the crutch of the matter


I follow lots of other running blogs, the authors range from world class athletes to fun-runners. I love how different they are. But a pattern that emerges between all of them is the tendency to post much less frequently, or cease altogether, in the wake of a major setback. It is frustrating as a reader, as it is the ‘human’ element in people’s blogs that I find most interesting. How they react to things not going so well. I promised myself I would not hide from blogging in the face of any misfortune.

Yet here I am, 2 weeks from last post, and the last thing I feel like doing is writing on my blog. It’s much easier to find the words when everything is going swimmingly.

I used to be big into Fantasy Football, took it really seriously and got quite obsessed with it. If you’re not a massive football fan, bear with me, I’m not either. But I learnt a lot from picking my virtual team every week.


the dreaded ‘red triangle’ above Paul Pogba

When a player on your team gets injured, a red triangle appears next to his name. Every player gets injured at some point. But this simple symbol misses a lot of important stuff. How hard they work in rehab, how quickly they recover, and most importantly, how long it takes to get their confidence back and return to form. Some players you need to sell straight away, others are worth keeping.

A good example was Frank Lampard, highest scoring midfielder in the Premier League. He would deal extremely well with setbacks, and hit the ground running as if nothing ever happened. On his first game back he would often bang in a goal and relegate his replacement straight to the bench.  Some players, for whatever reason (Jack Wilshere), take a long time to recover,  both in fitness and confidence, and often rush back too fast, leading to further injuries.

I believe that over and above your conditioning, the state of the injury, or the resources at your disposal; positive mindset and self-belief are the most important components to a fast and permanent return to fitness. The team around you cannot really help with that, it has to come from within.

The doctor at Bangor hospital projects a recovery time of 6 weeks for me, I am focused on making it happen sooner.  The red triangle is over my name and I want to be the guy you keep, rather than sell. I don’t dwell on the missed opportunity to run Snowdonia Marathon, even though I really want to run. I do lots of positive self-talk, and work sensibly within my pain threshold. I throw myself into other things, and appreciate that things could be worse. I quickly get off crutches, painkillers and antibiotics. I start (very) easy running, and build up to 11 minutes, feeling fine. I see the doctor again after 2 weeks and he says he has never seen someone recover so quickly from deep laceration.


at the start of Snowdonia Marathon, I’m a lot happier when it’s all over!

Then they take the staples out. All 27 of them (yes, I counted every one). I am set back massively. Can hardly walk, certainly can’t drive, am in more pain, and should probably return to crutches and pain killers. Am hurting my other leg by trying to walk on it funny. Doctor says it will be another 2 weeks. It is with this setback that my little world goes a little darker. From ‘this is easy’, to ‘this is exhausting’, I suddenly don’t want to see anyone, don’t want to talk or leave the house, and am experiencing self-doubt. Sense of perspective goes out the window. It’s not like this all the time. My wife, kids, and parents are all being amazing, but I am just embarrassed about being so useless.

I can now understand why all those other running bloggers don’t want to blog about it. Your self-worth is questioned, you don’t think anyone will be interested in anything you have to say. But I guess I would be interested, so maybe some of you will too.

23-29/10/2017 – REST


30/10/2017 AM PM
Doctor redresses wound
Tuesday REST 5 min run/walk
 help out with timing the track session
Wednesday REST 5 min
 leg feeling much better
Thursday REST 10 min
 leg feeling much, much better, swelling gone down a lot
Friday REST  11 min
 Staples removed. Nina walks up Tryfan mountain by herself!
Saturday REST REST
 Parents arrive and stay for the weekend. Leg really painful and locked up
 go to buy treadmill in Lake District. No improvement with leg

Nina climbing Tryfan. Her first solo mountain



17 thoughts on “the crutch of the matter

  1. it is a great piece
    cementing the cracks
    which crack
    us all
    in doubt
    but you nail that
    by nailing the cracking noise
    and articulating so well
    so, well you will be
    just in a bit
    of time
    stay steady

    Liked by 1 person

  2. True, people are reluctant to write about the dark days. In blogging, just like real life, I suppose that we remain polite and try not to burden our friends with our negative emotions or to risk straying into self pity. Although sometimes that does mean that you miss the opportunity to ‘connect’ by showing your vulnerability. Thanks for sharing yours! I hope that you do a Frank Lampard and get better soon. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Russell  Brave man for talking about your injury and your feelings !   TRY to keep a sense of perceptive about your situation – 10 days time and you will be on an upward curve.  Mark it in your calendar ?                                                                                                                              Regards.  Ken


  4. Great read. Keep the blog posts up, they helped to motivate me to get back into running after falling out of love with it for a while and I’m sure the rehab ones will help people going through their own injury crises. Good luck with the recovery.


  5. Hi, I’m very glad to hear the injury is on the mend. I was eagerly anticipating your attempt at retaining marathon Eryri and was gutted you got hurt. I was impressed by the attitude of racing in Italy so close to the marathon and great to read of that sliding downhill challenge for the team. Well done. Great blog. Regards Rhodri


  6. Sending healing vibes. And patience. Tons and tons of patience. It’s so difficult to be grounded. I am the ultimate impatient patient. But. The body achieves what the mind believes. You’ll get there. Of that I am certain. 🙂


  7. so Mr Bentley
    just to prove to you
    everything you uttered
    at start
    so true
    ran Newport, Sunday
    flying (by my standards)
    up to mile 17/18
    then left knee
    hobbled home
    but I remembered this place
    your blog
    your knee
    I did my right in Abingdon
    lack of knowing
    and sense
    rushing back too soon
    much more +ve
    and of course
    your telling
    so helpful
    so inspiring


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