Here’s two things all runners hate.
Anti-inflammatory meds and empty shoes. One of these is bad enough, both means you’ve either overdone it or been unlucky.
And so it’s been for me this week.
What started as a careless impact onto a piece of cracked pavement three weeks ago became, by last weekend, a darting pain in the joint of the big toe of my left foot.
The two weeks in between were where, as they say in the west of Ireland, Aughrim was lost.
I continued to run on the sore toe, and this led to a sore foot, which led to a second sore foot (as one overcompensated for the other), a sore leg and, eventually, (there’s a pattern developing) two sore legs.
There’s a simple question here, of course, that you don’t even need to ask.
But why couldn’t I stop running? Despite the darts of pain, the dull ache afterwards, the stiffness, the interrupted sleep and the frustration of all of the above, I kept it up.
So, 120k later and in considerable discomfort I eventually decided to take a week off.
It’s my first week’s break in 21 months, a period which encompassed two Irish winters, one Irish summer (indistinguishable from an Irish winter, for the most part), my wedding and a couple of transatlantic and other trips.
It also covered a couple of weeks of shin splints and sundry bloodied toes.
So I’m probably due a break before I suffer one – at least that’s what I tell myself. But, as most runners know, a short-term injury spells at best boredom, at worst outright frustration.
In my case it’s constantly checking my foot and counting down the days to the end of my time off (having self-diagnosed the injury as a minor toe sprain).
As I’ve waited this week, fidgeting, glancing at my running shoes and thumbing through my albums, I’ve wondered why no-one’s written a suite of songs about sport injuries.
Perhaps they have. I vaguely recall seeing a Tom Petty interview in which he spoke of writing his song The Waiting while he recovered from a broken arm, unable to play his guitar.
Beyond that though there’s no Chariots Of Fire for the hobbled set.
Maybe it’s time to write one.
Or crank up Blood on the Tracks.