I’ve had an ongoing pain in my groin now for about 8 weeks, at first I thought it was because my SIJ was so tight, but that has cleared up now and it’s still there. The pain feels like a soft tissue injury, but it hasn’t improved in the slightest in that time. I’m also getting pains in my hip flexor area, over the last week that has been getting worse. However, once I’ve warmed up and running fast I’m not so aware of it.
Last Tuesday, I turned up at Maiden Castle ready for whatever Max had planned. Michael Crawley turned up too. Michael is a very talented young runner, he has run some good races, but I feel that he still hasn’t met his full potential. He was just coming good in his late Teens but then lost some consistency through injury and Uni commitments. Over the last year he has been training hard and without injuries and spent three months altitude training in Ethiopia.
Our session was 12x400 with a minute recovery. For as long as I can remember 400 reps have been a base session, something that I’ve always done, and they’ve always hurt!
I have distant memories of leading my training group through 2 sets of 5x400 and going through in sub 60 seconds, I was 16/17 at the time and it was so long ago now I actually question myself if I ever went that fast, but a quick look over my training diaries confirms it. In those days a high mileage week would have been close to 30 miles and all of my running was at a fast pace. Sessions were of distances like 150’s, 200’s, 400’s and 600’s and every effort was run as fast as I could, race pace. It was all speed, speed, speed. Now that I’m older I run much higher mileage and my track sessions are usually much longer and 400’s are a lot rarer and tend to be the shortest of my intervals, so I no longer rep out in sub 60’s in fact if I finish my session keeping my efforts sub 70 I’m satisfied.
In May, when I was still going well, pre ill health and injury I did 8x400 averaging in about 68 seconds, I was happy with that. That was my last 400 session so tonight doing 12 was going to be tough.
Myself and Michael started the first effort, Michael was half a stride ahead of me, I was feeling good and sat on his shoulder, I did consider going past and taking it, but that would have been crazy on the first effort so we crossed together, well me half a stride behind, 63 seconds and felt comfortable! We both recovered quickly and set off on the second, again I was feeling good and stayed with Michael, again thinking about taking it on, but I knew better, if I spent too much effort now I would pay massive later.
I finished this 400 a couple of seconds down on Michael, we were on our jog recovery, I looked across and he was barely breathing. It was a warm night and my head was like a giant beetroot! I was starting to overheat.
We had done 4 efforts and had 8 left to do, the mind games started to kick in. I often have a mental battle with myself during sessions, at the minute I was thinking, 4 done, I could just do 8 like the last time, ok, eight it is!
Again I felt good to 200, then I felt like someone had jumped on my back for the last 200. Well that was 5 done now, 8 efforts would be a real cop out and I want to move on from May, so I could stop at 10.
We started the 6th, by now I wasn’t even trying to go with Michael, I was just running at my own pace, it was now a battle of wills. 10 is a good number to stop at, most people do 10x400, it’s more than my last session, I’m running quicker than the last session so it’d be ok to stop at 10.
On the 7th and 8th I was now about 4 seconds behind Michael and settling there, he was like a machine, his times were hardly slowing and his recovery was really good, I was starting to feel old and slow.
By the ninth effort I was starting to think to myself, one more effort and I’ll sack it off, yes that’s it, 10 will do. But as I was going round the track my determination kicked in, COME ON! You can’t quit a bloody session, you’re doing ok, you’ll beat yourself up if you quit. You’ve done 10, it’s only one more after the next one.
The gap between myself and Michael wasn’t getting any bigger, so either we were now getting slower at the same rate or we had both found our pace.
10th and 11th done, one left, COME ON!! Get yourself up for the last one, all the coals on the fire! Suck in some oxygen and bang out a good last effort.
I usually give everything on my last effort, I try to imagine that it’s the last 400 of a race and I’m digging deep. I set off with Michael and tried to hang on again, 100, I felt ok, 150, I was a stride behind, 200, just about still there, then Bang! My legs went and turned to wood! I got to 300 and tried to find more gears, but nothing, I kept digging, my legs were burning with lactic acid, my head was about to explode with the warm humid weather and my lungs were on fire, I felt like I was going to spontaneously combust! I pushed on and crossed the line a couple of seconds up on my previous effort. In my head I was screaming, The pain, it hurts, arrgh! I love it!!
YEE HAA! In the battle of wills I won, I’d finished the session. It had been a tough session, but it was my first one back in months and it went well. My slowest effort was faster than my slowest in May and today I’d done 12 rather than the 8 in May. I got a well done, good session of Max, high praise indeed!
Max tells it how it is, There’s no I could have, I would have, no excuses about weather or conditions and he won’t have any of the excuses about courses been long or hilly. You either did or didn’t run well. Likewise in sessions, especially on the track, there’s no hiding on the track so you can see exactly where you’re at. Some coaches tell you that you’re going well even when you’re not, they do everything they can to boost their athletes confidence, but that’s not helping really, you just get disheartened when you don’t race well. So to get a good session of Max really gives me a lift.
After the session, I was buzzing. My first full session in months and it went well, no pain and my times were good, so hopefully I can get back into full training. As of Tuesday I was back in full training and full mileage, I need to get back to my 70 to 80 miles a week.
However, I set off Wednesday morning to run into work and I really struggled I was in quite a bit of discomfort. I still ran to and from work but it wasn’t good, my groin was sore and illiopsoas was painfull. Thursday I tried to do a fartlek session but it was just an easy run, I couldn’t bring myself to do any efforts.
I had a rest day on Friday, thinking I could have a better run on Saturday. Saturday came and I did my Fartlek, but it wasn’t good and Sunday I ran eight miles into work, ok ish.
For a while now I’ve known what this pain in my groin is but I’ve been trying to kid myself that I’m wrong, but it’s got to the point where I just can’t keep going the way I have been which is one good run a week followed by a week of painful shuffling. I’m 95% sure that I have a hernia, so I’m off to see a Doctor tomorrow.
I’m hoping that will get the ball to recovery rolling. I’m getting married this Saturday then 2 weeks Honeymoon in Greece, hopefully by the time I get back I’ll be closer to getting to see a specialist to find out what is wrong.
Running wise this has been a rubbish year for me, I’m really hacked off that every blog recently I’ve been whinging about injury and ill health, that’s so not me, usually I just train week in week out no problems at all. When I speak to customers in the shop I gloss over my injuries and always stay up beat, but on this Blog I’m trying to let people see what goes through my head when I’m running, either well or not so good, hopefully people will see that we’re all the same, no matter what ability you’re at. We all have niggles and injuries, we all have our own inner battles on club nights and have sessions that we love as well as the ones we hate.
Anyway, I guess by the time you all get to read this I’ll be a married man and on Honeymoon, We’ve planning this wedding for 2 years now so myself and Clare are really looking forward to it, and yes I will be taking some running kit on Honeymoon, well 2 weeks is a long time and I might get the urge to go for a little jog.