About this time last year, I finished a key tough run session I’d planned for a few weeks. The session was simple 5x2kms, but the aim was to run them all sub 3:10 pace. I ticked it off, felt like I could go faster and knew I was ready. I was preparing for Zurich half marathon and my attempt at going sub 1h10minutes for the first time. It wasn’t the easiest way or race to do this, I was dropped from the top 3 and ran most of the race alone pushing harder than id gone before, however I crossed the line in 69:40 and 4th place. It was April, I was feeling fit, strong, and excited. Whilst my personal life wasn’t great my training and fitness was exactly where it needed to be.
As I write this, I don’t think I have done a run session or ran faster than 4:00 per km since around October, races have come and gone and are coming thick and fast and I find myself still on the side-lines. If you missed my last posts, I have been dealing with an ongoing knee injury since October and while some progress has been made, I’m still nowhere near where I need to be and often have new setbacks.
Being injured earlier in the year as much as it was difficult was in a way more manageable, you feel far away from race season, have hope that with another x number of weeks and months you will be back and can build the fitness. When it’s dark and cold it’s easier to keep the training shorter or not go for that run. But now I feel I’m in a new period, the usual time of year where I would ramp up my training, hit some big miles and sessions and prepare for the race season and the disappointment, frustrating and impatience comes back once again. It can eat away at you, slowly draining your energy and hope, it comes in moments and sometimes all at once.
Less people ask now what races I am doing, how the training is going or what’s the big target. But it doesn’t stop yourself asking these questions, when will I be back? When will I be pain free? Will I race this season or simply watch the races and performances go by? My injury seems to be complex and not easy to treat, bruising of the knee bone, inflammation of the IT band amongst another couple of small issues. One of the more frustrating parts is a simple break, fracture etc would have healed by now and I’d be on my way.
While I have managed to accept the situation more, focus on other areas of my life it is still something gnawing away at me in the background. The triathlon season is long, and I’ve not given up hope, I see myself more now exercising than training and doing what I enjoy and can when I feel okay. Of course, I don’t NEED to race, there is no pressure or expectations, but racing for me is the beauty of the sport, the moment where you stand on the start line and test yourself, put yourself out there and find what you are capable of. For me it makes me feel alive and content. Some of my happiest memories are the midst of an ironman marathon or deep in a 10km run. These moments bring meaning and purpose.
Possibly that is an article for another day, and many may not understand the desire and drive to put myself through these events and challenges. But I’m sure others will relate and know exactly how I feel. Thank you for the support I’ve had, in a way writing about these moments and frustrations helps to accept the situation and slowly move forward.