And then I hurt my ankle and it all kind of fell apart.
What had just been a twinge for a while got bad enough to stop me running, and then even cycling and at one point walking became hard. It was so, so frustrating. I rested it for a week, and then two, and then a month, and each time I thought it was getting better and I'd go for a short run, I'd find that no, ankle was not finished resting, thank-you-very-much. It started to affect my right knee, and then my left, and I clearly just needed to let everything heal properly.
But back in August it finally felt better and I started running regularly again. It felt TERRIBLE! Dropping back from feeling good, if pushed, at running 5km non stop in about 30 minutes, I had to go way back to around halfway through the running program, and gasp my way through a slow 10 minute run. Run? I think lurch, stagger, or lug might be better words. I could feel the fitness I'd built up so quickly had vanished just as fast – which is fair, I suppose – and I felt like I was dragging my backside behind me like a wagon. Keep up, backside! The weight that had dropped off so quickly seemed to have returned, too, and I felt as though all that effort had been for nothing.
Still, if I could get to that high point the first time around, I decided I could definitely get back there again. The 10 minute runs were completed. They weren't fun anymore. There was no runner's high, no sense of reaching a new goal, no feeling of having had a good run, the kind where everything is working well and you're flying, the kind I'd got used to. I didn't feel strong afterwards, as I once had, and instead, after each one, was tired and a bit glum. I finally bought some new running shoes (I had to go and run on a treadmill and get analysed and all that, which seemed like a bore so I put it off for ages) which – touch wood – feel really good and have been keeping my ankle happy. A couple of weeks ago, I started to push a bit further than those awful 10 minute limps, and did two 10 minutes with 3 minutes walking in between. The second runs were hard, and I couldn't wait for them to be over... BUT!
Yesterday, it finally happened! After a month of sweat and effort and blah, it felt good. Really good! I was run-plodding my way through the second half and then got my second wind – something I hadn't had for aaaaaaages. I finished the run feeling really strong, beating my best pace and distance and finally, FINALLY, walked home buzzing with that high. Running is fun again!
I wanted to share this because I know that lots of runners go through a tedious injury process, and that getting back into it is hard. I found that reading about other people's experiences with it helped me to feel better about it – there is light at the end of the tunnel, eventually! And I know lots of you run, too. Have you been couch bound by injury? I'd love to hear about your running hurdles (pun NOT intended!) and how you overcame them.