Saturday was a really special day for me – It marked almost 7 weeks since my operation and my first trip away with family and friends in a very long time.

Looking back at the last few weeks, I am not sure how I made it through whilst remaining sane! My life before was 100 miles an hour – Running, cross training, strength sessions, dog walking, mum duties and a full time job whilst also embarking on my dream job of becoming a qualified running coach.

All of this pretty much stopped over night and that was me for the next 6 weeks. STUCK!

Stuck with recovery and nothing left of my old life but I tried not to dwell too much and I am so happy to say that I am making it out of the other side and things are starting to get back to “normal”.

When I say “normal”, I have made myself a few promises that I fully intend to keep. Not all of them will come easy and not all of them will happen overnight but I am determined to hold on to many of the positives that this set back have shown me and make the come back bloody epic.

1) There are only so many hours in the day and I need to use them wisely.

The old me would compromise on sleep, rest and recovery. I was probably averaging 5 hours sleep a night and not fuelling myself for this hectic life. My days were planned within an inch of their life and there was absolutely zero “downtime”. I was busy and I was proud of it.

I was telling anyone that was vaguely interested just how busy and manic life was. It was simply my badge of honour, greeted by comments like “I just don’t know how you do it“, “crazy woman“, “superwoman” but in reality, it was far from sustainable.

So, the new me….. well I love to be busy so I am not about to sit around all day doing nothing but I have learned to appreciate that life is way more about balance. Me time, family time, rest and recovery time and making sure that each of these are treated with respect (and the next fancy dress party I am invited to, I am definitely going as “Mrs Incredible”!)

2) Train smart

Running is part of my core. It is me. It is something that gives me so much pleasure and motivation. I am driven to achieve the best I can be and nothing will change that.

But…. and there is a but.

I want to mix it up and learn that I can just enjoy runs and not constantly strive for the fastest pace or the best time. I want to spend more time with my Finch Coasters running club, run with friends, encourage and coach others, put an end to the Strava slavery and generally be more “rounded” is the best way I can describe it.

3) Nutrition

I have made a promise to focus a lot more on fuel and nutrition. After my operation I lost a lot of weight that quite honestly I didn’t have to lose.

Part of my brain put that down to the week of zero eating post op and my recovery but deep down I know there was that element of panic that if I wasn’t moving around then I needed to still think carefully about my food otherwise I would gain lots of weight. The reality is I needed to gain the weight back. I needed to fuel more to help my body recover and if I wanted to come back strong then I needed to get strong. As someone who has always been super careful with food, this isn’t one of the easy ones but the over riding motivator for me is that I want to be STRONG. I want to run well. I want to get back to where I was with my fitness and beyond if I am to achieve those goals. To do this I need to be STRONG and I am on it! I am going back to the core principles I learned from working with Becky at She is a legend and an all round guru on all things nutrition.

4) Friends are the absolute world

Everyone knows this right? But sometimes we need a gentle reminder and make sure we keep those connections strong. Life is busy. We have families, jobs, responsibilities and sometimes we are time poor. But one thing this time out has taught me is that I could not have done it without the kindness and support of my friends. I have made some valuable reconnections and kept in touch with my old faithfuls and that has honestly been a life line for me. I fully intend to carve out this time to keep those relationships at the top of my list!

The future

So this weekend was the start of the future. The first time I have managed to get away in a really long time – A family and friends glamping trip to Wiltshire. To say I was looking forward to it was an understatement and it was every bit as fantastic as I hoped it would be. Anyone who knows me well will confirm that I am definitely not a camper but the gorgeous place was such a find with everything you could wish for and more. It was relaxing, fun and full of laughs. Teenagers with no phones, friends chatting about anything and everything. BBQ’s, campfires, marshmallows and of course a little bit of gin. What more could you want to move on and claw back some normal life.

Saturday started with the return to my beloved parkrun and the first step in my come back to running. I have been following a very slow return programme – building up with run walking and advised by my coach every step of the way. As I had got to 20-30 mins of continuous running, I decided to give parkrun a go.

Tourism meant I searched out another missing letter in my parkrun alphabet challenge and we made our way to “M” for Melksham. I was a little nervous but the good kind of nerves and it was made super special by getting a shout out from the Run Director for my tourism and also for combining running with volunteering.

The run in itself was just glorious. I was running again, I was being cheered on and I was greeted by the many comments from the marshalls of “hurry up Vicki, we need you to get on with the barcode scanning!”. I actually felt on top of the world.

The small negative was that the sensible paced “comeback” Vicki went out of the window and of course I gave it 100%. Should I have done that? The answer is probably “No” but I said this was a journey right?

I finished in 8th place and 1st lady. Sadly, this probably gave me a bit too much confidence and pushed me on to run the next 2 days, too far and too fast. I have got away with it but I have reminded myself that this is a comeback and not to push too hard. It is so easy to get caught up with feeling good, pushing yourself, falling back into the old mindset and ending up back at square one. Dare I say it but the world of social media can be a curse and I know in the back of my mind that pure jealousy of the marathon training long runs I see flashing before my eyes definitely plays its part – But my time will come again – I just need to be patient.

So Berlin is deferred for me and I have my place for 2022.

Boston qualifying opens in November and I hope to still be able to use my December 2020 marathon time to qualify for April 2022.

So that’s the Spring and Autumn 2022 sorted!

I am sad to not be on the Championship start line for London 2021 but I keep reminding myself that I have been lucky enough to run London 4 times and there is another one in me ….just not this year and I am grateful to even be able to lace up and get back out there right now.

So what’s left this year?

Well….. I fully intend to work hard and only when the time is right and to approach my training sensibly (I know Jo, I can hear you. “Where is Vicki” – I don’t even recognise myself!)

Good things come to those who wait right?