The 2012 London Marathon is now just 20 days away and my training has been hampered by a back problem!
I had been progressing well and, despite experiencing the normal pain in my knees, I was happy with the miles that I was achieving each week.
But three weeks ago, just several miles into a planned 12-mile run, I began to get a lot of pain in my lower back. By seven miles the pain was unbearable and my movement limited so I had to stop my run. This was a hard situation to deal with. Throughout my marathon journey, I've had to deal with the usual aches and pains but this caused me to stop; something that hasn't happened before.
As part of my preparation for the marathon, I have had regular visits to a local Osteopath & Sport Injuries clinic to help with any little niggles and to enjoy the benefit of a sports massage. After the problem, I quickly booked an appointment to get my back checked out. The session identified a misalignment in my spine, which was putting pressure on the disc causing inflammation and pain.
After several sessions of treatment, the pain and discomfort eased and I was able to start on some exercises to strengthen my back. After two weeks, I was able to start some gentle cycling but was advised not to run.
This week my aim was to complete a special five-mile run around the Olympic Park which finished in the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. This was my first run in three weeks and, although I completed it, I still had some pain. I will now rest again and focus on strengthening my core in a bid to help me prepare for marathon race day.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be making the final arrangements for the race weekend, preparing all of my kit and getting my diet fine-tuned to maximize my energy on the day.
The Rheumatology team at Cannock Hospital have been fantastic and very supportive of my running. Two weeks prior to the race they will give me an injection into my knee. This sixth-monthly Synvisc One injection has been a revelation in my arthritis treatment since my last knee surgery in 2007.
In order to aid my recovery, I use compression recovery tights. I have now also begun to use Compressport calf and quad guards along with their compression socks during my training sessions.
These have really made an impact on how I am feeling when I am training. They have aided my muscle recovery post training; these will now be an essential part of my race kit.
This year's marathon is going to be my toughest and I fear the on-going struggle I am facing with my back could increase the challenge that lies ahead. The only thing that has kept me going is the thought of crossing the finish line for my sister.
Every single day she battles the debilitating fatigue that lupus places upon her so I use this knowledge to channel my focus when I'm running to help me to overcome my aches and pains. Although, this hasn't been easy this time around!