“Not being able to run was an absolutely horrendous experience. I would drive past people running and burst into tears. I had dreams that I was able to run, and would wake up crying.”
Ashley was forced to take a YEAR off running due to injury – yet she’s still managed to smash her half marathon time. Read her post – there IS light at the end of the tunnel!
Gratitude, as I said in my Blogiversary post, is a many-splendoured thing.
I had a glorious Guerrillas workout again this morning, as opposed to this time last year, when I was rocking the granny shoe look.
This unflattering form of footwear was the only equipment offered me, and I have looked at many accoutrements made available to others who underwent leg injuries.
For example I would’ve enjoyed the services of a knee scooter and so, I’m pretty sure, would my friends in the pub!
The magical Marilyn Monroe knew that crutches certainly were NOT a Girl’s Best Friend – but that didn’t keep her away from the cameras.
Note the interesting combination of stiletto heel with the bandaged foot shown right – she doesn’t look too happy does she?
I had imagined that, as Marilyn was no stranger to the joys of exercise, (regularly going jogging before it caught on as a trend) her frustration could only be imagined.
She sprained her ankle whilst filming in 1953 and not happy with the conditions in which she was injured, reportedly insisted on wearing a cast and taking time out of the schedule – to get back at the director!
If I’m wrong on the above please let me know – I’m admittedly no expert on Monroe, but I like her spirit.
Hopefully, most leg injuries are temporary in the great scheme of things, but – for those who do currently have a broken foot like I did – and/or need crutches like Marilyn – here are some questions to ask yourself/your doctor/your best mate etc etc:
Will you be able to rest your injured limb on the ground? If so, can you use it for balance while walking?
How can you bathe? Can you stand in the shower, or do you need to use a bath tub?
Can you just use one crutch as a cane? If so, what’s the best way to walk with a cane?
Can you go swimming?
What are the best ways to position your arms and maintain posture while using crutches?
Inspiration’s essential, whether you’re running up a hill , or wondering – whilst in the throes of an incapacitating injury or illness – if you’ll ever be able to exercise again.
I discovered the poem “Invictus” via a showy-off conversation about inspirational verse with a manager I was working for on a temporary assignment (like you do).
The oft-quoted lines are: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”.
But for me, the knowledge that the poem was written during Victorian times brought to mind the idea of the “stiff upper lip” – so I tended to think, “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”
I was humbled to discover the poem was, in fact, written while the author was recovering in hospital – and for a long time it didn’t even have a name.
William Ernest Henley suffered complications connected with tuberculosis from the age of 12 –and ended up needing his leg to be amputated just below the knee, in his mid-20s.
Determined not to lose his other foot, he underwent a number of operations, described as “radical” – and retained his limb.
Like me, he would have been no stranger to hobbling!
His friend, “Treasure Island” author Robert Louis Stephenson, was inspired by him as a person.
In a letter to Henley, Stephenson told him: “I will now make a confession. It was the sight of your maimed strength and masterfulness that begot Long John Silver…the idea of the maimed man, ruling and dreaded by the sound, was entirely taken from you”.
Henley’s message of hope continued to have a notable impact in the 20th Century.
Nelson Mandela drew on it at Robben Island prison, where he recited the verse to his fellow inmates – and to himself.
Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela in the 2009 film “Invictus”, told a reporter: “That poem was his favourite… When he lost courage, when he felt like just giving up — just lie down and not get up again — he would recite it. And it would give him what he needed to keep going.”
Here then, are the words Nelson Mandela would say:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
The six weeks is over – the bone is officially healed.
I was given the news after a one-hour-45-minute wait, during which time I’d met a prison officer who’d broken his arm in two places falling downstairs at home (“my daughters help me”) and a carer who’d smashed both his elbows out walking his golden Labrador when she spooked and pulled him to the floor (“Lucy hasn’t left my side since”).
I was brushing a woman’s hair and fastening her pony-tail when I was called over – she couldn’t reach around and neither could her mother (“C’mon, this lady here’ll do it”).
Mr Bhalla, who examined me, explained I had “good flexion”.
How did he know the bone was healed?
“You ran in here”.
Apparently no physiotherapy is necessary as my recovery is good – and walking will do the trick.
The shoe can come off – good news – now I just need to find some suitable ceremony for dispersing with it or maybe I could make it into some Modern Art installation?
What about exercise? Well, predictably, the high-impact ones, the ones that cost the least money to do – ie running and Guerrilla training – will have to wait another six weeks (“It’s three months after a fracture”).
The pay-in-advance ones – swimming, cycling, cross-training, spinning etc – they’re all fine.
Funny how getting injured didn’t automatically make me any better-off financially to make these adjustments!
Yoga? Fine as long as I don’t stretch the foot, put all my weight on it.
Will the bone be more vulnerable? He doesn’t see any reason for arthritis.
It was good to see the original X-rays (on the computer screen) – especially with the realisation that this time the clean oblique break shown in them had healed.
Mr Bhalla explained the fracture was not near the joint and that, apparently, is “good”.
Things are changing, blossoms on the trees, the sun’s out – a contrast from the filthy coldness I contended with when first injured.
My foot’s changed too – healing happens.
Now join me as I continue towards my running goal.
Imagine a situation where injury or illness stopped you doing the one thing you really love not once – but twice.
Jonty Sargent, a station producer and sports presenter for Signal Radio, has been football-mad since childhood.
From the age of 12, he was side-lined by illness over a six-year period, but still had to sit and watch his friends play.
And an accident last summer meant Jonty was “off games” again.
He twisted the Anterior Cruciate Ligament of his right knee playing for his station’s team, the Signal 1derers.
Now 22, he admits: “It was my own fault really! In jumping over a tackle and switching my balance mid-air and landing extremely awkwardly on my right foot, which threw out my cruciate.
“The worst part was – I’m quite a joker on the pitch anyway, especially for Signal, it’s mainly to have a laugh with people and businesses across the area – and then I went down. Nobody believed me!”
The injury was serious enough.
Jonty sustained it in August 2014 but is looking at getting back on the pitch in November, by which time he will have undergone two operations and a course of intensive physiotherapy.
Admittedly he’s finding the current situation incredibly frustrating – as he remembers how illness robbed him the opportunity to play football as a youngster.
“I used to play at various clubs – and even if you were ill, you were always made to go and watch the game in fully-fledged tracksuit, you’d go along with the squad and I’m just the worst watcher of football.
“It’s a case of ‘Oh, I would’ve scored that, I would have made a different decision’.
“It’s just terrible, terrible – watching the football when you experience something that you love doing that you’re so passionate about, day in day out, it’s completely incomparable to any role in any jobs that I can think of, and for me it was literally horrendously heart-breaking.”
Jonty must have felt a tremendous sense of deja vu when his ACL injury (very common amongst footballers but more of that in the future) once again made him into a convalescent.
A keen festival-goer, he’s quick to add that he just knew it would impact on areas other than football: “The thought, when you first do it, was – holidays, you’re not going to be able to do the events we do for Signal.
“And you’re going to miss out on summer, and you’re trying to make plans for the summer, festivals and stuff. I can’t really jump around at festivals!
“And then you’re thinking of other people, you don’t want to hinder them, or if I’m on crutches, you’re not going to go on muddy fields and stuff”.
We’ll be seeing Jonty back in action on the pitch one day, that’s for sure.
And one thing the injury hasn’t blighted is his talent as a broadcaster.