Thursday, 9 June 2016

Why are you here?

Injuries whether we like it or not are unfortunately inevitable. Within elite sport we put ourself at a much higher risk of injury due to the nature of what we are trying to achieve, day in day out we test our limits and put our bodies through a lot to get there. Athletics is one of those sports where, you could be absolutely flying, winning races, getting Personal Bests and then one day in one split second it can all come crashing down. We are basically walking a tight rope without a harness, we may stay on and reach our goal, but we may come crashing down. Unfortunately for me I crashed. (but only temporarily, nothing is forever)

We are basically walking a tight rope, 
without a harness, 
we may stay on and reach our goal, 
but we may come crashing down.

Training in Font Romeu in April.

No injury is ever going to be good news especially to an elite athlete, its our first choice, its our job, its what we want more than anything, so when that is taken away it is beyond devastating, especially when this can happen year after year for some people. The first few days of an injury are heartbreaking, as in you literally feel like your heart has broke. 

For me, the last 2 years haven't been ideal, stress fracture in 2014 (which resulted in a puppy so not all lost) and its best we don't even mention 2015...(ran quicker when i was 15...) so to have a new start in July 2015 with an absolutely fabulous training group and coach meant I was super excited to get stuck in and see what I could achieve. 9 months flew by of consistent training, and just general progress each month. I was more confident, more excited and generally more happy within my athletics than I have ever been before. The girls and boys (they know who they are) in my training group were great, supportive, funny, positive people and we pushed each other all the time, at the end of the day we all had the same goals. And the coach, a certain Bud Baldaro was like no one I had met before, my self belief sky rocketed because of him. 

Some of the training group with our coach
Racing was also going pretty well if I say so myself,  within a month I had ran 5 of my quickest times ever over 800m and 1500m, set 2 Personals best (4.10 and 2.03 over 1500m and 800m)  ran 2 European Qualifying times for the European Championships in July and was in reach of the Olympic Qualifying standard, something which I thought was possible - given I still had just under 2 months to get it, I really thought all the stars were aligning and this was my year. And then here is where I fell of my tight rope... During the Birmingham Diamond League with a heartbreaking 180m to go till the finish line, I managed a grade 2 tear in my calf ... now my exact diagnosis sounds scary so I have chosen to omit this from my mind, mainly because to be honest I don't understand the clinical lingo. All I know is 4 weeks from the European Championships, and 5 weeks from Olympics Qualification deadline, it is far from ideal.

To make things that little bit more painful (o don't you love fate) I went through 1300m in 3.35, meaning at very worse I was on track for a PB. My coach reckons I would have finished up with sub 4.08. I only managed one stride of my sprint finish before it felt like someone had shot me through my calf, and literally in a very dramatic fashion fell to the ground. Initial reactions were tears, anger (I screamed a lot) and then just disbelief... why me? why now? why this race? why not at least till after the finish? Now I am sensible athlete, and truly experienced no tightness before the race - I had physio on the Tuesday and massage on the Wednesday leading into it, (as I do most weeks) and was feeling good. Some things we just can't explain.

Stupid Day... but I like the yea.

I even googled 'can you run out of tears'  
because it was becoming quite annoying 
to be honest.

For the next 72 hours, I cried, I mean I cried a lot.. maybe not exactly for 72 hours, even though it felt like it. I even googled ' can you run out of tears'  because it was becoming quite annoying to be honest, seeing a random runner would make me cry, my brother going to the gym would make me cry, people being nice would make me cry, my dog (for Christ sake) jumping for a ball would make me cry. I genuinely wanted to cut out all of their achilles / soleus muscles and swap them for mine.

I'm still crawling from my bedroom to the toilet, shuffling on my bum down the stairs, as I'm the worse crutch user, and generally just having a hate/hate relationship with my moon boot (aka new fashion accessory) So I'm not quite yet ready for cross training, which is frustrating, because now I have managed to say hello without crying, I want to be going crazy cross training to maintain this form I am in, however I am being super sensible this week to make this injury heal as fast as I can in the long run. So for now the dreaming of cross training (when did cross training become a dream?) is keeping me motivated plus the copious amount of core I am doing ( I will get my summer beach body) and hey ultimately no one died, I have both my legs and both my arms, and plenty of amazing people around me, so it could be worse (as you can tell I am having a good day and my next blog post will probably follow along the lines of I want to kill EVERYONE)

The one thing I keep going over and over in my head to keep motivated is, I got to this shape before and along with my training group, coach, family and physio and my determination aka stubbornness,  I know I can get there again. There is always another Championships, there is always another race and ultimately I decide when this journey ends not a stupid calf. I love what I do and I’m 100% focused on where I’m heading in this exciting journey. 

One very wise person once said two things which I deem very appropriate for this post and to anyone struggling with injury. 

"Rivers know this, there is no hurry. We shall get there some day"

"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think"

(** yes I did just quote Winnie the pooh - don't judge)


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