Most long term runners have had a hurdle they need to climb over. An illness or injury that puts a pause on training. For those of you who don’t run, I will explain to you the range of emotions that happen for a fitness freak like me.
There will be tears.
Sitting in front of your doctor whilst getting your diagnosis of:
“You should lay off the running for *insert said amounts of weeks* until you are better.”
has got to be the most gruelling moment EVER. Whether you are in training or you run just to keep the sanity, it really hits a nerve deep inside. The eyes well up, the cheeks redden and a long, deep breath releases from the lungs… OK.
No matter what is said then in that consultation room, your doctor will only frown and continue to give you the ‘best advice’ for your health in training. Although it feels like he is trying to sabotage it, that is most definitely not the case!
Beware of the angry runner.
The runner will then become angry:
“No one should ever tell me what to do. His information is wrong!”
Running gives a person endorphins; endorphins make you happy. Without these little babies, we then will feel an unhealthy amount of anger. Our temper will become a short one, without the usual routine of hitting the pavements most mornings will have the runner in a state of misery. Watch out, this is not a fun stage!
After a number of days, the runner will be in denial about said injury/illness. Feeling better, the runner will have the energy to move about some more. Which obviously means the ailment has been cured… Wrong. The thoughts of getting back out there will excite and spur on the runner as if it were a healthy, little devil sat upon ones shoulder, egging you on to just get out there because everything is ‘fine and dandy’ now. Going out for a run may be fine for the moment, but it depends on how far away your recovery is. Your body will tell you when it is ready. So listen to the signs.
We forget our bodies work like machines. We need to fuel the body correctly, and we need to make sure there is enough water for it to run. We will be able to fully exert the machine to its full potential, as long as we let it rest.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I caught the dreaded flu virus. I am rarely ill, so this shook me up a bit. I slept for two days straight, only getting up for needs. I felt like a huge slug.
I was incredibly unwell, and even took the time off work, which I haven’t done in the three years of being in the same company. I was incapable of doing anything and when I had started to feel a little bit better, I didn’t know how to mentally take it.
The funny part is… I had a planned half marathon to run that very weekend. I know, crazy that I would even THINK about running after such an awful spat… especially of that mileage *slowly walks away*
Surely the last thing I would want to do is run for a couple of hours in the middle of winter?!
So what did I do?
I had my sister, her fella and a family friends daughter arriving on the Saturday. Excited to see them all and feeling much better, I carried on as I would. I had mentioned the bout of flu to a few and people had said I seemed well enough to run it so I didn’t batt an eyelid, until last minute. Truth was, I had only been back at work for two days and not ran for a whole week. I felt exhausted and I was extremely nervous, but as the crazy person that is well and truly addicted to running, I had to continue with my plan.
Yes, I had already ran a half marathon before, I didn’t need to prove anything, but I had set a challenge and nothing was standing in the way of that. Honestly though, if I had still felt the way I had done days previous, I would have stepped away and said ‘not today’, but this was not the moment for quitting. The stubborn runner in me had to take this opportunity and run away with it (no pun intended 😉 of course.)
I struggled. The 13 mile race took me a while to do. My personal best being 1:46, which previously I had aimed to beat, was well out of reach. The first few miles were torture, and this was mostly mental. I was unsure I could handle it and self doubt crept in. I saw drastic situations play out in my head and I kept to a marathon pace to keep me going. Towards the end, I did feel great, so I picked up my pace; but by this point, my timing was all over the place and I crossed the line in a time I wasn’t happy with; but do you know what? I actually didn’t care all that much. Why? Because what I had done was enough to be proud of.
The family friends daughter had come to watch me run, at the age of 6, she was keen into getting into running and had wanted to watch me race for some time. I had already inspired another being to run, and at her age, it made it all the more special. I could see the fire that I had, back when my dad had first got me into sprinting. To have her cross the finish line with me and jump into my arms, wrapping her tiny limbs around me and to say “Well done” had me like WOAH. It is not about time to this little one, it was about doing the run itself. I had not given my body the credit it needed.
To have a basic level of strength to be able to the run the distance after a bout of illness is incredible. I should be thankful for what my body achieved and it deserved a little more recognition. I saw that I needed to look after myself properly for it to give it’s full potential.
Finishing the race at Tatton Park, Manchester, to see my loved ones waiting for me is what makes it all really worth it. To have my beautiful sister at most of my races shows the level of support that I have. This all started because of family, and she has been with me nearly every step of the way. I can not thank her enough. Not only was she there with the ‘bro in law’ who has done so much for our family, I had The Boyf there from start to finish. No one that I have dated had been to watch me race and see the madness that I endure myself within. I am thankful to have met someone like him. *sap*
Running is a passion for many, but this has also become my lifestyle. Without it, I would go bat-shit crazy. Which is why it is all the more difficult to hear that I now have to let my body rest.
That day showed me a lot. I have learnt from it (almost) and will be a little more thoughtful of my actions. It is difficult sitting back, but in hindsight, it could be so much worse if I continue to train my body to it’s absolute limit, so recovery is vital right now. Why prolong the absence of running by running yourself into the ground? Sometimes it is nice to kick back. What IS important is my health, because at the end of it all, there would be nothing without it.
Especially as Paris Marathon is now only 4 months away… So watch this space!