Eilish McColgan: How athlete's disastrous day inspired other runners

Eilish McColgan at the European Indoor Athletics Championships
Eilish McColgan competed at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow in March

We all have bad days, right?

Just ask Scottish distance runner Eilish McColgan.

The 28-year-old went on social media to unload about a day from hell - and it resonated with fans of the European Championship silver medallist, who have praised her for telling it like it is.

It's fair to say McColgan's post on Instagram and Twitter was as #nofilter as you can get. It's not all about the relentless workouts and strict dietary controls - sometimes there's fast food, and cake, and crying...

"I was tempted to just pretend last night didn't happen and continue on that running is all rainbows and unicorns, but then I thought 'why do athletes avoid their bad days?'" she started.

McColgan had been hoping to end her week with a World Championship-qualifying time in the 10,000m at Friday's Payton Jordan Invitational in California.

It didn't quite pan out like that.

"Five days before the race, I picked up a shin injury from absolutely nowhere. I was advised not to race but after five days of icing my leg like a lunatic it started to ease a little," she said.

"With my leg essentially gaffer-taped together by K tape and Walmart compression socks I felt it was manageable to race.

"During my warm up, I then took my period," she added, explaining how it makes her run "like a walrus".

"I took a heap of painkillers to stop my stomach from feeling like a horse was kicking me in the ovaries and set off in the race hoping for a minor miracle to get me round 25 laps."

But it never arrived. Five laps from the end, the Dundee runner had to quit the race. And things went downhill from there.

"I called my mum, cried a little, walked to McDonald's where they refused to serve us at the drive-thru because we didn't have a car, proceeded to walk to Safeway and bought a $8.99 Red Velvet cake for my tea before sitting up to 5am feeling sorry for myself and over-thinking every day of my life for the last 28 years."

So, the worst day ever, then? "This doesn't even rank in the top five of 2019 so far," McColgan added.

'This is going to help so many young female athletes who read your post'

Runners everywhere loved the post.

"Massively helpful to average runners like me. Bravo Eilish," wrote one.

"Thanks for sharing your human side. It's easy to think elite athletes train all day every day, don't eat cake and do run like lightning. It's good to be reminded that our sporting heroes have similar challenges to the rest of us," added another.

"What a breath of fresh air to read this. Insta only shows the highs so we think people are perfect. Well done for being so honest," said another.

And in a virtual world of polished workout videos among the slick ads for fitness apps, it may be that McColgan's cake-fuelled, tear-stained honesty is the thing that will get people over the finish line, if one fan is to be believed.

"This is going to help so many young female athletes who read your post," she wrote.

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