They tried to make me go to [running] rehab and I [reluctantly] said okay, fine, if I have to.
... Puns aside, I am not feeling particularly jovial right now and am in-fact crying inside! 😭🤣
It’s been five weeks today since I obtained my first ever serious running injury while completing the virtual London Marathon.
Truth be told, so far, I haven’t enjoyed turning 28. I was plagued with that non-Covid cough and cold over my actual birthday, then I injured my knee, and now I’m sporting a very fetching (not) lopsided walk as a result of a dead left arm following my booster jab, combined with my gammy right knee. What a vision of health I am!
(P.S: I’m aware that my previous ‘vaccination’ blog posts might have put some people off, what with me being on the verge of calling in both a priest and a hefty team of paramedics just hours after my first dose of AstraZeneca. Christ, there were fever dreams aplenty involving bus-driving Jaffa Cakes and then there was the worst back ache known to mankind, amongst a whole host of other weird and wonderful side effects. Anyway, I can confirm that the Pfizer booster has caused no adverse reactions aside a dead arm and a swollen armpit, which I can live with.)
Seven weeks ago, I won the female Stockport 5k. Eight weeks ago, I won the female Tatton Park 10k. Today, I barely managed to hobble around Aldi with my multipack of crumpets. I should have been racing in the Tatton Park Half Marathon this morning – instead I spent the day trying to get the hamster to respond to the name ‘Princess Marmite.’
What even is my life? Maybe I am a bit feverish after all. Or maybe I’m just going insane. Probably the latter.
This no running malarkey is NOT my idea of fun AT ALL.
Obviously I managed to make my injury worse by merrily skipping off to complete the Knutsford 10k just two weeks after the marathon. I couldn’t actually walk or put any weight on my right leg for two days after the run, no thanks to my idiocy.
Since then, I have gained a whole new set of best mates: a foam roller, a knee brace, a movement coach and a physio. It’s like a harrowing version of A Christmas Carol, isn’t it? Being visited by various methods of discomfort in a low-key bid to make me change my ways.
Perhaps I will start warming up and cooling down before and after every jog, as has been the general guidance urgently repeated to me throughout my entire seven year running journey. What was it Alanis Morrisette said? ‘It’s the good advice that ya just didn’t take!’
And indeed it is ironic. And really bloody annoying.
Upon first inspection, my physio couldn’t actually find anything wrong with my knee. I thought I was going to be blacklisted by him as well as the doctor for time wasting. He concluded that I had a tight IT band, but said that was to be expected given the amount of running I do (three 5ks and one half marathon a week).
I had a sport’s massage which nearly made me throw up, and then that was that. He said that he didn’t really need to see me again. The advice was that I should be back running again in 7-10 days, but that I could judge it myself.
Obviously, I jogged home from the physio. But it was only literally half a kilometre, don’t panic.
To be fair to myself, I actually did wait 7 days before lacing up my trainers again. If you know me, you’ll know that this control of impulsion is very difficult for me. The Voice of anorexia was going absolutely berserk, as you can imagine. So much so that I almost believed that I’d gained 50 stone overnight.
My first 'proper' run after the formidable bogus 10k escapade was on Monday 1st November 2021. Start the month as we mean to go on!!
Disappointingly, it didn’t feel great, and I was in a considerable amount of pain afterwards. The pain was no way near as bad as it had been after the Knutsford 10k, but it was definitely there. My whole leg just felt very stiff and my knee extremely sensitive, almost as if one wrong landing or slip would take me right back to square one.
I completed 5k without stopping and then traipsed home feeling frustrated.
The next evening, I had an appointment with a movement coach at the local gym. It was so enlightening!
One thing I will say is that I NEVER want to see footage of me running ever again!! My husband was right when he said that I look like The Terminator. He actually attributed my winning streak to people fleeing from my path in terror as I crashed towards them.
Personally, having now sadly watched myself run, I think it’s probably more so down to the fact that my oddly propelling elbows sent my fellow competitors flying off course.
I honestly thought that I resembled Mo Farah when I ran. Turns out I actually look like Percy Pig on the new M&S Christmas advert. Mint.
The footage revealed that my arms swing from side to side in rather an exaggerated fashion, which causes my bony little elbows to protrude. And that’s just the half of it! You ought to see that state of my legs from behind! For some unknown reason, I seem to flick my right ankle outwards the faster I get, causing my knees to twist.
Years of ballroom dancing and dramatic flamboyancy clearly haven’t done me any favours when it comes to running form!
Basically, I was an accident waiting to happen. I think my coach was stunned that this is my first injury in seven years.
Getting back to the route of the injury, it was decided that the issue was likely caused by a tightness in my 'vastus lateralis,' and not the IT Band as previously suspected. Honestly, I wish I’d paid more attention in biology instead of having panic attacks over the infection control videos – I just thought your knee was your knee and that was that! I had no idea that a tight thigh muscle could cause so much pain in the kneecap.
To further my treatment for this, I had my first round of shockwave therapy, which was absolutely incredible.
While it did ‘sting’ when moving across the inflamed areas of my legs, it was bearable and worked its magic overnight.
I managed to run 5k for the two days following my first treatment with very minimal pain. I was overjoyed!!
Yesterday, I got cocky and ran 10k. I forced myself to walk a kilometre before and after to soothe my muscles, but I still found that I had to stop and stretch twice during the 10k to ease the resurfacing throbbing in my knee.
Around an hour after my run, my knee was in agony again.
I know, I KNOW: too much too soon.
Normal people following an injury: building up mileage slowly and carefully to avoid a relapse.
Me still with an injury: increase my mileage from 0 to 30km in a week and then wonder why it’s all gone Pete Tongue.
I suppose it didn’t help that I then went straight out for a 6.5k walk with my Mum, wearing heeled boots.
My knee feels tender today. I don’t think yesterday has set me back too much, but I guess we’ll only know when I head out for my usual 5k tomorrow.
I’ve been foam-rolling and clam-shelling all day, which I’m hoping has helped any lingering damage.
The phrase ‘foam roller’ sounds all cushiony and gentle and lovely, doesn’t it? I can confirm that this is in fact not the case. I have just five minutes ago completed my nightly round of what I like to bleakly label ‘foam torture.’ This basically entails me lying on my front aggressively screaming Ja Rule raps into the carpet with the roller under my knees. Honestly, the pain is almost incompressible. I would even go as far as saying that it hurts more than the actual injury itself. It is kind of like a good pain though, if that makes sense? It’s like a less tender version of a sport’s massage, minus the presence of a freaky plastic skeleton in the corner of the room. Oh and BTW, sport’s massages aren’t tender in the slightest, so that should shed some light as to how grim foam rollers are.
I’m due back with my movement coach for some more shockwave therapy on Tuesday. I’m really intrigued by this seemingly miracle cure!
I’ve found being injured extremely tough, as I knew I would.
At present, I’m not in control, and that terrifies me.
I haven’t weighed myself since the injury. This might sound like a really dull and pointless statement to many, but for me, this is a massive achievement. Under normal circumstances, I obsessively weight myself every single morning, scrutinising every alteration.
During the first few weeks of my injury, I was adamant that I had to starve myself to compensate for the lack of running I was doing. From past experience, I know how stupid this is.
But as we all know, anorexia is not an illness supported by rationale.
I’m so very proud of the fact that I have continued to eat normally. I’ve had my usual treats on a weekend and have been out for meals, too. The anorexia-induced anxiety is disabling at times, but I’ve surprised myself at how resilient I have felt in the face of these pressures.
Although running technically caused this injury, I believe that it is also saving my life. I cite my ability to be strong to the fact that I now understand the imperative importance and urgency in listening to my body.
As I have explained in many of my articles over the past 6 months, running has made me fall in love with my body again. I don’t mean that in an aesthetic sense – of course I don’t. I mean it in the sense that I am totally in awe of my body and everything it does for me, despite my previous missions to harm it.
I have to trust my body and not inflict further punishment upon it during a time when it needs as much TLC as it can get. Not eating would be foolish, downright dangerous and hugely unhelpful in my body's rehabilitation.
The relationship between human and the body is all about give and take. I know that if I continue to listen to my body and look after it when it’s ill or injured, it will in turn make a fighting fit comeback for me. I’ve just got to be patient...
Cara Jasmine Bradley
⚠️ To find out more about Shockwave Therapy (I CAN’T recommend this enough!), check out the following link -
⚠️ Also, if you’re a keen runner and want to improve your form, look no further than David. From my very first session with David, I was impressed by his knowledge, professionalism and advice. His sessions are extremely enlightening and will reveal things about your posture, form and body that you never even were holding you back and causing you issues in your day to day activities -