I learned a lot about feet yesterday. I didn’t know that (depending on who you ask) your feet have two (or three) arches, all vital to movement. The transverse arch – across the foot – is one I really knew nothing about. Turns out mine has failed a bit, and is the direct cause of the excruciating left foot pain I have experienced for the last couple of months. My pain was in the ball of my foot and my toes. Understandable that, given the inflammation there too, this was where I was getting and applying treatment, seemingly to no effect.
Symptoms! Symptoms! My chiropractor spotted the cause quickly. My transverse arch had begun to fail, and the metatarsal bones (the ones down to the toes) were being called on to do work they were not designed for. A few uncomfortable manipulations of my foot and a snug band of tape around it and Jesper announced I was probably sorted. As miracle cures go, it was quick and convincing. I need to get the inflammation down and give the foot good time to rest and recover, but already I’m walking with far less pain.
The bigger problem is one of timing. I raced at the British Masters Championships last weekend. With my running spikes done up tight, I could cope with 100 metres, and was flattered by fourth place in the A Final. 200 metres was another thing altogether. I’ve been running rubbish times all year, and only got seeded to the B Final. I could run the bend hard. Bend running places more stress on the outside of the foot, where I was having no pain. Thus, I hared off from the gun. However, after the bend comes the straight, and with maybe 30 metres of the race to go, my left foot was making itself known in no uncertain manner. You might think that the adrenaline of racing would mask this. Well, if it did, I didn’t notice then. I was overtaken by two others and finished third, glad to stop and rest my foot. I did get a season’s best time from that race, but I could have been a whole lot faster without the pain. I think the time was largely down to it being the first occasion in the year that I had raced on a dry track, and not into a howling gale either.
So, foot pain right at that moment was bad timing. However, the British Championships were supposed to be a final building block in my preparation for the European Masters in Germany, in August. The thoughts had been around in my head for a while: did I want to travel all that way for what might amount to failure in two painful qualifying races and a lot of standing around taking photos? Well, no, I didn’t. My foot now needs rest and some gentle rehab. That’s completely out of line with the build up preparation and speed work I’d expect to be doing and need to be doing, before a big championship. There were a few people I needed to talk it through with, but basically I knew the answer; I was going to have to withdraw from the Europeans. Going there just to be a photographer was an option, but I’m an athlete, and I just could not see myself being there in a non-combatant role.
So, I cancelled. I’m not going. Definite. I missed the World Masters Indoors in April too, owing to my calf injury. That’s now almost totally sorted, by the way. I guess I just need to see this as one of a sequence of bad years, and bounce back from it. I’ve got one more competition, but not for about 6 weeks. I shall build for that and then pull the plug on 2012.
I’m sad about it. It’s been basically bad luck and bad timing.