03 November 2012

Loosen the knot

A mile or so into the Newbury Parkrun this morning, making steady progress pulling Hugo along near the rear of the field (he no longer sets out at sub-6 pace, but the uniform pace he adopted today was the pace at which he used to finish) my right huarache suddenly started to flap uselessly. When I pulled up, I saw that the rope between my big and next toes had come adrift. It was a simple matter to poke the end through the hole and tie a new knot in it, though it took longer than tying the laces on a boring running shoe and adjusting the rope to achieve the right tension round the heel is always tricky. Most of the rest of the field filed past while I carried out the repairs, but with it firmly laced on again I set off in pursuit.

Except that the left one was in exactly the same state, and I had to stop again and effect an identical repair. In each case, all there was to see was a frayed end where there had been a knot. It was not that the knot had pulled through the hole in the sole, which I feared might have happened and which I wouldn't have been able to repair mid-race, or at all. So what had happened? Had the knots become untied? Had the rope rotted away (perhaps after immersion in Caribbean seawater a few weeks ago - but if so, why the delay?)? Had the knot simply worn away?

The latter seems to be the likely answer. 26.2 miles a couple of weeks ago, landing perhaps 20,000 times on each side, and probably bang on the knot, would probably have worn away the soft hemp. Especially as most of it was on tarmac. I should have checked.

So finally, with about 5 minutes lost, I set off after the rest, nearly all of whom had now passed me. And almost immediately my foot went from under me as I planted it in a spot of mud and I went down heavily on my right side - the inside of my forearm taking most of the impact, and coming into contact with the stony track. The result was, first (as I told a competitor who came along at this point), damage to my pride, but second and more importantly rather a lot of blood running down my arm. I came to a pond and used it to clean the mud off the damaged area, and we proceeded without further incident to the finish where Rachael turned out to be the first aider. She cleaned me up with medicated wipes and applied two very long sticking plasters to keep the blood in ... The year of running injuries isn't ever yet!

No comments: