Almost two months ago now I was out running along the river path when I fell. I remember deciding, mid-fall, that my hands were more important than my face and so landed face first in the dust. I knew straight away that I was hurt. I hadn’t even paused my Garmin when my cheekbone started to swell and I could no longer see beyond it.
I walked and then jogged home, because I was halfway out when I fell, which probably helped a bit with getting muscles working again. It’s amazing how you tense yourself up when you prepare for the fall.
I got a few odd looks from folk as I made my way home and no wonder. I was covered in a film of dust, my cheekbone was pulling my face into a strange shape and I had the start of a black eye.
By the time I got home and washed the dust off I looked as if I’d been in the ring with Tyson.
Unfortunately my face hadn’t taken all of the brunt. My right thumb started to swell and eventually I allowed my friend to drop me off at A&E, only to eventually discover that I had chipped the bone. It was a very small chip, not needing anything other than rest, but gradually as the day progressed it stiffened up to the point that I couldn’t really use it.
Which, of course, is perfect for a right handed artist. I was on the bench for a week until it healed. That’ll teach me.
It took a long time for the bruising to go. I don’t know if that’s an effect of my chemo/radiotherapy. My daughter was getting married a month later and I still had the remnants of a black eye carefully disguised under make up!
Today was my first venture out since. I don’t know why I’ve taken so long to go out. The weather mostly, I think. For a menopausal woman on oestrogen blockers (which cause hot flushes) going out when the weather was so warm hasn’t been very appealing. I was a little apprehensive, but not scared of falling. In over ten years (on and off) of running I’ve only ever fallen twice and both times off road. There’s a lesson to be learned there, I’m sure! Today the weather was cooler and there was a slight drizzle. Perfect running weather, I told my husband.
I had been getting myself back up to 5k distance before maybe looking at increasing it to 10k. I am running the Galloway Method, using run/walk intervals, and had been doing them at 1min:1min. Today I decided to just carry on the program with a 2 mile run (despite not having been out for two months) and run it at 3min/1min, which is more like what I used to run years back.
I did it no bother. No falls. No calamities. Just running sensibly for 3 mins and walking for 1. I surprised myself a bit. I expected to struggle after two months off, but I just got straight back into it and actually ran faster than I had when I was out the last few times. Crazy, eh?
I think a lot of it was that I felt comfortable. I was running ‘my ratio’, or as near as dammit. My go to ratio was always 4:1 and I think that’s maybe where I need to head, not only for a better run time, but also for it to feel like I’m actually running again.
My pace is still way off what I used to be able to do, but as I’ve done nothing but have to start again after injury and then cancer treatment I should be grateful I’m running at all!
To further encourage myself, I’ve signed up for a virtual race. I need to do a 5k before the end of October, so that gives me the rest of this month to get up to distance and then all of October to see how fast I can run it. I’d love to be able to approach 30 minutes again, but just finishing the distance and getting a medal will do!
There are plenty of virtual race sites out there, but I’ve chosen Virtual Racing UK. I like their ethos and I’ve been wanting to join in for ages. Fittingly I’ve chose a breast cancer research race, the October 5k Run to Prevent race. Once I’ve completed my 5k I can upload my Garmin details to the site and await my amazing medal, which will be my first since October 2019 when I did the Jedburgh 10k.
All I need now is a new place to display my medals…