My run Disney heartbreak

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Hey guys!

So excuse the total clickbait title, but tell it like it is I guess? I’m sorry this won’t be the usual kind of post you would see from me, but I feel like this is something I need to do for myself. I’ve covered most of my run Disney journey so far so it only seems right that I would cover this part too, maybe one day it will help someone else, maybe it will help me now.

So I guess I should start at the beginning, no doubt some of you will have stumbled across this post with no idea what has happened. Early this year I signed myself and my best friend Sophie up to run the run Disney 36km challenge in Disneyland Paris, if you follow my blog you’ll know this is an event I’ve taken part in every year since its inception in 2016. When I ran last year I didn’t have the best time, not in any part due to DLP but purely because of my own lack of training. Running doesn’t come easy to me, I’m a slower runner and each race, each training run is hard, sometimes it’s just a mental battle while other times it’s a physical one, so sometimes, training was just too hard, too much of a task to force myself to undertake.



When I got home from run Disney in 2018, I promised myself 2 things. First, I promised myself I would go back, this might not sound like much but I was so drained, physically and mentally, crossing that last finish line had taken every single ounce of everything I had left. Secondly, I promised myself I would come back stronger, I knew what had happened to me was my own fault, I knew if I had given myself more time, trained more regularly rather than rushing it all at the end, the ride would be smoother and my achievement would be even greater.

I took a few weeks off once I was home from DLP, but by the middle of October I was training again, I knew the first hurdle would be getting started after a break so I didn’t want to leave it too long. I started booking races, this gave me the accountability I needed, I had something that I’d paid for and I had to show up for, I wanted to make a good job of it, so I reminded myself of that each time I needed to get out of the door. If I couldn’t find a race, I looked for virtual medals, I know some people don’t like this idea as you get a medal for what is basically a training run, but it gave me the motivation I needed, it got the job done.



I created a spreadsheet to help me track my training, I wanted to be able to see where I was improving and what still needed working on, with a combination of this and the races I had booked the second hurdle seemed easier to get over, keeping running over the winter. Face it, it’s a tough time to run for anyone, the mornings are dark, the nights are darker, its cold and its wet and I’d rather be inside under a blanket. But I kept going and my total mileage kept increasing month by month.
In January I started my next challenge, on top of running all 3 races at Disney I decided to try and cover a total of 500 km for the year, this would be around double what I achieved in 2018 and gave me a real sense of purpose. With each month the runs got longer and my times got quicker, I was finally getting somewhere and felt optimistic about the year ahead.

In April I reached my first Parkrun milestone, we celebrated my 50th run at my home parkrun and my niece and I ran in Disney costumes, while many of our friends put on a pair of Mickey ears in support.



Despite the summer heatwave things continued to improve throughout May June and July, by August I had completed more than 10 races since promising to train better, on top of that I had run 30 park runs, and reduced my 5km time by around 3/4 mins, on top of that I'd run over 350 km and helped start a couch to 5 km group at my work as well as encouraging other friends to start running, things were going really well.



Were. Were going well. Unfortunately this is where the story goes downhill, just over a week ago I went to Parkrun, no surprise there, it was where i could be found most Saturdays of the year so far, this week however I went to a different Parkrun to my usual as a friend was running for the first time and I wanted to support her. The course was tough but I wasn't going out for a PB, just a steady 5 km I told myself. The course was two 2.5km laps, the first lap went really well, started a bit quick but settled nicely into a more comfortable pace, however on the second lap I fell, and as I know now, sprained my ankle. 



Now here's the thing about a sprained ankle, most of the time when people say they've sprained their ankle, they probably haven't. I'm not having a go, I'm sure this is something I've been guilty of in the past. A sprained ankle is a whole world different from a twisted ankle, and now that I know and understand the difference first hand, I'm going to be so much more mindful of it.



I don't know why or how I fell exactly, it was just luck, or bad luck I suppose. It wasn't anyone's fault and there probably wasn't anything I could have done differently that morning, something I'm still struggling with now. Anyway, after 2 trips to the Minor Injuries unit and a few X-rays it was confirmed nothing was broken, but unfortunately the severity of my sprain and the damage it has caused means that taking part in the challenge, or even the half marathon, just isn't going to be possible for me this year.



So that's where I'm at right now. Utterly heartbroken.

Maybe that sounds ridiculous to some people, but that's the truth of how I feel. Some people have said they would still run or try to walk it, some have said I won't be able to cover that distance for a long time, the truth is everything is a bit up in the air at the moment. Currently it could take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months to make a recovery and get running again, which obviously is too much time for run Disney.

So now what? Well, I'm seeing a sports injury specialist to make sure everything heals the best way possible, and that when I can run again I've got the best chance of staying injury-free. But I can't stop thinking about my races.

I did everything right. I did exactly what I was meant to. So why has it ended like this? Why me? Did I deserve it? Believe me when I say my mind is going round in circles trying to figure this one out and work through it, I told someone the emotional and mental pain far outweighs the physical pain, and honestly I still feel that way. I trained for this, I trained early to give myself the most time, I trained slowly so as not to put my body through more than it was ready for, I got up early when I was tired, I ran after work even if I'd had a hard day. I ran in the rain, the wind, the snow and the heat. But it didn't matter, because I fell. Did I deserve it? Was I too sure of myself? I have to admit this was the most calm and confident I've ever felt in the lead up to the race, I knew my training was good, I knew I was hitting all the right numbers, instead of worrying about making the distance I was daydreaming about which characters I wanted to see and what photos I wanted to take with my medals. The jokes on me now though, won't have any medals to take photos of. 

I know deep down this could have happened to anyone at any time, but it didn't, it happened to me, and I'm still trying to work through that.

So what next?

Well I'm trying to find the positives in all of this, of course I'm still going to take my trip to DLP, with the help of my physio I'm hoping to at least walk one of the races. I'll still be there to support my friends, and though it doesn't seem it a lot of the time, I was lucky and it could have been a lot worse. I may use this as a platform to document my recovery, perhaps one day the thoughts and feelings that I've thrown out into the world in an attempt to recover emotionally will provide support to someone else in the same position, or maybe it will just be something I can look back on and remember where I was and how I've grown.

I'm so grateful to all of my friends both at home, at my running club, at parkrun and online for their love and support during the last week or so. I'm sorry if I haven't been the most responsive, or positive, I'm trying. This may be just a race to a lot of people, but for me run Disney is so much more. This is my passion, this was where I found my love-hate relationship with running, where I learned I was tougher than I could have believed and that if I worked hard for things I could achieve them. This was my London Marathon, my Olympics, my big race, a chance to show the result of all of the months of training and work I had put in. And it's hard knowing that won't happen now.

Hopefully I will recover, and hopefully this isn't the end of my running story, but for now I just have to ride through a chapter I wasn't ready to open yet.

Hoodsie


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