The road to running injury recovery is fraught with obstacles, both physical and mental – both of which have to be overcome if you want to firstly, make a proper and full recovery and secondly because you stand the chance of getting fat and living a slovenly life on the couch recounting your ‘golden years’ back in the day when you could run more than 10 steps and not have to stop to recover your breath.
My recovery was painfully slow. After coming out of my moon boot (which does NOTHING for the self-confidence levels) I had a pretty rigid ankle brace which I had to wear whenever I was going to do a large amount of walking. At this point my ankle was still swelling badly every afternoon and I had to spend half the day icing and elevating the offending limb in order to make sure I didn’t slow the healing process down.
I also had some exercises to do from the physio which at least felt like I was doing something constructive but was barely enough to get my heart-rate up. When my physio told me it was time to start running again I could have kissed him, but before I could conjure up images of me spending an hour on the road really working up a good sweat, he told me I was allowed running 2km, 3 times a week and NO MORE. Have you ever tried running 2km when you are used to running 10km every day? It’s like giving someone an ice-cream but taking it away just as they have unwrapped it.
In my second week of running I could increase it by 500m, but still resting for a day between every run – that’s 500 metres, can you feel my frustration?? Unfortunately my ankle didn’t like the increase in mileage so I had to stick to 3.5km for a while to wait for my ankle to acclimatize again to being run on.
Now, in the very beginning my physio who has obviously worked with ultra distance runners before, asked me if there was a specific race which I had my eye on doing, and wanted to be fit and healthy for – of course the first thing I could think of was the African X which my mom had signed us up for, like 12 months before, which I was working towards – the thought of having to tell my mom to find another partner didn’t appeal to me, so I chose that above the Two Oceans and above all the other races in between. The physio said it would be hit-and-miss and he wouldn’t guarantee that I’d be ready, I left thinking “I don’t think he knows how stubborn I am, and he’s never seen my mom angry”.
And so, I with the African X in mind, I hobbled down the road to running injury recovery…