Monday, 5 February 2018

Every setback leaves behind a path to make your comeback

So I mentioned in my blog post Another Spanner in the Works that I injured my hip in a non-running incident. Because of the injury I found running for any length of time (above 20 minutes or so) painful and would have to take a walk break. During the final 3 months before the race much of my training was done by walking in the local hills or run/walking in the local forests.  My inability to run was one of the reasons I very nearly didn't start the race.  Not only was I facing the toughest race of my life, I was attempting to complete it whilst not being able to run without pain.

It was only 6 months since I had last attempted to run a race when I was in pain before I even started, and that had been an unmitigated disaster, so what made me think this time would be any different, especially when this race was 100 times harder than the SDW100? The answer is twofold. Firstly, I WANTED this.  I don't do bucket lists.  I don't do races just because they are on some arbitrary list of 'races you have to do before you die' that appears practically every other month in some sort of running publication. I just don't buy into all that.  Racing means time away from my kids so there has to be a good reason for me to do it. The Montane Spine Challenger presented multiple personal reasons for me to enter, and then once I started I had lots more reasons to finish.

One of the reasons to keep going was my hip problem.  It was constantly sore throughout the race, although much less acute than my shoulder or my feet. And now, 3 weeks after the race, my shoulder is back to normal and apart from some fairly severe achilles tendonitis my feet have recovered too.  But my hip is painful, almost all of the time.

With my x-ray results before the race showing no issues I decided that I would do the race because I could do any damage to anything bone related (or so I thought with my extensive medical knowledge! ha).

My MRI was scheduled for 2 days after the race finished.  I was dreading it as I do get a bit claustrophobic. Mainly I was nervous about what the possible diagnosis would be.  Whilst I tried to remain positive about it, I couldn't help but replay the list of possible results in my head. Not knowing is always difficult, but at the same time you dread getting the results in case it's not the outcome you hoped for.

So my results came through, and thankfully it was not the worst case scenario. Unfortunately it was not good news either. My injury is not fixable without a very difficult surgery, which to be successful requires a very good surgeon, and an long period of recovery. It's difficult news to come to terms with, but come to terms with it I must.

I have started a program of physiotherapy but hopefully before too long I will be put onto a surgery list. With it being a difficult surgery there is a good chance that it won't work, and even a chance it could make things worse.  But it is important that I stay positive and hope for the best, and give myself every chance of recovery.

The irony is that whenever you tell somebody that you are a runner, or especially an ultra-runner, they will question whether that is good for your knees or you joints, and the thing that has injured my hip was being a mum: Trying to be a helpful mum at that!

So I ran the Spine Challenger with the unconfirmed knowledge that it may well be the last time I compete in a race for a very long time.  If this was going to be my last ultra than I better make sure I finish it.  And thank goodness I did as it was the most glorious race finish of my life.

Maybe I have gone out on a high, or maybe there is more to come.  Only time will tell.  I will do everything I can to ensure my hip will work again.  I know it is going to be very difficult but life is full of challenges.  I can only hope that my best is enough because I want the chance to make many more memories running or walking in our wonderful countryside. But more importantly I want to be able to be able to be an active mum with my kids.  I don't want to stay broken and have to make excuses to not fully participate in what they are doing.

A positive attitude to achieve positive results. Chin up.

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