Not so much starting the new year right, but starting the new year - well - not running.
If you follow me on socials, you'll probably notice that was my theme for 2023. From injury, to illness, to more illness and back to injury. I feel fortunate that I squeezed a really decent amount of running in between there & to take the positives, I'm proud of the way I rebuilt my fitness after each forced break.
This year, I vow to look after my body and make that the top priority.
My history in running has seen me go 12 years, from absolute beginner to ultra-runner, virtually injury free. It's in part because of my luck and potentially style of training, that I haven't HAD to prioritise the small things to maintain wellbeing but now my time has come. Complacency, some might say, but understandable.
So this year will look a little different for me.
First of all, i'm starting by getting a professional diagnosis on my ankle so I know what I'm working with. I've rested completely (no running, climbing, weight training or strenuous walking even) for a month & i'll continue to do this until my injury heals.
Then will be the time for patience as I build slowly, slowly, back up to fitness. Short runs, easy runs, no expectations.
Woven into this will be regular strength training and stretching that focuses on keeping me healthy for the trails.
Injury is tough, especially taking its toll on my mental health so i've been trying to check in with myself as much as possible. Recognising when my mood is starting to dip, my signs of frustration and acting upon these as early as possible. If nothing else, going through injury has improved my self-awareness no end.
My biggest reflection of all however, is a positive one.
At the root of it all, is the depth of my love for running.
I just love it, I love the freedom, I love the adventure, I love the community, I love the capability of my own body.
I don't need races or PB's, I just need to be putting one foot in front of the other, in beautiful places. I need fresh air in my lungs, sweat on my skin and big skies ahead.
I'm grateful for what injury has taught me about myself, although very much ready to be healthy again.
Hopefully, soon, I'll be back doing what I love with new perspective and a full heart. Until then... we rest.