Coming back from injury can, at times, be a frustrating process and, at times, be a cause for celebrating small wins. That was this week. I’ve been injured for about a year, starting with a stress fracture in May last year and moving forward very slowly with very little progress. In the last two months I have made significant progress due, in part, to the injection I got in my knee, a new biokineticist who is a professional purist and daily excruciating rolling of my ITB. It has not all been fun. But like I said, I have made significant improvements and I’m starting to see my running improve. Little kudos and comments on Strava from people also recognizing my little achievements have also helped me see my improvement.
This week has been a mixed bag for me. On Tuesday, I was tired and my legs were sore, so my hills session was cut short after I started to feel my ITB complaining just before I was finished. I was okay with just stopping after 4 repeats instead of the planned 6 repeats. Due to my caution on Tuesday, I ran a good time trial on Thursday, seeing a time on the clock at the end that I haven’t seen in what feels like years. Today was not the same. Fresh off the high of the most improved student time trial on Thursday and an all-about-me birthday celebration yesterday, I arrived at My Road Less Travelled’s Mark White Nissan Trail Run eager to see how far I could stretch this getting better streak. I’ll admit, I was a bit tired when I arrived there. People had left my house late last night and my grandson had slept over, but he’d coughed from about 3am so I hadn’t slept well, but I was excited about running what I knew would be a super technical trail. It was good to be out running again.
Three hundred metres in, around the first corner, I tripped over nothing and went sliding forward on my arms and thighs. I had got some funky new shorts for my birthday and they provided absolutely zero protection from the stones and rocks and sand and gravel that paved my sliding way. I lay there with my face on the ground. Kind people hopped over me asking if I was okay and I just lay there, “Jaaaa. I’m fine.” So I lay there for about 20 seconds and then hauled myself to my feet and limped forward two steps. I stepped off the path and the remainder of the tiny field of runners poured past me. I vacillated. I stood and contemplated my three options. And thus began another spiritual journey courtesy of this running that I hate love. The conversation between the various voices in my head went something like this:
“Fuck this shit! I’m right at the start. I’ll just walk back and sit in a chair and wait for EP to come back.”
“But EP has the car key and it’s fucking cold and I’ve got the tiniest pants on.”
“Okay, well just go back and get someone to help and then you can start again.”
“Ah fuck! I came all this way. I may as well just do this.”
“No! Fuck it! I’m going back.”
“Remember that time you fell near home and you carried on? Remember how the blood was pouring down your legs, but you were so proud of yourself? Just carry on.”
Round about then, I started to sob. I wanted to give up and I didn’t want to give up. So I sobbed. Out loud. A run/walk for life person went race walking past me and asked if I was okay and I stood on the side of the path wailing out loud. “I’m okay. Waaaaaaaaaaail!” A lady walked past who was clearly the last person on the road. She asked me if I was okay and then gave me two tissues. Thank you ma’am. You really helped. A lot. “Waaaaaaaail!” I dabbed the tears away and carried on running. Every now and then I cried a little, but I carried on running. The route was very technical and I soon realized that if I carried on crying, I would not be able to see the path and I’d fall again, so I stopped bawling. Then I came around the corner and Richard was there, patiently waiting for me with his camera. He looked a bit alarmed, but I managed to squeeze out a grimace for the camera! Another corner and there was Alain. “Waaaaaaail! I fell. Coming back from injury just sucks!” “Well just take it for what it is.”
You always have choices in life. Life has ups and downs. Check out this route!!
How’s those ups and downs? When falls happen in life, you can go back to where you were and stay there. It is safer that way. You can go back to the start and try over with your new knowledge. Or you can go forward a little bit more cautiously than before, but still going forward. You’ll find that if you go forward, it is sometimes scary and you fear that the same fall could happen again and you’re still sore from the last fall. But you’ll become more confident as you go along. Then, when you feel you’re recovered, you give it your all. You be the best new version of you that you can be….even if the new version is a little bit broken. Alain was right when he said “Just take if for what it is.” The fall was the fall and my knees and elbows were sore, but the rest of the race was there to do with whatever I chose. So I took it a bit cautiously and then it got quite scary and dangerous, but I kept going forward courageously. I little bit more cautious than I like to be, but I was being kind to myself and trying not to be a total moron by falling again. Although, admittedly, there were more spectacular places I could have fallen instead of the rather innocuous flat piece of path which I fell on. But I didn’t fall again. I took it easy and I ended up having a really awesome run.
I won’t lie, it was a very tough route, but I was disciplined in my approach to the uphills by counting steps and only walking my 50 step allocation each time. By making sure I had gone at least 80 steps before walking again, I slowly passed a few people who had stepped over me as I lay in the path earlier. I wasn’t giving up. Not then and not at all during the rest of the day. I had committed to the team to run the RAC cross country race later in the afternoon. After I finished the trail run, I was sore. Everything was stinging and I was stiffening up. EP asked me if I was still going to do cross country. “No. I’m too sore.” Ten minutes later she asked me again. “Yes. I said I would. I will.” I think I might be mentally ill. But, I lined up at the cross country race this afternoon, tired and sore. I ran at the back because, like others I know, I like to start slow and then oh fuck it! I didn’t die and I didn’t come last. But that’s no great shakes, because the people that came behind me were over 60 years old. Lol.
Just a reminder, I did go up an age category yesterday. It’s been a tough week, like I said!
Another lesson in life dished out to me by running. Thank you My Road Less Travelled for a beautiful and incredibly difficult and challenging race. Thank you Mark White Nissan too. I might trade in my Jeep for that Navara I saw at the top of the top of the top top hill! 😉
Yours in the ups and downs of life.