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…
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:
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 🙂
On the radio yesterday they had people calling in to discuss the new Power Balance Bracelet that seems to be the new fad in running at the moment. I was told I HAVE to have one because it increases flexibility and balance – of course I was immediately sceptical because in my mind, if 5 years of yoga has brought me to my current state of balance and flexibility, then why the hell have I been going through all of that effort, when I could just wear a bangle… BUT being open minded I decided to give it a try, I didn’t even need to buy one because my mom had a spare so I wore it on the trail run we did a few weekends back.
Now I know the power of the mind – I’ve written about it enough here – so I didn’t want to ‘create’ anything which wasn’t there, but I did notice that I tripped a lot more than usual and almost hit the deck with my face – but luckily I had the bracelet 🙂 I also had a chat about the bracelet to a fellow runner afterwards and he said that it had made him feel ill, so he threw it away – all of this made me start questioning this even more.
This is what the website had to say, along with a long list of testimonials from sports men and women:
“Power Balance is based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.”
Tom O’Dowd who owns the Australian rights to the bracelet had this to say:
“In the Mylar hologram is a frequency and the frequency as soon as it comes into contact with the electrical field of your body basically works with your body’s electrical field that gives you a feeling of wellness”
I want to know what YOU have to say!! Do you have one? Do you think it works?? What is your opinion on things like this?? You can comment here or send me emails (firstname.lastname@example.org) or say something on Twitter (@Winterboer) – at the end of the day I just don’t know if I want to be messing around with stuff like this and it would be interesting to see what other people think.
In 2 weeks time (13 days to be exact), I have my first marathon in what feels like AGES… The last marathon I ran was last years Comrades, just to put a few things into perspective 🙂 I have been SO slack this year with races – this is not to say that I haven’t been training, of course I have but I just haven’t tested out how well that training has been going…
So the Peninsula marathon is on February 21st. I was going to use the marathon to try and better my Comrades qualifying time as well as to qualify for the Two Oceans, but since I haven’t taken part as consistantly in races as what I have in previous years – I’m starting to feel the ever annoying running nerves which seem to burrow themselves right into my stomach and make it lurch every time I think about running a marathon again.
Let me know if you are doing the Peninsula too, it would be great to say hi!!
On Saturday, October 3rd I will be taking part in my first triathlon in Clanwilliam. I’m having sleepless nights about it already!! I’m not nervous about the run or the cycle because if I’m tired or I suddenly feel like I don’t want to keep going – I can just pull off on the side of the road and wait for someone to come and fetch me, but with swimming it is another story all together…
As mentioned in my previous post about swimming, I think I made it pretty clear that it isn’t one of my talents especially after a practice swim last weekend left me exhausted and barely able to crawl out of the pond I’d just come from – after only swimming 3o0 metres… I’m sure you can understand why I’m battling with anxiety!
The distances are relatively short which apparently make this event “fun” and “for the whole family” – I’d hate to be the one to put a damper on things and insist on an age restriction when they pull my half-drowned body out of the water, cursing my sinking body and Nicola for making me say I’d do the Half Ironman…
The triathlon is made up of an 800 metre swim, followed by a 20km cycle and a 5km run which can be done individually or in teams. There are other events too so check out the website to see if you (or your kids) would like to take part.
Let me know if you will be there too…
The Clanwilliam Dam
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!
Way back in 2008 when I had some knee trouble I visited an orthopaedic surgeon to make sure I wasn’t causing any damage in my training for the Comrades, one of the things he told me while he was examining me was that I should incorporate some barefoot training into my running schedule.
His reasons were quite valid I thought – when you run with shoes on you strike the ground with your heel first, when you run barefoot you strike with the ball of your foot first which causes less tension on your knees.
Of course the barefoot training never materialised, actually coming to think of it neither did the schedule, but last week a runner passed me on the road while I was driving home and he had these on.
I have seen these (called Vibram 5-Fingers) before and mentioned them on a few of the running forums I go on from time to time, but I’d never actually seen someone using them. The theory behind these shoes follows what my knee guy had to say about training barefoot – which due to obvious reasons isn’t really the way forward when you are looking at boiling hot, tarred roads with glass, stones and various other foot piercing materials littering your way.
I’m curious to see how these rather peculiar ‘shoes’ perform… Have any of you out there used them??
How many of you have done spinning before?
The concept of cycling, balls-to-the-wall and not actually covering any ground has always seemed a bit bizarre to me, but I put this aside last night and joined Nicola for my first spinning class. “Its only 45 minutes” said Nicola which sounded a lot better than the 90 minute class which I thought was our only option.
I felt like such a beginner when I walked in and had to be talked through the bike set-up by Nicola (it is quite technical), then I settled in not really knowing what to expect from the super ripped, all muscle guy who was our instructor.
The first 10 minutes was a bit of a warm-up which had me a little worried about how the rest of the class was going to progress considering I was already battling, although I had at that stage made a mental note NOT to wear the shorts I was wearing to cycle in, ever – I’m not even going to go into my views on camel toe.
Before we ‘really got going’ I was picked on by the instructor because he said I looked funny on my bike and needed to change the setting – a small dent in my already fragile ego.
And then… Well lets just say that half the time I was totally lost with increasing and decreasing the intensity, trying to work out what 70% of my max was (with nothing to compare it to) and there was something about cadence – whatever that is – that I just ignored because I was concentrating on not flinging sweat onto the person next to me or melting into a little puddle on the floor (which was already there and belonged to me) from exhaustion.
And yes, the class was only 45min – with a 10 minute warm up and a 5 minute cool down…
I came across a study the other day that suggested chocolate milk is just as good as , if not better than the sports recovery drinks us runners consume after a race or hard training, to help repair our damaged muscles.
I don’t know about you guys but I really battle to get the Peptopro (the make of recovery drink I use and is apparently a pre-digested milk protein – although tastes nothing like milk) down my throat, and keep it down, especially after a long race when you aren’ t feeling your best as it is – so as you can imagine, this article sparked my interest.
According to a team at the James Madison University in Virginia, USA – they found that muscle damage was lower in football players who were given chocolate milk pre and post intensive training, compared with their team mates who just drank commercial products.
If this is true then I’m definately going to consider making the change from bile tasting post-race drinks to yummy chocolate milk!!
Dear Running Shoes
I’m writing this letter in the hope that you will forgive me for trading you in last night for the mountain bike, but I thought that if I am going to take part in the Cape Argus next year, I have to make a start somewhere. To be fair I haven’t even looked in the direction of a bicycle in all the time I’ve known you, so if that offers some comfort then I’m glad.
I also need to tell you that you don’t need to worry about being replaced – I officially hate that bicycle!! It is not because I am physically lacking the ability, it is that anatomically I just don’t think I was made to sit on a saddle. Running shoes, I can have you on my feet for hours at a time and you still fit me comfortably and never hurt me – I was barely out the gate when I realised that the ride we were taking was going to be a strain, and we only went 14km’s!!
When we got back running shoes, and I saw you standing there looking all alone and unworn, even in my pain – I felt just horrid for thinking I could trade you in… I’m not asking for your sympathy, I just want to try and explain and hopefully you will understand. Do you know how hard it is making people believe that you are walking like John Wayne because of a saddle…?
My poor bottom is battered and bruised (it is much more difficult trying to survey the damage down there than on my feet), which I know you would never do to me dear shoes – I really hope that you can find it in your sole to forgive me…
Yours forever in comfort
The Reluctant Runner