Esther’s Virtual Great North Run: when the body says no

11th September 2020


Our Fundraiser in Wales, Esther, has made the difficult decision not to do the Virtual Great North Run this Sunday due to a recurring foot injury, but she’s still smiling! We are so proud of her and looking forward to cheering her on for her walking challenge.

In his gorgeous song ‘Beautiful Boy’, John Lennon wrote “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

How true that is! We make our plans and then life does with them what it will.

This week I’ve had a frustrating reminder of this. I was out running on Sunday morning, planning to run my longest training run yet, and was having a really good time. I had covered over 4 miles, mostly running, and was anticipating running much more before going home.

I started to notice a pain in my left foot that very quickly became completely impossible to ignore. I knew I couldn’t carry on running, and luckily I had taken a route that meant I was only an mile and a half from home, so I limped back home slowly, feeling very disappointed but accepting that I had no choice but to stop.

A little while later I had a flash of insight about the pain. Almost 2 years ago I broke a bone in my foot, and while it seemed to have healed, I wasn’t able to rest it as much as I maybe should have. The pain I am feeling now is in the exact same spot that the break was. This can’t be a coincidence.

I exchanged a few messages with a running coach who advised me to see a physiotherapist, and prepare myself for the possibility that running might not be something I can realistically do. 

The lovely physiotherapist I saw told me that I may be able to run again, but I mustn’t for at least 10 days, and then I must take it very gently and see how my foot feels. Apparently, when you run, you put pressure equivalent to around 4-5 times your body weight through your legs, so it is pretty tough on the body. He told me that if I did run at the moment, I run the risk of not being able to walk the way I love to do. Hiking is part of my mental health self care as well as physical, so I can’t risk this. 

While I am really disappointed, I would rather that than risk injuring myself more, and face the prospect of not being able to hike, climb and do all the other things I love to do. Running was a new and unexpected addition to my very active life, and while I did enjoy it, there are things that are more important to me.

I was very happy to be fundraising for Music in Hospitals & Care, so as soon as I am able, I am going to plan a walking challenge instead. It will be more than 13 miles. 13 miles is just a really good day’s walk for me! 

Huge thanks to everyone who sponsored me, and sorry for not being able to do the challenge you sponsored me for, but I must put my health first, and listen to the advice I have been given, Trying to run a half marathon with so little run training was always going to be a bit risky, I am just glad I found out sooner rather than later that the running was causing me harm.

Good luck and happy running to all who are taking part in the Virtual Great North Run this weekend, I’ll be rooting for you!

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