What a pain in the ass

A couple of weekends ago, I finished my first 10km race. That’s 10 whole kilometres of non-stop running. 10,000 metres of burning thighs. An average of 8,500 steps of sweaty eyebrows.

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Now I'd like pancakes.

Understandably, I was pretty thrilled. Even more so because this time last year, if you’d suggested to me I would be running 10km I would’ve laughed, then cried and then ate another piece of bacon dipped in nutella.

I really enjoy running. This usually surprises people because running is
such a solitary sport and I am not… ahem… a solitary person.

Yet, something about running on a lonely road at dusk, with no end in sight, and your concentration on nothing more than putting one foot in of the other, is really appealing to me.

Maybe it’s because I really like the sound of my own voice and so I have ample time to talk to myself. Who knows.

A couple of years back when my dog Chuck was a wriggling ball of endless enthusiasm and energy (now she’s found smackos. We’re good), we used to take her out running. She was all paws and tongue and she generally didn’t care where we were going as long as she was glued to your legs.

On one occasion, her enthusiasm got the better of both of us.

I won’t say exactly who is to blame because it’s uncharitable to blame a cute two year old pug, but she stopped right in front of me and I fell.

I remember the exact moment my disc crunched my sciatic nerve. I remember the exact moment that lightening bolts of pain shot down my leg and into my toes. I remember the exact moment I said a lot of swear words that would embarrass even the most unsavory of characters.

And there went my plans of running a half marathon. Just like that. In the hyperextension of a knee.

Over the next few years I tried every therapy available to satisfy the chronic, often excrutiating and constant pain running through my leg:

Tramadol = Nothing says “hire me!” Like throwing up on the first day of your temp job. Hello hallucinations.

Physiotherapy = That gel is cold and I’m paying you how much, to do what?

Bowen Therapy = Still not entirely sure what this does but I think its working?

Chiropractor = Should my spin be pointing in that direction?

Acupressure = Should I be bruising like that?

Acupuncture = Have I mentioned I don’t like needles?

Orthapedic surgeon = You’re telling me I just have to “learn to live with it”?!!

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Yes, that IS an ice pack on my ass.

None of this worked for me. And for the past few years I learned to cope and accept that I would never run in the way that I wanted to.

When I changed my lifestyle though, I changed my attitude.

For too long I’d been satisfied that pain would be the master of me and I was sick of it.

So this year I started running again.

I started small. The odd kilometer here and there. A hill walk punctuated by a burst of runnning. Some vertical hikes up the sides of mountains.

Then one day I went for a run and realised that at 7.5km I was at the longest distance I had ever run!!!!

And that Saturday, I ran my first 10km.

Sure, it turned out that the run was part of some medical conference and it didn’t appear it was open to the public (“who’s enjoying the conference?!??!” Ummm what?). Sure, it meant getting up at 5.30 in the morning on a Saturday. Ew. Sure, I came last.

But I did it. And I felt unstoppable.

It sounds bizarre, but I talk to my pain. I treat it like a member of my extended family. I can’t choose it. And it may always be there. Sometimes it overstays its welcome. And sometimes I need a glass of wine and a panadol to help me through it.

But now I know that I’m the boss and it doesn’t have to own me… Well now I can train for that half marathon aye.

Enjoy the ride x

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