At running club this evening, my running buddy remarked that I was really getting back into form. It's true: I've been getting faster and faster over the last few weeks, and I'm not fairly consistently running 4-5 miles at a pace of around 8.15 - 8.30 minutes per mile. That's pretty good, I think. Since I started tracking these things, I've only once done a run of more than 4 miles with a pace of less than 8 minutes per mile, so this is about as good as it's been for a long time.
As I've said many times here in the past, I've been slightly annoyingly affected by mechanical problems with my running that have almost certainly been indirectly caused by my MS: essentially, I've lost a lot of the dorsiflexion in my left ankle. This is the movement that lifts my toes up towards my knee, and what this means is that, as I run, I've started to scuff my left foot a bit because I'm not lifting it high enough off the ground as I take a step. This isn't too much of a big deal under normal circumstances, although it does get worse when I'm tired, and over the course of the normal running that I do, this scuffing has led to an accumulation of problems with the plantar fascia in my left foot, with the illiotibial band that runs through my left knee and, because it changes the way that I run, with my other knee too.
Thanks to a combination of some strengthening exercises and a drastic cut down in my mileage, these problems have finally started to recede. I've still got a sore PF, but I've been slowly able to ramp my mileage back up and I'm definitely getting faster again.
There's a fly in the ointment though: I don't feel my feet very well and my legs often feel dead as I run. This isn't slowing me down, but it does mean that, if I do start to scuff my foot as I get tired, I'm in danger of falling over. It doesn't happen all that often, but it did happen again tonight.
It wasn't a very dramatic fall, to be honest. I went through the knee of my running Skins, grazed my knee and I scuffed my wedding ring up a bit, but otherwise no harm was done.... I just hate the way it makes me feel. I'm generally pretty physically able and I love the fact that I'm pushing 40 and can mostly hold my own with most of the other runners at the club, including the ones half my age. Falling over? Not cool. Not a lot I can do about it, really.... but not cool.