After months of months of no running and feeling like my injury woes were never ending, I seem to have had a rather lovely surprise for Christmas. Over the last two weeks my Achilles on one side and my calf on the other seem to be very gradually settling and allowing me to get out on some tentative runs. I think I refused to believe it the first few times. Up until maybe two or three weeks ago I was still ready to concede defeat and forget about running. But after the last couple of runs I am really starting to believe I might be winning this battle against my own body.
After the London Marathon there was very little I could do without my Achilles flaring up and being really painful. And then when I would think that I could manage a small ten minute run my other calf would tighten up and cause me to limp. At one point even getting on the turbo trainer was enough to flare both sides up. When things were like that I was almost distraught. I know distraught is a total hyperbole to describe it but for someone who has been battling anxiety for the past year that is how I was when I felt like running was done for good.
Somewhere along the line I made a decision to stop running and rest. Somehow I developed the patience to not force myself out running and make myself worse. And back in September I made myself set two key goals and somehow I decided to stick with them:
No running until after Christmas or even into the New Year.
Get rehabilitating properly (I’d fart arsed around it but I hadn’t rehabbed properly and given it a chance to work).
I spoke to Physiotherapy colleagues and did my own research via journal articles and books. And then I embarked on the strictest regime of rehabilitation that I could handle.
It hasn’t been easy. There were more flare ups. There were days I didn’t believe anything was going to work and feeling like it was all futile. There were times I wondered if running was even worth all this effort. And then I would remember that I love running and that I have been a runner since I was 11 years old and 34 is far to young to throw in the towel. I took inspiration from all sorts of places: Jo Pavey, the Twitter running community, my Physiotherapy colleagues and patients who I had successfully helped in returning them to their hobbies. And I don’t know when the transition from feeling too injured to run to feeling able to have a little jog occurred but I’m now on my fourth or fifth run of thirty minutes. This would have been inconceivable back in September but looking back at my goals my timing has almost been spot on.
I’m still hedging my bets about things. I am leaving a day between runs and I continue to cross train to enable me to get in some strength work and some longer cardio sessions. I am incredibly fearful that I will relapse and won’t be able to run again. The fear of failure is still rather strong. I won’t book in any races or join a club yet because I want to be running consistently and they might be long term goals for 2015. But with some hope, and a little bit of light beckoning me towards the end of the tunnel, I feel like I could be getting somewhere. And hopefully in the New Year I’ll be able to do more of this: