Can I break 30 minutes at Bolton parkrun?

It is my first week back training after a very painful and debilitating bout of Achilles tendonitis. I’ve been walking, doing foot exercises, stretching, massaging, and looking after my injury for months. Now it is time to run. I know that I am unfit. As I walk around to parkrun, I ask myself: can I break 30 minutes?

Will I ever run again?

It’s Saturday morning. I haven’t set my alarm. My daughter is away with school; my son doesn’t have a football match. I can’t run. Sleep wins. Or rather, my body clock does: I’m awake by 6:30, anyway.

I walk round to Bolton parkrun. The plan is to walk, and, if I have no pain at all from my Achilles, I’ll jog for about a mile. This has been the case for the last week while I’m still recovering from a serious bout of Achilles tendonitis. I’ve been struggling with this for the last nine months and this morning I’m not about to wreck the huge progress I’ve made over the last ten weeks. My rehab routine involves lots of foot strength work, calf strengthening and stretching, lots of walking, but no running.

It also gives me thinking time: will I ever run again?

I focus on embracing the uncertainty of being so badly injured. There is little point wallowing about and feeling sorry for myself. I acknowledged the deep disappointment of having to defer my Ironman entry until 2023 a long time ago. Today, I’m just grateful to be able to walk without pain. I’ve been pain free for a while and so I decide to jog a little.

It feels great.