Wednesday, 2 July 2014

It's a thin line we tread...

For those who don't already know I have been forced to pull out of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow due to picking up a seemingly out of the blue injury in the form of stress fracture to my sacrum (the sacrum is the bone at the bottom of your back where it meets your hips). A fairly uncommon injury in the general public and whilst not overly common in runners it is something runners on higher mileage can be susceptible to. Contrary to other reports and comments about my fitness I wasn't battling with my fitness or any other injury. All the above were not without there challenges in past year but on my arrival to Font Romeu (a couple of weeks ago now) I was in good place, injury free, seemingly in my best shape for some 2 years and ready to crack on with the training.  Unfortunately though the onset of my symptoms started on only the second day into my trip. Seemingly just a minor muscle tightness in my left hip to begin with over the following 24 hrs this became somewhat more uncomfortable. Even walking was uncomfortable. A visit to nearby Spanish chiropractor (Ront Fomeu whilst in France is right next to the old French/Spanish boarder) gave what was false hope at first. Whilst it appeared to be my SI (sacro iliac) joint was just out of alignment this turned out not to be my problem. The treatment seemed to give some initial relief from my symptoms at first but whilst this would normally start settling down within 48hrs, in my case it didn't. A few days later I was driving down to Perpignan for an MRI Scan...

The hospital in Perpignan is able to provide a fast turn around in terms of performing the actual scan and providing the results, so I was able to get a scan and result all in the same afternoon. Going in for the results was quite a crushing experience though as you can image. Ironically I have been in this positions before in the same hospital. Before the London Olympics I had a bone scare in my hip/femur but then the results were good news on that occasion and training continued as normal and no games dream were ended. This time it was different and when the french doc said those fatal words in his broken English my heart sank. I asked him if he was certain... unfortunately he didn't really understand my English but after a bit of broken communication back and forth is was clear it was not good and there would be no Glasgow Commonwealth Games for me.

The drive home was a pretty quiet one, poor Alex (the physio who'd driven down to Perpignan with me) was probably the most uncomfortable with the situation, not really knowing what to say. Strangely whilst I didn't feel all that bad about things (other that initial reaction to the news) I think the more I had time to think on the drive back to Font Romeu the more the reality started to sink in. Having got myself back into good shape after what has been a rough 12 to 18 months, it was frustrating to say the least to know that I would now be out of action again but that my ambitions to medal at the games couldn't even be attempted. When I got back into the apartment in Font Romeu the others were there about to start dinner, I think they knew they didn't really need to say anything, I just got a few sympathetic looks. It was just as well no one asked how I was though as I'd probably have started blobbing if they had!  

Having had 24hrs to digest the news I decided it was best to get back home, the thought of being in a training camp environment not able to do anything, even cross train initially, would have sent me stir crazy. Plus I spend enough time away from my family as it is so I was eager to be back with them.

On reflection I've become all to aware that my sport is about balancing those highs and the lows and seemingly there's no season of middle ground, perhaps it would be boring if that were the case!  It's also a thin line tread between being in great shape and picking up that injury where it can feel like the end of world. Whilst on this occasion though it's not quite worked out in my favour I will be back. There are too many things I still want to achieve, furthermore despite all the set backs I still love the sport so won't be going anywhere just yet.