May 2014

****ing suitcases on wheels

I’ve never been a fan of suitcases on wheels. Partly on the (slightly fascist I’ll admit) grounds that unless you’re ill or infirm you should carry your luggage. (I’ve recently made a slight concession to middle age and upgraded my scruffy old rucksack to a large, purple, North face holdall). But mainly because a lot of people aren’t very good at driving them, swinging them around wildly behind them or stopping dead at the top/bottom of stairs to raise/lower the handle.

My loathing of them has recently reached new heights. On the way back from (my 40th birthday) holiday in
Bhutan/Katmandu we were rushing to get out of Heathrow and into London in time to catch the last train home. Time was particularly tight as we’d watched the OH’s (purple...) suitcase going around the conveyor belt for 15 minutes, convinced that it wasn’t his. And then there were hordes of people slowly shuffling their way through customs. I led the way and the OH followed, for some unknown reason, pushing his suitcase in front of him. The people in front suddenly stopped and so did I, but the suitcase kept going, bang into my achiles tendon. Not hard enough to do significant damage, but enough to put a massive spanner in my running works.

Pre-holiday the speed work had been working. I was still running intervals pretty slowly (7.30-7.45 minute miling for 400m). But I’d consistently chipped time off my hill-repeats, getting down from my usual 10.30 mm to nearly 9mm, and I was comfortably running back to back long runs at my goal speed of 5.5 mph. So I’d been looking forward to getting back and ramping up the training some more. Instead, with a niggling achiles, running was slow and uncomfortable. I was back to worse than square one. Ten minute milling was an effort, and anything longer than 10 miles produced a never ending list of knock-on niggles.

Maybe taking some time off running to let it heal would have been a good idea. But I wouldn’t then have had time to get my fitness back for the track race (having already had a fortnight off on holiday). Plus the last time I had an achiles problem, six weeks off didn’t make it any better, and in fact it was a three week trekking holiday that cured it. So I slowly ramped the training back up. Speed-wise I’ve got more or less back to where I was pre holiday, and I’ve managed more or less what I planned for long runs (one 30 miler, plus several 20-20 or 15-25 back to backs). But my legs aren’t happy. The achiles is temperamental, sometimes OK, sometimes sore. But the main problem is that the miscellaneous aches that usually start after 50 miles are coming on much, much sooner. If I hadn’t already paid the entry fee and booked a hotel for pre- and post-race I’d probably pull the plug on the track race. My original 110 mile goal looks unlikely and, unlike a trail race, a 24 hour track race isn’t something you jog around for fun. But since I’ve already paid the entry fee and booked a hotel for pre- and post-race I might as well give it a shot.