Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Six months on... an honest retrospective

... so what happened?

During August 2008, I was triumphant. I'd kept a moderate amount of training during our three-week holiday in France; managed to break into a sub-10 minute mile in training; achieved a 31:45 PB in a 5K race - a pace of not too far over the 10 minutes; I was loving what I was doing.

September wasn't so good. I was very preoccupied with helping my parents with their house-move from London to Norfolk - as they'd never moved house before, I took care of all the details - solicitors, builders and the like - and they stayed with us for the 7 weeks until their place was ready. Not surprisingly, the training regime went to pot - not their fault, mine - but it meant that when I reached the Sandringham 10K at the end of September, I simply wasn't ready.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have run it; I should have admitted to being ill-prepared. It wasn't fun; it hurt; I felt unfit and out of sorts. I raised my money for Cancer Research again, and didn't let my sponsors down, and was very glad for that; but physically it was a disaster.

I went out for a run with Kim a few days after the race. Tired and fed up for various other reasons, and feeling out of sorts, I had what was effectively a panic attack in the gym during our warmup, and our attempted run had to be curtailed after less than two miles (out of an intended three).

Two days later, I was in London on my usual business trip. I took a long walk to the tube station via some shops on my way home, when I became aware that my left heel was suddenly, intensely, painful. I had no idea why. The pain came and went - but mostly came - across the next few days. I read up, I visited the doctor. It eventually turned out to be plantar fasciitis.

The rot set in. I managed some gym sessions, going in fits and starts; if I did 3 sessions in a week, I felt fine; the weeks when I did nothing, I felt lousy. No surprise that my weight went up. I rested the foot, had massages, stretched it, sat rolling a tennis ball under it while working at the PC, all to no avail. Our January holiday was a few days' sightseeing in Brussels, and I found that more than a couple of hours' bimbling around was enough to crock me - I found myself hobbling like an old woman.

For the last few weeks, I've at least got myself back on some sort of track using the gym. I've been rehearsing for a play (more about that later) and, on most weekday rehearsal evenings, manage to get to the gym before driving into Norwich, doing usually about 40 minutes' CV and the occasional weights. My weight had soared dangerously close to its previous high (having started in January 2007 at 167 lb, got down to around 147-149, then finding myself back at 163 was too horrible to admit). Going back to buying size 14s wasn't great, either. I've managed so far to get back down to 159, so feel that I am back on track.

However, the plantar fasciitis still seems to be with me. Fine most of the time; a bit tired after standing for any length of time (an hour's ironing, two hours' rehearsal); very painful after much walking. Nothing much seems to shift it.

Today, I lost my temper with it, and with myself. It was exactly four years to the day since we'd moved to Norfolk, and today as then, it was a stunningly beautiful, warm, sunny spring day. I was in Norwich, first for a business meeting and then to do some shopping, and as I drove home, I thought I am not putting up with this any more. I'd been due to go to the gym with Kim tonight, but she wasn't able to join me; and that did it. I was going to run again.

So I did.

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