Back on (the) track

Running injuryOh legs, how I took thee for granted. We had turned a corner from the ever lasting Berlin Winter, I was so busy pushing you harder, challenging you, testing you, there was barely any time to stop and check how you were feeling about all this activity. I couldn’t stop, Spring was already almost Summer and the air smelt so good. So many places to see, so many activities to join, such a buzz.

You weren’t able to tell me about the concrete. About the repetitive pounding. I was focused on the head-wind. Why had I not realised an Airport would be windy? The physics works for planes. Those great big hunks of steel can get off the ground for a reason. But hey, who cares, I have a time to achieve. How hard can it be on such a flat surface?BER Half Marathon

But stop, you cried. That weird sensation right there, deep in the hip. Oh, it’s gone again. A bit further, let’s see how it feels. No, it’s back, it’s worse. No it’s not, childbirth was more painful than this, it’s fine. Ouch, it’s back again. Slow down. OK, let’s walk for a bit and see. Now it’s raining, hard. It’s cold too. Summer seems to have receded back to Spring again. Is that rain falling horizontally now? Boy, it’s freezing. My mobile tells me it’s 6 degrees. Now that pain is hot, searing hot. I can’t run. Help…. only 2 kms to go. I can’t make it. I can’t walk. I want to cry, scream, tear this pain out of me. Here come the blue lights. I can’t do anything without help. I am being lifted onto a bed.

I’m sorry legs, I didn’t listen. I have never injured you before. The painkillers weren’t helping. The pain didn’t ease. You can’t bear to have me resting on you. I broke you. Yes really. Your Femoral neck is fractured. You were protected by my Iliopsoas. It supported you, lifted you, did its best to do the job you were previously fit to do. It contracted over 5,000 times during the hour of the running I did when you were under all that strain. It couldn’t cope. It suffered severe stress trauma too.

Femur Collar FractureAn X-ray and MRI showed the damage. A diagnosis of rest was the order of the day. No jumping, walking backwards and certainly no running. A diet rich in Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D. Yoghurts, cheese, milk, vegetables, supplements. I consumed anything and everything I could to help you recover.

After 3 months you still weren’t healed. The fracture still clear on the X-Ray. A further month of total rest.

Finally after 4 months, you were ready. The Orthopedic Surgeon gave us the green light. And now, here we are 5 months later, slowly testing out running techniques together.

I’m listening to you now. I am feeling every step. I am taking things slowly. Back to basics. We are taking our time to adjust to the rigorous demands of running, together. We are starting with walk/run principles, just twice a week, increasing the intensity and time we are running for by no more than 10% each week. If it hurts we will stop!

The prospect of starting slowly feels discouraging. but I have found it is a good opportunity to invite a friend, someone who wants to take things slowly, or is new to running. The moral support of running with a partner helps to keep you focused. The fun of introducing someone else to running is always a thrill, plus the new partner sets a pace that is right for my recovery schedule and prevents me from getting ahead of myself.

I know, first hand, how important it is to listen to my body and hold back. Your brain is a complex and powerful organ, finely tuned to your body. Never again will I ignore the signals. Never again will I doggedly push through. Never again will I pretend an injury would never happen to me.

As far as the race scene is concerned, I will be back. Just in my own time. Not too soon, but sometime. Running will slowly become a habit again. Neatly scheduled into my busy weekly routine. Stopping at the track on my way home from German classes. Jogging to an appointment. Sneaking off to the forest in search of soft trails. No need to rush, just a need to heal properly and take time to learn the error of my ways. Successful runners know it’s taken years to get where they are today. There wasn’t one particular workout or mega-week of mileage that catapulted them to greatness. Instead, it’s the gradual accumulation of fitness over months and years.

Good runners listen to their body and don’t hurry the adaptation process.

If you are looking to take up running, we offer some great courses. Whether you are a new runner, or already in love with running, we offer fuss-free advice and a deep-rooted passion for this simple sport. Or perhaps, like me, you are recovering from an injury, and seek guidance on how to progress. Use our contact page to get in touch with us and let the journey begin.

Lucy Miller