I don’t often have moments in my life where I am thinking to myself that things are pretty good and within an instant ‘everything’ comes crashing down around me.
Well this literally happened yesterday. However I would just like to point out that the everything above is in inverted commas because by ‘everything’ I mean my running. And I don’t currently know the effects of the ‘crashing’ either so this may well be a tad dramatic but those close to me will understand why I am struggling to think rationally about this and have therefore turned to my usual process of writing things down to try and get my head around it.
I had one of the best runs with the club on Thursday night that I have had in a very long time – a total of 8 miles (including the run to and from training) averaging a few seconds over 9mm pace. It wasn’t the pace that I was happy with, it was that I felt comfortable which in turn developed the confidence that I could sustain running at this pace over a half marathon. This was especially crucial given that I am entered into Gosport Half Marathon in two weeks with the intention of rectifying the mid race crash and burn I had last year.
I quite simply felt awesome on Thursday night and woke up yesterday morning feeling super excited about the prospect of achieving my goal in two weeks time. This then led onto me wondering if a Parkrun PB was on the cards too and further afield to a triathlon in May next year that I was going to enter later in the day. I already have a training and race plan in place for the 50k in December so whilst this is my current priority, the thought that this would be my last stupidly long race for a year or so to allow me to concentrate on improving my speed was certainly not escaping me.
These thoughts were happily filling my mind as I got ready for work and as I closed my front door I was thinking how all my hard work over the summer to rebuild my fitness following my injury earlier in the year had paid off and I was back where I wanted to be with my running.
And then within a split second I somehow slipped walking down the hill to my car and landed smack on my back. All I could think about was the instant pain that made the memory of a similar fall I had 5 years ago come rushing back. The fall that left me with a fractured back and was told not to run for 6 months. I couldn’t believe it. Not again was the only thing that went through my mind at that point.
It took me a few moments to catch my breath and I tentatively got myself back up and was relieved that I still put weight on it albeit with some pain. But I knew that wasn’t overly comforting as I could last time too. I got myself into the car and drove to work and tried to dismiss the thoughts that I could yet again be faced with giving up a load of races because of injury. Whilst it was becoming more painful to walk and sit as the day went on, work was helping to take my mind off it but I did still email the physio I used earlier in the year just to be on the safe side. However, with it being a Friday afternoon I knew I wouldn’t be hearing from him until early next week.
It wasn’t until I got home and closed the front door yesterday evening that I cried. And cried. And cried.
I am fully aware that there are far more pressing things in life than running. But I currently don’t have many of these other things in my life on a daily basis so running is pretty important to me. Even more so that I know I use my running to help deal with (otherwise known as ignoring) the things in my life that I don’t wish to think about too much. So not being able to run will have a much bigger impact on me that just not running.
As I said earlier, I don’t yet know what I am dealing with anatomically but anyone who has ever struggled with anxiety or depression knows that logic is not a natural process when faced with the prospect of your ‘therapy’ being taken away. Five years ago when I was told I couldn’t run for 6 months it was a good excuse to not run for a year just to be on the safe side. I wasn’t really into my training then and whilst I did have to pull out of a triathlon that I had entered with my sister, I can’t honestly say I was that bothered.
The symptoms I have now are similar but not the same. It hurts to walk, sit down and stand but I can bend and twist without that sharp pain I had last time which is a good thing. In the short term I am facing not running for a week whilst the pain subsides which will put my training for the 50k back a week. When I am already a week down on my ideal race plan this is slightly unnerving me.
However, someone said to me the other day that I have a ‘good engine’. This made me laugh, it’s never been described to me like this before but it’s true, I do. A month ago I raced for seven and a half hours and the 50k will (hopefully) be shorter than this but it will be all running – the last time I did a run of significant distance without the correct build up I ended up injured for 3 months. I have since worked on strengthening up the weaknesses that contributed to this injury but it is still a thought that nags at the back of my mind and 50k is not something I want to be attempting without being fully prepared.
For now though, I am trying to settle myself with the facts that I don’t know the extent of this set back and will be taking full advantage of a lay in on both days this weekend – I cannot actually remember the last time this happened! The worst case scenario thoughts keep drifting in but at the moment I am able to manage these with a little bit of gentle persuasion to leave me in peace and will deal with them properly if they become a reality.