The wheels fall off!
Sometimes the best laid plans that you make and hopes that you have don’t always materialise; life is full of twists and turns, and ups and downs. I suppose that’s what makes life interesting – events happen in ones life for a purpose. Those people that we meet and those that briefly cross our path enrich our lives for the better.
I had planned to run in the Hungarian 6 Day Race in May and everything seemed to be going well. I had come back buoyant from a good performance at the 72 Hour Across the Years Race (Phoenix, Arizona). I did a reasonable good time of 5:22:38 for the Barry 40 Track Race considering I had done limited speed work since coming back from Phoenix. A week later the Sri Chinmoy AC organised a 50 mile run from London to Brighton, and I did that fairly comfortably. So all was going well, or so it seemed.
In February on the advice of my physio I got some orthotics from a Sports Podiatrist hoping to correct issues with my left ankle and knee. To cut a long story short I didn’t get on with them. They upset my biomechanics to such an extent that it aggravated the sciatica joint, seized up my lower back and caused piriformis syndrome. I got treatments from an osteopath and my physio and on their advice I decided it was just too risky to contemplate running a 6 Day Race. There was no chance my body would be able to recover sufficiently to endure the demands of a 6 Day Race. I laid off running for 7 weeks. I eventually sought treatment from a practitioner using the Bowen technique and that now seems to be addressing the key biomechanical issues causing the left knee pain. I needed to try something different. I bought some new shoes as well, hahaha! Don’t ask me how many pairs I have now.
At the same time I was diagnosed with chronic adrenal fatigue. Over the years perhaps I had put too much stresses and strains on my body. The kinesiologist who I saw for the treatment identified that I had probably dipped far below into my reserves and there was nothing left. I was running on empty and you can only do that for so long, before the wheels fall off.
No one really wants to know how sick you are or how it is affecting you mentally. Because basically the general attitude with sports related injuries and health issues that are a result of amateur ultra-running is, “It’s your own fault”. The weeks of chronic fatigue were hard to deal with and it felt like the spark inside me had been extinguished. It was a challenge to deal with the depression, lack of enthusiasm and motivation for life, because that isn’t the person I normally am. I had this sense that I just needed to hang in there and it wouldn’t last for ever. With rest, and taking supplements identified to address my candida, leaky gut syndrome and chronic adrenal fatigue things are now on the mend.
In February my physio asked me if I could help Claire Oziem who would be attempting to become the first woman to run unsupportive from John O’Groats to Land’s End. It is always nice to help others realise their hopes and dreams especially on such an ambitious challenge as this. I think for me my best qualities come to the fore when I help and try to inspire individuals. It is great to see those that you help blossom and fulfil their potential. Simply, helping others makes me happy. Claire started her journey on 22nd June. See her blog 1000 Miles in Mind, and Claire Oziem Personal Blog Facebook Page. As much as Claire has been grateful for the advice and assistance I have given her in the build up to her challenge, I think it has also benefited me – it gave me a sense of purpose and satisfaction that in some small way reaffirmed in my ability to inspire others. I just have to inspire myself more that’s all, hahaha!
Back to my homeland – A trip to Cornwall
As I hadn’t been back to see my parents since October, I needed a change of scenery. And as I was back to full training in the previous two weeks I needed to run in my heaven that is the Cornish landscape of spectacular cliffs, being by the sea and taking in the glorious view of St Michael’s Mount each day.
I even forced myself to relax and just lie on the beach, something that I rarely do. I often find it hard to do nothing; if I’m doing nothing I feel guilty thinking that I should be doing something constructive.
Running each day in such a beautiful part of the world renewed my energy levels and my joy of running returned.
The run on the South West Coastal path from Penzance to Land’s End and returning back along this route finishing at Porthcurno Beach (Garmin 22 miles coastal path run) was a very special day. It was one of those glorious summer days that you know exist deep in your childhood memory banks that you just long for. It was warm, sunny and not a breeze stirred. The sea was like a millpond and everything was spectacularly clear. I felt truly blessed. All my senses were heightened and I wanted to capture every single aspect of the day – the sights, sounds and smells of being on this Cornish coastline.
Whilst I was down in Cornwall I took the opportunity to visit People and Gardens and meet up again with the kind-hearted owners Ken and Lorraine Radford. I spent a most enjoyable day with those involved with the project planting spring onions.
Being outdoors in the sunshine with the smell of the earth and planting spring onions is such a simple pursuit that feeds the soul.
Well, for the first time in months I feel that I am moving forward having learnt many lessons, most importantly the ones that come to mind are:
- To be more aware of my health and the dangers of stress and overtraining.
- I’m not unbreakable, in fact I’m more fragile than I thought.
- Re-evaluate my motivations.
- Stop procrastinating and seize the moment.
- Stop worrying.
- Follow my intuition.
- A change is as good as a holiday, but a change of scenery is better.
Last month Bill Schultz, an American ultra runner left this lovely quote on my Facebook timeline which I’m so grateful for as it was much needed when I was feeling very low.
May the sun forever shine upon your face,
May the wind forever blow upon your back,
May your goals forever be in sight,
May your beliefs forever give you strength
And may your Spirit forever run free!