If it’s true, though cliched, that I’m on a journey, then it is certainly the case that today has seen me arrive at a crossroad.
It blows my mind a little that just 5 months ago I would have cried if I was forced into a gym and yet today I cried my eyes out because I was told that I need to get out of the gym*. I guess I’ve experienced a bit of a turnaround in the time I’ve been training.
Anyway, nothing seriously wrong with my knees, glutes, back, quads but I do have serious over-pronation issues in addition to major hypermobility. This means that my recent running efforts have caused inflammation in the afore-mentioneds and I need to stop, get better and rethink how I go about things.
Today has been really tough. My goal of a sprint triathlon at Blenheim in 2015 might be at risk if I can’t work on my worst discipline for a while. Whilst I enjoy lots of different types of training I have found that having a reason, a goal to work towards, has really helped motivate me. I’d done lots of visualising of me crossing the finish line, all tired and red and sweaty but full of achievement, and now it was being taken away from me. It seemed that all I’ve done for the past five months is work hard and this is how my body repays me? I thought if I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, the fun stuff, and get where I want to be (the finishing line at Blenheim) then I wouldn’t bother. What is the point? I’m not going to fix my over-pronation in a hurry so I should probably just take the hint and admit that I’m not cut out for this athlete stuff. It’s like my dodgy knees were insulting me like the kids at school used to, taunting me about how useless I was and laughing at what I couldn’t do.
I spent a while trying on the idea of giving up this fitness stuff, concentrating on my MA and work and keeping busy in other ways. Bits of it seemed OK but something wasn’t sitting quite right with me. I couldn’t bring myself to admit that I was done, though it certainly felt like it for a time.
Then the words “something inside you told you to keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit” came to mind. Shane Koyczan’s poem which also features my “They Were Wrong” motto keeps proving useful in getting me through tough times. Things are stacked against me at the moment – I’m banned from doing things I enjoy, cardio work is a bit limited in choice, and I’m in pain with really sore knees. But there was something inside me that told me to keep going.
The thing that is telling me to keep going is the bit of me that believes that I deserve to have a fit and healthy body. It’s the bit that thinks that I’m entitled to participate in any sporting activity that I choose to because I am not marginalised by anyone or anything. It’s the bit of me that thinks that I’ve come so very far and fought and won so many battles that I don’t want to go back now. It’s the bit of me that is proud as punch of everything that I’ve done and loves that feeling of being proud of herself. It’s the large bit of me that knows “They Were Wrong”.
So, what am I going to do? I’m going to finish the C25K program with my Gym Buddy. I’m going to do the run program on the same days as him and I’m going to message him how I found it afterwards and I’m going to tease him to get into the gym and do his share. Course, I can’t do this on dry land without massively disrespecting my knees, so I’m going to take to the swimming pool with a floatation belt and I’m going to do water running. I’m going to look like a nutter doing it, but if I get strange looks or if anyone asks** I’m going to smile and tell them “I’m an athlete working to achieve some major amazing goals and I’m not the quitting sort so I’m not going to let my knees stop me”. I’m going to be proud of waddling to the pool wrapped up in a bit of a foam because I’m not quitting and I want to cross that finish line so much there is very little I am not prepared to do to get there. When I’m not water running I’m going to keep practicing my developing front crawl, I’m going to add strength and stability to my hypermobile joints by working with The Trainer and I’m going to keeping working every bit as bit as I have been already.
Knees think they can stop me? Nah. Not happening.
* For a while. I’d have not been responsible for my actions had she suggested it would be permanent!
** If you happen to see me in the pool, go on, I dare you to ask