I think I’m done

Posted: August 16, 2017 in Injury, not running, running

I know I’m possibly prone to a bit of melodrama… but I think my running days are done.

For a while now I’ve been using the tried and tested injury treatment method of ‘ignore it and hope it gets better on its own’. This has usually served me well. And until recently, though I had no illusions of being fitness guru, I would think that I always had another marathon in me (at some point in the future… when I lost a bit of weight…etc). The thing is, recent aches and pains feel…different. Not like an ‘injury’ at all.

You see, I’ve not injured myself as such, but for some time now my left knee in particular doesn’t feel strong, I can’t fully bend it and sounds and feels like an old wooden door if I replicate anything like a squat. So I don’t. But it also means I have to sit down to put on underwear or socks. Until recently, I did not see myself as a sit-down-to-put-on-underwear-and-socks person.

Also, if I do run now, it’s just not fun. It periodically actually hurts and even if it doesn’t, it can just feel a bit awkward….just lacking. And it has been known to swell afterwards…

The above photo was taken after a parkrun about a month ago. I didn’t even really go for it. I was a full 6 minutes slower than my PB.

I did, unfortunately, have a sprint finish with a young lad who’d been overtaking me and dropping back for the whole race run. It turned out, through conversation with the chap I’d ended up running next to for most of lap 2, that the boy was this guy’s son… and I say “unfortunately had a sprint finish” because my intention was really to just push him all the way to the line. As I hadn’t run a particularly hard 5K I actually had a lot left in me but I deliberately stayed just level with him…except he actually gave up about 2 metres short of the line, so I ended up crossing the line in front of him, and although I congratulated him on a good run, and we exchanged a high-five… he subsequently burst into tears and went off for a cuddle with his dad.

I am a bad, bad man.

I’ve still been playing tennis. Although again, feel like I’m a few steps slower than I was even six months ago. But with tennis, you can adapt a bit, play a different game. I think I could actually still enjoy tennis if I couldn’t run at all…. Mmm…no….that’s not true actually…. I’d be immensely frustrated. But but I could play.

Truth is, I just haven’t been enjoying running for a while now. It hurts. And it reminds me that I’m slow and getting old and falling apart. My left Achilles has been giving me jip on and off for about a year now, too. And my left ankle crunches and clicks for as long as I can remember.

And I’ve put on weight. That doesn’t help. It doesn’t help with my running. It doesn’t help with what I inevitably believe to be osteoarthritis setting in. It doesn’t help with my mental health because now I don’t identify with my previous self-image of being a fit person, a healthy, sporty person…. a runner.

I started rewriting the words to the Ed Sheeran song – ‘Thinking Out Loud’ when I first thought about writing this post… But I didn’t have the staying power to see that through either. This was how far I got…

Now my legs don’t work like they used to before

And I can’t see me back on my feet. Will my mind still remember the thrill of the race,

Will my glutes now forever be weak?

Oh running I may be loving you ’til I’m 70… ” etc.

It’s not all bad.

I’m just at the end of holiday now. It’s been lovely – Lots ‘outside’ time… volleyball on the sand, gentle bike rides – including teaching my daughter – she’s been a bit late to the cycling party but is eventually getting that she can do it, and enjoy it. It’s just the stopping we have to work on really! Currently involves my running to the best my ability alongside her and catching her/her bike when she decides to bail off! Well get there.

I’ve managed to play some badminton and even won the resort’s doubles competition that they were running (after first being paired up with someone I’d not met before turning up to the event). There’s another tournament before I leave and I’ve entered again, but this time with my son as he was desperate to join me. He’s a great little (he’s 11 so not that little) tennis player but has only played badminton a couple of times. He enjoys it though, so that should be fun.

Today, he and I are having a go at ‘Stand-up paddle-boarding’ ! I just hope that if(when) I fall off, I can actually get back up again!

On Saturday last, I even ventured out on the bike to travel the short distance the nearby forest for a very picturesque parkrun. Having absolutely no expectations of any time, I intended to run it (or walk if necessary) fully within my capabilities and pain levels. As I was on the path in, I recognised a fellow blogger who writes at ‘Run Young 50‘ – Katie – who normally runs at Colwick but was partaking in a bit of parkrun tourism, herself. We had a bit of a chat and she kindly said nice things about missing my posts here and I said I’d just started one about winding down my running days. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t be finishing this post now, if it wasn’t for the fact I said I’d be posting it soon. It was lovely to see you, Katie. Thank you for your encouragement.

It was to be my slowest ever (without children) parkrun but as I did so, I also collected discarded bottles and crisp packets from the route – NOT from other runners (they looked like they’d been lying around longer than that) but it gave my run further purpose and served to appropriately slow me down, stopping me from getting carried away with the pace of those around me.


On which note, if you feel so inclined, please consider visiting Runners Against Rubbish which is not something I head up myself but it does what I do… with the added element of badges and car stickers if you sign up for a one-off £2 fee. I have.

Of course, you can be against rubbish without joining an organisation – just don’t be an idiot yourself, and occasionally correct someone else’s idiocy by a) telling them not to be an idiot (if you happen to witness their idiotic rubbish discarding behaviour – especially if they’re another runner!) or b) simply binning someone else’s rubbish.

So anyway, there we go… parkrun 69 completed. Who knows if I’ll make it to 100.

Perhaps if I do, I’ll write another blog post.

  1. not-much-of-a-runner's-mum says:

    Osteoarthritis: bad luck. I’m afraid it “runs” (haha!) in the family. According to my osteopath, cycling is good for arthritic knees as there is little danger of twisting the joint, also it keeps the leg muscles strong. Glad you’re enjoying your holiday. Good luck for the badminton match. x

  2. runorgocrazy says:

    Pleased to hear you’re well, sorry about your knee 😢

  3. CeeJayKay says:

    ouch! I can almost feel the pain in that knee! Its not Tennis or Badminton, but i had to give up Zumba because it totally screwed up my knees…
    Don’t stop writing your blog, i have missed it too… (even when you do correct my lack of capitalising my ‘i’s 🙂 )
    PS. SUPing (as my son calls it) is just the BEST! LOVE it! enjoy enjoy!!!

  4. cmmercer says:

    Have you had your knee checked professionally? Symptoms sound a lot like my knee did which turned out to be a torn meniscus. After surgery a few years ago I am running sub 20 parkrun, I did 4 marathons in 2016; feeling much stronger all round.

    • Thank you. I work with a bunch of lovely physios, thankfully. Which is good for someone like me.
      No official scans or anything yet though.

      • cmmercer says:

        As much as I respect physios, I spent hundreds on a number of different physios all of whom attempted to fix an ITB problem that evidently wasn’t there before my doctor finally referred me to the consultant who simply squeezed my knee and diagnosed my torn meniscus within 30 seconds of me finishing telling him my symptoms!

      • Thanks for the nudge. I’ll get it checked out proper.
        Sounds like a nightmare for you. Good that you’re back to pain-free, speedy running though!

  5. shazruns says:

    So nice to read a blog from you again. So sad to hear you are showing signs of getting old!!! Hope the paddle boarding went well. Get that knee seen to-formally!

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