Recovery by Cindy Ofili

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

I came across this amazing article on Spikes https://spikes.iaaf.org/post/cindy-ofili-recovery

I thought it was a well written and well thought out blog that deserves sharing. It's a story of perseverance after injury, patience and the will to keep on going because of our passion for the sport. It's a story of Recovery.


Going into the race, there was a voice in my head: Cindy, don’t do it.

The week before, I had run at a street meet in Manchester where I felt a twinge in my Achilles tendon, one I thought I could run through. I couldn’t.

That year, 2017, I had already missed six weeks' training with a hamstring injury and, with the world championships on British soil later that summer, I felt in a race against time to get there as a medal contender.


I was behind, I needed races and I didn’t care that I was feeling pain – I was going to run. It was early June, the adidas Boost Boston Games, and my career – and life – was about to be turned upside down.


The first half of the race was fine. Then at the fifth hurdle I felt a pop in my right Achilles. Other people said they heard the noise, too, but at the time I felt nothing – adrenaline took over.


I tried to keep running, but my foot was wobbling, like it was no longer connected to my leg, which in a way it wasn't. At the time it didn’t feel as bad as it was, but that night the pain became severe.


Two days later my doctor delivered grim news. “Yeah,” he said. “You need surgery.”

I had ruptured my Achilles tendon.


What the doctor said next, though, was what brought me to tears: “With this injury, a lot of people don’t get back to where they used to be, so be aware of that.”

I had surgery two weeks later in North Carolina, beginning a 12-month recovery process that came close to breaking me, but which, with the benefit of hindsight, has actually made me what I am today – a stronger person.


For the first few weeks I couldn’t walk, so had to get around on one of those scooters that you kneel on. It was miserable. Trying to get in the car was hell, so I just wouldn’t leave my house because I was so annoyed. You know what? I’m just going to lay in bed today.  

Two weeks later I was able to use crutches, and a few weeks after that I was in a protective boot for a month. Finally, after two months, I was able to walk again.

I did physical therapy every day, toe curls, all these little exercises that would teach my foot how to walk again. Physically I was in a bad place, but mentally it was even harder. When I couldn’t walk, that was all I wanted to do. I would bargain: I don’t even want to run, just let me walk. It was miserable.


It was five months before I could jog again, and that day at the end of 2017, even though I was limping, I was so grateful. When you’re injured, it’s easy to sink into a certain mindset: woe is me – why did this happen? But I learned that you can’t let yourself ever get that low, because the lows do get low in track.


I was devastated, unable to understand what was g