Sometimes you have to adjust your goals….

OK – its confession time here at ‘worst pace scenario’

It’s been around three weeks since my last blog – and a lot has happened since then. Many of you may already know that last September I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis – (also known as brittle bones) – if you didn’t know, then you probably now understand why I’m frequently sporting a broken finger, wrist, arm etc.

Well up until recently I had been advised that running is fine – as the impact actually helps with promoting and maintaining bone density – which is critical in keeping the bones in one piece.

Well for the last 6 months or so I have been suffering with a pain in the foot when I run, there is a small bone fragment in the foot which touches a nerve end when running, which causes pain, but I was told that although it hurt, it wasn’t doing any damage. However, it was as I’m sure you can imagine not the nicest thing to have! The pain was present even on short runs…and marathons were extremely painful…

As part of the process of getting this annoyance treated I have been seeing all kinds of specialist, who between them have been unable to decide the best course of actions (cortisone injections, key-hole surgery, open surgery…) About two weeks ago I met with a couple of specialists (one a Muscular-Skeletal and one Osteoporosis doctors) –and when looking at my x-rays they noticed a secondary issue. The bone at the base of the foot (the Cuboid bone) is starting to disintegrate and fall apart at the edges. They were much more concerned about this than the bone fragment, and advised that the bone is critical to walking – and if it fractures, then it would require 6 months in a wheelchair or crutches, and if it doesn’t heal then there is a risk of not being able to walk un-aided within 10 years. They told me that marathons and ultras are now off limits, and that I have to restrict my running to no more than 50 miles per month, and my longest runs/races are to be 10m, but to stick mainly to 5km and 10km.

Well this was a shock to say the least. I have completed 47 marathons, and a few ultras too – and really love these events and the challenge they offer. The camaraderie of setting off with some mates to tackle 35 or 40 odd miles is hard to replicate – and the support and care of total strangers in these events is unique……but I can’t dwell on this – because I can’t contemplate the idea of using a walking stick….so now I have to switch my focus!

So – onwards and upwards – I’m now going to be looking to really challenge myself on 5km and 10km races…I’ve had to have a complete re-think about how I train (50 miles per month, including events isn’t much at all really – so every run needs to count, rather than just being ‘junk’ miles). Its going to be hard – both physically, but also mentally.

I attempted my first 5km this week, at Waddesdon Manor. It was a tough course, being an out an back on a 2.5km hill – I was relatively happy with my 20.41 time, and can use this as the starting point for now trying to get firstly under 20mins, and then see how close I can get to 19m….

Its taken a good couple of weeks to get my head round the fact I can no longer do marathons – which is the distance I love – but now I’m in a better place…and ready to take on this new challenge. Sometimes you have to just play the hand you’re dealt.

All of us have different challenges and aims – and sometimes these change because we want to try something new – and sometimes the situation is changed for us – either way – its possible to find a test in almost any situation –and possible to find new ways to push yourself.

If you find yourself with a new test, then my advice is embrace it and give it your all – you never know you might even find you enjoy it!


Coach Warby

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