Monday, 6 November 2017


I think just maybe, maybe, maybe... I have come to accept the situation I now find myself in. Of course it is not a situation I thought I would be in at the start of the year. Yep, it's funny how life pans out sometimes. With time I have come around to the idea and I'm able to face the hard truth. The one sentence that has forced me to see everything differently. Over two months down the line from the first onset of pain, now I can bravely say; “Yes I'm injured at the moment and I'm not able to run.”

In the beginning, it was just; “I'll be back running soon. It's only a little niggle.” Maybe I thought if I kept repeating this hope to myself it would somehow become true. But deep down I knew this wasn't the case. In my heart I knew it was more serious because no matter what I did; the pain wasn't going away. I became skilled at ignoring the pain, wearing optimism (or you could say stupidity) like a mask. Believing naively that it would somehow magically disappear. I was in flat out denial mode. It was just a niggle and if anyone tried to tell me otherwise I wasn't having it.

In the sport of running, you know and hear of people getting injured. I guess you could say it's part of the game. Nevertheless if I'm honest; an injury that could prevent someone from running for a while used to be something I was obviously aware of but not something that could or would happen to me. Stress fractures were just something you heard about and happened to other people. Right? Right. So okay my MRI Scan didn't reveal a stress fracture, but a precursor to one – a stress response. Whilst this has been a hard pill to swallow, I have now come to accept that I am an injured runner. Through this acceptance I can now move forward and plan and act accordingly so I can come back to and continue to do the sport I love. It's important to listen to your body and to give it the rest and time it needs to heal. Health is important.

I'm not after sympathy. I'm just here to share my story. Yes I am injured. I'm not running at the moment. I finally accept this fact now and with this acceptance and with accepting who I am and who I'm becoming along the way – I set myself free.

2017 has been a weird year for me. I realise what a cliché it is, but I've learnt and still continue to learn so much about myself.

When you take a step back from something you love, forced to go without it for a while; you definitely come to appreciate it more. Taking a step back from running has made me realise how much it means to me and so much more appreciative for the experiences, opportunities and memories it has given me.

When I'm finally able to run again I will do so with a greater understanding of the sport and ultimately of myself. The ability to run is a gift and I won't ever take it for granted again.

Whilst I cannot run, it doesn't mean I cannot continue to dream. My running muscles may currently be shrinking, but my dreams are only growing. My wise Dad told me not to beat myself up about my situation but to see it as an opportunity.  This downtime is an opportunity to understand where my dreams could take me, understand where I want them to take me and how I'm going to make that happen.

Running has opened up whole new worlds within me, especially with where the sport took me this past Summer.

It is the memories of Summers gone by which I hold deep inside me now. I still think about them everyday. There are moments and feelings within which help me on this new path, showing me the way. The special memories of the mountain running family will always live on. Just reading through some of my older blog posts sparks an awareness within me and I imagine myself running high on the spirit of the freedom just the simple act of going for a run gives me.

Of course; it isn't all fine and dandy and it's not always an inspiring journey. I'm not always strong and able to hold it together.  Because yes; I'm injured and I'm not able to do the thing I love the most.

Ultimately, I miss it. The feeling of putting one foot in front of the other over and over. The simplicity and freedom that come from movement. Sometimes I don't know what I'm supposed to do with my feet. The constant itch for movement that I must learn to scratch without actually granting my body with what it wants. A feeling I must learn to ignore. The stack of trainers not used in weeks, months now…

Running has just become a distant memory. I cling onto the emotions and feelings it has given me in the past and perhaps everyday I feel them slipping a little bit more from my grasp; slipping through my fingers like tiny grains of sand.

Patience is something I'm learning how to practice. Something my late grandfather used to tell me frequently  “patience is a virtue” and now more than ever I'm able to understand exactly what this means. With patience, you will learn to appreciate the beauty of the moment you are in. It is after all a matter of perspective. In the beginning, I saw this injury as not the end of the world, but perhaps the end of my world. I was blinkered by what running means to me. I've come to understand that this injury is a set back, something put in front of me, a challenge and an obstacle. But I've grown thankful for this obstacle because it is a bridge and it will make me stronger. I am growing because of this.

My new reality – it's not running free to the top of the highest peaks. I struggle to even climb the stairs with the pair of crutches I am now required to use. It's only when you're put in the position of having to use crutches for your everyday mobility that you come to realise how difficult it is. In the beginning, my upper body ached solidly for days. My hands are bruised and blistered which makes every step painful. On the bright side; hopping around the house without crutches is something I've mastered.

There are always things that you come to appreciate - the little things. Like someone holding the shop door open for you as you move through or a complete stranger stepping to the side on the pavement to let you pass and saying “take it easy now dear”. These small random acts of kindness shine through and my faith in the world is restored.

I'm letting go of what I thought I would be doing and I'm learning to accept what is; now. Because now is my life. 

Yes. I'm injured. But I am so much more than my injury. Just as I am so much more than just a runner.

I am human; powerful and strong despite my struggle. Thank you to all those who continue to inspire me, even those who don't even know it.

The process is something I've always trusted in and this doesn't change now. I'm still trusting the process, now perhaps more than ever; living each day and moment at a time. Relishing the challenge of my new reality and understanding that this is just part of my journey – maybe one day it will all make sense.

I'm a little bit injured and sometimes this makes me feel a little bit sad, but there are far worse things going on in the world.

It may come as a surprise and some of you may think me crazy, but I'm actually glad to be dealing with an injury.

My injury has set me free.  

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