Tuesday, 31 May 2011

There's no going back now!

I have ran a total of 28 miles in May! - Given that I am in training for UTMB, a race which consists of 105 miles of trail and 29,000 feet of ascent, 28 miles is not very much.
14 of those miles were in the week following the Highland Fling and it was during them that I felt the pain in my ankle which has subsequently been diagnosed as Posterior Tibial Tendonitis. It appears it is a general overuse injury and I had hoped that with sufficient rest, stretching and icing it would clear up in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, we are now four weeks down the line and after a brief 5 miles last night I can report that it is still painful.
I haven't been completely idle in the last month and I have been cycling and using the step machine in the gym but it's not quite the same. This is the time when I should be out there putting in big miles on big hills - but I'm not, and I'm worried.
With just under 3 months to go till UTMB I am seriously concerned about my ability to finish. So what do I do?
UTMB, for me at least, is likely to be a "once in a lifetime" event. I have paid my entrance fee, I have paid for my flights, I have bought some expensive new equipment so, in short, I've laid out a lot of dosh in order to take part. There is also the issue of the ballot. This year I was successful, next year I may not be. So I am loathe to pull out and see all this go to waste.
I have never yet DNF'd. Now I know that at some point this may happen but not yet and not in UTMB. Should I start and risk having to pull out part way through or should I DNS rather than DNF? I am stubborn bugger and I know that if I start, it will take a serious issue for me not to finish, but at what cost? Struggling on to complete a road marathon is a different kettle of fish to battling my way over some serious mountains after 40+ hours of effort.
So what do I do?
I plan to continue to cross train and hope that my ankle improves sufficiently to allow me some proper hill time prior to August. I'm not pulling out yet but at the moment I am struggling to get my mind to accept what my body is telling me!


Tim said...

It's probably not what you want to hear but I've decided to "DNS" in the "easy" TDS rather than turn up unprepared for a race of that magnitude. I just don't think it's worth turning up at the start line for something that requires such a level of fitness and committment. You want to be on the start line %100 ready if possible.

I might have been able to do it but I'm pretty certain I would have hated it and it would have been a waste of an entry.

For me admittedly it was made easier by the fact that I hadn't yet booked flights & accommodation. I can see that if I had done that I might well have decided to go anyway. Having DNSed for three WHW races I've got quite good at it. ;-)

You are just a youngster with plenty of running years ahead of you so I wouldn't lose too much sleep over deferring.

It's not an easy decision though. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, tricky one. I reckon it is too early to pull the plug on starting the race. I would try to keep your cross training up as much as possible over the next few weeks. Could you incorporate this with getting in some Munro / Corbett hill walking, seeing as most of UTMB involves going up and down hills? Try walking up the hills, and trotting slowly down them ~ as long as this does not aggravate your injury. If you find it does aggravate the injury, then rein it in a bit. The most important thing is to keep training in some form or other, and keep the ankle recovering. Reassess the situation towards the end of June ~ by which time you should be on the mend and probably okay for the race, or the scales may be starting to tip towards the other option.

Murdo t M

Andy Cole said...

Hi Graeme, I would stick with it. The UTMB is not a run like the WHW. The majority of finishers probably run the first 5 miles because it's flat (saving themselves about 20 minutes over 40+ hours), then shamble the downhills, but most of the distance is covered at a walk. If you can walk up and down hills (a lot of them!), you're good for a start, don't worry too much about training at anything faster than a slow jog.

John Kynaston said...

So sorry to read you are struggling to run at the moment.

It must be a really tough decision to have to make.

I suppose the question you have to ask yourself is how would you feel if you don't start? could you live with the thought of not knowing what could have happened?

But on the other hand it's a tough race when you are fully fit and prepared. So it goes without saying that it is even harder going into it with an injury and possibly under prepared.

In the end you have to make the decision and I wish you all the best with whatever you decide.

I really hope it clears up soon so you can get some training in.

The Sunday Adventure Club said...

Sorry to hear about your injury, what a nightmare. My advice would be to run through it. Start by running a couple of miles, if it's not any worse then add a mile or so the next day and just build back up to normal mileage as long as it doesn't get too bad. I think you'll find you run it off eventually. As long as you can still run then keep it going and ignore the pain, as long as it's not 'bad' pain.
Hope you're back to it soon!

tm said...

You need a few beers and a wee malt.


Debs M-C said...

Tough decision. You've still got time though and your legs won't forget the miles.

You would spend a lot more money if you actually do go, so I would put the cost to one side.

Hope you make a speedy recovery.


Ps: I waving at you driving down Danes Drive the other night.

loon dod said...

I have been nusrsing achilles injury since february and not done nearly the training I did for the last 2 years before heading for Chamonix, mine is worse with speed work and i am reminded reading Andys comments that it really is a long hike more than a race, get up those hills as often as you can and keep the cross training going, hope you get some miles in soon as I know for me thats what my head needs, see you in Chamonix.