This month has been rather subdued on the running front. The aftermath of May’s 100k meant I rested for a full week, with no intention of doing anything much in the exercise line. By the start of June, however, I felt ready to go again. My broken toe needed some proper time to heal so I was restricted to cross training. I decided to dust off the mountain bike rather than just hit the elliptical in the gym. I got several rides done in that first week and the toe improved, getting less painful and swollen as the week progressed. The long run on the first weekend of June should have been 20k but I got out on the trails on the bike and tackled some pretty muddy bridleways. On legs still a bit tired from the ultra this felt like hard work, but I got it done, mostly enjoying being out.

On Tuesday the 8th I got the bike out again but found I had a flat tyre. I really hate changing the inner tubes on my bike, the tyres are such a pain in the arse to remove. It was all the excuse I needed to I hit the road for a slow 5k run. My toe didn’t protest so I took this as an encouraging sign. I managed to sort the bike out the next day so got an hour done, less than the two I should have done per the plan. This “not quite meeting the plan” thing was a theme for most of the month, lacking motivation with not being able to run as much as I wanted. I also skipped a few strength sessions in this period. Injured runners are a grumpy lot!

I didn’t have any races planned for June, and a good thing too, but I did end up volunteering to help at the South Downs Way 100, a Centurion event. I just did a short stint on the first aid station, but it was fun to help and to see all the runners come through, nearly all of them still looking fresh. Not that I had a lot of time to stand around soaking up the atmosphere, it was pretty full on, continually stuffing snacks into tiny covid-safe plastic baggies. I have a couple of other races I’m volunteering at later in the year, both Centurion 50 milers. I’m hoping to get a long enough spell at each to be rewarded with a free race spot in 2022. In fact I am planning to do the 50 mile grand slam next year, running the 4 main 50 mile events that Centurion run (SDW50, NDW50, CW50 and WW50).

So back to this month again. Mid June I was beginning to ramp up the running to some longer distances, as the toe was comfortable on the shorter runs. During a local 10k loop, just minding my own business on a Sunday morning, my achilles/lower calf area started playing up. Over the rest of the run it got stiffer and more painful. It was still sore and tight the next morning so in a grump I booked a physio appointment for the next day. It was a strange pain, not really isolated to a specific area, not hurting more with any prodding. Even weirder, it just stopped hurting later that day, and by the time I went to the physio the next day it didn’t hurt at all and I was struggling to identify where it hurt the most when it did hurt. He poked me about and declared I have an inflamed achilles and prescribed a bunch of calf raises and limited-to-no running for a while, certainly no hills, and to stop if/when it got to more than a 3 out of 10 on the pain scale.

For the rest of that week I did run the 5k and 10ks on the plan, but slowly and on flattish routes with no apparent ill effects. Come Sunday 20th I was ready to ramp it up to 20k and set out with that in mind. After about 5km the achilles started to stiffen up and ache again and I eventually called it off at 7.5km and got a lift home.

Since then I have mostly stuck to the elliptical and my bike, but I have been putting the time in and have not dropped any strength sessions during the last week or two. I have to remain focused on the longer term, particularly the 100 miler in October. I need to maintain my training consistency, ideally with running, but the elliptical and the bike may have to do for a bit.

Despite everything, I am still somewhat in denial. I have a 50k event planned on 11th July on which I haven’t yet totally given up, but I am running out of time to make a decision as the deadline for deferrals is this coming Sunday. I plan to run a bit over the next few days to assess whether I can risk the 50k. I think the odds are against it but we shall see.

I’ll be back in a month or so with another update.