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For a couple of months now I have been suffering with a sore heel. Unlike the normal niggles that all runners suffer from time to time, this one seems to have taken quite a hold of me and has really begun to affect my running. I went to see my chiropractor Gavin Burt recently and he diagnosed bursitis; essentially inflammation of a fluid sac that sits between tendon and bone – in my case between the achilles tendon the the heel bone – which is often caused by tightness in the tendon which squeezes the sac and leads to inflammation. I think my adversity to stretching along with a pretty hectic running schedule recently – the Paris marathon in the middle of April, the 35km Luxembourg urban trail race at the end of May, the Southend half marathon at the start of June and several 10Ks in between – meant that my sac got more and more raw until eventually, just before coming away on holiday last week, I had to abandon my training schedule and stop running.

I am not worried about injuries as a rule. I think that they are part-and-parcel of being a runner and the human body has incredible powers of regeneration, so R.I.C and E will often help (especially the R). But what this episode has shown me is that I am not invincible. In fact far from it. I suddenly have a premonition of how my running ‘career’ will end – with the whimper of a stubborn injury that will just not go away.

However I have a long-term plan: I love endurance sports and endurance pastimes. By this I mean that when it comes to competing (either against others or against the clock) I am only interested in endurance sports. Currently that is running marathons and my coach and I have a clear focus on what I hope to achieve in the next couple of years. At the same time I also enjoy endurance pastimes – hiking, cycling, climbing, swimming – and that is something I am extremely happy to be able to share with my companion, the Swiss. So I can foresee a point at which improving my marathon times will cease to be possible. Then running marathons will become one of my endurance pastimes, something I do to see the world, a reason to go out for a run, an opportunity to keep up with friends. Something else will then take its place. Perhaps I’ll try my hand at Ironman triathlon or long distance swimming or trail running. Who knows? The point is, that I sincerely hope my current injury goes away. If it doesn’t clear up of its own accord after a couple more weeks away from running I will consult the best medical minds I can find and try to get a solution that way – I am very determined that I will complete the task I have set myself in the marathon. However, I also know that if my body cannot cope with the increased workload that I need to undertake to continue to improve in the marathon, this will simply be the signal for a new beginning… either way I’m happy!

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