I love bluebells. I take a detour most days on the way to work at this time of year just so I can see them. This morning, I found myself in the woods breathing in their scent when I should’ve been at work. Let’s be clear: I’m not one of those shivering perverts you sometimes read about hanging around at rural beauty spots, but my love of bluebells is close to an obsession. When our beautiful first sprog was born, I convinced the Mrs we should call her Bluebell.
So when I heard about the Angmering Bluebell Trail Run, an annual 10 mile race through a private country estate and pristine woodland that takes place every April when the bluebells are at their best, I just HAD to get involved. It was on Sunday, 24 April; it lived up to expectations, rolling through mauve woods before opening onto the tussocks of the South Downs. Surely this is the prettiest 10 miler in England?
Um… I’ll have to get back to you on that, as I pulled out, reluctantly, after three beautiful miles. The lure of the bluebells made me forget one crucial factor: I’d run a marathon, the first of many in my journey to the Marathon des Sables 2018, a week earlier and because I was so excited about Sunday’s bluebell run I didn’t really take a proper rest after the 26.2 miles.
So, about a mile into the bluebells, my knee started to ache. I stopped, stretched, and carried on. Within a few steps it started aching again. It wasn’t agony, but enough to make me stop and think. I’m terrified of another injury stopping me training. I don’t want anything to stop me from getting to the Sahara, so when my body starts whinging, I listen. I walked to the next checkpoint and cadged a lift with a marshal to the finish line.
I haven’t run since, the rest I probably should have taken following the marathon. I’ve visited a sports therapist and have been doing quad and hamstring strengthening exercises every day (the therapist reckons the knee niggle was the result of a muscular imbalance). There’s scarcely been a whisper out of my knee since. Come the weekend, I reckon I’ll be able to lace my trainers back up and get back out there.
And I know where I’ll be heading (before all the bluebells are gone). Will let you know my thoughts on whether it is indeed England’s prettiest 10 miler next week!