A Dictionary of Injury

Saturday, 24 March 2012

If you were to consult a medical dictionary of injuries sustained by runners, and start reading from cover to cover, you'd be slowly working your way through ailments that have affected Yours Truly.

The latest affliction that has prevented any running type activities is a swollen and bruised Achilles tendon in my right foot. I don't need to visit a medical professional to have Achilles tendonitis diagnosed for me neither do I need to purchase the medical dictionary mentioned in the first paragraph. This injury was caused by an idiotic Londoner thinking that running a 33 mile race after a couple of 8 mile training runs was a sound plan.

Like most plans, it failed to survive the first engagement with the enemy, the enemy in this case being the D33, and from mile 20 or so I just had to hang on for dear life while my right Achilles screamed at me to stop.

So now I'm hobbling about like a coffin dodger on crack with a genuine reason for not running a step. And in a coincidental occurrence, Mason (dog) has developed a limp in his rear, right leg. Having developed a penchant for kebabs and being subjected to hours and hours of boxing on the telly, I wonder where this is just his way of mirroring his owner. But, like a responsible dog owner should, I did the right thing, withdrew a fistful of cash from the ATM, and took him to the vet.

OK, so I understand the condition presented to the very pleasant veterinary surgeon with the soft, Irish lilt in her voice:

A lame Staffordshire Bull Terrier is owned by a lame tattooed Londoner. The lame tattooed Londoner claims to be a runner. The lame Staffordshire Bull Terrier accompanies lame tattooed Londoner on runs. Diagnosis: Ligament/tendon damage in both patients caused by over exertion. Treatment: RICE and anti-inflammatory medication (by the way, I can get Brufen for under £1.00 from Asda for Yours Truly, but the same stuff from the vet for Mason (dog) is £14.00). Prognosis: Both will be better soon and if they're not the lame tattooed Londoner will be back with the lame Staffordshire Bull Terrier to pay off another chunk of my mortgage.

Well, the vet didn't refer to any medical dictionary to arrive at the decision above and to be quite honest, who can blame her? I quite enjoy revelling in this idea she has that I'm some kind of extreme athlete and couldn't find it in myself to enlighten her to the fact that I'm shit and rarely run further than to the off licence at closing time.

So the plan is that Mason (dog) and I will swallow Brufen for the next ten days; me ingesting the budget stuff from Asda, and he the Rolls Royce of medication from the vet. I might hit the gym and train alongside the cap-wearing idiots in the weights room who never train their legs anyway while Mason (dog) will be limited to short lead-walks only.

Then in ten days time we'll see how we are and whether the 53 mile Highland Fling at the end of April is a viable proposition. I'm drawn toward a picture I've posted before which refers to the shortcomings of ill thought out plans:

Baldrick Plans

Monday, 19 March 2012

Being a really crap runner I developed a safety plan to protect me from the disappointment of performing badly some years ago; it works like this:

You do very little training, eat lots of kebabs, drink wine by the gallon, and run ultra marathons.

'Hold on,' I hear you cry, 'that seems like a pretty shitty plan to me.'

Well at first glance I guess it is. But consider this: you arrive at the start line of your chosen ultra marathon with wine stained lips and smelling of chilli sauce. Everyone knows you've done bugger all training, but for those within ear shot that might not be familiar with a tattooed idiot from London, you make sure you mention it a couple of times. Everyone looks at you and sniggers then makes the 'L' sign on their forehead with thumb and forefinger.

'Stupid Londoner is gonna die,' you hear whispered behind you.

'I hope the ambulance is on standby,' someone else says.

Then you run off like a loon at the start, keep going for as long as you can, then when things get painful you hang on for dear life until you stagger across the finish line. You're not dead, you're not in an ambulance and everyone thinks you're great for finishing having done about as much physical training as Vanessa Feltz (in actual fact many observers still think you're an idiot but part of this plan is the need for an innate ability to self-delude).

I executed this plan perfectly at the weekend when I attended George Reid's superb race, the D33. For the uninitiated this is an out-and-back race of 33 miles where you run 16.5 miles from Duthie Park in Aberdeen to Banchory then turn around and run back. It really is that simple and the ethos of this race is summed up nicely by the website's race description:

No entry conditions apply, if you think you can then enter and do it. If you get half way and find you can't, phone registration with your race number, tell them you are a loser and take the bus home.

Support, there is none required but if you want your mum to meet you half way with a jam sandwich then thats ok with us.

I'm not gonna bore you with a detailed race tale of my performance on Saturday. Suffice to say I was suitably fuelled with wine and kebabs, ran off like a loon at the start, felt pain.....lots of pain....and hung on for dear life until I crossed the finish line some six hours later. During the first half of the race I was convinced I would finish in under 5.5 hours and my mantra was 'run like fuck'; then during the second half of the race I was convinced I would never, ever run a step ever again and my mantra changed to: 'What an utter c*nt I am.'

But finish I did and was rewarded with a fine medal created from storm damaged timber recovered following the recent 'Hurricane Bawbag'.

For those that have never ran beyond 26.2 miles I should explain to you that completing an ultra marathon is a lot like child birth. You feel immense pain, you grimace horribly and squeal often, you sweat, you swear and when it's all over you quickly forget what an utterly unpleasant experience it was and go back and do it again.

However, like Baldrick from Blackadder, I have a cunning plan. Before my next ultra I am actually going to do some training.

'That don't sound so cunning to me,' I hear you cry.

Hold on......here's the cunning bit: I'm not going to tell anyone I've been training. I'm just going to pretend that things are normal and my running shoes are nothing more than interesting trip hazard by my back door. Then when I turn up at the next ultra marathon I'll run off like a loon at the start and actually finish in a half decent time.

What d'ya reckon?

Kebab, anyone?