Bendy.

I think it was back when I was training for Six Inch in 2014 there was a yoga studio using some retail space downstairs from work, and they offered a Yoga for Runners class at around lunchtime. I booked in for it because I had a niggly hamstring that I couldn’t quite properly stretch, so I thought it was worth a shot, whilst also being relatively cheap.

The class was successful in releasing my niggles but frustrating. I was part entertained by the graceful flow that the yoga teacher had; she easily moved from one pose to the next, whilst I looked like a mid-sized JCB telehandler trying to imitate her movements. At the same time it all felt a bit mortifying; her flow was graceful, but fast, and I’d feel about 3 steps behind with each pose. Also the hippy chat shit me. So I never went back.

Around the end of May I randomly got some spam from Runner’s World magazine. I haven’t subscribed in years, so I was surprised to get any emails from them, and almost immediately deleted it. I saw something like Become a faster and stronger runner in the subject line and held off from deleting; opening it up expecting a teaser about an article in the next issue. I realised that they were selling a DVD called Yoga for Runners. It was a two disc DVD, it had a few routines on it, including a beginners routine and was only $19.95, which included shipping, so I cracked out my “wasteful spending” credit card (aka the Stupid Fund for Stupid Things), and bought a copy.

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It turned up about a week after I fucked my left ankle, so I took the plastic off it, chucked it on my laptop and had a quick watch whilst flopped on the couch with my foot in the air. The presenter, Rebecca Pacheco refrained from most of the hippy chat, which was a big plus, and appeared to factor in all abilities. When I realised that generally she would try and take you from the easier technique through to the harder version (the reverse of the yoga class teacher) I felt like I hadn’t wasted $20. And best of all, I could pause and rewind as needed.

I’m sort of following a training plan for Six Inch, and it has a flexibility part to it which I think I need at the moment more than anything. Tonight I felt like I’d regained enough balance to give the beginners routine on the DVD a shot, and it went OK. I managed to follow along relatively well, only having to rewind once. I can’t sit on my heels any more (I can barely get the tops of my feet to touch the floor at all), but I didn’t fall over. I did notice that it’s going to take some serious effort to get me to be able to successfully hold even the beginners tree pose.

Work is part sponsoring six weeks of lunchtime yoga and pilates classes. I’ve signed up for Tuesday pilates, so with that plus the beginner’s yoga routine, I hope I can get back that ankle flexibility and balance that I used to enjoy.

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Rundown on recent events.

Righty-o. About three weeks ago I had a spectacularly shitty day at work, so I went for a run with Jeremy to take my mind off it, and 600 metres in I stacked it on some gumnuts on the concrete path, spraining my left ankle (grade 1 tear), and ripping the shit out of my right shin as I scraped it on the concrete. It hurt like fuck.

The timing was quite shit for two reasons: 1) because the Saturday beforehand I had gone to the Canning River parkrun pacer day and chased the 25 minute pacer, notching up a 25m10s, which is 11 seconds off my overall parkrun PB. What was more impressive is that I’m at least 5kg heavier than I was when I managed that, and I’ve not started training for Six Inch again, so that was just off a few long runs and fartlek sessions. 2) was because the only race that had appealed in recent times was King of the Mountain, a 16km trail race uphill from Helena Valley to Mundaring Weir, and that was July 3rd, two weeks into my healing period.

The swelling has now almost completely subsided, and I’ve now run on it four times – Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and today, parkrunday. My instructions were to try and only run on softer surfaces for a few runs.

Sunday’s run was a slow 2.5km, predominantly around the oval near our house, with reasonable success. The soft underfoot would allow me to accidentally step on a gumnut and have it pushed deep into the dirt and grass rather than tilt my foot to jar my ankle. Even still, every leaf on the ground was a gumnut in my mind and thus dodged.

Tuesday’s run was 3km at darkrun with less success, looping back after 1km and returning to the start via a lot of grass instead of the regular path and then 1km around the grassed picnic area. My immediate suspicions were well-founded, and the niggles I had were relieved by use of my spikey ball underfoot, foam roller on my quads in particular and using the muscle stick down the strip of muscle on outside of my left shin.

Thursday’s run nearly didn’t happen because it bucketed down in the afternoon and evening but when we got home it had stopped raining for a while. Because soccer training was on the oval was lit up so I felt comfortable to do laps of the oval. I stayed fairly steady on speed until I hit 3km, when I picked it up a bit and after another lap I threw in a sprint, then eased off after about 80m, jogged for a bit, then another sprint. I headed home and stopped the Garmin on 4.2km feeling immensely pleased.

There was no increase in swelling on Thursday night, but Friday morning the ankle was sore – a dull, but noticable ache that felt like it was inside the ankle structure rather than from the muscle on the outside. I ibuprofened once and the rest of the day I was fine.

This morning was Pioneer parkrun, and I was pretty trepidatious. There is so much tree cover there are usually hard nuts and sticks everywhere on the course, so having been told oh-so-helpfully “you’ll be fine, just as long as you don’t roll your ankle again” I really didn’t want to do that. This was going to be my first run back on majority hard surfaces and also the first hilly terrain I’d tried to run on, so the possibilities of something going a bit wrong were higher than I’d prefer.

Jeremy and a number of our Pioneer friends have noticed that if you run Pioneer a lot it can test your left ankle due to the excessive number of sharp left turns on the course. With this in mind my aim was to be kind, avoid rolling my ankle, walk if necessary and to stop if I needed to (at Pioneer you actually return to the start area 5 times during the course from various directions, so you can choose to cut your run short if required).

The second full lap I had to walk most of the stretch of grass behind the duck ponds, such was the amount of mud and slipping. The way I describe niggles is that you can ‘feel’ the affected area. So when my hamstrings are a bit tight, their existence is obvious, but when they’re fine they operate normally and I can’t consciously feel them. So while I could feel my ankle the whole way round, it was like a steady low grumble that can be acknowledged and then ignored. It only shouted “Oi!” when I hit the sharp left U-turn just before the final boardwalk section on my final 200m home.

34m05s and crossed fingers hopefully no issues tomorrow morning.