Monday, 28 July 2014

Believing in your Belief

On me bike in the playroom as you do
Tough, tough, tough few weeks in the Sutton household. Morale has teetered on low to dangerously low. Teeth have been gritted and words spoken in frustration that weren't needed. The smell of a grubby gym, ingrained sweat and blisters on my hands are all signs of a runner who has nothing to do,  but repeat endless strength work. Very soon if I cant get out of the gym I may actually find myself wearing a lycra one piece and turning up to body pump with Rick Ashton.

I  have made peace with my inability to run at the moment. In fact when I do try to do a few steps of jogging it feels quite alien to me. The ability to run long distances and run fast seems a mile a way from where I am now. This seems to be the minds way of coping with, what in my head, is a sort of bereavement. Denial of the injury at first, guilt, anger and eventually facing the fact that the one thing you really love doing you cant do. My mind has now taken the running me to the back of my conscious , occasionally to be painfully touched, but then pushed back again. So I have been focusing on what I CAN do. Gym challenges have taken over my training time.

 Do you know how much fun you can have doing endless squats, calf raises and single leg balances in an empty school gym all by yourself? Well you can! I am a person who is totally motivated by competition. So I have driven myself through this period setting myself challenges, falling over backwards trying to lift weights I shouldn't, doing press ups till I face plant and triceps dips till I fall through the stack. Seeing a stronger body emerge from what was really a very weak shell has been more satisfying than I could ever have imagined. 2 babies in 2 years left me chronically weak and this injury was only a matter of time happening. You cannot build a house on dodgy foundations. Too many people get injured and dont find the real root of their problem. Many runners tell me they have 'no time' for strength and conditioning work either they dont believe in it or miles are more important than muscles. Unless you are freakishly lucky you will get injured in your running career. I am absolutely certain that adding some core conditioning work into a programme  will save yourself heaps of heart ache and it will also very quickly highlight your weaknesses.
Gym bunny

Hitting a rehab programme hard takes some dedication, life can too easily get in the way and getting out the door to get to the gym is not easy when you have a troop of mini dwarfs following you everywhere, two of which insist on peeing and pooing everywhere and keeping you up half the night. But it is this dedication I know which will make me into the runner I want to be. I am sure once I am running again  I will gain my fitness back quicker by providing my heart and lungs with the soundest structure I can. Well this is what I have to tell myself. That all these hours of lonely work are worth something, that my dedication to this mini crusade will pay off, that one day I will be running again and these rather bleak days will be a thing of the past. You have to have faith like all things in life with the path you choose, be it smooth running or rather bumpy and that is half the battle in any challenge-keeping the faith.

So my mantra of 'belief' which I have used so powerfully over the past few years I have now employed in a new phase of my life. When I first had kids, I HAD to believe that the sleepless nights, the sore boobs, the saggy belly and endless nappy changes would end and they did. When I married my husband I had to believe that what we felt for each other was the real deal and this person was the man I wanted to be with for the rest of my life and he is. And so every time I toe a start line I have to belief that my body can do this. If you dont belief in yourself and the path you choose  it will be too easy to listen to those that 'cant' rather than those that 'do.'  So through this injury I have learnt not to listen to the negativity, remove those around you, who pull the 'pity' face when they see you and instead surround yourself with the Paul Navesey's of this world who can find joy at the bottom of a jar of a nutella (it means you get to start a new jar! Simple things). To believe that you will be healed and the joy you find in both life and running will be back sparkling and new again. 

So keeping the faith I am. Faith in my body and in my mind. Storing up every ounce of sweat, grunt, last rep in the gym till the minute I toe the start line again. And in the meantime I am enjoying spending more time at home, appreciating the smiles of my children, the early morning chats over tea with my husband and taking our new addition to 'puppy school.' There is always joy and faith to be found in life, it sometimes just takes a little time and belief to appear. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Wait

A snapshot of a new addition to our family!
I cried in the doctors surgery last week. Frustrated that after 4 weeks of limping around I am still yet to have any proper diagnosis of my injury. I am very lucky to have some financial support so have been able to fund some physio work, but after fainting when she tried to manipulate my foot the physio did the right thing and said I think you need a scan and an x ray now. I have seen three physios in the past month, each one prescribing something different, everyone has their own opinion and ideas. So I went to the doctor to get a GP referral letter for an MRI scan. How long will this take I ask? 6-8 weeks she said. But I can't carry on like this for another 2 months! I need to move for my job, I have two children under 3. I am a serious runner which is also partly my livelihood and I am in pain 24/7. I am having to get up at night to ice it or take pain killers. I am worried I am doing myself long term damage. Yes she replied, continuing to type in her computer, that's tough. I left in tears. This seemed so unfair here I am an athlete, a personal trainer, a mum, I spend everyday helping cut costs for the NHS by encouraging people to bring activity into their daily lives and no one will help me!

The last month has been so hard knowing my fitness has been creeping away, missing that feeling of running, moving, seeing the summer season and the harvest on late evening runs and  misty fresh mornings,with the promise of a glorious day ahead. No running means very little break from the kids, there are on me and at me from dawn to dusk. Some days I just want to hide behind the sofa. But slowly and almost noticeably I have come to turns with no running, and I think this is the first stage of healing. I can't run and I won't run till I can walk around for at least 10 days pain free.And so I realised as I walked out of doctors surgery nobody is going to heal this injury apart from me.

There is no quick fix, no wonder physio or amazing pill to take. I need time, patience and rest to get moving again.

So I have thrown myself at other projects that always get pushed aside when running takes over my being. I have finally got my web page up and running. ( I am building my personal training client base and have about 16 online athletes, who I love coaching, though am getting a little bitter that some are now faster than me! I am spending more time with the kids, not exhausted, but able to be a little more patient, a little more fun and a little more understanding to their needs. I have been riding my bike and swimming as much as I can plus spending the time I would be running in the gym, working on what was my epic weakness my core. After two babies in close succession I suffered from diastasis rectus, separated abdominals. At its worst I could almost fit a fist straight through the separation. I knew I was running on borrowed time with a weak core, but wanted to spend all my time getting the miles and quality sessions done not doing gym work and I am absolutely sure that is a large part of my injury. 

So, I have embraced my 'kids free' time in the gym. Not being able to put much weight through my foot means adapting and adopting some strange exercise techniques, but in a strange, cave woman sort of way I am starting to enjoy seeing the strength appear. Seeing a strong foundation being built, knowing this will half the time it takes me to get back to running fitness.

So whilst other things have been occupying my time I have found that I can live without running. As long as I get my shell sweating at least once a day I can feel 'exercised' and less like kicking the wall in. Running is an obsession of mine, but in order for me to come back and stay injury free I can see I mustn't let the mental side dictate what is sensible and reasonable to demand of my body. I can now see I don't need to run miles and miles to be strong,  actually by cutting out the running I have become stronger. Now for the tricky next few weeks whilst the injury plays less and less on my mind and I start to feel the itch to run again. But I wont. Who wants to talk to  a moaning injured runner, its so boring and its too tough on my poor husband who has to witness my epic tantrums and finally its no good for business no one wants to hire a limping, grumpy personal trainer.

Morale of this tale of woe so far is, listen to your body, feel a niggle, back off, rest, go to the gym, jump on your bike, lie on the sofa. Don't take it out on your loved ones when you are injured, they are your crew and your support without them you wont be running again they are the ones you need most now embrace the rest and the time with family, come back with new dreams, a fresh approach and maybe even a little idea of a new distance to tackle!