A few more days post-Ox and it feels like recovery is happening. I've been off work for an unprecedented 4 days in a row now as I picked up a stomach bug either from falling in cow-shitty mud and eating with dirty hands during the race, or simply from a depressed immune system post-ultra. It's been pretty gruesome, especially as I don't think I've had a stomach bug since I was a child and this has absolutely floored me. Not being able to keep food in has been awful although I guess the enforced rest from being poorly has been good for me.
So now I'm skin and bones, a bit wobbly but less tired and mentally in a better place too. I managed to eat a bowl of pasta last night which has more or less stayed in, and the stomach cramps are far fewer. I even really want to get out and train again! As far as training goes though, this is stopping me:
It doesn't look much but I think there must be a lot of bruising or blisters around/ underneath my big toenail because any pressure on it is excruciating- wearing shoes is just awful!
Mentally I don't feel so bleak and can now contemplate Giant's Head marathon in 4 week's time with equanimity. It was never going to be a race for me, just some fun. The cut off is really generous and I'll walk as much of it as I feel like; unless you're an elite or a top club runner it's never only about running. After Giant's Head there's the Invader in July (another marathon) and then the SVP100. At the start of the week I really thought I would pull out of that one but now I feel like it is manageable. I will have someone to run with which will make an enormous difference, but I still need to organise for someone to be there at the finish for me.
I am also thinking about how to keep running sustainable for me. As well as getting my GI issues checked at the doctor's yesterday, I got the results for my latest DEXA scan. The news isn't good. My spine is already deteriorating from last time it was looked at and now my hips show signs of bone loss too. It's scary- I'm only in my mid-40s and the thought of a future where I could sneeze and fracture a vertebrae is absolutely terrifying. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't get outside and run and hike and just move around freely. And I'm so scared of losing the people I care most about because of this stupid illness.
It's so incredibly frustrating that I'm finding out what my body is capable of achieving just as I'm finding out that I have an illness that will at some point stop me doing the things I love. I can't describe the rage inside me, both about what I will lose and also about all the years wasted, not trying things because of other people- other people's belief that I couldn't do sport, that sport wasn't for me, their worries about what I might do...
My girls might thing I'm a tough mummy, too driven, too determined, but I badly want them to see what you can achieve if you really want to; that it's so important to live NOW, to do things before it's too late.
Although the future feels bleak, at least I can say I survived Ox and I will run again.