground leg wrapping his lead around my shin making me fall and land awkwardly on my sore foot. I continued on to finish the park run and set off on another 5k rep (session was 4x5k) but the Achilles was agony straight away. I stopped and again hobbled home not too happy.
Another week of cross training and cycling and my hopes of racing the Great North Run that weekend were quickly fading but I still held hope – you’ve got to keep positive. A test run on the Saturday, the day before the GNR, and the Achilles was in agony all the way through. I knew that it was game over. I ran the junior run with my 10 year old cousin on the afternoon and even jogging at 10min miles was agony! I withdrew from the race and got straight on to the UKa doctor to request an examination of the tendon.
I travelled to Loughborough on the Thursday for a scan which revealed tendonopathy in my Achilles. The only cure was rest. I was offered an injection which would ease the pain but it wouldn’t cure the problem. The injection could mean that Frankfurt was maybe still a possibility but I also risked further damage by running on it for the remaining 6 weeks plus the race itself. So in floods of tears I left the Doctors office resigned to the fact that I wasn’t going to be running Frankfurt Marathon.
For any runner, elite or Joe Jogger, making the decision to withdraw from your goal race is always a hard one. I went through various stages of emotions on my journey home wondering if I’d made the correct decision, was I about to throw away my chance of making the Commonwealths next year. As soon as I got home I emailed the organisers at Frankfurt to officially withdraw from the race. I knew I had to do it straight away as putting it off would just lead to more questions and doubts. I now have to sit and play the horrible game of watching the other girls run marathons and hoping that no more than 2 of them run faster than my time!