Ok, so “disastrous” might be laying it on a bit thick, but December certainly hasn’t gone to plan and all running has come to a complete stop. Allow me to explain…
When I finished my last parkrun at the end of November, I was aware of something going on with my right foot. It felt a bit niggly and tight, a bit uncomfortable but not really painful…until I stopped moving! As the day went on my foot seized up more and I was hobbling about in a most uncomfortable way. So I did what any sensible (ahem) runner would do – I rested. A whole week without running and it felt much better, but a tentative treadmill test run had me hobbling once more so it was time to see my trusty podiatrist for further advice.
Diagnosis? Query stress fracture. That’s ACTUAL BONE DAMAGE!! I was referred to my GP so I could be sent for an X-ray (all of which is a pretty long-winded process in December!) and told that the treatment for a stress fracture is rest and six weeks(!) off running before a very cautious return.
My plans for December included 2 Santa runs, weekly parkruns and a gradual increase in my mileage in order to build a base for my marathon training, and instead I had a foot that looked like this:
December was now looking a lot more sedentary, a less than ideal situation in a month synonymous with lots of indulgence! Luckily for me, I was told that I could do any activity that didn’t cause pain, so some quality time on the bike at the gym and a chance to work on my swimming were on the cards. So while I had to miss out on my December running plans, I still had plenty to occupy me while I waited for enough time to pass until I had my X-ray (stress fractures only show up on X-rays once they start to heal).
The month began with Steve’s birthday. He had planned to be at parkrun, but for the first time in its two years, Perth had to cancel due to flooding – runners are pretty hardy, but when the floodgates are being closed, things become a bit more tricky!
We celebrated with a lovely meal out then a walk along by the river, where there was continued floodgate action and the further step of one of the bridges being closed, something neither of us can remember happening before.
Thankfully although the water levels were high, there was no damage to property. Sadly many in other parts of the country were not so fortunate, and my thoughts go out to them as flooding continues (at the time of writing, our flood defences have been used three times in one month, and the bridge has been closed twice due to high water levels).
With conditions continuing to be poor, parkrun organisers put a back-up course in place which was used twice before Christmas (Boxing Day, unfortunately, was another cancellation due to the floodgates being closed). Since I couldn’t run, I decided to keep involved by acting as a volunteer and enjoyed stints as timekeeper and issuing finish tokens. These events felt particularly festive as one took place on the same day as the local Santa run, and the last one before Christmas featured a few fitter-than-usual Santas and lots of sweets being given out. Yum!
But the main focus of December, injury aside, was to celebrate the season. I may not have been able to participate in the Santa run, but I did have fun supporting Steve who had his Fastest Santa in Perth title to defend (he was 2nd this year after running out of steam at the end). Who wouldn’t enjoy watching hundreds of people dressed as Santa doing a mass warm-up then trotting off round the streets of Perth?
And to complete my festive day, that evening I went to the pantomime with my sister. We had Christmas dinner beforehand, and I even scored my favourite Christmas cracker prize, the fortune telling fish (French edition). Result!
We also took our annual trip to Edinburgh to enjoy the festive offerings (read: we go ice skating then have some festive adult beverages!). It was a brilliant day, and I even managed a bit of skating as the boots were pretty supportive for my foot. We had booked our time on the ice before I got injured, so I figured I might as well give it a go and could always stop if I had any pain. My foot was feeling a bit more settled by this point, so everything was fine.
My luck also improved a bit when I won two different prizes in the UK Run Chat daily advent competitions on Twitter. On day 2, some ladies Runderwear, and on day 16 a copy of Nell McAndrew’s running book. I’m looking forward to reading it.
When Christmas Day itself came around, my injury once more caused a change of plans, but having rested for almost a month by this point, my foot was pretty comfortable. This meant that rather than our planned Christmas Day run, we were able to go for a walk instead and I was still able to earn my Christmas Day virtual event medal, which is for any activity beyond eating, drinking or opening presents!
December may not have been everything I wanted it to be, but there’s always next year and I still managed to have some fun. For now though, I’ve had my X-Ray and will get my results next week. In the meantime, I’m hoping that in a couple of weeks I’ll be able to slowly and cautiously begin re-introducing some running into my training (I’ll be following my podiatrist’s instructions on this to the letter!). Fingers crossed that I’m well on the mend as I’m really missing running and finding myself rather jealous of those I spot out slogging through the wind and rain – even the “dreadmill” is beginning to look appealing!
Onwards and upwards!
What was the highlight of your December?
Do you have any fun festive traditions?