A few weeks ago I was fighting all kinds of running demons. I was tired, I was training hard and I had a run on the 6 foot track in preparation for the race ahead. That run left me very flat, and also very fatigued, and I had a slight niggle in my calf for a few days after. After a few years of back to back running and racing I thought this all contributed to this moment, but also the relentless heat of our summer didn’t help things along.
I kept up the training and tried to manage the tightness as best I could and instead of embarking on an easier training run I decided to head to a trail that was quite technical and had a lot of climbs in it. This put undue stress on my already tight calf muscle and POP. It went. At the time I thought it was bad, and in hindsight it probably wasn’t great, but a few days of rehabbing and resting and I was back at it, all the while with the goal in my mind of running my 100k race. Silly, silly.
I tend to have quite a low pain threshold and I can push through a lot, but soon the niggly feeling in my calf seemed a lot deeper and more precise and after a few weeks I went from running over 2 1/2 hours to having to pull the pin at 25minutes on a flat grass oval because I was simply in too much pain to continue.
I am honest about this because I want to be real, and I pushed through for a while because on one hand I was afraid to miss the mileage I needed, and also I wanted to run at 6 Foot, but on the other hand I had in the back of my mind that I could be doing some damage here, but I put it down to the calf and thought as long as it is something I can handle, I will keep running. Big mistake. Pain = your body telling you something and you should listen.
Well soon running turned to walking and before long I was having pain walking as well.
I chatted to my coach and it was agreed that I needed a scan, that things had progressed to the point we needed to see what was indeed wrong and after a few scans later we had the result. A stress reaction in my tibia. Luckily it is early stages, and I got to it before it proceeded to turn into a true stress fracture.
This doesn’t change my plans for running UTA100 at this stage. There is around 10 weeks to race day and I have not stopped training. The perspective has just changed. I refuse to get down about it and wallow because this will most certainly lead me to my ultimate demise, and I would not line up for race day. Instead I chose to resolve to be strong and do whatever I can to line up on that start line. Training has changed its’ perspective. It is now about healing my bone and keeping me fit enough so that when I can run again (and I will), I will do it with the least risk possible because I have given myself time to heal. I am definitely aware that this could also mean that I don’t end up racing, that is a real possibility, but at this stage I am determined to try to get there.
I have a good base, and a great mindset when it comes to running ultras and a no give up attitude, so this holds me in good stead, I just need my body to hold on for the ride for the next few months. I plan on being the fittest I have been to date, and that means training hard in other ways, which I actually believe can only benefit me for UTA100 anyway. I am rather excited about that.
So watch this space, because this chick isn’t giving up her dream just yet!