My post on why and how my toenails were removed reached a wide audience, becoming the 7th most-read post of 2021, shortly after it was published! So it’s only fair that I give you an update. Around Day 10 post-surgery, I stopped wearing bandages and the healing process continued without any problems. Four weeks post-surgery, I visited Dr Mohammed, who was happy with the progress. He removed some of the scabs that had formed, leaving two very naked toes!
I returned to running and was overjoyed that there was no soreness or discomfort with my toes. In fact, I have so enjoyed running without toenails that a part of me wouldn’t mind if they never grew back. But Dr Mohammed has already spotted both nails emerging. What has been difficult to deal with is my dramatic fall from fitness. Yet again, I made the critical error of not doing other activities to keep fit whilst I couldn’t run and I’ve paid for it dearly over the last 3 weeks.
Running My Way Back To Fitness
My first run was on Monday 8th November and two things hit me, first – waking up before 5am suddenly felt very foreign and this is coming from someone who used to do this on a regular basis! The second was just how much fitness I had lost in a month. I was shocked. I knew some fitness would go. But this felt awful. My legs struggled to move and I battled to find a good breathing rhythm. My aim was 5km but I called it a day at 4.85km with an unconvincing smile.
“A short run is better than no run” – Unknown.
The stats told a scary story – my average heart rate was 164bpm with a max of 179. My body felt battered the following day like I’d done 25km instead of 5. So demoralised was I, that I didn’t run again for a week. I’m not sure what I thought another week off would achieve. My run the following Monday felt pretty much the same. But this time I stuck with it, managing three runs that week, my longest – 7km. My runs didn’t improve but I did my best to remain positive.
“I run . . . I’m slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, but I run” – Unknown
When the third Monday came around, I couldn’t muster the courage to run that morning. But throughout the day I felt uncomfortable with this decision. I knew if I didn’t run that day, I would regret it. In a way, this thought comforted me. I felt my old determination creeping in. That hot afternoon, I hit the road – there was one km where I was hopeful for a good run, but that quickly disappeared and by the end of the run, I felt defeated and disappointed. Really disappointed.
Bringing myself to run again on Thursday morning was tough. But the weather was on my side. It was a beautiful cloudy and crisp day. I wore bright pink tights and a top that read, “Killin’ it even on my worst day!” Channelling this mantra, I crossed the road and started running.
“The voice in your head that says that you can’t do this is a liar” – Unknown
It wasn’t fast but for the first time in almost 3 weeks, I felt a good run was just around the corner. My watch still told me I was overreaching but I was too happy to care at that point. I wasn’t there yet but I felt I was close and that my consistency would pay off.
“There is magic in misery. Just ask any runner” – Dean Karnazes
On Saturday, I did a 7.5km run. It was another cool morning. At 07:38min/km, my average pace felt good. I didn’t feel like the kilometres were dragging. In fact, I was surprised when I reached the half-way point and had to turn back. I ran tall, breathing in and out comfortably. Around 5km, I took in the fresh air and with a deep sigh I said out loud, “Here it is”. The run I’ve been waiting for. And finally my Garmin was happy, declaring I’d been productive! Yes!
“You have to run all the bad runs to get to the good one!” – The Gaborone Runner.
What’s On The Table For Next Month?
I start training for the Addo Ultra-Trail (remember the one I trained for before but never ran!) which is in 16 weeks’ time. I’m excited to be training again and even though I’m not at my fittest right now, I’m going to focus on consistency especially as we enter the holiday season. I know I said I wouldn’t run every street for a while , but I find it so fun and motivational so I couldn’t resist! This time I’m tackling two in one go (only because I don’t know where their individual boundaries are) – Block 3 (Industrial and Residential) and Broadhurst Industrial.
I might also be travelling for work in December and of course, I’m planning to run and blog about my experience! All this PLUS preparing for Christmas! But what’s that famous quote?
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up” – Dean Karnazes
Have you ever struggled to get back to fitness after a break? What’s your favourite motivational quote or mantra when running? What are your plans for December?