It’s been 6 weeks would you believe it?! 6 whole weeks since i took a super duper run around rome and realised I was capable of moving again. Since then I’ve been running with zero pain, well not zero pain, but only the good pain, the pain that means your pushing and working hard. I can’t believe we’re almost in August and I’ve missed the majority of the year in terms of running and racing. My one solo medal from the year hangs pride of place reminding me just what I achieved way back in Feb, and what I’ll keep working for.
It’s been equal measures wonderful and totally scary coming back from Injury. I say wonderful because every single run, even the ones where I tell my self I’m shit 743 times, that I’ll never amount to anything, and all my dreams are over (nice insight in to my brain there), I finish and feel utterly elated. I’m elated because I am outside on these two things, and they’re not screaming at me in excruciating pain, they’re not swelling up, they’re not failing me. They’re holding me perfectly up right, working together in harmony to stabilise me, catch me, hold me, and keep me moving forward, always forward. I say scary because trusting that they will do that, all of those things that legs should do, and have always done, so naturally and without thought, believing that they won’t give up or give in, that my body is back communicating with my brain in the way it was always designed to, is at times impossible. We don’t know why my nerves started to send messages to parts of my body I rely on heavily, telling them they were broken when they weren’t. And every day for a good few hours before I lace up and walk out the door I am a little ball of pent up anxiety, until I get through those first 10 strides, because maybe I’ve pushed too hard, or gone too soon, or am just one of the unlucky ones who will get struck down again, and again, and again.
For now that seems not to be the case, I carry on past those 10 strides in to the 10s of thousands of strides, settled, calm and seemingly back to normal; This big life disruption, just gone.
So what now?
I always said if i could make it to 16 miles before the start of Berlin, i would turn up and try to get round my 17th 26.2. Well last weekend and with 9 weeks to go, I hit that distance quite comfortably. It’s not until sitting here and writing this that I actually realised I’ve gone from no miles to 16 miles in 6 weeks, and that is actually quite a mammoth achievement! Yay Me!
I am keeping my training varied, with long slow runs on the trails, speed work on the road, easy miles wherever they take me, strength training and rehab, which I am slowly transitioning to pre-hab. I didn’t have a 14 week plan to follow to get me to Berlin 6 weeks ago, and I certainly don’t have an 8 week plan now. Instead I am reacting to my body and what it needs each day, following some basic rules about effort and mileage increase, and trying to build back muscle where it’s been lost. I’m trying to be kind to the parts of me that are struggling with all that seems to be lacking, and nurturing the parts that are willing me on to succeed. Finding some sort of balance in trusting my body and brain, forgetting what I think they can and can’t do, and just letting them do again.
I know that standing on that start line will be a bit of a terrifying experience, full of all the unknowns of my very first marathon, but I also know what a life changing experience that day was for me. What the finish line of every single one since has meant to me, how they have shaped me, and changed me, and prepared me for this very moment in ways I could never articulate. That being said I remain enough in the fear zone to not put any pressure on Berlin, it has to be about nothing else than celebrating my love affair with 26.2 miles. A question mark still hangs over where I’ll go from there, and all i know for sure is it’ll be on two feet, because it’s quite simply the best.