I didn't make it to my usual Monday run with Nike in preparation for We Own the Night. I wasn't skiving, nope, much worse, I am a teeny bit injured. Specifically, I am teetering at that weird point where you are not actually, full on injured, but something is sufficiently not right to tell you that you would be being an idiot if you ran (however much you want to).
A couple of weeks ago I noticed that my shins had started to get a little sore. I discussed it with my physio and we both agreed that I needed to be careful and listen to my body, but that I was ok to keep running as long as I didn't get over excited doing hill work. Shortly after that I noticed that the niggle was getting a little more persistent, and I (being very sensible) took a week off to rest and hoped I had knocked the whole nasty episode on the head.
Turns out I haven't. I had two really awesome runs over the weekend. I was back in Oxford visiting my parents, which means I get to go scampering around lanes, over cobbles, through meadows and along riversides for miles, all without leaving the city. Plus it is an excellent arena for my favourite game - dodge the tourist! For some reason I get real satisfaction from ducking and diving on my run, keeps it interesting (probably why I like Monday nights so much!).
Two happy 5ks, one where I really picked up the pace, and I was feeling good. That is until I got home, stepped out of the shower, and needed to ask my Mum for ice. My right shin was really throbbing. It hadn't hurt at all during my run, but suddenly something felt wrong. Staying positive I iced and elevated and smothered with Volterol, hoping and praying for the best.
24 hours later there was nothing but a mild tingle when I woke up, icing again eliminated even that, and I vainly hoped that I would be able to head out in the evening for a run. I say vainly because I knew, at the back of my mind, that running would be an extremely stupid idea. A walk around Horniman Gardens (one of the best parks in London, complete with an amazing view of the city, and a mildly amusing name!) left me with a dull ache and I admitted defeat, taking up a new challenge - recovery!
My whole running career to date has been punctuated by injuries, but it has never crossed my mind that this isn't something I should be doing. I see each niggle, each week of rest and ice as a sign I need to invest in myself more and get stronger. I find inspiration in my injuries, and I respect them. I think it feels like I am injured all of the time because if I feel a niggle I will stop, I will evaluate the situation, I don't push through when something doesn't feel right (thankfully I know the difference between good and bad pain, because otherwise I would never go anywhere!). I also respect that before I took up running I was extremely unfit and that I have some way to go in terms of core fitness (still sorely lacking).
That is not to say that I don't also find injury really, really annoying! Especially when it comes at the very moment things feel like they are coming together, when I am getting faster, when I am taking on more challenges! Oh well, here is to rest, therapeal (if you don't have one, get one, I love mine), anti-inflammatory gel, turmeric and fish oils, trainers at work (oh wait, I already do that one) and lots of happy thoughts directed at my shin.
Read my other We Own the Night posts here.