Climbing Your Own Everest

Posted on: 18 Feb 2015

And Now For Something Completely Different ...

I wanted to get a different view of this running thing – from someone who has a very different perspective of things at the moment – my special friend Kim. It is probably true to say that were it not for Mrs Fudge, I would not be a club runner – at most maybe a loan runner – maybe even a lapsed runner. And this lady has a special talent for talking me into undertaking ever more ridiculous challenges – yet at the moment she is (sadly) a non-running runner. There follows Kim's full unadulterated text. As editor, I was tempted to cut down some of the “pre-amble” and cut completely the bit at the end – but Kim insisted that that should stay in. So enough of the mutual admiration society and down to the blog entry :-)

“When Keith asked me to be ‘Guest Blogger’ of the week, I don’t think he realised what he had let himself in for! I’m the type of person who would say something in 50 words rather than 10, so be forewarned! My husband, Jim, would describe me as somebody who likes to fill the gaps in during conservations and never likes silences!

Kim'n'Jim - EHH Awards Dinner 2015, courtesy of Mel, courtesy of Nancy's unsteady hand!

“I also love being very active and running is one of my greatest passions, or should I say was, until the dreaded injury hit on November 9th 2014.

“I met Keith at our beloved club Egdon Heath Harriers a couple of years ago. In fact, I should have joined earlier, as I had worried for a few years prior about joining the club thinking that I would be a hindrance to everybody and not be able to run as fast. The reality was very different (although I still couldn’t run as fast!) and I felt very welcome from the beginning and made some great friends. Running with a group of people is so different to running on your own. I found each session at the club was different, challenging and more importantly fun. I even began to enjoy the runs in the middle of the winter with the wind howling and the rain pouring. The feeling of smugness after showering and tucking into my dinner was immense. The encouragement at the club was brilliant and I went on to compete in a few events, such as 10k’s and a Half Marathon.

“Jim and I also started the Weymouth Park Run a year ago and both became fiercely competitive (ed. you can say that again)! The Park Run just seemed like an extension of the club. Amazing volunteers who make the event possible, always encouraging and a pleasure to be part of every Saturday morning. You felt part of your community and we looked forward to the coffee afterwards with a great group of friends as much at the event itself. We would then wait in anticipation for our official time and see if we had achieved a personal best (PB). So, as you can see running and fitness had become a big part of my life.

“It was at the Park Run one November morning I felt an injury in my calf which prevented me from completing the 5k. As I limped to the finish I guessed it must be related to a previous Achilles injury I had sustained. However, the next day I moved a brush and thought “Ouch, that hurt”. I felt I had done something to my back. It was Remembrance Sunday and we continued with our plans to watch the service at the Cenataph in Weymouth. I felt a little uncomfortable and stiff, but thought it may pass, so just carried on.

“Monday morning I could hardly move and was in a great deal of pain. I managed to crawl out of my bed by “spider man” movements up the wall and tried to make my way to the bathroom. I couldn’t put my own clothes on and every movement caused a great deal of discomfort.

“It turned out following an MRI scan that I had a slipped disc. In reality I understand that the discs don’t actually slip! Another term is a prolapsed disc, which sounds a whole lot more serious! Whatever it was, it was very painful. To compound matters I then had referred pain and was introduced to sciatica. Believe me, you never want to meet sciatica! I have had 3 children and childbirth is 10% of the pain I was experiencing! (ed. - hmm – for an alternative view of this click here! )

“The consultant suggested I had an epidural, which was a steroid injection to help speed up my recovery. I had this three and a half weeks after the event and not before I had taken a trip to the A & E Department for pain relief. I was given codeine and I don’t think I have ever been more grateful. Although it didn’t take away the pain, it took the edge off, which enabled me to deal with it.

“After my epidural my symptoms eased quite considerably, but I still had sciatica in my left leg and a bit of a weakness in my ankle which was causing me to limp still. Running was out of the question.

“I have slowly improved and started swimming in January. Unfortunately, I have still been unable to run and am still experiencing sciatica…… so to fulfil my obligation to Keith, now you have read the background (I told you it would be a lot of words!) I can tell you about my week.

And on Saturday - Bucketeering at Morrisons, just before I spilt the money all over the floor!

Monday – I met an amazing Physio called Elaine Farquharson. She had come recommended to me by two people and in my desperation in wanting to run again soon, I made an appointment. Elaine told me that my position had shifted and that this was making my disc ‘grumpy and irritated’. It was still inflamed and needed to settle. Elaine taped my back to help me correct the shift and told me not to sit, drive or do any exercise until my follow up appointment on Friday. I was also told to lie flat on my tummy supported by a pillow under my hips whenever I felt pain. Elaine was so encouraging and positive. She tested my reflexes and power and said I was 4.5 out of 5, which cheered me up enormously. I was sent away with clear instructions, feeling more empowered and positive about healing. Elaine said she would tell me when I could run again Friday. What fun lay ahead of me for the next few days! I made an exception of not sitting for the toilet and putting on my shoes! Other than that I thought I was managing quite well. Actually, you don’t realise how much you sit until you can’t!

Tuesday – Cleared all appointments and tried to work at my computer standing up. Standing up is almost as bad as sitting, so I found myself quite often lying flat on my tummy to ease the symptoms. I was cheered with the thought that I had been awarded ‘Park Runner of the Month’ and was to receive a brand new pair of trainers, courtesy of Sweatshop. Surely that was a sign that I was going to run again! I ate all of my fish dinner that evening laid on the floor keeping the dogs and cats at bay!

Wednesday – Meltdown! I think frustration had crept in and I felt incredibly angry, which resulted in a good cry after I had slammed a few doors and shouted a bit! The tears then followed with a good dose of self-pity, until I remembered one particular person who made me get over myself!

“A family friend Mark Ball had undergone a major trauma 7 years ago when at the age of 45 had a ruptured artery to the underside of his pancreas. In the process he had a cardiac arrest and spent over a month in hospital. It was confirmed he had severe optic nerve damage, brain stem injury and damage to his liver, kidneys and lungs. He has gone on to set up his own massage therapy business and is a true inspiration. He told me recently to always try and look forward and eventually I would become stronger than before the incident. What an amazing, remarkable man.

Thursday – I’m getting used to lying (literally) around now and it almost seems normal to eat on the floor! The animals are quite interested in my new stance. It could be worse I guess, at least I’m not following them out to the garden yet to do my business! For the first time since November, I didn’t take anti-inflammatories. * Although there is still stiffness and a nagging ache in my leg, I actually managed a day without ibuprofen, what a day! * Had to resort to taking a couple at 3am!

Friday – Back to the Physio and guess what – my position seems to have nearly corrected itself! I seem to have more movement and am beginning to believe that I am going to run again! Elaine, my amazing Physio re-taped my back and has given me core exercises to follow. I didn’t know I had multifiudus muscles in my back. Elaine thought I would be back running again in around 4 weeks, albeit as a beginner. I was elated.

What have I learnt along the way

  • Patience, I’m not great with that one!
  • Making time, I don’t always have to have a to-do list!
  • Have faith!
  • Running for sheer joy, rather than for a specific time or personal best. You only realise how incredible running is when you can’t do it.


“Elaine said something today which was quite incredible. She said that I was at Base Camp and I wanted to reach Everest. Don’t miss the climb there, whilst you’re trying to get there, were her wise words, or you will miss out on all the joys on your journey.

“What clever advice. The support from my family and friends on my climb has been very special and something I have been very blessed with.

The Embarrasing Bit

"And on a final note….. a few words about Keith – I’ve threatened him not to take this bit out!

Once again, another inspirational person. I don’t think I ever see Keith without a smile on his face. Always enthusiastic and up for a challenge. Just like the Weymouth Challenge! If I’m not able to join you this year Keith, at least you can help me around next year when you do the Full Challenge (ed. – NO WAY)!

“Keith has raised a lot of money for CLIC through events he has organised and always likes to set himself new goals. He has been particularly supportive whilst I’ve been recovering, texting me and giving me good advice. Some I’ve not wanted to hear about postponing races, but all for my own benefit!

“I wish Keith lots of success in his continued fund raising this year and his many events he is taking part in. I know he will be amazing.

“I can’t wait to get running with you again soon Keith. Kim x

(ed. -Thanks Kim – the feeling is of course mutual – after all why should I suffer the Grizzly alone ;-) )

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