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Lack of patience

I featured on the advertising poster for the
1980 Whyalla Marathon
I ran another 5km round the streets of Copa this morning, a little faster than yesterday, which was a little faster than the day before.  The sore arch is still lingering in the 3 out of 10 pain range, but maybe getting marginally better.  There's a specific point on the arch where the pain is sharp, but not intense.  More like the pain you would get from a blister.  I hope I'm not on the slippery slope, where I'm so enjoying getting back to some running, that there's a temptation to ignore the pain and keep going.

At least I'm not as bad as 30 years ago when, once I got quite fit, I could not bring myself to pass up opportunities to win races and accept any related travel, despite carrying significant injuries.  In the first half of 1980, I incurred what was initially a minor knee problem, diagnosed as a small tear in my patella tendon.  A few weeks off, once I realised it was more than a passing niggle, would probably have fixed the problem.  But I was on a high after running my first sub-2:20 marathon a year earlier, was very fit, and wanted to "cash in" on my heavy training investment.

The [Euroa] Gazette, 15 April 1980
In particular, I was very keen to take up an all expenses paid trip to Whyalla for the Whyalla Marathon, which I had won the previous year, and to do well in the Australian Intervarsity Championships in Hobart, representing the University of Melbourne where I was doing my Masters part-time.

Initially, I took anti-inflammatories to reduce the pain and enable continued training, but when this didn't do the job, I had a cortisone injection in the offending knee from my sports doctor.  I was warned to train less in the days following the injection, but my definition of "less" involved 120 kilometres of running, including a 15km race, in the ensuing five days.  It was less than I had been doing, but probably not "less" by the doctor's definition, and I paid the price.

Extracts from my 1980 Training Diary
I managed to get through the Whyalla Marathon, coming a disappointing second in 2:30, but a month later, needed another cortisone injection to get me through the Intervarsity week.

Despite two weeks of rest after Intervarsity, my knee wasn't improving and I ended up having surgery to stitch my patella tendon back together and clean out all of the scar tissue.

It was another couple of months before I could begin running seriously again, which in retrospect, seems a fast recovery.  But the reality was that I lost more than six months of my prime running years because of this injury, instead of six weeks if I had managed it conservatively.  Of course, I had some wins and great experiences during this period, but it doesn't compare to what I might have achieved if I had heeded the early indicators of knee trouble and had some time off.