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Running column: All Mark Armstrong can do is exercise patience in part one of his road to recovery

Mark Armstrong is sidelined with an ankle injury. Picture: Cambridge Half Marathon

Mark Armstrong is sidelined with an ankle injury. Picture: Cambridge Half Marathon

Archant

You find out so much about yourself through running, or not running in my case at the moment.

I know there will have been many runners at the weekend that wouldn't have thought they could get through the Lowestoft Half Marathon on Sunday such were the atrocious weather conditions. Fair play to anyone that did… I love running and even I would have thought twice about that one.

You can surprise yourself just how determined you are to attain your goals.

If I'm honest I didn't know I had the discipline earlier this year to get all those miles in under Neil Featherby's coaching for the Greater Manchester Marathon.

I certainly wasn't sure I would be able to get the sessions in necessary to go sub 20 minutes for a 5K.

But I did… and whilst not everything worked out how I wanted I surprised even myself with the discipline I showed given that running isn't really a big priority a lot of the time with a young family.

This current challenge feels altogether very different.

The fractures sustained in my foot and ankle are the first 'serious' injuries I've suffered since running consistently.

Some readers will remember 'wee-gate' when I broke my little toe in the desperation of trying to get my little girl, Lara, to the toilet in time but that was never going to be a huge problem and I was back running within a few weeks (we made it by the way).

This is different and for the first time I feel genuinely worried that I won't be able to get back on the road and make progress on what I've achieved so far.

Hopefully, that's unlikely and the most important thing to exercise at the moment is patience to give the injury a chance to heal. As much as I want to start cross training there is a limit to what can be done as it stands… and goodness me it is so frustrating for an active person like me.

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It's horrible feeling that hard earned fitness slipping away but inevitable and it's up to me to get it back once I'm fully healed.

I know I'm in for what already feels like a long, arduous process for the next few months at least.

What I don't like is the lack of control I've got over the speed it all heals. I keep replaying over in my mind when the consultant said to me they will X-ray me again in six weeks and 'see' if the bones have healed.

There are absolutely no guarantees with these sorts of injuries - it's an area that doesn't get a huge amount of bloodflow and everyone is different in the rate they heal (yes, I've probably been googling a bit too much).

But the thought of having to hop around my house for any longer than those six weeks makes my right leg want to cry given the extra burden it's carrying, literally.

I'm doing my best to reframe the situation and look at the positives… so here are the some of best things about being injured…

- I'm not constantly trying to keep on top of washing my running kit - sometimes the struggle is real.

- I can eat my dinner in the early evening without fear it's going to impact upon my run later on. If you know, you know.

- I can have a 'lie-in' on Sundays and not have to tag team long runs with my wife, Alison. This normally involves still being up at 6am with Logan watching Match of the Day… but I'll take it.

- There are actually other things you need to do at weekends apart from a long run… who knew?

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