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MY FIRST POST – THE TALE OF THE INJURED RUNNER AND AN IMAGINARY TRIP TO VALENCIA.

It’s Saturday night. I’ve aligned my evening, so I can watch Pointless Celebs. I’ve just eaten a cold veggie burger and potato waffle in a roll. I have a smelly spaniel spreadeagled next to me taking up the majority of the sofa. I’m looking forward to Take Me Out. I’m gonna stay up and watch the Test Match. Why am I boring you with these trivialities?

I should be in bloody Valencia.

Before I fill you in with the details as to why I should be in Valencia and not gorging on Saturday night TV and leftover vegan junk food, I would like to welcome you to this blog. I’ve been trying to set up a blog all year so I can write some stuff down. I’ve always enjoyed writing on the internet, mainly to show off – but this time around it’s all gonna be about running and these awful little buggers called ‘feelings.’ I am even going to try and be positive about myself. Something I weirdly struggle with… you wouldn’t think it but I find it really fucking hard to say nice things about myself / accept my existence and that I am not a pointless human (nothing to do with the aforementioned TV show).

The last time I ran – East Brighton parkrun. It felt all wrong! Pic by Gary Sherin.

I could be in bloody Valencia.

I’ve trained the last four months in order to compete in the 2019 Valencia Marathon. it’s happening tomorrow – Sunday, Dec 1st. I entered because my good friend and Vegan Runner, Dan’s Tent, was planning a stag do around running a sub 3 hour marathon. I had enjoyed running London earlier in the year so much (2:58:19 and the best day of my life) that I thought I’d join in the fun. Another Vegan Runner called Matt was joining the party. Sadly, Dan couldn’t get the time off work. First lesson learnt here – don’t enter a marathon for a stag do!

Anyway, I worked my little vegan balls off (they are actually reasonably sized balls) and did 4 x 20 mile runs, 2 x 18 milers in training and had ALL the training ups and downs. Doing a 70 mile week the week before a PB attempt at Cardiff HM also fucked me up. I lost the enthusiasm for running at one point, I hated the Great South Run and found it increasingly hard to get out the door… was my body telling me something? Did I fucking listen? Was I getting any fitter or just running on auto-pilot?

Fucking myself up with another long run.

I didn’t make it to Valencia.

Two weeks out I felt a pain in my arse. It was a dull pain at first. I did a parkrun and then I couldn’t run the next day. It took me a week to accept I was injured, it took me another day to realise I wasn’t going to make the marathon. It took me another day to realise there was no point going to Valencia for a holiday I couldn’t afford without the joy of running in it. I am not very good at sitting down and relaxing, and although the appeal of a little Spanish sun sounds AMAZING right now, it made sense to stay at home and start some rehab on my diagnosis of ‘insertional hamstring tendinopathy.’

Why didn’t I make it to Valencia?

Well I didn’t make it coz I cancelled my flights and got a massive £13 refund from EasyJet which I won’t spend all at once. Why did I get injured though? With hindsight, it was a few things. To start with, I wasn’t following a training plan. I just ran loads of fucking miles and did 3 x 70 mile weeks which is a lot for me. So, an overuse injury. Secondly, shite warming up. I know I need to activate my glutes before I run but sometimes I didn’t have time / motivation and just had to get out the door and run. Third – a weakness in my glutes from not strengthening enough. I know I need to do strength stuff to stay strong and not get injured. I didn’t do enough. Fourth – I had my appendix out in the summer. I have four scars on my belly which are still bad and apparently they can effect other parts of your body. Mad eh? I had a scar massage this week to help it. Fifth – comparing myself to others on Strava. We are all guilty of it whether it’s in terms of mileage or speed. I have to remember that I am an individual and do what works for me. Comparing yourself to other runners is the fucking devil.

There’s also other issues with some over-pronation and the fact my calves are currently tighter than an EasyJet flight refund.

Post Great South Run with my beautiful GF – Row. The smile hiding the sadness that I didn’t enjoy it.

I’ve accepted I am not running Valencia Marathon.

I nearly cried in my college class on Tuesday. Luckily it’s a counselling course, so it’s more than acceptable to show emotion BUT I can’t cry. I haven’t cried for five years. I would love to cry, make me cry. Saying that, I think I am in a much better place mentally than I was a year ago… I shared all my feelings about doing all the training and then getting injured two weeks before the race via my girlfriends’s ears (thanks Row) and on the internet. I also think that with hindsight after having my appendix out (I didn’t take surgery seriously enough – classic me) that I shouldn’t have gone straight into marathon training. I can’t wait to ‘start again’ wth my running next year and smash the 5k, 10k and HM distances before I take on another marathon.

Hanging with the Running Punks after Cardiff HM – Harry Jones & Jimmy Watkins. Bloody love meeting nice people who love running.

I will definitely go to Valencia one day.

I will run Valencia Marathon another year and I will fucking smash it. There’s people in a lot worse life situations than me but I also realise that I value myself and that it’s ok to be sad about something going wrong.

Imaginary trip to Valencia – the summary

Writing this post has been a positive experience and made me feel better. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you’ve been through something similar or if you just want to have an internet cuddle. I’ve learnt from this experience to listen to my body and my heart more. I can do whatever the fuck I want with running and 2020 is mine to own. I hope this has been a positive post for you to read.

Posi Cozzy xo

This is what my face is gonna look like when I smash 2020.
Published inMental HealthRunning

10 Comments

  1. Siobhan Siobhan

    A lovely read. Well done Posi Cozzy. Xx

  2. Row Hearn Row Hearn

    Love this! Well done for being so honest and brave – very unfortunate circumstances but you know that those long runs won’t be wasted! Onwards and upwards xxx

  3. Russ Russ

    An internet cuddle would be great! We met in Brighton a couple of weeks ago, but a real cuddle then would have been a bit weird. Everything’s relative. Yeah, there are people with much worse problems than you or me, but every single human being on the planet feels emotional pain when they lose something. I just got diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the toes, which will likely get worse. I’m going to have to slow down, maybe even stop running eventually. But I’m doing VMLM 2020 first. Good luck with your recovery.

  4. Sally Sally

    Sending big hugs. When your body has had a rest, you are so going to smash that race – and love doing it. And I hope you will blog us all silly with your adventures on the way.

  5. Alice Alice

    *sends internet cuddle* Rest up and listen to your body and heal. You’ll be back to brilliantly repping for VR in no time.

  6. Jack Jack

    Love you man

  7. Paul Millsom Paul Millsom

    A nice script Jhon. Love the honest confessionary aporoach. My runner’s takeaway…

    1. Start with training plan and stick to it.
    2. Include strength training (i’ve started body pump).
    3. Be realistic and reset the schedule immediatrly in the event of a serious hitch (e.g. your op) and target a later race
    4. Never neglect the warm ups and cool downs. (I’ve twice made that mistake on race day).

    My own add on is to allow more than 4 months for a marathon build up. Stick more contingency and rest and recovery phases in to the schedule. 6 months would probably be optimum for me.

  8. Rachel Rachel

    Great read John, thanks for sharing, your Saturday night sounds very familiar, including the smelly spaniel! You are an inspiration to so many of us VRs, you will smash 2020 for sure! Take care xo

  9. Mike Harvey Mike Harvey

    Hi Jhon

    Pointless Celebrities and Take Me out? Poor you, you really must be desperate for some way to fill your time.

    As for not having a training plan or warming up, me too. OK, the furthest I ‘run’ (using the term very loosely) is a 5k parkrun but I just wing it and run whatever distance I feel like whenever I feel like it between times. As for warming up? Well, I do a brisk walk to the park before I run and a slightly less brisk walk home afterwards. I also don’t bother stretching: let’s face it, I don’t really know how to stretch properly. Naturally, this lack of stretching means my quads let me know all about it over the next couple of days but fuck it, I’m in charge, not some puny muscles that can’t take a bit of exercise.

    Good luck with your recovery and perhaps, this time, do things a bit more sensibly and gt a proper plan when you do resume training?

  10. Jenny m Jenny m

    Jhon you are an amazing runner and writer!!reading your bio = wow you have done so many things in your life. You should be so proud of yourself. Look in the mirror and see the person that everyone else knows you to be and loves you for being so funny and entertaining. Be happy with who you are -valencia can happen when you’re fit.x Dan T’s mum says so!!ps you are a very young looking 38!!!!

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