I wake up and I don’t have that same excitement as I’m used to. I’m not sure what hurts more. Is it the quite literal pain in my arse? Or the fact that my ambitious marathon dreams have coming crashing down? Or perhaps it’s the feeling of loss? The loss of my truest passion.
Running means the world to me. Ever since it saved me from deep anxiety and showed me how I could build a stronger mental and physical person. For over four years now I have made running a constant in my life. Most days I’m out clocking easy miles along the promenade, or sprinting up hills, or exploring the Welsh mountains, or even churning out time on the treadmill. It doesn’t matter what form of running it is. It doesn’t matter what pace. It doesn’t matter if I am alone or with friends. I just do it. I just run. Firstly, for my mental health. Secondly, for my physical health. Thirdly, because I dream big.
These big dreams scare me. I set huge goals but also invest hard work in making them a possibility. December was a huge month for me. The biggest ever. In the midst of my training for a sub 2 hours 25 minutes marathon I racked up over 415 miles. That’s 667 kilometres and over 56 hours of running. I started 2019 feeling incredible. The fittest I’ve ever been. My easy runs felt almost effortless and I have been holding back to make sure I don’t push too hard. Yes, my legs feel tired the day after sessions but I have been astonished with how well they seemed to have been recovering. When things feel like this it is difficult to not get excited. Very much like the early stages of a marathon you need to keep things in check. It’s great that you feel good. That doesn’t mean you should push harder though. Trust the process. Tick the boxes.
I’ll bring you back to the now. The now, is a deep dark hole of despair. So much for the process. Okay, I’m being dramatic but bear with me. It’s 10 days since I pulled up in pain on a long run. Since I felt a pain in my glute, or is it my hip? Actually, it just feels like that whole region. Since then I’ve spent countless hours stretching, massaging, and worrying. I have seen three very knowledgeable and helpful sports therapists. Each of them were great. They eased my worries and instilled belief. However, none of them were able to say definitively what the issue was being caused by. Each time the pain would resurface despite the fact that my activity levels were down to rest and stretching. The symptoms were clear but where was the smoking gun?
As many an injured runner will tell you, not knowing what the problem is can drive you crazy. If you know the issue, you can make a plan. You can address it. You can work towards your goals albeit in a different manner. When you don’t know what is causing you pain, your head gets overwhelmed. Should I stretch? Am I making it worse? Should I cross-train? When will I be back? Can I still race in a few weeks? You start to doubt everything.
Well I still don’t know the issue but what I do know is that I’m not going to play the victim any longer. I am taking action. I am taking control. What does this mean? It means that I am going to start seeing the positives of this injury, of which there are many.
In this marathon block I have got myself into the best aerobic shape I have ever been in. What I haven’t done is make sure that my body can withstand the extra stresses of this new improved engine and the training that was required to get me into this shape. I am running more. I am running faster. But I have failed to ensure that my strength and mobility have kept up. Well this injury can be the first step in ensuring my future longevity and success in the sport of running. I can now go back to basics. Focus on building a strong and mobile body ready to withstand the training. Your body is great at reminding you of what it wants. I am excited to grow as a runner. To become a better athlete.
I have an opportunity borne out of adversity. The opportunity to come back stronger than ever before. To address my weaknesses and reach new heights when I do return. I’d love you to follow along as I document my journey back to running and towards the marathon goal in the future. It may take me longer to get to my goal but it doesn’t make my goal any less worthy of my effort and time. I have always found that you learn more from your lows than you do from your highs. So allow me to share mine. You can’t fail if you never stop trying.
If there is anything you would like me to document in my journey back to running please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to include it in future blogs. Also if you wish to follow along you can subscribe to new blogs on my website by adding your email and clicking subscribe. Thank you for your support.