While I was in China, just when my knee was coming right, something went wrong with my left foot. It was painful just below the point of my ankle. And it should have because I'd ignore discomfort and still decided to run 8 kilometres. "You should listen to your body!" they say. But I've never listened to my feet. Half my runs in 2016 started with tight, sore soles that only loosened after running. (I realise now that I had plantar fasciitis for much of my twenties and thirties.) So I ignored a little tight discomfort on one run and struggled to shake it even with extended rest. And just as it started to show signs of improvement, my right foot mirrored the symptoms. Now I've got two terribly frustrating feet.
But, there is a silver lining. The physio said it was my tendons and tendons improve through putting work through them and using them, that is, running. So on painful feet I start my warm-up, fearing that I might make things worse. I jog in agony. And then once I begin, the previous pain fades. And the rest of the day is fine.
The best measurement of tendon healing is how it feels in the morning. By that standard, it's getting better but still not near better. Mornings make me walk like an arthritic old man. But better is... better.
My running plan for the next year is clear in my head. Even with these niggles I'm running more and more strategically than I did at the same time last year. I'm looking forward to a good 10km race on 15 April with which I'll judge my fitness, which will lead to an estimated time for me to do a half-marathon on 5 May.
The first step is rest. Tomorrow there is no running. And then on Sunday I'll aim to run 25km. If and when I do, it'll be the first time I've done that since the marathon. I hope I can do it on painless feet.