There are two sorts of injuries that most runners will suffer in their careers.
The first – and by far the commonest – is the self-inflicted injury through being stupid.
Every runner has had many instances of this sort of injury. It normally goes along the lines of you’re out running one day and something from your arse to your big toe starts to hurt. You tend to ignore this and keep running on the counterintuitive hope that the more you hurt yourself the faster you’ll be cured.
Only when you’re limping and climbing the stairs like a toddler learning to walk will you accept that maybe a rest might help the injury. This sort of injury is all about the learning process and discovering your limits – at least that’s what you tell yourself as you shell out for physio bills and new shoes.
You’ll garner little or no sympathy from the non-running community for this sort of injury. And rightly so.
The second type of injury is far rarer and, while potentially more catastrophic, it does at least attract more sympathy from the public.
This is the falling down a mountain/being hit by a car/tripping over your shoe laces sort of injury and it is the sort I currently have.
The sore ankle is on the mend although it seems to be responding to abuse rather than care. After the initial pain it settled into a period of turning the bit of my foot under the ankle and in front of the toes purple then yellow.
I took the foot out for a run last Friday and it held up well (although I needed a Zimmer frame afterwards) and yesterday I did that thing that sends me from the sensible to stupid corner in the injury classroom by heading out on a 20 mile run on it.
The motivation behind this sort of run was to see how it would hold up, to see how it would behave afterwards and to see if you could run 20 miles with an aquapack on your back with out chaffing the shoulders off yourself.
The aquapack (bag of water on your back) has the added benefit of weighing 2.5kg so it tends to slow you down. I’m still not sure on them though. They look the part and make you look more serious (how shallow is that?) but unless you need to carry spare clothing I’m not so sure they’re of any benefit.
And they chaffed that smooth skin you have on the inside of you bicep – terrible.
The foot was obviously sore afterwards and this sort of activity will not be helpful in the long run but if I can get to the finishing line of my next race I can recuperate at my ease.
But all of this is but a trivial matter.
The slippery slope of the post title is not the wet grass of Temple Hill last Monday.
No, as the old lucozade ad used to say, It’s much worse.
During the run yesterday I received confirmation on my self-diagnosis that I had hit early on-set middle age.
I’ll set the scene.
I run on an 8 mile loop on an amenity walk that consists of a disused railway line and some coastal paths. The paths are about 3 t o3.5m wide with grass verges. It’s know as the Mahon Amenity Walk/The Line/The Blackrock Line/The Marina or all of them. Apart from the teenage drinkers (mainly their empty bottles) and the dog shit everything is fine.
It was about 9 miles into the run – just starting the second loop. Not far enough into the run to blame sugar depletion on my behaviour but certainly long enough to make me look mental to the poor souls who caught my Victor Meldrew impersonation.
In front of me is a man with his daughter and his dog. The man is from my tribe.
Well, he’s about my age, he’s dressed just like me (when not running), his daughter is dressed just like my daughter and judging by the quality of the dog (think a tall, black, Dulux sheepdog that’s had a good haircut) he uses his brain and not his fists to earn a living – I mean who gives their dog a haircut?
Then it happens.
The dog squats down and lays a massive cable in the grass verge. The man looks at the turd, smiles and walks on.
The following thoughts flood through my head:
That’s a huge shit/looks like he’s not going to pick it up/this guy isn’t 70 or from the wrong side of the tracks/no excuses.
And before I can get the thoughts in order I’m asking him to pick up his dog’s turd. Nobody is more surprised by this than me but once the genie is out of the bottle you can’t put him back in.
He tells me he has no bag for it.
I tell him I don’t care – use two leaves – there’s even a turd bin close by I tell him.
He tells me the turd is in the grass verge so it’ll be OK.
I tell him I run in the grass and it’s still littering.
He tells me he doesn’t want to get any shit on his hands.
I tell him that’s his problem; I don’t want any shit on my kids shoes
(by now you’d be cringing if standing beside me).
He tells me to Fuck Off.
I tell him that’s fine and I whip out the camera phone and tell him I’ll photograph him and follow him for the rest of the day and make sure he’s prosecuted for littering.
He takes the walk of shame to pick up the dog turd with his hands (and two leaves).
I decide to head off at that stage as a man with a huge dog shit in his hands is a different prospect than a man telling you to fuck off.
8 miles later I was passing the same place and there was the dog shit bin with two big leaves sticking out of it.
Excuse the quality of the photos but I wasn’t going in for a close up!
The slippery slope to middle age just got slipperyer but at least there was no dog shit on it!