As my shoulder smacked down on the stony trail I knew immediately I’d done enough damage to my ankle to wipe myself out of running for at least a few days. I was 2 miles into the first run of a long training weekend with the Chasers in the New Forest. As I sat on the floor trying to weigh up how bad the damage was all I saw were several concerned faces looking at me. Gutted doesn’t come close.
Of course I tried to convince myself it would be fine by the morning and I’d be back running the next day but as my ankle swelled to the size of a melon even I knew how ridiculous that was. No more running for me. No more running with a group of people who love running as much as I do on a weekend I had been looking forward to for weeks.
I felt bit like this…
As I sat in the dirt contemplating the recovery time I couldn’t help but think of Chrissie Wellington and all her ‘muppet’ moments, I got a strange comfort from that (if you haven’t read her book A Life Without Limits, do it, the woman is INCREDIBLE).
Luckily i wasn’t on my own, I didn’t really know where I was & it hurt to stand – I’m not one to overreact but had I been alone it obviously would have been the absolute end of the world & I probably would have stayed there on the floor covered in dirt all by myself until I eventually got eaten by wild New Forest ponies. In situations like that you can’t underestimate the reassurance that other people bring, especially those that couldn’t empathise more.
As I realised there would be no speed session in the morning, no easy jogs, no 20 milers and not even any games of rounders I started to wonder what the hell I was going to do all weekend? The idea of rest and elevation did not make me at all happy, I had come to run! I couldn’t help but wishing it had happened on the last run of the weekend rather than the first but it got me thinking, when is it ever convenient to pick up an injury?
If it had happened on the last day would that have really been any better? Sure, I would have got my mileage in and the weekend would have gone to plan but I’ve got a half marathon on Sunday… whilst I’m still not sure if I’ll do it, a sprain any later would have surely made it an impossibility? I’ve got a marathon in 8 weeks and gearing up to some heavy mileage, surely an injury earlier is better than later? My running schedule seems to be so hectic I don’t have time to be injured. Ever. Who does?
I refused to feel sorry for myself and let it ruin my weekend so I quickly made friends with a couple of the girls who were hiring bikes the next day instead of running. We rode around country lanes for 4 hours (including an obligatory pub lunch of course) and I loved it! I was incredibly grateful for the company as I wouldn’t of had the confidence to do it alone, the girls really made my weekend. It was great to do something different and see the New Forest on a beautifully sunny day, plus it didn’t bother my melon sized ankle too much either. I know if I was playing by the rules I should have been resting with my foot in the air but that was never going to happen was it? In fact, I enjoyed it so much I wasn’t even jealous when the group went out for their second run of the day (well, maybe a tiny bit).
So, my running weekend didn’t go to plan, I didn’t get my 20 miler in, or do any running at all in fact, but I did spend an amazingly glorious weekend outdoors – cycling, stretching, swimming, doing some core work & walking (plus eating, I still ate like a runner!) I had a brilliant time and met some truly fabulous people who I know I’ll be running with again soon. Plus, 4 days later, the ankle is definitely looking more like a plum than a melon and the bruising is starting to fade. Progress!
Injuries suck, they always seem to come at the wrong time, they’re unbelievably frustrating & at times soul destroying but they come with the territory and I guess we all have to accept that we’re not invincible.
I’m sure I’ll be embracing running again soon like this little fella