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💥🏃🏻‍♀️ Knutsford 10k: 17th October 2021 🏃🏻‍♀️💥

Moral of the story: don’t run when you’re injured. 😐

On Sunday 17th October, I took part in the Knutsford 10k, organised by Run North West.

I’m not gonna’ lie... I had a ‘mare.

It’s been two weeks since I ran the marathon and apart from a very painful 5k, I’ve been begrudgingly resting ever since. I usually bounce back pretty quick after marathons and even ran two days after our 61k ultra in August, but something just wasn’t right this time. My body didn’t recover in the same robust way that it usually does, and I have been forced to admit defeat and take a fortnight off.

Just before I ran the marathon, my weight was the lowest it has been for a while; a factor I don’t think helped my performance or indeed the after-effects. I’ve experienced a few strange aliments in the weeks following the marathon – it almost feels as though my body is in shock.

Worst of all though is my right knee. I’m awaiting further treatment from a physio, but I think I’ve got IT Band Syndrome. Fuming, as you can imagine.

In the 7 and a half years I’ve been running, I have only ever had two very minor injuries. The first was shin splints brought about by starting my running career in Fred Perry pumps, which might have looked what 20-year-old me would have described as ‘sick,’ but certainly did absolutely nothing to cushion my abnormally large foot arch or support my gangly legs. Then around five years ago, I suffered with a very brief bout of ‘runner’s knee’ which subsided when I moved abroad to warmer climates.

So anyway, to cut a long story short: deep down, I knew I shouldn’t have run on Sunday. But me being me, I went ahead and did it anyway. And please God no-one say I told you so, but Jesus Christ am I paying the price for my stubbornness and idiocy now.

Overnight, the pain in my knee has gone from a mild niggling 1/10 to a ‘oh sh*t I can hardly stand up’ 6/10. I have spent the day hobbling around work in Tin-Man fashion, dreading every single trip to the photocopier. Do you have any idea how hard it is to exert your usual strut when your knee feels as though it’s about to snap in two?! Very bloody hard! 🤦‍♀️

I finished the 10k in my worst event time of 41 minutes and 53 seconds, which is a dismal two second increase on my first ever competitive 10k. If somebody had told me this time last year that I’d one day be able to run 10k in a sub 48 minutes, I would have been ecstatic. But after a summer of smashing my personal bests and churning out times like 40 minutes 24 seconds, I put that bit more pressure on myself now. I had hoped to run a sub 40 minute 10k at the Knutsford event, but that dream was eradicated as soon as 'knee-gate' made an appearance.

It just felt like such an anti-climax, and I was bitterly disappointed with myself.

I was slightly happier with my positions:

127th out of 2078 overall
8th female of 959
4th female out of 199 in my age category

Considering the issues with my knee, I’ll take that result with some pride, but the frustrating thing for me is that I know I could have done better. I’m gutted that my knee held me back.

Running the Knutsford 10k was bittersweet for me.

I was elated at the fact that I was actually running again after two weeks away from the thing I love the most in the world, but at the same time, I was acutely aware of the worsening pain in my knee. It became apparent pretty early on that I had made a huge mistake in subjecting my body to the run. I probably should have pulled over to avoid further damage, but I knew that the mental effects of not finishing would be a lot worse than any physical injury.

I could scarcely enjoy the route as I was concentrating so hard on trying to take the bends in the road as carefully as possible so as not to aggravate my knee.

I glanced briefly at Jodrell Bank in the distance – an intriguing stature basking in the early morning mist. I wish I could have taken in the course with the same wonder that usually illuminates my heart and mind when I run.

Annoyingly, every other part of my body felt incredible. It’s almost as though running is my medicine; my body was gulping in every last drop of this miracle cure after an unbearable two weeks without it. My knee, however, did not agree.

Having spoken to my physio, I am now having to accept the prospect of 4-6 weeks off running. This rules out two of the running events I had planned in November.

It probably sounds so stupid, but this situation is extremely triggering for me. I know – I need to pull myself together and think myself lucky as people have a lot worse problems... But I am anxious about the next few weeks. I know that this could very easily lead to a rapid relapse.

Not being in control is my biggest trigger when it comes to anorexia. Running has been my weapon for the past 6 months and I feel terrifyingly exposed without it. I can sense the growing presence of my anorexia lurking overhead like a vulture, maliciously eyeballing the carcass of my depleted soul.

I do always try to be positive in my blogs, but sometimes the crappy things are a part of life and I wouldn't be being honest if I made out that navigating through an anorexia recovery was easy. It's important that people know the bad stuff too, because knowledge is awareness and awareness is power, and anorexia withers under any power outside of its own.

As soon as I crossed the finish line, my knee decided to give way. I suddenly couldn’t put any weight on it and staggered away, feeling even more fed up than before. I couldn’t pretend anymore: I had done some serious damage to my body, and had to agree to temporarily apply the brakes.

The fact that I am probably going to lose all of the form I have built up is devastating. This really couldn’t have come at a worse time. I’m genuinely gutted.

I spent the afternoon at a spa with my girls, which was the perfect tonic for my growing anxiety. We enjoyed afternoon tea, massages and hours of putting the world to rights in the Jacuzzi.

P.S: If you thought I was weird before, just wait until I tell you this... I cried during my massage. I must be the only person in the world to get emotional during a ‘salt scrub neck and shoulders combo,’ but there I was, weeping through the gap in the chair, resembling somebody on the brink of beyond breakdown. The girls laughed their heads off when I told them, while my masseuse bolted from the room, regretting her entire career choice.

I don’t know what came over me! It was just the whale music and my poorly knee and the fact that I could feel about 700 knots in my back. I just thought ‘oh my poor body’ and burst into tears. 😂 I just wish I could be nicer to my body and not run it into the ground all the time.

If any of my running friends or followers have any tips on how to stay sane in the sudden absence of running while righting an injury, please do message me.

As I write, I am sporting a very fetching child-sized knee brace under my tights. (At five-foot-nothing with the physique of a sparrow, an adult sized brace would have likely looked like some sort of weird one-legged trouser on me.)

I’m feeling very sorry for myself. My husband has just bought me some mini pumpkins (‘munchkins‘) from Aldi to cheer me up.

The one thing that is keeping me positive is the fact that I have a place in the Malta half-marathon in March! I just pray that I’m back on form by then... 💔

Cara Jasmine Bradley


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