Since being diagnosed with Osteoporosis last month I have received amazing support from family,friends and fellow athletes alike,which has helped me tremendously to come to terms with something so unexpected.
Because of this I have decided that I will post weekly updates on my progress back to competition.If this helps others out there going through the same situation it will be worth sharing my good days and bad days here as I do everything that I need to do to get fit and healthy again.
Having already achieved the World 100km qualifying time last June in Belgium my target is to get back to full fitness and get selected on the Irish team.
So D-Day is November 21st in Doha,Qatar and the first steps on this road are....... walking!!
Week 1 of Rehab
After being referred to physiotherapist Richard Shortall by IOS (Irish osteoporosis society) he devised a route back to exercise for me which involved walking for at least 1 hour per day provided I was pain free in doing so. Weight bearing activities are a great way of strengthening bones and increasing bone density. Running long distances is a great way of keeping bones strong and healthy,but unfortunately mine are very weak and running these distances will only increase the risk of fractures to the hip and spine which are the worst affected areas. Skipping and star jumps were also part of my daily routine along with a gluten free diet.The first few days were pretty sore but it eventually eased and after around a week I was now walking 1-1.5 hours comfortably.
I continued this for a couple more weeks,and as the weeks progressed I became more anxious to get back running.
Now was the time to be sensible and be patient.It will take time and cannot be rushed. Thats what the doctors and physios kept saying.
I was out for a walk last Sunday week and I managed 10km which was somewhat of a milestone for me,but all I could think about was how pathetic that was! This time 12 months ago I was setting a national record for running 100km and now all I could manage was a pathetic 10 km walk. WTF !!!
I persisted with the walking til last weekend I asked the physiotherapist if I could try some running.
He agreed to allow me to introduce 10 minute segments of running during my walks,and provided I was achieving this pain free I could add 10 minutes per day.
Today I ran for 50 minutes and the only pain I experienced was embarassment from being so unfit !!
But I gotta start somewhere.At the moment I'm managing to run short distances slowly without any great pain,but at the same time I don't feel strong. I need to remind myself that structurally I am not as solid as I once was,and it will take time to rebuild.
The running/walking will continue for another few weeks when hopefully I will be able to get back to doing something which resembles 'training'.
So thats my story so far. I'm a long way from where I want to be but I'm on the right road.