Over two months ago I broke my arm in spectacular style (while running Race To The Stones). To say it’s been tough is a bit of an understatement. Not only have I had to stop running but even getting dressed was difficult. Thankfully, I am now over the worst of it.
Back on my bike literally and metaphorically, I’ve started building up the training. But it’s not easy. My fitness levels have plummeted, I feel tired and as for my speed, well, it’s only in the last two weeks I’ve been able to confidently pump my arms backwards and forwards without worrying that I’m doing more harm than good. And as for racing, well…let’s just say, I’ve now jumped the first hurdle thanks to the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay.
Yes, it was a mile race and some would say that compared to the distances I’ve run before, it’s a walk in the park. But when you’ve been out of the game for over 8-weeks and only just got back to it, even a mile makes you feel nervous.
The problem is you know what you’ve been capable of in the past. You know how easy it has been to get to a level where fast was exhilarating, as your lungs burn and your heart rate soars. Somehow you think it’s going to be all ok when deep down you’re aware of how your body has been impacted by injury. You’re also aware that you have to jump back on that wagon but at the same time lower your expectations because, to put it simply, you haven’t been able to put the work in.
So you’re going to have mixed feelings towards that first race so my advice is to have a good team around you and make it fun, which is exactly what the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay was. Led by my tentmate from the Marathon des Sables Kieran, my team of 10 included Sophie from BePrettyFit, Charlie from The Runner Beans, Paul of run247.com, Jen from EclecticCake, Jenifer from Women’s Running, Richard, Isaac and Rebecca. The course was a windy one consisting of steps, railings and several twists and turns. As number 7 in the team, I had a bit of time to wait before I set with some idea of what I was letting myself in for.
Jen, who was number 6, came around the corner and passed me the baton and I sped off thinking yes to speed but yes also to caution, especially in the face of steps and corners. It’s hard to find the balance as you want to push it and run as fast as you once could but a) your legs aren’t cooperating and b) you’re slightly hesitant because you know you’re not up to it quite yet.
So how was my first race post-injury?
Mixed. I enjoyed the spirit of the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay and it was great doing it as part of a team. The course was also interesting and you got fed and watered afterwards with pie, beer and wine. There was also music and camaraderie which was a bonus. But it also brought me face-to-face with the reality that it will take time to return to the level that I’m used to. And, boy oh boy, I will work to get there.
If you’ve been injured, how did you manage your return to fitness? Let me know below.