Sunday, 24 April 2016

A dark place

It's been quiet here and I've neglected the blog. Partly intentionally and partly because so much has been happening. Here's a quick catch up:
I sustained a random injury in karate towards the end of Jan and had several weeks where I could barely walk and my lower back or glutes kept cramping severely. Awful. I lost a lot of fitness but was able to run the Larmer 20 on 13th March. Hardly a stellar performance but I really enjoyed it and was happy with 21 hilly, off-road miles in around 3hrs 38min.

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Since then I've been attempting to get the mileage up ready for Ox Ultra on 22nd May and having a constant battle with the aftermath of January's injury. I'm really struggling with tight back, glutes, hips and hamstrings and am really only managing the worst of the symptoms. No one seems to be able to actually fix me. It's having a big impact on my running and is making karate impossible some weeks. I feel a shadow of myself compared to this time last year.
Other stuff that is making me unhappy has been going on too but it's not for this blog. Suffice to say that when I took a really bad fall on the trails on Wednesday I was at my lowest ebb and in the darkest of places. I sustained loads of bruising everywhere and it's taken until today for my left hand to return to normal size.
It was one of those days when really I shouldn't have run- I was so tired physically, and mentally in a very bad, dark place. I lay there face down in the sand and mud and just cried and cried. At that point I really didn't think I could do anything any more. I didn't want to run again, didn't think I was good enough to run and I hated that now I'm always the tail runner when last year I was the speedy one at the front. I've not been so low or so filled with self-doubt for a very long time.
Getting up from the mud I was in pieces. It's hard when something that is an integral part of your life turns around and becomes the thing that breaks you, that you almost dread because you don't know if you can really do it any more. As well as that there was the fear that I'd broken bones. I hate living with that uncertainty and I don't want to be limited by that fear. Luckily though, I wasn't on my own; my fella got me up and once we were about 80% confident nothing was broken I limped my way back to the car.
I kept saying that I couldn't do it any more. Couldn't run and actually couldn't do life either. So we left it that maybe I wouldn't run for a while. And if necessary wouldn't do Ox or SVP100 or any of the other races I'd planned for year. Even in pieces and hurting that wasn't an easy decision to make because it felt like I was failing, that I wasn't being tough enough. And I didn't know what I would do or what would happen to me if I stopped running.
It's made me question why I run. I say I do it for myself, because I like it, because I'm a fidget and find the constant moving soothing in a strange sort of way. I say that what speed I run at doesn't matter, that I run to suit myself and don't care what others do. But it's not true. I hate and am dismayed by the loss in pace; I need to run fast.
Right now I'm in a very uncomfortable place. If I want to complete any of the races planned for the year I need to fix my head at least as much as mend my body. I don't know if I have the strength to do that...

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