I am addicted to running. I am skilled in the art of turning any new conversation into one about running. Ask any of my friends and they will be able to tell you exactly what injuries I’ve had, how many marathons I have run, where I have run them and my next big running plan. It’s fair to say I have bored them all to tears with my running tales.
But running is me. It keeps me sane in a very busy world, and it is my stress relief. Other people smoke or eat when stressed…….but I run. There is nothing so satisfying as coming home after a hard day, putting on my trainers and running. Having to focus on my lungs not bursting rather than what has happened at work that day and the mountain of marking I still have to do sets me up perfectly for the evening ahead.
So one day in June I was feeling stressed. Moderation and data deadlines looming and all I needed to do was run. Run hard. Run fast. On the trainers went and off I went. Just a quick 5km, but when I got home and checked my watch I was beyond happy that I was back running under 9 minute miles. Perfection. Shower time and I started to think something didn’t feel right. My back should not be that painful after only 5km? I went to bed thinking a good night’s sleep would sort me out……only to be woken up by the most agonising pain and unable to even put my shoes on!! This was not good.
Fast forward a few days and I’m signed off work, on the highest possible dose of painkillers and listening to the physio talk about slipped discs, muscle spasms and trapped nerves. But that all went over my head and the only question I could ask him was, “When can I run again?” Luckily I know my physio extremely well and he just laughed at me, telling me that perhaps trying to walk again may be the best option first!
With the six weeks summer holidays coming up this was a disaster. The way I have described it to friends is that it’s like a smoker being suddenly cut off from cigarettes, a chocoholic being denied even the slightest taste of chocolate. I felt like I had to suddenly go cold turkey from running. If running is me, then who was I without being able to run? What would I have to talk about now? After a long summer of physio I have rediscovered my love of swimming, as this was the only exercise I was able to do. It turns out I’m a better swimmer than I am a runner….who knew?!
I had set myself the challenge of running 2 half marathon races in the space of a week at the end of September and early October. When I hurt my back I was told this was absolutely not going to happen. But I am stubborn. The most stubborn person you will ever meet. So I did it, I ran those 2 half marathons……’ran’ may be an exaggeration……slow plod is probably more accurate. But I did it. Injury does not have to mean you can never run again, although it certainly felt like that when I couldn’t even walk. I overcame injury and slowly, slowly, very slowly, worked my way back up to full fitness. Next up, the London Marathon in April 2017!
Follow Victoria's training for the marathon and hopefully staying injury free!
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