This is me at the start of the Moonwalk. Fresh faced, eager to get going. Months of training had brought me to this moment. The longest training walk had been 20 miles, with lots of 8 and 10 mile walks. I was certainly far more prepared than my previous endeavor. I was ready. And felt strong and healthy. Unfortunately no two walks are ever the same. Add in tiredness from having been awake since 6am, standing around for hours before the walk, and horrendous wind and, at times, rain, this was no easy walk. And the three of us felt it from the off. It took an hour to complete the first two miles. But we accepted these things. It’s not meant to be an easy challenge. It’s meant to be physically and mentally trying. I made it through the training with only one blister. No lost toe nails, no torn ligaments, not even much muscle ache after the first couple of long walks. But even all that training can’t promise an injury and pain free walk. At about 10 miles I started to feel shin splint pain in my left leg. I commented on the irony of feeling very little discomfort throughout the training and certainly not shin splints, but knew there was nothing to do but keep on going. I wasn’t the only one in pain. The three of us were feeling pain and discomfort in various ways, but were united in the fact that we wanted to keep going. The pain got progressively worse, but we would stop and stretch and carry on. Mile by mile we got closer to the end. The miles felt particularly long. It wasn’t with the ease of the training walks that we made our way through the London streets. We finally made it. Over 9 hours after we’d started. We crossed the finish line together. It was a welcome, lovely sight after a hard night.
The pain in my leg was bearable. Hobbling with my husband, who’d met me at the finish line, to a taxi, my thoughts were firmly fixed on breakfast, bath, and a wee kip in bed. But it was also a day for us to spend together, so I just wanted the pain to go so we could enjoy a day of exploration.
The pain continued. Bath, painkillers, champagne, nothing shifted the pain, that felt like hot irons through my shin. I strapped it up with a tubular bandage and off we went. We went for a wander to the O2, and explored the South Bank, and as time went on I had to stop and sit more and more frequently. I was devastated that I was ruining a day out together. I couldn’t enjoy the Tate Modern, I hadn’t been able to appreciate North Greenwich. Finally, husband said it was time to head back to the hotel and just relax. Clearly I wasn’t comfortable. And so that was the day somewhat ruined.
Monday saw the journey home. But by the time we were back in our home town I was barely able to hobble from coach to taxi without crying in pain, and by 5pm I was in the doctors office.
The news could be worse, but a week on it’s looking like it’s definitely a stress fracture. I still can’t walk on it for any length of time, am using crutches for most journeys and it hurts day and night.
This has caused a rise of emotions and a return of anxiety this last week. I’m writing a bit of a confession here, because I want others to know they’re not alone when old habits surface through emotional stress. But I also want to admit it, so I own it. But a couple of times the purging inclination returned, and it’s a slippery slope if it isn’t addressed. A very real panic over not been able to exercise for several weeks has left me feeling very out of control, and this week, the need for control brought back those old coping mechanisms. But I know they’re not healthy mechanisms, and that actually self care means treating my body more kindly and dealing with the inability to exercise, in a gentle way. I guess the thing that surprises me is how reliant I have become on walking. I wasn’t losing pounds and pounds, but I felt healthy. I had started to become very aware of how irritable I would become if a few days went by without walking. And getting out, releasing those happy hormones, and freeing up some of the stress was a great thing. And so of course not being able to walk freely leaves me feeling frustrated and irritable, along with worrying about how I will manage my weight, because extra weight isn’t going to help the injury, but stressing won’t help deal with it either.
Time to step back.
Time to open up those supportive Intuitive Eating Books and remember the good things in all this.
Time to be kind.
Time to remember what I’ve achieved in the last week, and the potential I hold.