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Running column: What a week - a new PB, a clash with a conker and a trip to A&E for Mark Armstrong

Mark Armstrong at the finish of the Bure Valley 10 - the last race he'll be running for a little while. Picture: Total Race Timing

Mark Armstrong at the finish of the Bure Valley 10 - the last race he'll be running for a little while. Picture: Total Race Timing

Archant

'Well, you've done a good job on that…'

I'm sitting in A&E at the Norfolk & Norwich and I'm just about to be told the results of an X-Ray on my left ankle by the nurse consultant.

Less than 12 hours earlier I had been jogging along Whitlingham Way, coming towards the end of a gentle three-mile run, to shake my legs out from the Bure Valley 10M race the day before.

I had just finished work for the day and my legs felt tired from Sunday's event but as the run went on I could feel some of the residual lactic acid being flushed away.

I couldn't have been more than a quarter of a mile away from my car… my mind started to wander, looking forward to seeing my kids when I got home and the chaos of 'witching hour' before bedtime.

Then it happened.

I brought my left foot down just like I had done thousands of times before during the run, except this time there was what I think was a conker on the path.

Crack.

My ankle had given way and suddenly I was hopping along the pavement desperately trying to keep my weight off it.

I continued to hop and hobble for a few yards, passing several people on their evening walk around Whitlingham Broad, none of whom asked if I was okay...thanks.

I had to get back to my car so I could sit down as putting weight on my left foot was becoming more and more painful.

I slumped into my car seat and took my trainer off to assess the damage. Some swelling had developed and by the time I got home there was a large lump on the side of my foot.

I'm no doctor but I knew this wasn't good and as the evening wore on I was in a fair amount of pain.

With two children tucked up in bed and not wanting to disturb that, I wanted to get through the night before heading to hospital in the morning.

A dose of painkillers and an uncomfortable night's sleep later my foot had darkened. This really wasn't good and any hope that I had 'only' sprained my ankle/foot was dwindling.

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Such was the state of my ankle that I had to be pushed in a wheelchair from the hospital car park to reception by my wife Alison, who told me that at least I sat still in it unlike my 18-month-old son, Logan, in his pushchair.

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Within a couple of hours I had been x-rayed and the results weren't great…

I had…

Fractured the fifth base metatarsal (the bone on the outside of your foot)

Fractured the cuboid bone (a bone on top of my foot)

Fractured the lateral malleolus (the bony part of your ankle)

I'm currently in plaster up to my knee and looking at a significant period on the sidelines - I'm due to go back to the hospital in the next few days to see a specialist, who can hopefully get me back on my feet as soon as possible.

To think only a day before the incident I had been on such a high after setting a new personal best at the Bure Valley 10 of 1-13:55. I felt ready to kick on with my training for a couple of 10Ks and a half marathon but it's not to be.

It all feels very raw at the moment and I'm unable to properly plot how I am going to come back 'stronger than ever'.

This will be the longest I've gone without running since I seriously took up the sport a few years ago.

Perhaps having it taken away will just make me hungrier next year but it's difficult to look past the next couple of months.

There's a long road ahead and perhaps running can be the reward at the end of it.

For the moment at least, if any of you see a conker on the path in front of you… do all runners a favour… and boot it into the bushes!

Bure Valley 10

I was so hopeful this column would be full of optimism given my performance at the Bure Valley 10.

Despite subsequent events I can't let the chance to praise what was an excellent, well-run race in difficult, wet, circumstances by the Bure Valley Harriers. It's a lovely route, packed with PB potential, and the marshals couldn't have done more to ensure it all ran smoothly.

Special praise reserved for the hardy souls who helped push me out of the muddy car park. It was well beyond the call of duty but hugely appreciated by all those not lucky to have 4x4s!

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