That escalated quickly

Well, I thought, eyeing the other patients in accident and emergency, that escalated quickly. One day I’d been entering my first relays with the club and relieved to find I’ve not lost all my pace, the next I’d noticed a mild discolouration on my calf, and then the next I somehow end up sat in A&E wondering how I got there.

Marathon training has been tough this time out. I’ve been fighting a battle to keep my calves in vaguely usable condition. They’ve been bad but not too bad, painful but not too painful: I can always push through, and I figure that learning to push through pain is going to help in those last six miles.

For the past few weeks things seemed to be improving. I had went from signing up just to improve fitness to entering that hazy, golden, stage of training where you start to believe a PB is possible.

The relays felt good. 3k marginally quicker than 5k PB pace, which felt about right for my current fitness. No pain, just the adrenaline that comes from any form of racing.

I did a favoured 13k loop from the house the next day before a long train journey and a good night’s sleep in a hotel bed, legs slathered in deep freeze. I woke up the next morning with a dark swollen bruise stretching several inches across the bottom of my gastroc. It was a browny red colour, painful to the touch, and it started to play on my mind.

I had went from signing up just to improve fitness to entering that hazy, golden, stage of training where you start to believe a PB is possible.

I’d definitely not knocked it so it could be a couple of things; muscle damage that’s bled under the skin, or a deep vein thrombosis. I assumed muscle damage but I’d spent 14 hours sedentary on trains, and the mix of that plus training hard slightly elevates the risk factor.

And so it spiralled. It was out of hours and the physio was closed. I looked for the walk in centre to get it double checked before my weekly long run but that was closed too. So I walked to the minor injuries unit, only to be told they have to refer straight to A&E as it’s something that could be serious.

And so there I was, sat in A&E feeling like a massive fraud. If I’d known that’s where I’d end up, I’d probably just have stayed home.

The doctor was really good – I’m so rarely in doctors or hospitals and I’m always relieved when they’re runners because it means they’ll understand. And not tell me off for hammering my body sometimes. She didn’t think it was a DVT but wanted to rule it out so gave me a blood test, along with the warning that because of my training I might trigger the test anyway.

I’m not going to lie, I was 50% hoping the test would be clear and 50% hoping I was so fit that my red blood count would trigger it anyway. It’s probably for the best that it came back clear, with the instruction to rest as it needs, elevate and ice.

I’m not going to lie, I was 50% hoping I was so fit that my red blood count would trigger it anyway.

So where does this leave the marathon training? I skipped the weekend long run because I didn’t want to do any further damage, it was tough to control the urge to run anyway. Will do some gentle running this week, get the legends at Physiohaus to massage out any damage, and hopefully work back to a long one on Saturday. I fully intend to toe the start line in three weeks time.