7 months ago I went for a run – with a strapped knee – as part of my half marathon training plan. My leg was aching from 2 weeks before but I knew I needed to test it if I wanted to get the kilometres in before race day. What I didn’t realise was that the pain wasn’t my knee like the doctor thought, but I’d torn my hamstring and my calf (at the same time!) and I was attempting to run 15kms and just ignore the pain. Needless to say, it didn’t end well and 6 months ago I hobbled away from my 2014 HM goal and began to focus on recovery.
When the diagnosis finally came in, they thought it would be a full 12 months before I was running again. I was nothing short of devastated but I made a deal with myself that I would do everything in my power to not let it defeat me. I did every exercise my new Physio gave me, and I did them every day.
I made a deal with her that if I recovered to a certain level, she would let me start CrossFit. I needed some exercise for my mental health and if running couldn’t be it, I was willing to give CF a go. I chose it over the gym because the trainers are there to correct you on your technique and make sure you don’t injure yourself (or in my case don’t injure yourself even more!). I quickly began to love it and it’s helped me immensely over the past 4 months.
With CrossFit every week and Physio exercises every night, I progressed with my recovery much quicker than anyone thought possible and after 4 months on the sidelines I was allowed my first run/walk back in December. It was frustrating to feel completely back at the beginning, but for the most part I’m happy to take what I can get. I’ve been making a point to focus on little wins, like my pace improving and a change in shoes making running much easier than before.
All seemed to be progressing really well. I had been running intervals that were mostly pain free (a new experience for me, as it turned out that my hip has had problems since I was a child. It was never picked up and I never knew any different) until I went for a run outdoors in Florida on my trip and rolled my ankle on the grass. Dagnammit!
Now we’ve had to drop back and try to get it better before I can really step things up and look towards running goals. I’m a bit frustrated, but again I’m reminded that I will not let this defeat me. I’m putting my all in so that I can reach the goals that are important to me.
It’s no longer just about running, but now it’s about getting strong and making my body strong for the future. If I don’t make the effort now to strengthen my hip as much as possible, I know that it will come back to bite me sometime in the next decade.
Things have changed a lot since that August day when I realised that something was really wrong with my leg. I love strength training and I love that I can deadlift more than my body weight. I now don’t take running for granted like I used to. Every run, even the crap ones, are worth getting out there for.
The cooler weather is finally here, and hopefully we’ll get this ankle issue sorted soon and I’ll be back to enjoying an early morning run 3 times a week. I run best between 3˚C and about 9˚C, so I’m thankful that 20˚C mornings are mostly behind us for now.
There’s a long way to go, but I’m happy with how hard I worked to overcome this and whenever I feel a little low I look at my ‘she believed’ medal and remember just how far I’ve come. 7 months is a long time to not give in, but if I know anything, it’s that I’ve got this!
Have you had a long term injury before too? What’s your favourite quote for when you need to hang in there?