Saturday, 20 January 2018

A year to get ready... - Montane Spine Challenger (3)

So the entry was sent.
Then entry was accepted.


Not long after I sent my entry I had an inexplicable coccyx injury. Not only could I not run, I couldn't even sit down! Blood tests showed issues with possible unusual muscular breakdown and it looked like my training was going to be delayed further than expected.  I was already suffering from a foot injury sustained 6 months earlier at the Lakeland 100.  It looked like my 6 months of barely running due to the foot issue that we just couldn't get to the bottom of was going to be extended.
Months of physio and doctor appointments and we get on top of the coccyx issue (mostly).  Bu the foot issue remains.  The limited running, remains.  The frustration builds.

I attempted to run the South Downs Way 100.  It was an unmitigated disaster.  I didn't want to be there.  I knew the pain would stop me.  I didn't know what it was and so it worried me. The foot issue, combined with poor selection of food at the checkpoints (by the time I got there) and NO Tailwind that was promised at the checkpoints beyond the first one (which I was depending on - mistake - I will always carry all of my own drinks in future) meant I was puking and having serious toilet problems.  I threw the towel in.  I didn't regret it. I still don't.  I should never have started.  But I didn't want to waste the time and effort my family had put in (we took a family holiday in the South Downs so that I could recce the route - this becomes relevant again later), I didn't want to waste the money I had spent on entry, travel, flights etc. It was all 'wasted' in the end as I didn't even finish. I could have spent that weekend at home doing something much less painful and that didn't involve puking my guts up for hours. Sometimes I can be stubborn to a fault.

So 6 months of my year was gone already and this crazy race was constantly on my mind.  All the time I should have been running I spent researching equipment for the race, studied blogs about the race,  studied the maps, watched YouTube videos and generally felt an increasing sense of nausea as week followed week and still no solutions to the foot.

Then after visiting one podiatrist, who then referred me to a more senior podiatrist for confirmation, I FINALLY got my foot diagnosis.  I have Morton's Neuroma. It's not great, but it's manageable now that I know what it is and how I can alleviate the symptoms. It can only really be properly fixed with surgery but I think I am managing it pretty well.

I managed some lovely runs and walks on the Pennine Way lower sections with Jen Scotney.  Jen, Marcus and Sherlock showed me great hospitality and provided me with lots of advice about the route and the race.  I was so appreciative. And I will just add that Jen is an amazing cook! It was like a little luxury holiday for me - with a few bogs thrown in! Ha ha.  I had high expectations for Jen's race and she didn't disappoint - 3rd Lady no less.  She is an incredible runner.

So things were starting to look up.  I might actually get a few months of training in here.  I even briefly hired a coach, thinking I at this point I was going to need all the help I could get to make me fit for that start line.

Ah, but of course, in true Vicky style nothing ever goes to plan.  A parenting (NOT running) injury was about to royally screw up everything!!!

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