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Running column: Mark Armstrong has a simple goal - learn to walk again

Charlotte Neale receives her award for being the fastest female marathon runner from Norfolk this year. Picture: Stephanie Wenn

Charlotte Neale receives her award for being the fastest female marathon runner from Norfolk this year. Picture: Stephanie Wenn

Archant

I'll start with the good news… the moonboot is off and the breaks in my foot and ankle are "starting to heal" according to the consultant at the N&N.

The bad news is that I'm still a very long way from being able to lace up my running trainers again.

I knew this was probably the best-case scenario before my appointment last week.

However, there was a very small part of me that hoped there had been some miraculous healing process, the like of which doctors have never seen, that would see me able to run again very soon.

Yes, the line between optimism and delusion has become a little blurred over the last month or so.

Whilst the moonboot is off, it's all understandably still very sore and stiff as nearly two months of immobilisation now needs to be gradually reversed.

On good days I can't wait for when I can line up on the start line of a race, ready to set my lungs on fire in pursuit of more personal bests.

On bad days, I wonder if I will ever really be able to do that again… only time will tell and to a certain extent it's up to me to ensure I don't try to do anything too soon that will set me back and cause more permanent damage.

For the moment, I need just need to learn to walk properly again.

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The consultant said he doesn't want me to do any form of cardio exercise like cycling or swimming until the new year with a view to potentially starting running again on a treadmill (ugh) in February.

But I know there's very little good that can come out of looking too far ahead. The goal at the moment is to be able to walk, pain-free, without a limp… and that's enough.

With this in mind it has certainly simplified the first half of 2020.

Any worries I had about training for the Greater Manchester Marathon in April with the demands it places on family and the work/life balance can be shelved, and perhaps that's a good thing. My kids (aged six and one) won't be young forever and I'm far more likely to remember time with them than some 20-mile training run in the freezing cold.

I've already got rid of my Tarpley 20 place and the second half of 2020 can just be a blank canvas to be sketched once I'm a lot further down the road to recovery.

I'm living my running life vicariously through my wife, Alison, who set a new personal best of 1:41:37 at the St Neots Half Marathon last weekend. I've already made my peace that she is going to claim a lot of the Armstrong running records whilst I'm sidelined!

It was good to see so many other Norfolk runners out on the course and I hope that one year that I will be able to run the event. I've had places for the last two years but been unable to take part through injury - I'm starting to think I'm just not supposed to run it!

I was glad to hear of the Norwich Road Runner who took my place, Trevor Kuhrt, ran a new personal best of 1:28:03 - several minutes ahead of what I could have done even if I had been fully fit! Well done Trevor.

<BLOB> I really enjoyed presenting some of the prizes at the Sportlink Grand Prix Awards last Friday night. It certainly helped with my motivation to come back stronger hearing of some of the fantastic running Norfolk's runners have done this year.

Don't miss next week's Run Anglia supplement in the EDP when I speak to the senior male and female winners in Michael Eccles and Juliette Watkinson.

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