Fixing my feet

I had my feet checked out by an orthotist last week. I arrived at his office with a pair of my old and current running shoes and a history of how the stabbing pain all began. He questioned me about my running history, scribbling notes on a fresh A4 piece of paper. “When did the plantar fasciitis begin? How long have you run for? How old are your shoes? How often do you stretch?”

You can clearly see that the older model on the left looks very different to the one on the right.

When I showed him the two pairs of running shoes, it was quite obvious I had not noticed how completely different the same shoe was. I have been an Asics fan since I started running. I have bought the Gel Nimbus shoe year after year. But when we studied the older model with the newer one, they looked like two different shoes! WTH?

The image on the left is how normal feet run. My feet, shown in the image on the right, is where you can see how my left foot hardly touches the ground and how all the weight is sitting in my right heel (where all the pain is).

Image on the left is how a normal person’s feet should stand. My feet, on the right, shows how much weight I am distributing on the balls of my feet. And yes, the right heel taking strain.

He made me run up and down a computerized mat to assess my feet. Again, quite revealing. The plantar fasciitis pain runs into my right foot, but it’s mainly caused by the lazy left leg.

The conclusion: There’s nothing wrong with my feet. The problem lies in the weakness of my hamstrings, glutes and calves. My current running shoes are too big for me and my feet slip up and down inside the front of the shoe. Ironically, I’ve always bought a men’s shoe for the wider fit. Don’t ask me why I’ve never considered other brands before? The shoes also cause me to over-pronate. I’m also tying my shoe laces incorrectly.

He wrote out a few instructions for me to take back to my bio, Mari. I need to focus on key strength exercises but quite honestly, I need to be disciplined to do the exercises if I have any hope of recovering.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080s

I must admit, I walked out of his offices relieved that I knew what was wrong. I was gutted to miss the Pick ‘n Pay half marathon this weekend but I did buy new shoes! Say hello to my New Balance babies! How did I choose these running shoes? Blog post to follow this week.

5 things I’ve noticed about 5km fun runs

I’ve run shorter distances this year. I started running the odd 5km races here and there. First it was the RAC 5km last year November, followed by my first park run in January and just recently, I ran my 4th Dischem 5km Dash. Yesterday I ran the Bestmed TUKS 5km fun run. It’s funny because I’ve started to noticed something quite unique about these races. A 5km race is just not the same as a 10km race or even a half marathon.

Here’s what I’ve observed:

  1. They don’t call it a fun run for nothing. No one is stressed out before the race. People are laughing, chatting, eating sandwiches. There isn’t that heavy smell of deep heat in the air. The vibe is relaxed and excited. Runners are out to have fun!

    Two Oceans 2013 fun run

    Two Oceans 2013 fun run

  2. You’re surrounded at the starting line by a mixed batch of runners, run/walkers and walkers. The age groups vary from toddlers to grannies. There are families, lovers holding hands, prams and even dogs on leashes. If you’re hoping to get a good start or a PB, make sure you line up close to the front.
  3. If you decide to wear your official club running shirt, you will stand out like a sore thumb. Ha ha! I certainly did. I was kitted out, even had my finger ready on my Garmin watch waiting for the gun to go off. I shot off and got stuck behind everyone in the point mentioned above. Rookie mistake. In fact 5km runners/walkers are already wearing their goodey bag t-shirts that should only really be worn after the race. Eeek! Talk about bad luck! Meh, they don’t care.
  4. They have no concept of the #runclean movement and throw their water sachets everywhere! The pro’s and other athletes do too. But fun runners are oblivious. It’s not uncommon for a water stop to take as long as you want either.
  5. The race organizers seem to think that no one cares if the 5km distance is suddenly 4.4km, as was the case with the Bestmed TUKS run. I mean, it’s not a serious run after all, right?

It’s crazy but I’ve started to love running 5km races. And somehow I blame it all on the reasons listed above. I love the freedom. I love that no one is too competitive. I love not stressing about half marathon distance cutoffs and while I struggle with plantar fasciitis, my feet are getting time to rest and recover.

Shorter distance races makes you love everything about why you started running in the first place. Because while I’m surrounded by the grannies, the dogs, the prams, the lovers holding hands, there are runners in those races who go on to run 10km, 21km and even ultra distance races. Because let’s face it, we all started out in that one fun run race. It’s where the passion was ignited and the bug bit!

The start of the 2017 Dischem Rehidrat Dash

(Images: Google)

The clouds that follow me

Our camera club theme for the month of January was clouds. What an awesome theme, right? Who hasn’t taken that shot of the breathtaking sunset after work or the majestic sun rise on an early morning drive to work? That perfect pic just before the storm or the incredible view of the clouds over a calm sea.

It was hard to decide which of my photos to submit for camera club. Everyone’s submissions were incredible and it was really tough to choose our top 3 photos.

Since then, not a day goes by without me looking up to the sky to notice the clouds. Not once have I been disappointed either. Sometimes I gasp at the beauty. Other days, they speak to me and match my mood of the day, be it stressed, anxious or happy. They’re there. Bold, loud or calming. 

Here’s a selection of some of my favourite ones.

Make sure you look up and marvel at the clouds that follow you around. You won’t regret it. Tag me in some of those pics you share on social media!

My right foot aches

Plantar fasciitis. It sounds like some sort of fungal disease. An itch of some sort. When I say the words, people give me the look as if I’ve sworn at them. But it’s simply a foot injury which sends shivers up the spines of most runners.

My foot is sore. Again. I had plantar a few years back. It sent me into recovery and rehab for a good few months. No running, no walking, just rest. I recovered but here we are again. I’m miserable and irritated.cooling feet in the pool

I’ve Googled the hell out of this one, as one does. I know which exercises to do – the foot stretches, the calf stretching and the rolling of a ball under my foot. But in the back of my mind, I remember how long it took to get rid of plantar last time and I’m gutted.

The last stretch of Bobbies.

Today’s Bobbies 10km race wasn’t pleasant. My foot was sore from the minute I put my running shoe on. I thought the pain would go away, as it has for the last couple of weeks, even through Johnson Crane 10km, but not today. I struggled while the dude carrying a tog bag on his back passed me, I ached as the two speed walkers marched right passed me and I nearly passed out up that last dreadful hill as the 80-minute bus sang it’s way to the finish.

I have the Pick ‘n Pay half marathon next weekend. That’s twice the distance I ran today. It’a going to be a very long week ahead deciding what to do. Any advice? Send it my way!

Are we really sharing? Like sharing sharing?

In a world where sharing and even oversharing has become the norm, are we really sure that what we’re sharing is the real deal?

I sat in a workshop where the ideal scenario for our new corporate Intranet was being painted. Employees would collaborate with one another. They’d log in to various platforms and ask complex questions. Their colleagues from across the continent would reach out and solve these problems in unison. We’d become this super-savvy, agile organization and the answers would be available at our fingertips as long as we’d remember to tag and label stuff.

Although it sounds easy, it isn’t. It’s actually damn hard. And with the increase in the most amazing technology available to us, and the speed at which development and upgrades take place, you’d wonder why people in the workplace are still stuck on using email, still including a fax number on their business cards and still talking about disruption technologies which are now old news, to be honest. Stop showing us that Uber slide!

The suggested theory is that the more you share and engage online, the more intelligent these social platforms become in knowing who you are and are therefore able to offer up better and more relevant content to you. I find this quite funny that Facebook “knows” me.

Yeah, I follow all the running groups, a couple of dog shelters here and there. But if Facebook thinks it truly knows me, it would have realized that writing has been on my mind for ages now. Writing a book, writing blogs, writing anything! And the fact that my organization is paying for me to do a business writing course next week is the best thing to happen to me in a long time! That the fire inside me has been lit and the thought of where this could take me is all consuming. sharing on social

Did I share this feeling at work? Did I jump out of my seat with joy when my boss approved the course. Meh. I carried on reading emails. Because as much as we think we share our lives with people… we really don’t. We share even less of ourselves at work. We put on that mask and smile and get on with what needs to be done. Like I said, sharing and collaboration is hard. Even for an oversharing blogger like me.

Here’s what I’m starting to realize about quality over distance

I ran a total of 17 races in 2015 and in between that, over 200 runs, either track sessions or runs from home. This is according to my Strava activity log. It was the year I ran 2:44 (my PB’s) for Pick ‘n Pay, Sarens as well as Kaapsehoop half marathons. By the end of the year I was exhausted. I was tired of running and when I started 2016, I couldn’t find that running mojo again. Hey, it happens and I did consciously decide that I would rest a bit and focus more on improving my form, as I’ve shared in my blog post about sessions with my bio, Mari.

One of the insights that came out of a session with Mari is that I should focus on shorter distances for now, while I strengthen my legs and core. As she put it, “There’s no point running half marathons every weekend, hating the run and not being able to walk for days afterwards.” She suggested that I rather run shorter, manageable distances, but use the run to focus on key elements of improvement. She was right.

I’ve realized that, for me, it’s not about the distances, but the quality of the run. While I don’t have any big distance running goals like KK to run Comrades, my running is currently for enjoyment and improvement. It’s taken a few weeks but when I was analyzing my Strava results, this slowly started to sink in. Here’s what I started to notice:

  • I am able to get home from work and run 3kms easily and still get  back sweating and bursting with those amazing feel-good hormoneseasy-run-3km
  • Running the shorter races requires less intensive road trainingkaapsehoop-10km-race
  • I am starting to see real improvements in the races I’ve runrac-5km-race

Seeing these results has made me feel excited and motivated and has also helped set proper goals for 2017, knowing what I need to do this year. 

Sometimes, we are too focused on the wrong things and before we look, we’re disappointed that we didn’t see the results we wanted to obtain. 

It only takes a bit of slowing down and self-assessment to get back on track. I’m also running more km’s under 8mins/km. Did you see that? *grinning*

Giving hot yoga a bash

I was quite excited to see that Planet Fitness in my ‘hood was offering hot yoga on Saturday mornings and decided I’d give it a try. I did yoga many years ago but wasn’t quite sure how different hot yoga was to the traditional one I did. I heard recommendations from friends ‘in the know’ to take an extra towel with me and a bottle of water. Having overdone it a tad last week in the power box class, I was worried that I was over my head trying something new a second week in a row.

The SMS alert said “Arrive early” which I thought meant 9:20 but when I walked into the class, it was already full! I managed to squeeze in a mat before the door was closed to the disappointment of quite a few people outside. Wow, popular class or New Year’s resolutionites? I wasn’t sure.

With a raise of hands, most people were new to yoga, including hot yoga, which was perfect. It meant the instructor spent more time explaining the moves and no one was made to feel too insecure not being able to do the moves perfectly. And so we started.

Boy did it get hot quickly! They weren’t kidding about “hot” yoga! The heaters above us kept the temperature quite warm and soon I was dripping with sweat. It’s apparently the best work-out for a hangover because of the detoxification. I was just hoping my muscles wouldn’t be too stiff for the 5km race I was running the next day so took each pose very slowly.hot flow yoga

An hour flew by so quickly. In between standing poses, sitting poses and the most incredible stretching of the back, we were done. Luckily I did not wake up with the DOMS and could easily run my race. But what I loved most about the class is that it was slow. Every move was according to my pace, my strength and my body. I was also made aware of my breathing and tightness in my shoulders. If anything, the workout is a fantastic stress reliever!

I have taken my running down a notch to focus more on core strength exercises, leg strengthening as well as correcting my running form. I’m definitely adding hot yoga to my list!

*Image credit: Lindy Geraghty @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/1696726923880804/)

Goals. I found a recipe for success! 

I had a rough idea in my head of my 2017 goals. Some random things like make time to read and more time to blog, walk the dogs, spend more weekends over at my Mom, visit my Dad more regularly, stress less at work, lose weight (yeah, who doesn’t list this!). But it was only when seeing KK’s running calendar and knowing the finishing times for the races he plans to run this year that I realized that as much as I’d like to think I’ve set goals, unless I follow up with a proper action plan, I’ll never succeed.

running goals, race dates

Firstly, he has a 2017 calendar with all the race dates written in which is lying in our study. Most of the races have already been entered and paid for too. After discussing race goals, his Coach sent him an entire training program via Google calendar up until Comrades. It lists his daily running schedule and distances. And boy does KK take it seriously! Every time I look, he’s analyzing Strava and comparing his runs. (LOL, like most of us runners! Obsession much!)

In the last few weeks, we’ve had quite a bit of rain which didn’t stop him from running. Pffft! Unlike me. I’ll confess that sometimes I secretly appreciate that I can sleep late on a weekend listening to the rain fall. 

Drenched! But smiling!

KK is dedicated to his running goals. He is consistent, motivated and disciplined. But more importantly, he has a vision. He knows the races and times he wants to run this year and knows exactly what he needs to do to achieve this. He has a plan and he works at it. That’s the perfect recipe for successful goals right there.

The races I’ve entered so far are as follows. Let me know if I’ll see you there?

  • Dischem 5km
  • Johnson Crane 10km
  • Vaal 10km
  • Pick ‘n Pay half marathon
  • Two Oceans half marathon
  • Drakensburg Run-The-Berg
deer snapchat filter

Deer in the headlights moment!

Now all I need to do is put my plan in place as to how I manage to make time to read and more time to blog, walk the dogs, spend more weekends over at my Mom, visit my Dad more regularly, stress less at work, lose weight, all in between training for these races.

Easy peazy, right? YIKES!