Friday 24th March 2023 And now there are just 9 weeks to go. How did the last week go so quickly?! Training continues and doesn’t seem to get any easier. I have been training for nearly 5 years and in that time I have been fit enough to run the for 5 days in the Amazon. But that was in preparation for June 2020 when I had no problems running the virtual event around the jungles of Calderdale. Am I going to get that fit again? Injury has taken it’s toll over the last 18 months and now I am increasingly paranoid about every tweak of pain that might just end my hopes.

It all started with a trip to the local Halifax Park Run in August 2021. I thought it would be a fun alternative to all my longer runs and it would be good to run with the family. I was doing well, I felt fit and was going at a good pace and then “ping”, something went in my right foot. I paused for a couple of minutes, not sure what to do, the end of the race was just a couple of hundred feet away, so I hobbled/hopped to the finish and managed to get my fastest time for Halifax Park Run. The slight problem was that I could barely walk at the end of it. My biggest worry at this point was would I be ok to run the Vale of Glamorgan Ultra Run two weeks later? Of course, like all good athletes, I ignored the pain, decided to be mentally strong, took loads of pain killers and got to the end of 40 miles along the South Wales coast line. By January 2022 I realised that something was seriously wrong with my foot and that if I wanted to get to the Jungle, I needed to get it seen to. And finally, by June 2022 after seeing 4 podiatrists, an ultrasound and an MRI scan I had an answer to the pain – I had torn my Plantar Fascia.

So training has not been what it should have been over the last 18 months, but I am now running again and have managed the Yorkshireman Half and the Hebden 22. Both are local off-road hilly events which are a good test of running ability and they have also been a good test of my pain endurance threshold! But I am getting stronger and fitter, my foot no longer hurts, and my pack weight has reached 7.9kg. But there are other niggles – my knees, my calves, my gluteus median. A trip to the podiatrist on Monday provided an answer to these and of course all pains are related. So I need to work harder at my foot exercises, massage gun all my tight areas and perhaps it is about time I went for a full deep muscle sports massage to loosen up my increasingly tight complaining muscles.

And then there is the actual training to get done. Monday was strength training, Tuesday was Hill Reps at Ogden, Wednesday was more strength training and today was an easy run home from Huddersfield. Tomorrow I have a long 3hr20 run with 8.5kg in my pack and then just another 2 hours for Sunday again with the heavy pack. And this leads me onto my next challenge – which pack is going to actually fit me?