‘Try it’

August 4th, 2012

With each step hitting the pavement, every breath got sharper. The air was cool, and the only people I passed were dog walkers, or people doing the ‘walk of shame’ home. It was a spare of the moment decision, so I didn’t have any music for my journey; it was just me and the open road.

I’ve suffered with joint problems since I was a kid. Dislocations, repeated sprains, broken bones…..it was one of the reasons I gave up teaching aerobics. I felt like my body couldn’t take the stress anymore. I was even wheeled out of the aerobics studio one day after tripping on my step. I flew up in the air and then landed on the floor; the studio was mirrored, so amusingly enough I saw the whole thing happen! I announced I was okay and tried to get up, only I couldn’t, the pain was immense. I ended up being wheeled through the gym on one of those emergency stretcher, wheely chair thingys. Technical name. I know. I was mortified. One of the women from the class drove me to the hospital while everyone else pondered over who would cover the following class!

Once x-rayed, I was informed that the break had occured where an old fracture hadn’t actually healed. I don’t recall being treated for a fractured ankle in the past, but I remember the point at which it probably happened. I was about 19 and at Uni – I tripped and fell down a hill. My boyfriend at the time took me to A & E, but what with my lack of patience and the hours of waiting, I left without being seen. I strapped my ankle up and wore trainers for about a month as they were the only thing I could get on due to the pain and swelling. I dosed myself up on painkillers, and carried on until it felt ‘okay’ again.

Over the past 8 years or so, my main problem has been my left hip flexor. I’ve been treated by numerous physios, seen an orthapaedic specialist and a hip surgeon. I’ve had acupuncture, deep friction treatment, ultrasound and 3 cortisone injections. The hip surgeon told me to hang up my running shoes and find myself a good physio, as I would never run again. I was gutted. Up until that point I had been running 4 or 5 days a week and just working through the pain as best I could.

Then last year, out of sheer desperation and pain I decided to see one more sports therapist. Coming from a martial arts background, and knowing that I used to do thai-boxing, he approached everything from a different angle. Lots of painful crunching and manipulating later, he determined the pain was being caused by problems with my lower back and pelvis. And as such treated me for these, rather than my hip. I’m still nowhere near 100%, but I’ve since taken the time to figure out my limits with exercise regards what aggrevates the pain and what doesn’t. He also knew how much I missed running, so his advice was ‘try it’. Gauge the pain, see how I feel, warm up with 20 – 30 mins of yoga first, and then take it steady. For nearly a year, I’ve been telling myself ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’. There’s always been an excuse. I got up late. I don’t have time. It’s going to rain. There are leaves on the path. What if I can’t do it? What if it hurts? But this morning I was up at 5am. I was part way through Pilates when I got a text to say shooting for Owen Parker was cancelled due to the camera man being ill. I looked at the clock…..6am….time to finish my Pilates and go for a run. Ian thought I was joking. He scoffed at me when I asked him to join me and mocked me by saying ‘I’ll see you in about 4 minutes’. I had to laugh, as I thought he might be right. But I headed out, and the main problem wasn’t pain in my joints, but feeling like my lungs were going to explode at any second! 20 minutes and 3.5km later (2.2 miles) later, I returned triumphant. Now I have to play the waiting game. See what level of pain I get in return for my effort, and then decide if I can do it again….

So today I feel quite smug. Although that might change depending on what happens with the pain….

…..but it made me realise that things aren’t always as scary as they seem, and until you try something, you’ll never know what’s possible…..

Happy Saturday ! :)