Rehab to Ultra - Part 3


Final part of this journey of rehab to running my first ultra.

This is Part 3 and looks at my journey through January to March 25th 2023.

In January I had my rehab exercises updated and included the following:

I continued to use the gym to cross and strenght train and then either did the rehab exercises at home or in the gym. 

 My training plans were uploaded to Training Peaks app weekly by my coach and I stuck to the plans as much as possible. I added comments after every run to the session via app and I received weekly feedback via training peaks and whatsapp.

An example of my sessions in the app

At every physio appointment we discussed how and if I could make the start line of Lea Valley 50km. This was all I could think about and although it wouldn't be the end of the world if I couldn't run it, I would be absolutely gutted. 
Qasim then mentioned about a steroid injection offered by Injection Therapy. If I was interested, he would highly recommend this place as it is a  specialised ultrasound guided injection.
I researched like mad about what it is, side effects, lasting effects and everything else you can think of. I then made contact with Munir, practise owner and completed an online form and booked an appointment.

On the 26th January I attended my appointment. I thought the first appointment we would just talk but there was lots more to it. I completed more medical forms, Munir asked me lots of questions about what had happened, any ongoing treatments etc. He then started the ultrasound of both knees for comparison and he talked me through what he could see.
After the diagnosis, I was given an ultrasound guided cortisone injection for pain relief. I was asked not to run for at least 3 days but I should be good to go after this!

I was absolutely petrified as I hate needles! πŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺ It took alot for me to do this and I just couldn't mentally move forward knowing that it may take years of rehab for me to run 100% pain free. I couldn't bare the thought of this. Running has been my outlet for many years and even more so since losing my mum in October 2021. 

What got me through this was thinking about how my running will progress if the pain reduced and I could just concentrate on rehab and my training.  

This is a photo 12 hours after the injection. You can see the left knee/quad is heavily swollen.

First night after the injection, I could not sleep and had to take pain killers. I had the worst possible night ever! I cried internally!! It takes a whole lot for me to take pain killers. I have to usually be in tears, otherwise I usually just ride out the pain or ache. The next day the pain was all gone! And that was that! Day after day, week after week, I just kept waiting for something bad to happen or the knee pain to return... but it didnt. 

I tested the knee on a very short run on the 4th day. I was actually quite scared to run. Have you every been scared to use something because of a strong fear of it going so wrong? I was petrified to run! Every possibility of things going wrong went through my mind! I walked, then walked some more and then more.  Eventually after 15 minutes of walking, I attempted the run, and guess what it was OK. It did not hurt but I just kept waiting for something to happen.

I felt scared at the start of every run for about 3 weeks. Eventually I just forgot all about it. πŸ™πŸΏ

Progressively I felt stronger, continued doing my long runs, home and gym workouts, squats, training felt magical and I started to look forward to running the 50KM.

Continued with my rehab exercises and also added skipping to my sessions which is something I couldn't do before due to the impact. 
Whoever wrote this and left it on the mirror in the gym, could obviously see into the future! πŸ™πŸΏ

I started taking this in January and have not missed a day. For many years I have purchased vitamins with good intentions and just was not consistent.  I am so happy that I have been taking these everyday as I definitely feel that they have contributed to keeping my joints stronger.  I sometimes forget that as we get older we need to be more mindful of these things.  

Throughout February and March, I continued to follow my training plan and things progressed really well even the long runs. 

Plenty of nutritious food! This is one of my favourite breakfast - pancake wih blueberries and strawberry 

So this was it. The big day.
The biggest smile for making the start line
25th March 2023 means so much. But it was a process. One that was bigger than me. I am so grateful for the amazing support I had around me and also proud of myself for not giving up and being patient. Being injured and the recovery process is extremely difficult and you have to bear in mind that it is not just the physical aspects that you need to repair.

Although I had the injection and the pain is not there, this is only a temporary fix. I must continue to strenght train to keep my knees strong. Failure to do this will send me back to where we was last year and I definitely do not want that. 

With these injections,  you can have a maximum of 3 a year but I do not want ANYMORE! I would prefer to follow my physios advice, eat well and take the multivitamins I need to look after the joints and cartilage. 

The Mental Side Of Coping With Injury

1. Ask for support - Reach out to friends and other runners about the challenges you’re experiencing. Most will empathise with you and might be able to lend advice on some strategies.
2. Invest in yourself - Seeing a private physio can be expensive but I 100% believe in getting a diagnosis of what is actually going on. As much as we can receive great advice from other runners, it is always best to seek medical advice if it is an on going injury.
3. Find gratitude - Seek gratitude in the things that you can do. A lot of times we focus on the things that we can't.  Believe you me, it makes a huge difference.  You may also encounter and try new things that you will enjoy too.
4. Celebrate - Slow progress is still progress and it is still worthy of a celebration. 

I loved reading this post Maryke Low wrote where she explains the five stages of dealing with an injury.

I would love to thank:

- My friends, family and running community for their continued support
- My physios
- Camino Ultra coaches
- Pretty Athletics for their amazing products which I used throughout my training esp the muscle oil.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my journey to running my first 50km. It has been a journey of learning. I can hand on heart say that I have learned alot about myself and I feel emotionally,  mentally and physically stronger. I will never take for granted the importance of strenght training ever again! πŸ€ͺ🀣

Always happy to receive any feedback or if you have any questions, do please message me. My inbox is always open. πŸ™πŸΏπŸ˜Š


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