A painful weekend, but nonetheless, a weekend which saw me (somewhat unexpectedly) secure ultramarathon finish #25. You may have read my previous post, Ischiogluteal Bursitis – Quite Literally A Pain In The Ass, which outlined my predicament. If you haven’t, well, in a nutshell, it goes something like this:
Back and shoulder pain leads to physiotherapy, which identifies a possible imbalance between hamstrings and gluteal muscles, which in turn leads to prescribed gluteal exercises, which changes running form, which results in ischiogluteal bursitis, which results in an absolute lack of ultra specific training, which in turn results in considerations of DNS, DNF and, ultimately, a tough weekend attempting to run 33 miles whilst dealing with the bursitis, which did indeed play a considerable part in my race day.
Wow, reading that makes me realise just how ‘wordy’ my previous post was!
Despite my trepidation, I did toe the line at the start of the D33 this Saturday just past. Thankfully, with it being my ‘local’ ultra, I knew that I could be rescued if the need arose. Mindful of the impending 53 mile Highland Fling, I knew that I had to at least attempt the distance. Lets face it, how often do you get the opportunity to do a 33 mile training run, get some company along the route, and get a beer and medal at the end!
And so, at 9am on Saturday 11th March 2017, I set out towards Banchory, with the initial aim of at least making it as far as the half-way point just outside of Banchory. Admittedly, as far as rescue pick up points went, this would be the most awkward one for Leanne and Harris to get to. However, I needed something to work towards and the half-way point was it.
I wasn’t pain free on the way out. Far from it. I did, however, manage to complete the 1st 1/2 in a time of 02:32 which was considerably better than I had hoped, and was more in keeping with my PB time plans from the beginning of the year, before the bursitis derailed everything.
Leaving the 1/2 way point, a combination of the bursitis and the lack of training miles was starting to take its toll however, and I opted to plug in for the first time, hoping for a boost from some of my preferred Anjunabeats selections.
I’m not going to go in to too much detail but, suffice to say, the wheels came off the wagon and the return leg took me 03:36, a whole hour and 4 minutes longer.
However, I can take a lot of positives from the day.
For one, it was a finish, and not just any finish, but ultra finish #25 for me. What’s more, it wasn’t even my PW D33 time! It was considerably longer, at 06:08:28, than my D33 PB time of 05:28:56 set in 2016, but, under the circumstances, it was only to be expected, and could have been a lot, lot worse.
Secondly, at no point did I experience a lack of energy or a mental low, which actually sets it apart from many of the ultramarathons that I have run. Pain aside, I actually felt pretty good from start to finish. Yeah, the bursitis was, quite literally, a ‘pain in the ass’, but it was expected and, all things considered, things went well.
Thirdly, and perhaps best of all, the camaraderie and concern exhibited from my fellow runners was amazing. I was obviously toiling, with a running ‘form’ that felt more like Quasimiodos than my own, and I lost count of the number of runners who stopped and asked as to my well-being and/or whether there was anything that they could do to help. Thanks to you all. It fairly kept my spirits up.
So, ultra #1 of 2017 complete and, as aforementioned, with a lot of positives.
As I write this, I’m still suffering from a combination of bursitis and DOMS, but the aim is to at least make it to the gym for some gentle exercise today, before hopefully soon returning to the gluteal exercises that may well have triggered the bursitis.
The ultimate aim of the physiotherapy is still to rid me of the daily back pain and the running form is just going to have to catch up. Hopefully a good deal of this can be done prior to my next 2017 ultra, the Highland Fling, on 29th April.
Thanks as always to the Race Directors and marshals who gave up their day to facilitate our folly, and even more so than usual on this particular day, to my fellow runners who helped me along my way to the finish.
Featured Image photo from Running in Scotland, finish line photo by Leanne Mackintosh.