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Good and bad

Narrow windblown ridges.

My fears about running hard twice on the same weekend were realised, to a degree.  My first steps when I arose yesterday, were quite painful.  I expected my right Achilles tendon, which is chronically injured, to be sore, but was unpleasantly surprised to find my whole heel felt tender and bruised when I put weight on it.  It wasn't totally debilitating, so I crossed my fingers and left to join my club-mates for our annual Wakefield to Congewai 40km trail run along The Great North Walk.

Dank dark rainforest gullies.

Right from the start my heel was painful as I ran, and the further I went the more painful it got.  It wasn't bad enough to stop me running, but it made me limp and shorten my stride, both impacting my running efficiency and my speed.  I tried to avoid forcing it, and resigned myself to hobbling along at a slower pace.

Sandstone caves.

The pain wasn't sufficient, however, to distract from a challenging and rewarding run through beautiful forest terrain.  There were narrow windblown ridges, dank dark rainforest gullies, sandstone caves, breathtakingly steep hills, and glorious vistas.  It was fun to be out there and sharing it with like-minded friends.

Glorious vistas.

Also on the positive side, although running inefficiently, my legs didn't tire as much as expected.  Even towards the end, I felt I was strong enough to step up the pace if not for the painful heel.  This tells me that the previous two weekends of long road runs have yielded benefits.

I now have a decision to make about the Macleay River Marathon in two weeks time.  I still haven't entered, and will leave it a little longer.  I figure that I need to taper anyway, and am hoping that my heel will improve with two days of walking, and careful running thereafter.  I will also wear my Hoka shoes as much as possible in the hope that their extra cushioning hastens the healing process.  My sense is that if I can get to the starting line of the marathon with almost no pain in the right heel, I will be able to make the distance and finish with dignity.  That's the plan, anyway, and I'll enter the marathon later in the week if I feel significant improvement.