• Sun09October 2016
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  • How My Running Injury Strengthened Me Mentally


    Last night I left Strictly & co behind to head out to see a play called “Can you hear me running?” at the Pleasance Theatre in Camden. Not only was this one-woman show highly entertaining, it also struck a chord with me. You see it was the tale of a fairly successful actress who literally lost her voice overnight. Imagine, her voice, her trade, everything she knew had been turned upside down. All she could do was wait, work with the professionals and find some other purpose to get herself through it. For her, this was the London Marathon. Running helped her through her darkest moments, whereas it was my running injury that created some of my darkest (and strongest moments).

    Running across the Heath again

    Running across the Heath again

    Rewind seven months and I was in a pretty similar predicament to the protagonist in the play. Thanks to an undiagnosed stress fracture in my left calcaneous (that’s ankle bone), my life changed overnight. I went from cycling or running on a daily basis to slowly hauling my entire body weight from my front door to the bus stop. The daily classes of ballet, spin, TRX (you name it, I did it) were now distant memories, and as much as I tried to put a brave face on it, the whole experience was highly frustration and emotionally draining.

    Now don’t get me wrong – unlike the star “Loo” of “Can you hear me running?”, I do not earn my crust from pounding the pavements. I’m nowhere near ever being the same standard as a talented GB athlete. Running does, however, benefit my state of mind. Some people meditate, others do yoga, I run. The simple act of stepping outside my front door, bounding up the hill towards the Heath, and then through Hampstead to work or into town helps me to see things more clearly. A run at lunch can boost my energy in the afternoon. And a slow jog home at the end of the day helps me relax. Running offers me so many rewards that losing it left a huge hole that needed to be filled.

    So what did I do? Well, firstly, I took the bus daily to work from home.  I found exercise videos on YouTube and asked my partner to pick up a few weights from Sports Direct so I could at least do something construed as constructive both physically and mentally. I met up with friends (not as much as I would’ve liked) and tried to keep smiling. I made plans, found out what I could do and when, and worked towards recovery. No, it was not plain sailing. Imagine telling a duck they have to waddle around the circumference of the pond instead of gliding straight across. Tough? You betcha.

    It did teach me how to cope and regain control when you’re in a testing situation. And just like Loo, I found other ways to channel my energy such as planning my #BigFatItalianWedding.

    Now I’m back, running, slowly but surely on my way towards the starting line. I hope never to be injured again but if I am, I’m prepped for the long, hilly road ahead.

    “Can you hear me running?” is currently showing at the Pleasance theatre until 23 October 2016, book your tickets now. To find out more, please go to www.pleasance.co.uk/event/can-you-hear-me-running#overview

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