Archive for Road Running

Road to Running Injury Recovery

The road to running injury recovery is fraught with obstacles, both physical and mental – both of which have to be overcome if you want to firstly, make a proper and full recovery and secondly because you stand the chance of getting fat and living a slovenly life on the couch recounting your ‘golden years’ back in the day when you could run more than 10 steps and not have to stop to recover your breath.

My recovery was painfully slow.  After coming out of my moon boot (which does NOTHING for the self-confidence levels) I had a pretty rigid ankle brace which I had to wear whenever I was going to do a large amount of walking.  At this point my ankle was still swelling badly every afternoon and I had to spend half the day icing and elevating the offending limb in order to make sure I didn’t slow the healing process down.

I also had some exercises to do from the physio which at least felt like I was doing something constructive but was barely enough to get my heart-rate up.  When my physio told me it was time to start running again I could have kissed him, but before I could conjure up images of me spending an hour on the road really working up a good sweat, he told me I was allowed running 2km, 3 times a week and NO MORE.   Have you ever tried running 2km when you are used to running 10km every day?  It’s like giving someone an ice-cream but taking it away just as they have unwrapped it.

In my second week of running I could increase it by 500m, but still resting for a day between every run – that’s 500 metres, can you feel my frustration??  Unfortunately my ankle didn’t like the increase in mileage so I had to stick to 3.5km for a while to wait for my ankle to acclimatize again to being run on.

Now, in the very beginning my physio who has obviously worked with ultra distance runners before, asked me if there was a specific race which I had my eye on doing, and wanted to be fit and healthy for – of course the first thing I could think of was the African X which my mom had signed us up for, like 12 months before, which I was working towards – the thought of having to tell my mom to find another partner didn’t appeal to me, so I chose that above the Two Oceans and above all the other races in between.  The physio said it would be hit-and-miss and he wouldn’t guarantee that I’d be ready, I left thinking “I don’t think he knows how stubborn I am, and he’s never seen my mom angry”.

And so, I with the African X in mind, I hobbled down the road to running injury recovery…


Running Injuries

It’s been ages!!  I know, but I have a good excuse…

So the last time I wrote it was just before a marathon I’d been training for to use as my qualifier for the Comrades and Two Oceans.  The afternoon before the marathon I went to buy some Gu’s for the race and fell, ending up in this:

Running Injuries

Some seriously wrenched ligaments and tendons later I was in a moon boot with crutches, visiting my Physio every week.  Now the thing with running injuries (although I in no way got this from running) is that there is usually a catch-22 situation where all you want to do is get back onto the road, but that action alone will take you back to square 1 which in simple terms means REST.  All you runners out there know that term REST – it’s like swear-word which would result in your mouth being washed out with soap if your mother heard you utter it.

My physio was adamant that if I didn’t REST and do the rehab needed for this type of injury, it would be a recurring thing, so I decided to take his advice and embody that word in every way possible.  Turns out RESTing is hard to get into but once there it’s double as hard to get out, or that was my experience anyway.

So that’s the long and the short of it, I haven’t been writing because I’ve had nothing much to write about with all this RESTing I’ve been doing, but things have started up again, which is why I’m back on the wagon 🙂

Iron Man vs Ultra Runner

I have a few friends who do Iron Man – given what I went through on the one and only triathlon I did, I can safely say that I will never do it but I have seen that there is some rivalry between the people who do Iron Man and the people who do Ultra distance marathons.  Modern Athlete had this video they found on YouTube in their magazine this week depicting a conversation between the two disciplines – I couldn’t stop laughing!!

This video is a bit crass but very, very funny…

Marathon Checklist

I have quite a few friends running their first marathon this year which is really motivating and exciting for me to be part of.  A couple of questions have come up in terms of what to remember to take, especially if the marathon is not in your home town, so I decided to make a list for beginner marathon runners.  Feel free to add to it if you feel I’ve forgotten anything…



Make sure your laces are tied properly and that if it is a Champion Chip or timed race, that your timing chip is on – you will be surprised to know how many people forget these little things.

Running Shirt and pants/skirt/shorts

Secure your number onto your shirt the night before to make sure you don’t forget.  You should have done some long runs in your gear before marathon day to check for any chafe spots and comfy fits.

Hat and/sunglasses

I always run in a hat, it helps when there is wind and will stop it from raining right in your face if the weather decides to be miserable.


Make sure you smear a thick layer of Vaseline wherever your clothes might chafe you and on your feet in places you usually get blisters.

During the Race

GU or Energy Pack

I usually take one GU every 10km on a long run.  You will need to figure out what works for you.  I almost never take all of them because by the end they start making me feel a little ill but I do know some people who take them every 45 minutes.

Lip-ice (Lip balm)

I get very dry lips while I run so I like having lip-ice on hand.  This also doubles up as  lube if I start feeling my clothes snacking on my skin.


I usually take my iPod incase I can’t find anyone to run with or if I’m having a bad day, it just helps to motivate me and drowns out all the unhelpful noises in my head.


Ok this is something which some people frown upon (all non-runners) but if something comes up which doesn’t feel serious then a painkiller usually just dulls it until the end, like ITB or sore shoulders.  You have to drink lots of water if you take any, so keep that in mind.  I haven’t taken a painkiller in ages but I do take them with me just in case.


Recovery Drink

I have written about recovery drinks before.  At the moment I’m using Hammer’s Recoverite but if I don’t have that then it’s a strawberry/chocolate milkshake.  I have also been known to have a beer but I’d recommend having a proper recovery drink or Rehydrate within an hour of finishing.


This is for any chafe you may have gotten and only realised you had once you got in the shower – you’ll know what I’m talking about if you have every had stealth chafe before.


There are usually massage tables with physio’s at the end of the bigger marathons so try and get in to one of those when you are done – the difference it makes is amazing.  You also want to try and get a rub-down before your legs start getting stiff otherwise it’s too sore.  I usually book a massage for a couple of days after a long race just to loosen the muscles again and to make sure all the lactic acid has drained so that my legs don’t feel heavy.

Running Chafe…

I can actually hear all of you who suffer, cringing just at the mention of this 5 letter word…  Yip I’m sure there is not 1 of you runners out there who dont’ know the discomfort that chafe causes, my own experiences being few and far between but last years Comrades did add a new level of discomfort to my day.

This article on the Runners World website is fantastic and seems to really say all there is about it – and more (if this is possible).

Check it out and let me know what your remedies are…

I’m a Runner because…

  • my bum didn’t come with the ability to be accessorised with a saddle
  • after a run I’m left with a feeling of accomplishment, with swimming all I’m left with are raccoon eyes (def:  that is where your mascara has smudged from the fog in the goggles, resulting in a black ring around the eyes) and cycling, well you can read about that here
  • it is social and you get to chat with all sorts of people while you are chugging along – swimming is without a doubt a sport for loners and unless you have bionic hearing and can keep up with the pack,  so is cycling.
  • if I’m tired I can just stop, if I try that with swimming death by drowning is the only outcome…
  • I saw immediate progress which is what kept me going way back in the beginning of my running career 2 years ago, I’ve been swimming for a month now and the progress I see is negligible – barely even enough to comment on AND that is with swimming lessons!!

Any contributions are welcome!!

raccoonPhoto Credit

Zola Budd’s Running Story

A blog reader sent me this story which was in the US Runners World about South African born Zola Budd, known for her world record in the ladies 5,000 metre and some kind of controversy around the 1984 Olympic Games.   If you are anything like me, I know the name and and I know she is famous for doing all her running barefoot, BUT I never really knew the full story of her career and then her disappearance from the running world.

This story is extremely well written, I’d encourage anyone with a bit of time to go throug it!


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First Race of 2009

I’m back – feeling refreshed and quite motivated for the next 5 months of running in preparation for the Comrades Marathon in May!!

I’m not going to lie, I was probably a little optimistic in thinking I could do a 15km run without having done much over the last 2 months.  Occupying my newfound free time with surfing and working on my alcohol tolerance through practice, I suspected that my fitness might have been effected which is probably what convinced me last minute to do this run – as an experiment or benchmark to see where I was starting from.

Jo (one of my running partners from last year) was the instigator of this run and so we set off for Big Bay as the sun was rising on Saturday morning, after struggling out of bed at 4:30am wondering why I’d had that last gin on the beach the night before…

The field was pretty small considering the proximity of this race to New Year’s Day hangovers and the subsequent festivities.  I had a slow start and lost Jo along the way while she was considering the pro’s to never drinking again – ever!

Coming in at 1:24 I didn’t think I had done too badly considering I did it without music (my ipod was stolen with my bag a few weeks ago) and a minimal amount of training.

All in all it was great being back in “racing mode” again.  The energy around races and seeing so many familiar faces again has added to my motivation for the coming weeks.  I’m in the process of compiling a list of races I’m aiming to participate in over the next couple of months, so keep yourselves posted…

First Race for 2009

First Race for 2009


Blisters, I started feeling the first blister form on by little toe around 23km’s, the others I didn’t really feel although, I had a sneaky suspicion there would be more than just the one…

While I was waiting for my mom at our club tent at the finish, I decided to take my shoes off and assess the damage, I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw what my feet looked like…

The underside of both my little toes, both big toes, between my toes and on the side of my foot were blisters that I felt needed their own blog post…

I thought I’d attach a picture I took AFTER I’d stuck a needle into the blisters to relieve some of the pressure, although I still think I got off pretty lightly as far as injuries go – my mom is losing 8 of her 10 toenails…


Saturday Morning

I went running on Saturday morning on Chapman’s Peak with my mom.  WOW, I wish I had done this sooner.  What an amazing run!!With my mom visiting for the week I’ve been showing off all the rad routes I get to run around Cape Town – making her sufficiently jealous – but this I think put the cherry on the top…

We parked in Hout Bay at around 7am with the road still in the shadow of the mountain.  It was cool and windless with the sea glassy and clear.  There were a few other runners out and some cyclists (this always adds to the view) but hardly any cars yet, so no spluttering on exhaust fumes.

We ran to Noordhoek and back and it took us around 2 hours.  The only things you need to watch out for are the reflectors in the road when gazing at the scenery!!

I’ll be out there again next weekend for sure!!