As obstacle racers, most of us have picked up the odd "war wound", mostly they take the form of grazed knees, bruised bums and maybe the occasional swollen ankle. Unfortunately for Katy Beard though, she had rather an unfortunate and freakish accident at Rat Race Dirty Weekend, that sounds more like something out of a slapstick cartoon caper. She's had a hard time in recovery, but is now raring for more! Bad luck Katy but well done for being so determined! Here's her story...
[Ed: Although there's nothing gory or bloody below, there are a couple of pictures of a very swollen leg, don't scroll down if you don't fancy seeing that]
Earlier this year a friend says to me “want to take my place at the Rat Race Dirty Weekend, I can’t do it anymore and there’s still time to change the details’. So I say “hell yeah!” taking part in the world’s longest assault course sounded good to me. I’ve not done much long distance running but I have done a few marathons in the past and have been attending British Military Fitness now for a year and feel my fitness levels are enough to get me through.
Me and my friends Andy and Marie were going for the “Full Mucker”. Marie had broken her leg the November before in Mens Health at Battersea Park [Ed: Wow, you’re an unlucky lot!] so we make a pact to stay together and watch out for each other.
The gun went off at the start line and we were off. I have to say I laughed nearly the whole time. The obstacle where all fun and challenging and we were loving it.
When we got to the 19 mile mark looked at the clock, we had been 4hrs 40mins, so we were all getting pretty excited to try and get our time under 5 hrs. We came to the final furlong and Marie and Andy are in front of me so I charged through the water obstacle and jumped on the edge of the inflatable. Someone bigger jumped on it at the same time and I went flying. I knew as I was falling it was bad and most people around stopped when they heard the snap. I was pretty sure I had broken it. Gutted was not the word I was so annoyed that I was so close but wasn’t going to finish.
The first aid and medics all helped me and I was put in the ambulance and carted off to the medical tent. The doctor in there was lovely and said that I needed to go to A and E and have x-rays. My experience in A and E was not good and I was told I had a small fracture on my Tibia. They sent me packing with a half cast and some pain killers. So back to the campsite I went, lucky for me a friend had a hotel room nearby or I would have never have got to the toilets in the dark over all the tent ropes!
On the Monday after the race I attended my local fracture clinic where I was x-rayed again and taken to see the head consultant. I was told to my utter dismay that I actually had 3 breaks, 2 in my tibia and 1 in my fibula and that I will need surgery to plate one side and pin the other. I was gutted as I had to be admitted to hospital that day and had to wait at least four days for the swelling to go down before the surgery could be done. So 11 days after the accident I went down for surgery. I was happy to get home after that to my three year old and six year olds boy and start the recovery.
Recovery seemed slow and I could have easily screamed (and think I did a few time) when everything seemed against me, like infections in the wound and not having a full cast on for nearly five weeks due to swelling. But eight weeks after the surgery they told me I could start walking on it again (Wahoo! throw those bloody crutches away).
Walking on it for the first time was very scary and also very painful. But I wanting to start training again and I was not going to give in. So I started by going to the pool and just walking around and doing a little bit of swimming. The physio told me I could start on a static bike so I started with just five minutes and built up to 30 in three weeks. By August I started to walk a lot better and, with the help of my physio and personal trainer, I started to lose the bad limp. I felt stronger all the time and six weeks after having the cast off I have started to go to BMF again and have joined a gym and have started doing resistance training. My running is slow and I’m not going to rush it but I’m hoping to get back to the advance sessions by Christmas.
Even after all this I’m determined to take part in the 2014 Dirty Weekend and finish the Full Mucker, although I may avoid any inflatables! Next year I hope to enjoy the after-party, rather than being high on pain killers and nearly asleep.