My second Edp Rock ‘n’ Roll Madrid!
The build up to my second Edp Rock ‘n’ Roll Madrid Marathon – and 12th marathon road race in total – was disrupted by injury.
Having enjoyed a fulfilling winter of running, albeit in near-freezing temperatures in the UK, a reoccurring calf problem of old from 2016, in my right lower, started to become more and more uncomfortable at the beginning of March.
I knew straight away that I had an issue; and suspected it was linked to the inside of my gastrocnemius. I couldn’t pinpoint one moment which may have triggered the pain but I always stop running when I feel aggravation of this kind.
I went straight to my physio for treatment, and as suspected, I had a severely inflammed tibialis posterior tendon. The tendon, which runs behind the inner bone of the ankle and passes up the back of the leg, can be troublesome and particularly painful.
Typically, and like I did, you will feel the bulk of the pain in a certain spot (in my case it was the centre of my calf).
Generally, it is a six to eight week recovery period, with at least a month off of running and a series of rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the area.
It can be classed as a wear and tear injury, but symptoms also include stiffness (a lack of flexibility) within the ankle joint as well as overloading calves – normally as a result of weak hamstrings. Hamstring strength or the lack of, had become a problem for me and I had to fix it during my rehab programme (five weeks).
Injuries are part and parcel of long distance running, and although I felt disappointed that my Spring marathon plans were going to be affected, I locked myself away in the gym and focused on getting back on track as soon as possible.
I knew Brighton Marathon (April 14th) would come way too soon and the same rule really applied for Madrid. However, with the work I had put in, in the gym and along with some steady training runs a few days before Madrid, I didn’t really feel as though I had lost any fitness and wanted to compete.
I was happy to accept that, having missed out on a crucial endurance block of training, I wouldn’t be able to go at anywhere near full pace for the duration.
That said, I didn’t feel like just turning up and instead ran what I would consider an ‘effort marathon’. I wouldn’t normally deploy such an open and attacking strategy, especially having lost crucial mileage during my injury period, however, I decided to run hard for at least the first-half to see how I felt.
On a course known for its intense uphill and downhill elevation as much as its beauty – I knew the second split of the marathon was going to be tough going. The stretch through the Parque Del Oeste area and into the parks of the Casa De Campo region were testing as my right calf began to feel tighter and tighter.
Having been ahead of the sub-3 hour pace group for around 16 miles, I started to slow down but used my experience to manage the next couple of miles.
After seeing the legendary Real Madrid player Raul pass me (one of my heroes) – that was pretty cool – I just wanted to soak up the remaining miles and atmosphere of my second 26.2 in Madrid.
A stitch – which I had felt a lot earlier in the race – became more intense at around mile 21 and it was a case of managing it right through to the final stretch with deep breathing and holding it in place!
See you soon for the hat-trick, Madrid!