The MRI results are back: a stress fracture of the second metatarsal.
I ask myself: what am I scared of? That I'll never run again? That I'll let everyone down if I don't do the IronMan? Why do we constantly beat ourselves up, not wanting to disappoint others – but really, ourselves?
I've smashed a number of marathons, killed triathlons and shown the men who's the boss in numerous duathlons, so why can't I be proud of what I've achieved so far? Proud even to have taken the step from talking about it, to actually signing up for an IronMan. To say "fuck you" to the people who I know doubt my sporting ability or who take one look at me and, because I’m not super-slim and don't have bulging muscles, wonder how I could be taking on this challenge.
We are always chasing a goal and the second we grab that goal, we move onto the next, but do we ever stop to pat ourselves on the back and say "well fucking done" for achieving that goal we set ourselves? I know I don't. Of course, my ultimate goal is the IronMan but sometimes life throws you obstacles and forces you to reevaluate. This injury has made me take a second out and really look at myself. I have medal after medal proving I'm great at doing what I love. I'm not a professional by any means, but my love and dedication to the sport is 100%. I have put blood, sweat and tears into everything I have achieved and, what's more, I've always done it alone; I don't do any of this for anyone but myself, and that self-satisfaction beats everything.
It would be very easy for me to ignore the professional advice I've been given and just go for it with IronMan but if I did that, what would I gain? It would just push back the healing to twice as long and when you’ve waited 12 weeks to begin to run again you don’t want anything to stand in your way.
So IronMan has been bumped down the list to my number two goal. Out of the three disciplines (swimming, cycling, running), running is the one I’m the best at, the one I love the most and the one that, to me, is the easiest. I cannot jeopardise a lifetime of running because I don’t let my foot heal properly.
I mentioned in an earlier article I wrote how I have never run to lose weight or to "stay in shape" – that it’s just something I love to do. That said, the physical changes to my body from not running have been hard. Although I am still training extremely hard and working my body in different ways, I have learnt that, unfortunately, nothing maintains my body like running, and I have put on weight. This has been tougher than I imagined; I’m only human.
Running is my number one relationship, it's the one. The key for me is to find forms of exercise that get me as excited as running does. I was running up to 100 miles a week before this happened so to suddenly stop and have to replace that with something else is hard. Yes, cycling and swimming are there, but I can’t do those five or six times a week (with strengthening exercises) and still be pumped to do them by the end of the week!
Physically, you have to find new releases to help get that new goal. I mentioned last month how I’ve started Boom Cycle and I also tried and tested hot yoga at Another Space. I am by no means a yoga bunny – give me my bike or my runners over an hour in a hot room any day – but Another Space may have just changed my opinion. It's super-clean, modern, the instructors are great, and the music is a mix of chilled house and Balearic sounds (wherever there’s a touch of Ibiza, you’re onto a winner with me!).
After three months of resting my foot, I knew it was time. My trainer agreed, so in my last training session, I ran on the treadmill. It was all rather emotional and there was a lot of shoving my phone into my trainer's hand to document it! It may have only been for five minutes in total (one min on/ one min off) but it’s started. I can't begin to say how good it felt! I can't wait to chase that high again. I'm mentally stronger then ever to take it on; who said the IronMan is out of sight?