London Marathon 2022 – HPT update

An update. I’ve been trying to remain positive, religiously following advice and completing the exercises prescribed by the physio, it’s incredibly slow process but that’s to be expected with a tendon injury.

Since my last post, I’ve experienced a lot of emotions. Mainly frustration that my body is taking so long to heal but also that of letting down the charity I’m scheduled to run for, the people that have so kindly sponsored me to date and my workplace who have publicised my fundraising with an additional offer of £250 towards the fundraising total if I complete the marathon (along with four others from the company). I decided it would be fairer to speak to the charity and let them know my situation, they were so lovely! The lady investigated other options including allowing me to defer my place to next year which would have been a great option. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible and finding someone else to run wasn’t looking hopeful either. In parallel, I contacted the comms team at work to remove my name from the list while we thought of other options and suggested I could walk the route if we didn’t come up with any other ideas, pain permitting.

Then it struck me… My husband could run in my place if I was unable! This seemed like the perfect solution to me. Many of the people that sponsored me would have sponsored him and the charity would not be let down. I’d still have the disappointment of not receiving the donation from work and dealing with the frequent “ohh, I hear you’re running the marathon” conversations (along with the huge frustration of listening to how others’ training was going) but it was a plan that also allowed a slight glimmer of hope for me in case I made a miraculous recovery. This was in May and the plan wasn’t to start until 16th June, so all good.

Two obstacles, agreement from the charity and agreement from my husband. My husband is not a runner. He’s not a runner but he was willing to complete the 16 week beginner training plan if it meant I had longer to formulate a plan. What an amazing thing to do! We discussed how he would feel if he started the training and then I felt I could at least make it around the course, would he be disappointed? He said no and that he should probably get fitter anyway so that was perfect.

In the meantime, I visited the charity and saw the work they did first-hand. The opportunity to ask questions was fantastic and it was incredible to see the resources available to support people with mental and/or physical disabilities, have a look: https://calvertexmoor.org.uk/. It was a great experience and really made me determined to raise more and get around the course, even if I had to walk. Publicity photos were taken and a new sense of pressure to perform ensued.

That’s me, bottom left and bottom right, looking but not feeling the part

As the weeks ticked by, the pain changed but didn’t reduce. I could feel my hamstring getting stronger but it was constantly tight. Foam rollering didn’t really help and neither did stretches. My impatience got the better of me and on 23rd May I went for a little run, just to see how it felt. I ran a mile at slow pace, no pain while running but excruciating immediately after.

Unauthorised run

I told the physio when I saw him next, he didn’t seem overly impressed but not entirely surprised, he added some Nordics to the single leg bridges and suggested I could try some short runs after my next appointment. My next appointment was on the 28th June.

Fast forward a few weeks and with the 16 week training plan start date already having passed, I visited the physio again and asked the dreaded question “what are my chances of taking part in the London Marathon, still slim to none?”. His response was “slim but not none, we need to see how you get on with the next set of exercises”. My hamstring was stronger than it had been and this gave me hope. With a new exercise regime, to include super short (5 minute) runs over the next three weeks. I knew there wasn’t time to train properly to achieve a “good” marathon time but even completing a marathon is a huge achievement that many will not experience in a lifetime. Walking, jogging, Jeffing… but possible!

I came home, new plan in hand and (dare I say it) excited that I may be on the mend.

Next set

After putting the children to bed, I changed into my running things and set out. The rain was pouring and the recent warm weather was replaced with a blustery cold wind but I didn’t care, I was running for five whole minutes! It felt good to be out, my legs still worked, my lungs weren’t quite as cooperative but I was running and I didn’t feel immediate pain.

Physio approved run 1

Very sore the next day but the physio suggested I’d feel this way so I’m blindly trusting him and assuming it’s ok for now. Knowing whether the marathon is still an option is a little way off, but I’m enthused and remaining positive that I’ll at least be mobile, if nothing else.

Next dilemma… It turns out my husband is now hugely motivated to run the marathon. He’ll certainly be fitter than me, he’s following the plan more stringently than I ever thought he would and is enjoying it, which is great. I don’t feel I can take that away from him, especially after he selflessly offered to train to give me longer to heal.

So, pros and cons (love a list), assuming I’m capable of getting around the course:

Pros

  1. I’ll share a marathon day with my dear friend who, after all, is the reason I signed up in the first place
  2. The huge achievement of finishing a marathon (although there are numerous others I could enter)
  3. Completing the London Marathon has always been a dream (and after many, many ballot rejections, I never thought would be possible)
  4. An additional £250 towards the charity from my workplace

Cons

  1. Potential injury niggles
  2. May never have the chance to run London again
  3. It won’t be the experience I’d hoped it be (won’t be fully fit)
  4. Upsetting my husband

Pretty even at the moment, I guess I’ll just have to see how my (ridiculously short, for someone hoping to run a marathon in 95 days) runs go over the next few weeks.

Fingers crossed!

London Marathon 2022 – Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy

Since my last post I’ve had two further appointments with the physio and a turbulent ride on the emotional roller coaster.

Great news at the first appointment where the physio thinks the leg kicks have helped detach/remove(?) the adhesions to my sciatic nerve. Not such great news at the second appointment, diagnosis can’t be pinpointed exactly because I haven’t had a scan to confirm but it’s likely to be proximal hamstring tendonitis (PHT). Knowing how frustrating it must be for a physio to hear the question, I asked anyway “ how long do you think it’ll take to heal?”. As expected, there was no definite answer. He did confide that he’s suffering from the same thing from a sports injury he sustained a week before Christmas. I wonder if my injury, which I believe stems from a fall in the garden may be different, I hope so.

Some days the pain is so extreme, I can’t sit down for more than 10 minutes and I can’t see how this will be resolved in time to train for the marathon.

I’ve moved from frantically Googling “how long does PHT take to heal?”, to “Can I still run with PHT?”. I’ve lost hours to the internet searching for a ray of hope, there are some positive outlooks but in general there’s so much doom and gloom. I did find a useful website which describes the pain as if I’d written it myself, searching for the “can I speed up recovery” section lead me to the many comments from other sufferers. Oh my goodness. Honestly, I understand the frustration but (after reading every comment) I left the site feeling utterly depressed and hopeless, if you’d like to know more about hamstring tendinopathy, I highly recommend the article… Just stop at the comments: https://runnersconnect.net/high-hamstring-tendinopathy-injuries-a-pain-in-the-butt/

Trying to remain positive, I’m focusing on the fact that, much like me, people are probably searching for answers because they’re in pain and add their comments when they came across the article. The recovered, pain free and active won’t be searching and commenting… probably. If you’re one of the recovered, please let me know!

While I complete my prescribed exercises religiously and rely on Naproxen to ease some of the pain, I wonder if I should call the charity I’m running for to let them know there’s a chance I may not be able to run for them, I’d be letting them down but they’d still get the sponsorship money I’d raised so far and maybe another runner may be able to take my place and raise even more. Then I’d *only* be letting down the people who have kindly and generously donated and my friend, the reason I signed up in the first place – to help her with her training. Some days are better than others, and it is still early days so there’s hope (come on positivity), I’d love to run the London Marathon, I’m emotional every time I see a London landmark on the TV, a post on social media about how training is going or simply see someone running.

In the meantime, I’m attempting to cross train. Regularly using my girly weights trying to strengthen my core (I also found an unwanted elliptical cross-trainer on Market Place but I’m too scared it will damage me further at the moment).

It’s not knowing that’s the worst. If someone told me today, you can’t do this, at least I’d know. I’d be disappointed and upset but I’d adjust. At the moment, there’s a small glimmer of hope that I’ll hold onto. The physio suggested I’d know for sure at the beginning of June – if I can hold a slow 15 minute training jog. There is hope.

Stay positive!

London Marathon 2022 – humbled by my children

28/02/2022

My Just Giving page went live today. I came home from work and showed the children (William, 6 and Florence, 4) the page and explained a little about the marathon, who the Calvert Trust were and what they do as a charity.

On hearing about the Calvert Trust and after showing the children the website and some photos, they both went off to the other room and came back with their ‘egg money’*, wanting to donate it to help people less fortunate than themselves. They were absolutely insistent and although I didn’t want to take their savings, I honestly couldn’t be prouder of them and the kind souls they are becoming. Perhaps my parenting isn’t that bad after all.

*When we bought the house, it came with a chicken coop and an old girl which William decided to call Buck-Buck because of the screech she makes. Over the next few months we got four more chickens to keep Buck-Buck company, all lay intermittently, and, trying to teach the children the value of money, we explained they could sell the eggs for £1 a box and save up for a toy they both agreed on.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Lynsey-Hyde2