If you have to sustain an injury, at the very least, you want a good story out of it.
Unfortunately, I managed to pick up a very nasty rib fracture, and look pretty uncool in the process.
I blame winter: there was a shitty virus going round and I picked up a hefty dose of it. I could not, for the life of me, shake my cough.
And so one night, I was having my nightly coughing fit, when I heard a pop. I like to think I’m not too much of a drama queen, but I screamed, it was hideous. I literally couldn’t move for a while – it was that painful. I generally avoid the doctor (more out of laziness than anything else) but found myself trotting (limping) down to the walk-in the next day.
A quick examination (cue more dramatic screaming) revealed a broken rib. There’s nothing you can do apart from take the prescription painkillers and rest.
Not ideal when you’re four weeks away from your first half marathon.
Even before the broken bone situation, the race was in doubt. The virus meant I hadn’t run for a good few weeks. My plan at that point was to try and get round the route as slowly as necessary. Once I’d been told to rest for four to six weeks, I knew I wouldn’t be entering at all.
I tried a very gentle jog a couple of days in, just to get the lay of the land as it were, but every step (I managed three of them) was a searing pain to my swollen side. I realised that rest means rest, and I rested. Time goes really slowly when you’re waiting for it to pass though: but as we reached that magic four week mark, I decided I’d give jogging another go.
After so much time off (no running at all for about eight weeks) I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do a single kilometre. I decided my best bet was to just set off and see how it went. As ever, the first km was the most painful, but once I had that under my belt, things seemed a bit easier. I’m never fast, but my hiatus made me extra slow, and I was racking up a good seven to eight minutes per km. Almost walking pace really. I ended up running for seven and a half kilometres – very slowly, but not a bad distance given how long I’d had off.
And how was the rib?
I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t too bad when I was running – but afterwards, it was painful. The day after was sore too. I also noticed I was favouring my good side while I was running, and crumpling in on the bad side. Probably wasn’t the end of the world for one relatively short run, but form like that could cause further injuries/discomfort down the road.
The conclusion? Well, boringly, there isn’t much of one really. With this kind of injury there isn’t much you can do. The doctors don’t want to keep x-raying you, and there’s no real treatment, so much of it depends on how you feel. I’m going to have a couple more runs this week and see how they go (assuming I’m not feeling any pain).
In the meantime, I’ve swallowed the cost of the race I had to cancel, and am signing up for another in June. And hoping no broken bones stop me from entering that one…