I never do anything half-heartedly, why bother? If you’re going to do something, do it well. Do it so well that everyone thinks, ‘Fuck! How did she do that!’
For the last month I’ve been in La La Land (LA). I love that place. As soon as I land, I feel like I’m home. I have amazing friends there but what’s more, training there is the best. My favourite marathon was the LA one – I mean, hell, I even have ‘Los Angeles’ tattooed on my forearm, with my marathon time underneath.
If you’ve been to LA, you might know something of the endless hikes, trails, stairs and new sporting launches happening there – and that the mix of heat and altitude can make for a pretty hardcore session.
My days consisted of a run around Runyon or my secret spot at Fryman – running through woods and jumping over streams – followed by a session at Soul Cycle. I’m definitely back running, there’s no stopping because of pain, so it’s back to me, my thoughts and the open air.
I’ve said numerous times that I’ve never done any challenge for anyone but myself but there is a huge part of me now that feels as though if I don’t do this IronMan, I will let people down or, even worse, like the doubters will be proved right. I don’t fail, because I never set myself up to. But when something out of your control stops you – maybe it’s the universe telling you something.
Can I Do It?
Could I do it physically, right now? Probably. If I pushed myself hard enough, I may be able to. The swim and cycle I could do, for sure, but running-wise I am only just knocking on 13 miles, and a marathon right now, on its own, in all honesty, would be quite a feat. Those casual mornings of nailing a 20-miler before work I know are coming back, but to run that after the two activities (a 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile cycle), considering I haven’t run that distance for a good five months, is a lot.
So I have listened to expert advice and decided to defer my place because I don’t just want to try and finish it, that’s not my style, I want to fucking smash it. And not only have I been advised that if I damage my foot again during this challenge (because let’s face it, the fighter in me would tell me to carry on), I could damage my foot permanently, and I really do not want to do that.
What Have I Learnt?
I’ve learnt an enormous amount since getting this injury, from listening to my body, to learning how to become a faster runner, to being taught how to weight-lift properly. I have learnt to look after my body in ways that I wasn’t before and I have learnt ways to prevent injury.
Most importantly, I have learnt that everything happens for a reason. I’ve been through a rollercoaster of emotions: I’ve cried, got angry, felt sad, felt elated, I have had to see my body change and have had to learn to accept those changes. I’ve also become physically stronger as a cyclist and a swimmer.
Oh, and my faith in humankind has been restored! I know I always write about her in all my articles but being introduced to Joslyn Thompson Rule through the Nike fam genuinely changed my life; without her, I would not have healed so fast and without her guidance and knowledge and determination, the process would have been a lot harder.
People found it difficult to understand how I fitted my training in with such an intense and time-consuming job but, since getting this injury, I have learnt (even more) what an incredibly strong tool the mind is. We CAN all get up a little earlier each morning and fit a training session in, or skip watching our favourite TV series so we can get that extra run under our belt. We must always keep our mind ticking over with things other than work.
I never thought anyone would particularly care about reading this monthly IronMan training column, but the comments and feedback I’ve received from it have helped me so much. Thank you to each and every person that has read my journey.
When I set out to embark on the IronMan and was asked to write about it, all I wanted was to inspire one person. Whether it was pushing someone who has never run before to run a 5k, or someone that runs half-marathons to challenge themselves to a full, if I have done this for just one person, then I’ve achieved one of the two challenges I set out to do.
I’ll continue to train – the plan is that this summer I will take on some triathlons and work towards a marathon mid to end of the year. In January 2018, I’ll start focusing on the IronMan again, and the journey will start over.
So to anyone who thought I couldn’t do it, hold that thought. I’ll see you on the finish line in June 2018, when I come back stronger, fitter and more able to do this challenge than ever before. Remember: there’s nothing the human body can’t do.