Tag Archives: Injury

Starting 2019 with a Bang! (and a Crash, and a Massive Wallop!)

I have been planning to do a blog update for a while now, but I wasn’t planning it to be this! I was planning to write a “Training for the London Marathon with a Baby” type post, talking about how it’s going so far and what I’m planning on doing next, the internal battle I had with myself before deciding whether to ask for sponsorship or not and a few quips about motherhood 7 months in and I’m sure I’ll still cover some of that, but January 1st blew all of this out of the water. My training is stalled, I can’t look after my baby without help, and at the moment everything is far from rosy, all because of a lousy, but quite spectacular, trip over a poxy speed bump!!

So there I was, cruising through my marathon training plan that I had carefully written in snatched moments when my daughter was happy to let me put her down to play, I had lined up races, planned rest weeks and carefully considered how gently to up my mileage. I started it in October and had by and large stuck to what it said. I had re-started Weight Watchers and my weight was slowly coming off,  I was back down to my pre-baby weight, although my body was nowhere near back to how it was before, and I was up to about 10miles at a time in distance. I had a good scheduled that allowed me to get out and train around Baby S and her needs. It wasn’t easy, but it was working!

Fitting running in with the baby sometimes means taking her along for the ride

Over December my Personal Trainer went on holiday and I cut myself some slack. I still did my 3 weekly runs (mostly) but that was it, and I indulged in a festive mince pie or two, and a few Christmas beverages but I figured in January and beyond I’d be hitting it hard, back on the healthy eating bandwagon and hitting the training with renewed vigour, London would only be a few months away…

So on the 1st of January, after a relatively tame New Years Eve, I lined up to run the Lamberhurst 10k beside my husband, who had the baby in the running buggy, and off we went, ready to kick start the new year in a healthy way. It’s hilly, Lamberhurst, but after getting up the first couple of KM I was starting to get into my stride, picked up my pace a bit, mind wandering, wishing I’d remembered to actually download my Spotify running playlist as there wasn’t enough signal to stream it, and I still hadn’t been able to try out my new headphones I got for Christmas when suddenly I wasn’t running any more, I was on the floor surrounded by people telling me to breath, and everything hurt! It took a few more seconds for me to realise that I would be pulling out of the race and not carrying on, another few to realise I couldn’t stand up and probably a full minute before I realised I couldn’t move my left arm properly.

Not quite comprehending how serious this all was yet

My husband happened to come back past me just after the fall so stopped also, and eventually the medics arrived after having to navigate their car through the runners. I was looked at, picked up, a bandage put on my arm, then driven back down to the start where I was advised to go to A&E. By now the pain is catching up with me, i’m in shock and my daughter is crying causing me massive distress. I could barely even touch her with my hands bleeding everywhere to help calm her down. Hubby drove me to the hospital and left me there to go and feed the baby – I couldn’t do it – what were we going to do?!

The people in A&E were fab, it didn’t seem like I was waiting around, but the news wasn’t good, my left elbow was fractured, which would be problematic enough without my right hand side also being bruised with cuts across my whole hand and elbow. I basically had very minimal use of either hand!

Somewhat delirious on the way back from A&E

Now a few days on I am left having to ask people to come and look after me and the baby while hubby is at work as I’m unable to look after her by myself, my cuts are healing slowly which will help and I’m using my left arm as much as I’m able trying to get movement back. I’ve been to the fracture clinic but have to go back in a few weeks to be re-xrayed and until then I’m not supposed to do exercise. Not the start to the year I was hoping for!

Now as I laid in bed in the early hours of this morning, having just got the baby back to sleep (thankfully I’ve cracked being able to breastfeed despite my injuries) I decided that I wasn’t going to let this sink me. I can hold the baby again for shot periods to at least comfort her, which was my most pressing concern after being able to feed her and I have a fantastic network of friends and family who have me covered for the next week so that leaves me with just me to worry about.

It would be so easy to fall back into my pattern of comfort eating and drinking so I’m going to make a concerted effort not to. I’ve already made a meal plan for the next week along with a shopping list to get my nutrition back on track which is especially important as I can’t do my normal amount of exercise, and my next step is going to be to look into what exercises I CAN do with limited use of my arms. I can’t afford to sit around losing fitness for the next month, I have a marathon to run!

And run it I will! I’m going to sit down and re-write my marathon training plan taking into account this unscheduled break in my training and i’ll just have to work at it twice as hard once I can run again.

I decided a while ago that I was going to do this for charity after all, as anything I can raise, even if its only a small amount, is more than they would have if I didn’t. I wouldn’t usually ask for sponsorship to run these days as its something I do all the time, but as I say on my fundraising page, this is a bit different, as its a marathon, and not only that but its a marathon I’ve got to train for after just having a baby with all the rebuilding of strength and fitness that entails, and now I’m going to try and turn this arm break into a positive and say it’s another good reason to sponsor me, as I will also have to recover from this and try and be marathon ready over a much shorter time frame!

I’m raising money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity again, as it very sadly keeps being a background feature of my life, treating friends and family when the dreaded disease rears it’s ugly head and you can find my fundraising page here if you feel so inclined.

I’m going to need so much help and support in the coming months to recover and get going again. It really was spectacularly bad timing, but it is what it is, and I’m determined that a little break wont be the breaking of me!

October

So, shin splints, or whatever they are, most painful injury ever! I ended September with a pain in my leg and a hope that in October I would turn my backslide of the past few months around, but the pain in my leg stuck around. In fact it was so painful that after a day at work I would be in tears. I couldn’t run, couldn’t motivate myself to exercise at home, and consoled myself with more bad eating and drinking.

In truth I’ve been in something of a black cloud. I don’t seem to be able to shake it, exercise would normal help these black moods from taking hold too much, but I couldn’t do it. So here I am eating more, drinking more and exercising much less. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what that was going to do to my body. I don’t need scales to tell me I’ve slipped back further than ever, my clothes and the mirror are doing an admirable job of keeping me informed. My mood got worse. Anyone who has stopped to ask me how I’m doing and probed past my cursory “I’m fine” lately has been subjected to a negativity sh*t storm and I don’t seem to be able to stop. It’s like I need people to know that I know that I’m doing badly, so they won’t have to think it behind my back, “god she has let herself go” but this is not how I wan’t to be, I need my positivity back.

I had to drop out of the 1066 way to Battle run,  although my leg  was now, finally, mostly pain free, and well enough for some short runs, it was in no way up to 17 tough cross country miles with little to no training, this was gutting as it was a one off race, still I was back to training again, a bit, and running, what could go wrong… a cold. A stinking cold! Nothing major, just enough to make me feel lousy and put me on the bench… again! Now the only races I have this month are coming up fast and I’m sick! I have signed up to Judgement Day 6k and 18k to let me complete the set having already run a 12k earlier this year, but I find myself worrying not about the race but about the pictures, and how bad they are going to make me feel about myself when I see them. My motivation has gone completely and I’m wondering if I should even bother going at the weekend, I feel fat and unfit and not at all confident in my ability to get round the tough terrain at Pippingford.

A friend, trying to help, set me a challenge to think of 3 positive things about myself or that I did well during the day for the next week before going to sleep. I thought about this as I read the message he had sent me and couldn’t come up with a single thing, at which point I actually burst into tears, although I’ve agreed to try, the black cloud is dense right now and I can’t see through the fog, so I started writing this to try and shut my brain up and help me sleep, one of those blogs that could be considered a bit of an overshare but is somehow cathartic to get it all out – and who reads these anymore anyway right? So JD is up next, and maybe it will restore some motivation and confidence, or maybe I’ll be back onto another self imposed OCR embargo, bring on the weekend… I guess…

Judgement Day 6km

I dragged my tired butt out of bed Saturday morning to travel to Pippingford for the first race of the weekend, travelling with friends who were running the 12km race, I got to spend a chilled out morning in some pleasant October sunshine  watching people race before it was my turn. I was just about to start the warm up when Tom Littlewood from Mudstacle came over and asked me if I’d like to wait and run with the Mudstacle crew instead, which is how, half an hour later I found myself amidst a sea of yellow slowly jogging out onto the course.

I had an absolute blast, with rules thrown in such as “grenade” where we all had to hit the deck anytime someone yelled it, and “Shark” where you had to get yourself of the ground. It was quite slow going but I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed so much during a race. Highlights included Mark Leinster fully submerging in mud and attempting to swim in it, before getting stuck (the muddy kiss on the cheek afterwards as we were both balancing on a tyre after someone shouted shark was also lovely!) and when George Trotter decided to abandon his reputation as a gentleman with a very determined attempt to knock me off the slackline into the water bellow. I don’t know how I held on, but in the end he was the one who got wet, while I managed to get successfully to the other side.

Clinging on for dear life and laughing my head off
Clinging on for dear life and laughing my head off

It took an hour and a half to cover the 6km course but I laughed all the way round and am incredibly grateful to Tom for suggesting I joined everyone for the fun lap.

Finished with a massive smile on my face
Finished with a massive smile on my face

Judgement Day 18k  20k

It’s fair to say that my second day of racing didn’t go as well as my first. I was super lucky that my friend Chris Rudd was able to make the race and decided to run with me, because without him I’m not convinced I’d have made the finish line.

We set off in the first wave, and within the first mile I was struggling a bit to breath properly, my cold, whilst much improved, was making itself felt in my chest. I was already wondering about getting my first DNF but I really wanted that medal, so with Chris’s encouragement I continued. The first 6k were the same as yesterday, with an increase in the length of the bucket carry thrown in for good measure. It was certainly faster going and we reached the monkey bars in good time. I had a go but soon fell off, my grip letting me down once again.

At least I tried!
At least I tried!

We carried on, but I could really feel the lack of training lately and was sorely lacking the ability to breath. I told Chris he could ditch me if he liked, but he refused to budge. We covered some beautiful tough trails through the hills of Pippingford, with some very technical running on every kind of surface. We waded through, swam through, climbed out of and jumped into a lot of very cold water, but the sun was shining despite it being late October and I was never cold for long.

My most triumphant moment was scaling two inverted walls completely unaided – something I’ve not done before, but pride comes before a fall, and shortly after this I turned my ankle. The same one I turned a few months ago at Dirty Dozen. The pain was sharp and immediate. I had to slow to a complete walk for a while, until the pain subsided enough for me to pick up a slow jog where the terrain allowed.

We struggled over a few more obstacles, both flagging with a lack of energy, stumbling up hills and cursing the fact that the course was so long! We finally crested a hill and found ourselves at the technical rig, I didn’t even try, I knew I’d just fall off and potentially hurt my ankle more, so it was a slow hobble around the penalty loop for me, Chris joining me after coming off the rig. We were then off down the hill towards the event village, with a brief stop at a keg carry (which I also failed, my back was seizing up and I just couldn’t lift it, despite usually being OK with carries). Then it was into the event village and faced with a rope traverse strung between two high walls. I had already completed an earlier rope traverse, so after some deliberation I decided I wanted to try, however when I got to the top of the wall (with help) I froze. I couldn’t get myself onto the rope and I couldn’t get down. In the end with help from Chris, and our friend Del, I was half lifted back down to the ground in tears! Chris and I went arm in arm down to the ninja rings which were the final obstacle, and tears were streaming down my face. I felt so useless, tired, in pain and generally pathetic. At this point I was grabbed in a massive hug by Tom Littlewood who was finished and watching the rings (second blog mention there 🙂 ) and without trying the rings, Chris and I took hands to cross the finish line. By this point I was just done. People can say what they like about me skipping obstacles but had I fallen off I don’t think I would be able to walk at all!

I’m so eternally grateful to Chris for staying with me the whole race, as I got more and more slow and pathetic. He really is a true friend and great running partner. The blue medal, to complete my trio of JD medals this year was very hard earned and has probably cost me another week or so of training, but the race was great and JD delivered once again!

JD trio done!
JD trio done!

After finishing I ran into the fabulous Adam Luck who took one look at my face and grabbed me in a huge hug, then after asking if I was OK insisted on taking me to a medic to get bandaged up. I got a few more hugs in with various people then it was time to hit the road.

All in all, despite the race being fantastic, for me it was a bit of a personal disaster. I don’t know how I got myself over that finish line, and it’s been a while since I finished a race in tears. With yet another injury to sort out, I think my black cloud is going nowhere for a while, and another race brake is now on the cards. I just can’t do it! C’est la vie!

September

I woke up on the 1st of September with no races booked at all, by the end of  that first day I had two booked, by the end of the first week I had booked a few more, and now September is looking like my busiest month for racing all year, at least so far, so this might turn into a bit of a long blog! Trying to get my motivation and drive back after falling off the wagon hard at the end of August after an injury.

Spartan Sprint Peterborough

A spur of the moment decision two days before the race found me screaming “I am a spartan” once more on a start line on a Saturday morning, despite having decided earlier in the year that I wouldn’t be doing any Spartan races at all this season.

Unusually for me I was running in a late wave, joining a little team of OCR Wrongens for the race. We were having a slow and leisurely trot around the sprint course. I was glad to be keeping the pace down as I was still nursing a bad ankle from Dirty Dozen a couple of weeks before. It was a lot of fun hopping over walls, chatting and having a laugh. Eventually though the dreaded burpees reared their ugly head, not unexpectedly at the rope climb. I actually got half way up, there was even a split second where I thought I might actually make it this time! Sadly my weak ankle got the better of me and I just couldn’t do it, so I gave in after 3 attempts and got cracking on my burpees, still, progress is progress!  I also got half way across the monkey bars too before falling off when one was just a little out of my reach, and I predictably failed my spear throw earning me a few more. I really enjoyed the barbed wire craw which was pitched low over a lot of mud forcing you onto your stomach to get covered  from head to foot. Overall the race was pretty standard Spartan fare, but it was really good fun and has actually left me wanting to do more OCR’s, a feeling that has been very much missing this year until this race and Dirty Dozen last month started changing my mind back. Nice work Spartan!

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BBB 10k

The day after Spartan I went with my husband to Battle to run the BBB 10k. I know I shouldn’t have been running so much on my stupid busted foot but sometimes the head needs more therapy than the body. I was anticipating a slowish time due to the injury, being a bit tired from the day before and because I had been told the course has a few hills. When asked by a friend before the race what I was aiming for I said as long as I could keep it inside the hour I’d be pretty happy, and I gave a best estimate of 52mins, a time I have achieved before but wasn’t really expecting on this day. The course was good, and there were some hills. As usual I started off way to quickly at a pace I couldn’t maintain very long, but long enough to get me out of the start line crush. I pushed as much as I could, my ankle (and knee, which I had foolishly decided not to tape this time) giving me a bit of jip. I pushed as I came down Battle highstreet towards the finish line at the Abbey, but I was struggling and exhausted and in need of an icepack when I crossed the line. I had still managed to do pretty well, with a child shouting that I was 20th lady although I got pipped on the finish line by another woman, and I’ve not looked at the results, I was also spot on with my estimate of 52mins. The run alone also gave me time to clear my head and make the decision to stop being so bloody miserable, a work in progress i’m sure, but a step in the right direction none-the-less.

Nearing the finish at the BBB 10k
Nearing the finish at the BBB 10k

Rye Summer Series 5k

The weekend after Spartan and the Battle 10k I booked not just one, but three races over three days kicking off with the final race in the Rye classic summer series, a 5km out and back at Rye Nature Reserve. Unbeknown to me at the time, I was going into this race sitting in 2nd place lady for the whole series having done reasonably well at the first two races. I set off near the front and got caught up in the initial rush, once again setting off way too quickly, but settled down into a maintainable pace. Two women over took me, and left me in 3rd place for the rest of the race. I managed to complete the course in a little over 23mins giving me a new personal best and I finished in 3rd winning myself a bottle of wine. My third place also gave me enough points to go on and win the series, an utter surprise and I was absolutely chuffed to receive a lovely little trophy as well as entry into next years runs.

Finished, back home with my wine and trophy
Finished, back home with my wine and trophy

We Run, They Run, I Run: Rye Run 1

Well that’s a mouthful! This was We Run, They, Run, I Run’s inaugural event, and consisted of a 5.28 mile out and back run, again at Rye nature reserve, with a 6 hour time frame for you to run as many laps as you can, want or are able to do. 5 laps would equal a full marathon, and this was my initial goal, although I doubted my ability to do this having not actually trained to run that kind of distance and not done any kind of distance running for quite a while due to my injuries. We set out on our first lap and the running was fine, I was a little tired from the night before but I was happy with my pace, which I was trying to keep around 9 minute miles, and I finished the first lap comfortable. At the end of each lap your wrist band was marked, and when you chose to finish your run you sounded a horn and your time and distance were recorded. There was a fantastically well stocked aid station with all kinds of goodies for refuelling. I set off on my second lap, but now I was starting to feel yesterdays run, and all the injuries I had been carrying, by the end of my second I was quite uncomfortable. I took some time to take some food and energy gel on board and had a good drink, then set out for a third lap. I knew if I could complete a 3rd lap it would be the longest distance I’ve ever run before, but by the amount I was struggling by the turn around point it was obvious to me that that would be my last lap. At the end of my third, just as my watch beeped off 16miles, I sounded the horn and received my, quite frankly fabulous, medal and set about stretching and trying to ease my painful legs. I was disappointed to have to stop after 3 laps, as there was still a lot of time left on the clock, but sometimes you have to listen to your body, and I had a third race to do the next day. I had initially worried that this race might be a little dull being out and back laps, but it was actually really friendly as you started to recognise people you passed in either direction and give each other encouragement, and I’d certainly like to go back another time and give this another crack.

Finishing my 3rd lap
Finishing my 3rd lap

Hellingly 10k

Rather foolishly, after my 16mile run I had a birthday party to go to, and ended up staying out rather later than I had intended, so I got up for the final race of the three I was doing over the weekend after only 3 hours sleep, nursing a hangover, as well as all the aches and pains from the previous two days running and it’s fair to say that I wasn’t in a very fit state to run 10km, still I had signed up, so I was going. It was a lovely hot day as we set off to walk to the start line (which is about 800m from the carpark/finish). I had no intention of pushing myself in this race, my body was pretty much wrecked from the day before so I just set off at a pace I found comfortable and tried to ignore my screaming legs and painful feet. Despite the pain in my body I really enjoyed the run, it’s hilly and run on reasonably quiet country roads. My pace actually picked up a bit towards the end of the race, and I managed to cross the line only 5mins slower than the previous year, and still inside an hour which I was really pleased with. With extremely painful legs now though I am glad I’ve no more races to do and a day off tomorrow to recover. When Catatonia sang about being dead from the waist down she could have been talking about me at the moment. A week of light training is on the cards now to get my body moving again before next weekends race.

Coming into the finish at Hellingly
Coming into the finish at Hellingly

Nuclear Blackout

Much like with Spartan, I had not planned on doing any Nuclear races this year, but when it turned out I was free to race, I just couldn’t bring myself to miss Blackout, although this was the first year I didn’t also do the day race too. We travelled up to Essex in a packed car and got ourselves ready to race, head-torches on and an enthusiastic warm up and it was time to go. I set off by myself weaving around people as I had started near the back of a very packed wave. I managed to hoist myself over the first wall almost by my own power, although some kind stranger did give my back a shove at one point, then it was on until I came to a large container to climb over. Here I caught up with OCR ledgend Fay Kelly, who asked me if I wanted to join her and run together for the rest of the race, which I happily agreed to, and we carried on together to a stone carry and high wall climb (which I made short work of considering my fear of heights). Soon after this we hit the mud, and boy was there a lot of it, knee high, energy sapping, sticky mud. It was wonderful! We had a lot of fun clambering up and sliding down banks slick with mud, often needing a shove or a helping hand to make it to the top. We jogged on round at a nice pace, having a chat, splashing down the slide together and crawling across the pontoons. A bit more of a run found us in the Nuclear bunker, running through it in the dark, then heading up what feels like the endless stairs to emerge ready to take on the final set of muddy ditches and final hill towards the finish. A few more obstacles to clamber over and we were done. Fay was stopping after one lap, and after taking a moment to think about it I decided to do the same. Although I had the time and energy to complete another lap, I had enjoyed my one lap so much, and didn’t want to get half way round a second by myself and stop having fun. It was a brilliant race and I’m so glad I decided to sign up.

After finishing Blackout with the amazing Fay Kelly
After finishing Blackout with the amazing Fay Kelly

Sadly after Nuclear a new injury decided to rear it’s head, what my extensive google diagnosis tells me is shin splints. Infinitely more painful than any other running injury I’ve ever picked up, to the point where after a day at work just walking is tear inducing. This has meant yet more training set backs as I follow the advice I’ve read saying under no circumstances run through the pain, and now I just have to hope that it will heal up in time for me to run the few races I have booked up in October. Fingers crossed.