Tough, tough, tough few weeks in the Sutton household. Morale has teetered on low to dangerously low. Teeth have been gritted and words spoken in frustration that weren’t needed. The smell of a grubby gym, ingrained sweat and blisters on my hands are all signs of a runner who has nothing to do, but repeat endless strength work. Very soon if I cant get out of the gym I may actually find myself wearing a lycra one piece and turning up to body pump with Rick Ashton.
I have made peace with my inability to run at the moment. In fact when I do try to do a few steps of jogging it feels quite alien to me. The ability to run long distances and run fast seems a mile a way from where I am now. This seems to be the minds way of coping with, what in my head, is a sort of bereavement. Denial of the injury at first, guilt, anger and eventually facing the fact that the one thing you really love doing you cant do. My mind has now taken the running me to the back of my conscious , occasionally to be painfully touched, but then pushed back again. So I have been focusing on what I CAN do. Gym challenges have taken over my training time.
Do you know how much fun you can have doing endless squats, calf raises and single leg balances in an empty school gym all by yourself? Well you can! I am a person who is totally motivated by competition. So I have driven myself through this period setting myself challenges, falling over backwards trying to lift weights I shouldn’t, doing press ups till I face plant and triceps dips till I fall through the stack. Seeing a stronger body emerge from what was really a very weak shell has been more satisfying than I could ever have imagined. 2 babies in 2 years left me chronically weak and this injury was only a matter of time happening. You cannot build a house on dodgy foundations. Too many people get injured and dont find the real root of their problem. Many runners tell me they have ‘no time’ for strength and conditioning work either they dont believe in it or miles are more important than muscles. Unless you are freakishly lucky you will get injured in your running career. I am absolutely certain that adding some core conditioning work into a programme will save yourself heaps of heart ache and it will also very quickly highlight your weaknesses.
Hitting a rehab programme hard takes some dedication, life can too easily get in the way and getting out the door to get to the gym is not easy when you have a troop of mini dwarfs following you everywhere, two of which insist on peeing and pooing everywhere and keeping you up half the night. But it is this dedication I know which will make me into the runner I want to be. I am sure once I am running again I will gain my fitness back quicker by providing my heart and lungs with the soundest structure I can. Well this is what I have to tell myself. That all these hours of lonely work are worth something, that my dedication to this mini crusade will pay off, that one day I will be running again and these rather bleak days will be a thing of the past. You have to have faith like all things in life with the path you choose, be it smooth running or rather bumpy and that is half the battle in any challenge-keeping the faith.