It has been a couple of weeks since my last update and the title of the post should give a hint why, my run of good luck regarding significant injuries seems to be at an end.
In my review of the Grim I made reference to the fact that my right Achilles tendon was giving me pain throughout, I had hoped it was something that was just a niggle on the day and would improve with some rest. Thinking that things were improving I went for a short run about a week after the Grim (only 4 miles) yet the problem was still there and although the pain subsided when running it returned with a vengeance once I had finished and I have not run since.
As I cycle to work I am not completely inactive at the moment but running is completely off the cards (I ran 50 yards for a train and the pain was immediately there). I am fairly lucky in so far that the next race is the NDW50 in May and training was not scheduled to start until early in the new year, but looking at the date now I may have to push my training starting until mid Jan or even Feb depending on how I recover (I don’t even want to think about what happens if it is still not healed by Feb!)
So now I am having to deal with the phycology of an injured runner; the desire to get out and train, to just get one run in. It is the first time that any injury has stopped me completely and the times before have been reducing mileage or skipping training days, not stopping completely.
So, to recovery.
A bit of internet surfing has taken me to a pretty good article on the Achilles injuries (Running Writings) with some good stretches which I am now doing every day. The image taken from running writings shows the eccentric heel drops that should aid recovery, this along with RICE treatment hopefully will mean I will be back out getting the miles in by Feb.
If anyone reading this post has had similar problems and has any tips they could offer feel free to post in the comments section, the help and advice would be most welcome.
With two high-profile cycling accidents on UK roads this week it has got me thinking about the importance of standing out and safe cycling when commuting in these dark evenings.
The below infographic a has some quite start statistics
When I took the decision that cycling to work would be the most cost-effective option for me I knew that an investment in some good quality hi-viz gear and lights would be a must.
My set up is as follows:
Hi Viz jacket
Hi Viz rucksack cover
Hi Viz bands on my ankles
Flashing LED on the rear of my helmet
Flashing LED on the seat post (main rear light and the brightest)
Flashing LED on my jacket (built-in and lower brightness)
Static LED replacing the bar end on my drop bars (gives my bike width and as its different encourages drivers to give a bit more space)
Flashing LED (low brightness)
300 Lumen LED static LED light (on roads runs at 100 lumens, on roads with no streetlights at the max)
LED on helmet giving static spotlight
Forward facing static white LED on the drop bars (part of the same rear facing light)
I have also added some reflective Scotchlite material to my seat stays in order to add a bit more visibility. This maybe overkill in some people’s eyes but I would rather be too visible that not visible enough.
Change is needed
As cyclists we have a responsibility to encourage a better attitude towards us, to many times I see almost invisible cyclists cruising along with no helmet and complete disregard for any road signage, running red lights as they see fit. It’s this minority which gives other road users a poor view of us cyclists, so make yourself visible as possible, respect the highway code, what is the point in running a red light and getting flattened under a car, does that get you to your destination any quicker?
It’s not all a one way street though, motorists need to understand that a bike has as much right on the road as they do, that some cycle lanes are so poorly maintained that it is safer for us to cycle outside these. I have had polar opposite experiences with motorists, some giving ample space when passing or slowing to let me pull out from a junction, to others who I have had to emergency brake lest I hit them simply because “they couldn’t wait to get past me” only for me to catch them up at the next set of traffic lights. A bit more patience from motorists would do an awful lot to save lives.