Sunday, 19 January 2014

How I survived London’s Survival of the Fittest 2013

Some time has passed since the last entry to this blog. Here is a retrospect entry to how my running year 2013 ended…

On 16th November 2013 I was one of 10,000 runners taking on Men's Health Survival of the Fittest 10K obstacle race at Battersea Power station in London. As a runner I was not concerned about running 10K, but more about what kind of obstacles I would face. From mud baths, skating parks, mazes and a 5ft wall at the finish line, it was nothing that I had done before. I was excited about the race ahead of me, but instinctively felt trepidation that something bad might happen.

I was due to start at wave 5 at 13:30 with 29 other work colleagues of my office. I was determined to take it easy. My aim was to finish within the 2hrs mark but not to finish last in my wave.
The first obstacle just behind the start line were three sets of hay bales, which I managed to climb easily without any major embarrassment. These were followed by a set of thin board walls, a maze, a swing, a spider net, and many, many more. The track followed on along the Thames promenade to Battersea Park to an outdoor running track. 5K into the run, the next obstacle was a steeplechase. Hurdling not being my best strength and exhausted from the previous 5K, I climbed over the hurdles rather than jumped. Right after the last hurdle was a pool, which looked more like a puddle. I climbed over the hurdle, lost balance and fell into that pool, completely underestimating the depth of it. Immediately, I felt a sharp pain in my left foot. I slowly waddled out of the pool, trying to regain composure and holding back tears of anger and pain. One of the race volunteers came over and asked if I was alright. I was in pain and I couldn't put any weight on my foot, but I was determined to continue the race. 'I'm fine', I mumbled and hopped along, determined to run another 5K. Little did I know what damage I did to my poor foot.

Adrenalin must have kept me going from that point onwards, because I did manage to finish the race at an unbelievable 1:17:42, despite hopping the remainder of it. Still, I climbed more walls, climbed through tunnels and boxes, was hosed down and thankfully was thrown over The Wall at the finish line by a fellow racer. I have to thank all the fellow runners who kept me going and helped me up and down any obstacles I was too scared to face. Despite my pain, I was very proud of my medal as you may see from my finisher's pose.

When I returned home that evening the pain had turned for the worse. I was limping all the way from Battersea back home to Leigh-on-sea. I sensed that my foot wasn't fine at all and couldn't hold back my tears any longer. My boyfriend Robert picked me up from the station that night with crutches in his hands. The next day we went to A&E to have my foot x-rayed. The doctor said to me, 'you'll have to get used to these crutches unfortunately'. The diagnosis was a dislocated fracture of my fifth metatarsal bone on my left foot. This was the end of my running for the year 2013.

When I came back to the hospital on the following Tuesday to have a cast fitted, I was more than shocked to hear that I needed to have surgery to have screws and a metal plate fitted to ensure it would heal properly. I had surgery on Wednesday, 20th November at Southend University Hospital and was released with a cast the next day. I had to keep the cast for another four weeks, before changing into a removable air boot for another two weeks.

The last two months with injury were tough. I've had to battle with frustration and depression. I wouldn't let this be the end of my running, but I knew that a long way of rehabilitation was laying ahead of me. The new year has opened a new chapter of my running experience: rehabilitating from my injury and fighting a long way back to what I miss the most, long distance running.