Coronavirus, an update from Active Cornwall

Michaela's Story

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In March 2000 I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury from a fall from a horse. I remember tacking up the horse and riding to a nearby forest in Surrey. I remember nothing after this point, I was found unconscious by walkers & I was taken to the Royal Surrey County Hospital and transferred to the Royal Cornwall Hospital a week later to be nearer my family. I was hospitalised for eight weeks but only recollect the last week of this period. The day before the accident I bought a brand new riding hat as the one I had been wearing did not fit properly. Even though I suffered extensive damage to my brain there is no question that this helmet saved my life!

I have no physical disability as a result from the fall, but the left side of my brain has been permanently damaged, and I now find it difficult to control my emotions. Most of the time I am always happy and friendly, but an emotional outburst can happen instantaneously without warning. I am nearly always on my own when this happens and it is always an upsetting experience.

Three years ago I had a wedding to go to and I wanted to wear my most favourite dress, but I needed to lose a few pounds to get into it so I decided to take up running! I bought a pair of running shoes and hit the coastal paths of my neighbourhood! I ran 4 miles every morning 6 days a week rain or shine. It was really hard work but I was determined not to give up and after 3 months I put on my dress and it fitted perfectly!

To my surprise I realised I had become quite addicted running. During my morning running sessions along the coast I would quite often see the same people walking their dogs and one day a man stopped me and told me he thought I should join a running club. I had never considered myself as a "runner" and I certainly did not think I was good enough to be part of a club! He said to me "Look at you in all your new running kit - You are an Athlete now!" I felt like the Queen and completely inspired to get better at it!

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I eventually plucked up the courage to join a running club - something I was apprehensive about as social situations were not a good environment for me to be in. I really enjoyed the three years I was a member but last year going to the club was starting to have a negative effect on my mood so I decided to leave. I am still running as much as I did before but I now run mostly on my own. I really enjoy running "with the pack" I find It quite exhilarating, so entering a few local trail races to pursue this has been very rewarding and of course great fun!

I decided to run in a 6 mile obstacle race, it was the best race I have ever run, and it changed my attitude towards competing. I learnt that running was not about being the fastest or the best - It was about camaraderie. This made it a very inclusive experience for me. Laughing, getting muddy, and having fun was a brilliant part of it! I have never physically pushed myself this much! Some of the obstacles were pretty gruelling and like nothing I had ever seen before! I was so happy with my performance as I was the 8th woman to finish out of 49 other females and I ranked 45th overall out of 105 competitors.

Running frees my mind from any negative thoughts; it helps me feel calmer and easier for me to control the effects of the injury which unfortunately will be with me forever. I really enjoy running on the coast path with all its changing beauty throughout the seasons. This is my running track - It is a quiet environment to be in and any people I do happen to meet on the way are always full of admiration towards me as fly past - It Is just so lovely and it always makes my day!


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