Dreamer with a day job

Finding My Feet

After weeks of struggling with injury, lack of motivation and making excuses because of the weather, I’ve had enough.

Completing the Great North Run for the first time in September was one of the crowning achievements of my life so far; stumbling across that finish line fuelled by nothing but agony and adrenaline and feeling only pride for pushing myself beyond the limits of what I ever thought possible. After the initial high of the day though, following so many months of training and anticipation, I found myself in a deep post-race slump where I didn’t really care if I ran another mile in my life or not.

x rayThe long summer evenings suddenly seemed a lifetime ago, the nights were drawing in, and without the impetus of an imminent event to spur me on, I put off run after run in favour of ‘resting’. This was further compounded by the fact that whenever I did venture out after work to give it an unenthusiastic go, the excruciating pain on the outside of my left knee made me hobble to a stop after just a couple of kilometres around the block. Establishing that the injury was most likely my iliotibial band, stressed and inflamed from the half marathon effort, ironically the only thing that I actually could do was rest.

I kept up my weekly Pilates classes and did the odd set of weights at home, but as the season turned colder and darker, the disciplined training regime of the summer months was far behind me. The longer I was unable to train properly due to my injury, the more disillusioned I became. What was the point in going out running if my heart wasn’t in it?

Then suddenly, as if from nowhere, one evening last week I decided I wanted to go for a run. Actually wanted to go for a run. It was dark, windy, and raining on and off, but I felt like I had to go out while I was motivated to do so in case I lost it again.

I set off down the street, steadily at first then more sure-footed, the swirling wind flicking the rain into my face like little elastic bands on my cheeks. First I fought my way into the wind, then soared along with it behind me; one kilometre, then two, waiting for the sharp twinge in my knee. It never came. My legs felt strong; three kilometres, then four.

I only stopped as the rain had started lashing down a bit too hard and I had no desire to soak myself completely to the skin. Better to quit while I was ahead anyway. Not a fast time for 4k, and no great distance, but it was how I felt that was the important thing. I had never run as far since the GNR without any knee discomfort, and I finally felt as if I had more left in the tank again.

I went back in the house and Tweeted this:

And exhilirating was the word. What was essentially little more than a light jog four times round the block, had so much significance for me. I was back in the saddle, up on the horse, finding my feet once more.

league of their ownI followed this up with another 4k yesterday morning, this time in a biting cold wind, although with no rain! I had to stop for a breather after just 2k – not because of my joints, but because my chest was burning from inhaling the icy air. When I got back home I was struggling to talk as I got my breath back, but felt amazing nonetheless. It had hurt, but it felt good – I felt good.

Riding the wave of motivation, I’ve just reserved my Great North Run place for September 2014 with Tiny Lives – running for a cause inspires me – and I’ll be aiming for a sub-two hour finish. I’ve got 8 and a half months to make up those 7 minutes over from my first attempt. I also need to get signed up for the Great Manchester Run, and the Great North 10k – I’ve got a PB to beat in both of them.

It’s hard, but it’s supposed to be hard. No more excuses.


4 thoughts on “Finding My Feet”

  • I decided to run the GNR for Epilepsy Action after a spat of seizures. I’ve never so much as run up the stairs but have started doing the NHS podcasts from couch to 5k and do them every other day. I was also worried that i wouldn’t have time to do it because i have a 2 year old. But I decided the dishwasher, and the mound of washing and ironing could wait. Once my little one is in bed, I put on my lurid running gear and off I go. It’s the only peace and quiet I ever get. I’m on week three and although it seems a million miles away from running a half marathon, it’s a start! Give it a go.

    • That’s brilliant to hear, Helen. Being a busy mum can be an easy excuse not to train but there are so many running mums sharing their success on social media we can be hard to ignore! Couch to 5k is a great programme and will set you in good stead for the half marathon training. Take it one step at a time, and good luck!

      • Thanks. It’s funny, but to say I’ve never run before, I want to go out every night! I know it’s not good for me though. I haven’t had a respiratory arrest yet so I can’t be doing too bad!

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