Training was going well until the first week of August, where one bad foot plant in the middle of a brilliant session repping Win Hill set me back about four months. The knee problems that have plagued me since the win at Kielder came back to the fore, and it was a mad dash down to the Accelerate Performance Centre to see Pete Down and get an assessment. In twenty four hours I would be on a plane bound for Geneva and a connection to Chamonix for a training weekend in the very mountains I would be racing in at the end of the month. A fool’s errand?
Pete concluded that overworked quads and ITBs, in addition to a muscle spasm with the bad foot plant had contributed to the pain I was suddenly feeling. He wasn’t too worried, but I was to take it very steady over the weekend and not go too hard at running in the Alps. I left the shop feeling relieved, confused, a bit fearful, and rocktaped to the eyeballs.
Chamonix, as ever, was glorious. My brother in law Paul (@pyllon) is renting an apartment out there for a couple of months as he prepares for UTMB, and so I was able to stay with him and our Uncle Chris, who was also out visiting. The rainy start on Friday gave way to glorious conditions over the next couple of days, and I made the most of getting in to the mountains and laying down a new marker of fitness. On the negative side, the knee was playing up quite a bit, particularly on the day we ran from Vallorcine to Trient and back. I had to bail at Vallorcine to protect against further damage, whilst Paul ran back to Chamonix on his own. On the plus side however, my split from Trient to Catogne (the abominable climb) that day was a full twenty five minutes quicker than when I raced it two years ago, so I’ve clearly been doing something right.
Once home the travelling picked up again with a brief trip to Cornwall with Nic to meet up with my parents for a few days. Perhaps I had done too much in the Alps (sorry Pete!), but the running down south was fairly disastrous. Two short efforts left me hobbling even at walking pace, and stairs were a definite non-starter. Total rest seemed to be the only option. Suddenly the race was starting to look in doubt.
Pete had suggested that dry needling might be an option, and so I called my friend Marcus Scotney to book an appointment at Accelerate again and further assessment. I hobbled in on Tuesday evening not really knowing what to expect. His thoughts on the injury echoed those of Pete’s, and he set about an hour long accupuncture session specifically designed to release the tension in my legs. It was painless, professional, and my word did it make a difference. I pretty much sprang up from the table with legs as light as air. The pain in my knee had lessened and I was able to tackle stairs again with a reasonable degree of confidence of actually getting down them. Consider me a dry needling convert. In fact, once the dust has settled on this latest bout of injury I’m intending to have a monthly accupuncture session just to keep the wheels greased and the legs loose. Highly recommended.
With just seven days to go we’re full on at home now making sure we have everything in place for the race. Kit, nutrition, checkpoint lists, transport arrangements, online tracking… there is a lot to consider. Maybe I’ll put a wee video together for that too. Before we leave to get back out to Chamonix I’m down at Accelerate again on Saturday morning for another knee consultation and soft tissue massage with Pete, and then it’s wagons roll. With a little bit of luck, I’ll be lining up to race as planned on 25th August. But given the last few weeks maybe no PBs this year ;-)
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