Not Running

life throws lemons at you

Its been five weeks since I injured my leg.

Last week I was finally able to get a few short runs in without too much pain, although the leg certainly wasn’t 100%. Then on saturday something went wrong with my other leg. Without boring you all with the details I then had to make the decision not to run the Sydney Harbour 10k on sunday.

Having to make a decision about whether to pull out of a race or not is really hard. My brain was trying so hard to convince me that running it was the right thing to do, down to my last minute preparation and even getting up at 5am the following morning and putting my race outfit on. It was only 5 minutes before I was supposed to leave that the sensible part of my head took over and told me I was an idiot if I went.

Love it when sensible wins. It doesn’t happen that often on Planet Stephanie.

A trip to the physio on tuesday confirmed my worst nightmare. I’m not allowed to even run across a road for 4-6 weeks and after that I’m only allowed to run 1-2km at a time and gradually increase my mileage. I’m having sports rehab weekly to sort out the source of the problem and have a very long road ahead of me until I’m back to where I was pre injury.

In a runners mind that’s like not running for a year. Two even. Plus I’ve already had four weeks with no running so make that five years.

Therefore my marathon hopes for the year are gone and all the shorter distance races I currently have coming up I won’t be running either. The bad thing about running in Australia is that because of the heat, we don’t have races all year round. So I’m missing the whole season.

I’m absolutely heartbroken and am finding it really difficult. Anyone who knows me personally or has been reading my blog for a while will know that I discovered running in a time of personal crisis and it filled an enormous void that had engulfed a part of me for a long time. I can’t explain it and if I’d read this about someone else a few years ago I probably wouldn’t have believed it could even happen. Running, filling a void? Who knew!

Running saved me from so many things and to a degree it probably saved my life, so to now be without it leaves me in unchartered waters. I think the anxiety of worrying what will happen to my head when I’m not running is causing me the most stress. I’m already feeling really depressed because of the four weeks I haven’t been able to run and I am so frightened of feeling as shit as I did a few years ago when I didn’t have a healthy outlet to let go into that it’s causing anxiety.

I never really saw how desperately unhappy I was at the peak of my depression until I experienced the joy of having a focus like I do with running. I knew I had been depressed because I’d had several psychiatrists clinically diagnose me and because I’d had a baby and couldn’t stand the sight of him, but when you’ve felt like that for a long time you start to think what you’re feeling is normal. It took a psychiatrist in a mental hospital to tell me I’d probably had post natal depression since the birth of my third child, exacerbated by the birth of my fourth which is what sent me into total breakdown.

Running keeps me emotionally stable .. and if I’m ever feeling flat or angry or resentful or sad or worried or stressed – running helps me sort it out. Running is what made me not lose my mind when we moved back to Australia. It gave me something to focus on when all I wanted was to go back to London. Not surprisingly, now that I’m not running all I can think of is how much I miss my life in London and how desperately I wish we were still there.

Many people have suggested I try something else – swimming, cycling, Pilates … But those things don’t do for me what running does.  I do quite a bit of Crossfit already and although I’m quite focused on that, the only reason I go is to become a better runner. It’s not the same and doesn’t even come close.

Lastly, I realise all of the above makes me sound completely nuts. But it’s not as nuts as I feel when I can’t run.

Which is scary.


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