Coming to terms with injury

They say there are seven stages to grief; shock or disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance/hope.

I have certainly felt all of these at some stage over the last few months. While thankfully I haven’t lost a loved one, I have been dealing with the heartbreak and misery of not being able to run.

2015 for me has been plagued by injury. I started off seemingly well, but I guess you can only ignore shin splints for so long before they decide to get their own back.

I managed to get around Brighton half but by the end of February I was in so much pain, I just couldn’t run. I had to pull out of Kingston Breakfast 20 mile run, The Palace half, Brighton marathon, and the upcoming Edinburgh marathon. Ouch.

It took me a long time to accept the fact I wouldn’t be able to run Brighton. There was a lot of disbelief, denial and bargaining (and guilt when I tried to run even when I knew I shouldn’t have). And then, on 12 April as the many UKRunChat-ers nervously lined up at the start line in Preston Park, came the anger and the depression. While I was genuinely delighted to hear about everyone’s incredible achievements, I spent the entire day in tears. I mean, uncontrollable, inconsolable, snotty sobbing. All day. My poor husband.

Read all about why shin splints are bot shin splints from our resident Podiatrist Nick Knight here

It was awful. I felt way worse than I ever thought I would. I guess I hadn’t realised how much running meant to me and how much I’d put into my training.

But then I went on holiday and the more fun we had, the more relaxed I became and the more I started to realise there is more to life than running. Cue acceptance/ hope.

I’m looking forward to getting back on track, but I think I’ll take it slowly. Because one thing I’ve really enjoyed about not being able to run, is getting back into gym classes. I never realised how much fun spinning is, how motivating body pump is, or how unfit I actually am after attempting early morning circuit classes.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss running. I miss that sense of achievement following a long run, getting outside and just going for it, and monitoring my Garmin stats to see how I’m improving. Oh and the carbs.  I really miss the carbs!

The support from the UKRunChat community has been incredible. People I’ve never met wishing me a speedy recovery, giving me hope and encouraging me to stay positive. I guess it’s because you all understand, but you’ve been way more supportive than my Real Life friends.

So I really hope to be able to get back to where I was. I’ve got Spitfire Scramble in August where I can’t wait to finally meet some of the wonderful people who’ve helped me along the way, and Berlin marathon in September. Wish me luck!

Oh, and to anyone out there trying to run through shin splints. Stop. Take a rest. You’ll do much better in the long run if you do.

Thanks, Helen (@helen_ridgway)