Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A bump in the road.

This time last week I was on a high....I was still celebrating my half marathon run and had embarked on my marathon training plan with an easy 10 k run, which felt GREAT.  The future was shiny bright and I had my runs all mapped out....the next long funrun would be the Bellarine funrun, (34kms), then the Yarra Valley Grape run (30 km) then the marathon.  I felt strong and motivated. My dreams were castles in the air and I was loving building them.

Thursday, as per my training schedule I went for an 8k tempo run....which basically was 1.5k slow run to warm up, 5km at my half marathon race pace (5min 30 per kilometre) then a 1.5 km slow jog to cool down. I started off on a well worn route along the river, beautiful day, feeling GREAT.

Then I felt like a little bruise on my heel about 3km in.  No biggie, I registered it and continued planning the next long run in my head.

It didn't go away.

I finished the 5km run and slowed down to jog and the pain became intense all down the side of my left foot. I ended up hobbling my way home.

And all my castles crumbled.

I made it home, stretched and iced, stretched and iced.....and iced some more. I took an anti inflammatory pill and kept the foot elevated all day.

And it worked.  I felt better.  I went to work and all was good.  But when I tried to run with my friends on Friday night around the footy oval, I hobbled after 1 measly kilometre.

I sat in the car and tried my best to not cry.  How ridiculous, me crying because I couldn't run, afraid I had a serious running injury, when even a year ago, I could live without running.  I went to bed when we got home and had a quiet sob to myself.  The dramatic self talk happened....I will never be able to run again.

You see, I was lost. Lost without running. I hadn't realised how much running had come to be part of my definition of myself...I am a runner. Without that, what was I? What could I achieve without my running? How would I relax and sort myself out without running? I literally, mentally, fell apart at this.

A weekend of misery followed.  I was fitted for new shoes, thinking that would help. It will, although not immediately. The staff at Running Fit were amazing and I have now got the best damn pair of shoes IN THE WORLD. They tested me on a treadmill and now I know I have a neutral foot strike and a great take off and landing.

But that didn't tell me if I could run again.

Now, I could still be sitting in misery, defeated, back into myself. But I have learned better than that. There is always something I can do....it may be that I won't be able to run marathons again but that doesn't mean I have to shrivel up and die on the couch, watching Dr Who repeats and eating maltesers. 

I came up with a plan.

1. Make an appointment to see a physio and stop diagnosing myself on google doctor.
2. Keep cardio up with swimmming, elliptical trainer or my arch nemesis, the rower.
3. Check what weights I can do and continue with weight sessions if cardio is out.

Plans make me happy.

So armed with my to do list, I made the first step and scored myself an immediate appointment with a physio. And I wish I'd been able to see her before I dissolved into a self pitying mess!
It seems to be a type of tendonitis in my foot, from overstrain. A plan was formulated with her, to cut runs down but I can still run with the taping she placed on my foot. The marathon is still possible....at this point. But if not now, I will heal and be able to run in the future. I am diligent with my exercises and icing and today, was the first trial of running with the taped foot. 

Instead of 8kms as on the plan, I had 5 to do....if the pain didn't return. I stepped on that treadmill with almost as much trepidation as I did the first time I EVER stood on a treadmill. And I started, a nice slow even run, about 9km a hour. Comfortable to keep talking to my mate Mel who ran alongside me.

And I could run. There was a slight ache, but not a pain. I could walk afterwards. I could see ahead a little way again.

This has been a huge lesson for me. It's not what I achieve or can do in life that counts.  It's how I react to life when things go against me. It's about how resilient I am to the unexpected. I found out I am not as resilient as I thought, certainly not the most patient person but I already knew that, as do most people who know me I expect.
I won't get anywhere, wallowing in my self pity because plans changed.  Because things did not go as I expected them. If I hadn't learned to take a grip on myself and work out a plan, if I'd stayed on that couch or in the bed, crying about what could have been, I'd have missed the new paths leading me to my goal. I'd not have grown up. I would have stopped, and not kept going.

 And just think what I could have missed.

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