I’m happiest when I’m running, especially if it’s raining. Because when the weather is bad, in that moment it feels like you’re the only person in the world to be out running. You feel hard core because staying in and watching EastEnders would’ve been the easier option (especially when you have a secret crush on Max Branning!). But you chose to run instead. So when the Doctor told me I’d need at least 4 weeks’ rest it was pretty gutting, but unfortunately I’m fairly used to having time off training due to all the injuries. But this time was different, it wasn’t a simple injury. It was more serious. I had no choice but to accept the time off and treat my comeback to running and the clots with patience and respect. I knew I’d have to start entirely from scratch, because even walking at the time was impossible, due to the pain! But cruelly I wasn’t allowed to put my leg up and binge watch box sets for over a month. I had to force myself to walk every hour. I was in so much pain, but I had to ironically not listen to my body, and fight against it just to take one step. The first couple of days I couldn’t walk without holding on to my dad whilst screaming every time my left leg touched the floor. My first target I set myself was to walk the whole duration of the advert breaks whilst watching Coronation Street (it was a Wednesday so EastEnders wasn’t on lol). Through the tears and after losing my voice in the process, I managed to achieve my target!
Luckily the medication and pain killers kicked in, and after a week and a half I set target number two! I walked to my local shop which is just under a mile each way, unaided and as a reward I bought myself a packet of frazzles. It took about an hour to complete the walk. But it really felt like a break through moment. After that milestone, I then set myself a goal to walk 5000-8000 steps a day. Don’t get me wrong, the leg was still painful and twitching constantly, but it was starting to get more bearable. So when it came to my 4 week check up at the hospital, where I was given Sally the sexy compression sock, I also received the good news that I could run! However, because Sally the sock was incredibly tight, it caused me so much pain in my leg, it was like day one all over again! So speed dial to my DVT nurse, and was told I have to wait another week to be able to run to let the pain subside. I’m usually a really impatient person. I’m usually like, “I want to be fit, I want to race well now, I want to buy an Aston Martin now” that kind of thing! But this time I had to do what’s best for me and my recovery, and that is to be patient. That’s one of the main things I’ve learnt about this whole experience. I’ve learnt to be more relaxed about life and not sweat the small stuff. Which has actually really changed my life for the better!
After what felt like ten years, my extra week off was over, my leg pain settled down. I put my running kit on, dusted off my trainers and with music blasting through my ears I started to …..walk. I was scared to run ok! I admit it, I was nervous. I was thinking what if I can’t remember how to run? What if I fall over? But as my irrational thinking was starting to get out of hand. ‘Don’t stop me now’ by Queen came on my iPod and just like that I started to run. Anyone closest to me knows the significance of this song to me. I can’t race without listening to it. I was even cool enough to share my love for this song and wrote to Athletics Weekly when I was 13 and won letter of the week (I’d do anything to delay doing my maths homework!). That day I ended up running 8×1 minute run/walk. But most importantly my leg was ok!
From then I kept to the same pattern, mixing up the training with running and walking. But the biggest difficulty I have when I run now is that at any time I start to get a dead leg. It’s a really weird sensation. My overall power on my left side has decreased generally. But it’s like my left leg is almost on a delay, so as I tire I start scuffing the ground with my trainers. When I hear this more than 3 times, it’s like an alarm clock to say that I’ve got about 3 minutes running left in me. But 3 and a bit weeks later I can now run 5 miles! I know this is baby mileage but for now I’m celebrating how far I’ve come. My leg is starting to get stronger and more responsive too! I still have to take each day at a time, because working as well as training my whole left side gets tired quickly. So I have to take extra rest days throughout the week. I’m hoping by the end of December I’ll be able to put together a more normal consistent training week. But for now I might try and jog a park run and I need to start hitting the gym! (It’s all about the squats!). I know it’ll be a long slow journey but I’m excited to see what the future holds in every aspect of my life!