After reading my friend Rachel Cullan’s excellent blog about running and injuries I thought I’d share my recent experience.
On the Trigger Race (I’m still finding new people to tell my story to!) I tore my right calf. Now 150ft up the side of a cliff isn’t the best place to do it especially when you’ve another 5 miles to run so you can withdraw alive and with honour intact.
My right calf ached after but nothing I was worried about. It would of course go away and my leg would feel pain free again and I could continue running. Except it didn’t work out like that.
I rested until the Thursday after and I went for a short run. Everything was fine until I got round the corner from my house and my right calf went big time. It not only hurt a lot but nearly caused me to stop and pull up completely.
I managed to get home and to my amazement I had knocked 4 minutes off my time running up Blake Hill / Howes Lane but I was in pain. Was it worth it? Of course it was!
But the next day my calf didn’t feel any better. Or the day after. So now I know it was serious and I would have to go back to my physio to find out what was wrong and how to fix it and get back running.
So off I trotted to Rippendon to see Joe the Physio. The verdict was a Grade 1.5 (quickly upgraded by me to a 2) tear in my right calf and between 4 to 6 weeks with no running.
But I could go to the gym and do stuff that people in a gym do without getting cold and wet and lost and sweaty and confused and wondering who they are miles from civilisation.
So I went on the spin bike. But how to make it interesting? Firstly see if I could last longer than half an hour before I lost all feeling between my legs. I found out I could and that I could go quite fast, 23.5 miles, avg rpm 101 or go for 1 ½ hours before I needed to stop.
Similar on the Cross-Trainer and rope pull thing. Instead of thinking this was something I had to endure I decided to make it a challenge even if some days that challenge was just to go to the gym and do it I did it.
And it worked. I was not only pushing myself harder each time as the copious amounts of sweat falling off me testified, but I kept the boredom at bay and found myself looking forward to going to the gym and seeing how hard I could push myself.
It kept my fitness up, my interest up and most important for me my flexibility. I have never been the most flexible of people but for some reason over the last 6 months I have become more flexible and bendy than I have ever been and I didn’t want to lose this.
But still something was missing and after a couple of weeks it twigged. The gym was keeping me physically at a good level but mentally I was going downhill fast.
Until this point I never realised what running does for me in controlling my anxiety and anger and stopping me slipping into depression and just being a dick to everyone I come into contact with.
Running it appears does a lot more for me mentally and psychologically than I ever realised. Running allowed me to deal with emotions and feelings at a day to day level without letting them simmer away under the surface until they boiled over into a near uncontrollable explosion which resulted in misunderstandings at the best…
Running allows me to gather my thoughts and deal with them in a rational and logical way, letting go of the stupid thoughts and focusing on what really matters.
But with that outlet taken away from me how would I cope? Not very for the first few weeks until I realised what was happening and what I felt I was becoming. Then I could deal with it however much it drained the life out of me I could deal with it.
And then salvation! Joe the Physio told me I could run again! Only for 5 minutes to start with but it was better than nothing.
And so today I drove up to Ogden Water and nervously took my first steps back to full running fitness.
I only went down to the reservoir from the car park and back but it was a start. And it felt good. In fact it felt bloody good! The fear has gone about what happens if I fall over. Tough shit that’s life. You either get up or you don’t.
But the uphill was even better. Only a slight uphill but it might as well not have been there. Power, power and more power resulted in a PR.
All my anxiety, anger and other stuff disappeared in 6 ½ minutes of running. That is what running does to me,
What happened most of all on the Trigger Race was I gained self-belief and confidence in myself and my abilities. I’m sure my friends will stop me from getting too cocky and maybe one day my new-found self-confidence will result in something I don’t come back from…
But in the meantime I’m going to enjoy life and push as much as hard as I can in my running and see where it takes me. Life is for living, live it.