After just starting my racing season in March, April was supposed to be about starting to really build volume leading up to this month’s Sun Mountain 50 miler, but not before racing Diez Vista 50k which was to be my first ultra distance race of the year. I’d been feeling faster and stronger than ever and ready for an amazing season as a new member of Salomon Flight Crew.

I managed to finish Diez Vista in 5:04:37 for 9th place overall, but the race was far from a success, having stupidly spent the last half hobbling in pain.

Fast forward just over 4 weeks later and I haven’t run since. In fact, I was on crutches for the first two weeks and only recently was given the green light to start biking and swimming. A month that should have easily seen my highest volume since the Fall and some epic back-country adventures instead turned into hours running in circles at the pool like a drowning duck and spinning in place on a trainer in my basement.

I’ve been working hard with the team at Gastown Physio and Pilates, initially just to bring the swelling down. Our focus has now turned to addressing the loss of strength in my left leg and foot and to make sure that I come back strong overall.

This post is a little late – I suppose I’ve been putting it off as I hate being negative. I miss the mountains, the forest, and the trail running community most of all. Your Instagram pics are killing me!

On a positive note, I have been getting a little better at swimming. At first, I was splitting my time between swimming and pool running, mainly because I was such an inefficient swimmer, but I was really finding the pool running hard to stomach. So I did what I always do and turned to YouTube for the solution.

I’m now up to about 2 km per 1 hour session which is a huge improvement from when I started and could barely get through a few laps. The secret? Total Immersion Swimming, but I’ll save that for another post.

If every cloud has a silver lining then perhaps injuries do too. When I was last injured a few years ago, I took up road cycling and found that I really enjoyed it. I decided to do the Whistler Gran Fondo that year and continued to do the Peak Centre Indoor Racing Series for a while even after returning to running.

I remember my phisotherapist at the time stressing the importance of having a ‘backup’ sport, especially for runners who tend to be so injury prone. It allows you to fairly seemlessly transition to another activity instead of sitting at home going crazy, and of course cross training occasionally isn’t such a bad idea either. The bike was something I could see doing a lot more of one day and, now with swimming added to the list, maybe a triathlon isn’t out of the question (do they have mountain trail triathlons?).

Final Stats for April:

  • Distance Run: 63 km (down from 390)
  • Time-on-Feet: 6.4 hrs (down from 49)
  • Elevation Gain: 2,023 m
  • Cross Training: 6x pool, 3x bike, 3x strength

I know I’ll come back from this injury stronger and more motivated than ever before. More importantly, I plan on being much smarter with my recovery, from stretching and foam rolling, to regular massage and prehabilitation work with my physio to address some on-going weaknesses.

Ellie Greenwood said something in a recent CLIFCast interview that resonated with me, something about how when you’re injured it feels like it’s going to be forever but then all of a sudden a few months go by and you’re right back over-training, under-sleeping, and feeling like you have no time for anything. It’s important to use your (forced) time off wisely – maybe to catch up with non-running friends and family.

I don’t really have a plan for the rest of May but I hope to slowly return to running by the end of the month. I’ve had to of course cancel running Sun Mountain 50 miler next week (I’ll be volunteering instead) and there’s a good chance I’ll need to drop from Cascade Crest in August and find another 100 miler in the Fall instead. For now, I’m just taking it one week at at time, and trying to spend less time on Instagram 😉

Check out an interview I did with Chloe for her blog. Hope to see you all on the trails soon!

Jeff Pelletier
Written by Jeff Pelletier
I’m a trail and ultra runner from Vancouver, a proud member of Teams Salomon and Suunto Canada, and a Sponsored Ambassador for CLIF Bar and inReach Canada.