Behind the Dassie lens

As we headed back to work after a thrilling weekend down in Nature’s Valley, I was swiping through a couple of photographs on my iPhone that KK had taken from the Otter Trail Dassie 10km trail run.

The mixture of pics show me as a bag of nerves before the race, my daring efforts during the middle of the race (just after I ran into a tree), followed by hilarious pics of me gripped with fear as I crossed the balance beam over shark & piranha infested water.

We had made the decision to go down to Knysna even though KK had pulled out of the Otter Challenge race due to injury. We had already booked flights, accommodation etc. and we thought we’d go down to support friends running the race and just enjoy a weekend away.

It’s not what KK had originally planned for his Otter 2017 trip. But his injury had forced him to drop out. Not being able to run, missing out of the hype, the registration, race number collection and then the race itself wasn’t fun. Playing the supporter role is not what he signed up for.

But when I see the photos, I realize that throughout the entire time, not once did he make others feel bad or guilty. He didn’t sulk or get irritated by our excitement.

But his weekend revolved around me. He helped pick out my new hydration pack, thank goodness, as there was no water point on the Dassie. He nudged me every morning to go for my morning runs and there would always be cups of hot tea when I returned.

And on race day, he was there. He gave me his usual prep talk when I got my nervous running cough attack, he made sure I had all my kit and he popped up at every possible moment to take photos of me during the race, cheering me on, at the start, during the middle of the race when I wanted to quit, and at the finish line. KK was present.

His happiness for me finishing my race shines through in the pics. I can still hear his cheers from the side of the road and he was genuinely interested in my over-analysis of every step of the race.

Sometimes it’s how you show up to a race, more than crossing the finish line that shows what kind of athlete you are.

I know you’ll be back to run your Otter, but this ones for you babes!

It’s bad news.

It’s bad news…

These were the words that KK Whatsapped me three weeks ago after seeing the sports doctor. He had been in agony since July with a gnawing pain in his thigh which would not go away.

Needling and massaging by the physiotherapist, to more massaging and prodding by a chiropractor, and then more elbowing from yet another physiotherapist but the pain lingered on. He followed a strict regime of icing, heating and foam rolling daily. Nothing helped.

It was only after a final recommendation of X-rays and MRI scans that he found the answer.

It was bad news. A fractured femur.

Don’t even ask how because he doesn’t know. It just happened. Similar to how his pelvis cracked two years ago. It’s no wonder the pain didn’t go away.

The really bad news? No running. No jogging. No walking. No swimming. No gym. Not even a parkrun. He has been instructed to rest. It was only 5 months ago that he ran Comrades and had already set his sights on next year’s race.

Right now, it’s uncertain how long recovery will take but he knows that he won’t be running Otter, Kaapsehoop, Dischem, Pick ‘n Pay (his favourite marathon), or even Two Oceans. Will he be out for Comrades?

The smile I’m used to seeing on his face has disappeared…

In trying to find answers to why this happened, we consulted with an endocrinologist. Maybe there is a deficiency somewhere? Maybe things aren’t ‘gelling’ inside his body? Could be an over-active or under-active something…

The good news (?) is that there’s a possibility that the medication he was talking for the low bone density / pelvis fracture issue actually caused him to fracture his femur. One main precaution of taking Fosavance is … wait for it… fractures of the femur! The endocrinologist dismissed Fosavance as a ‘drug from the dark ages’. Google it and the first page of search results are all lawsuits against the manufacturers of Fosavance for femur fractures! Crazy!

So now we wait for the results of the blood tests and in the meantime, KK’s focused on other hobbies to keep his mind busy. And by other hobbies I mean Cookie Jam because let’s face it, runners don’t have any other hobbies! There’s a lesson in here somewhere, I know.

Running makes KK happy. So what do you say to a runner who can’t run?

Every race runs a different journey

It’s the Comrades marathon this weekend! Eeek! It feels like just the other day that I was waiting for KK at that finish line but I spotted this Facebook memory which reminded me just how quickly time flies! 

Yup, we’re headed back down for KK’s fourth race for which he has trained harder than any of the previous Big C races. Every year has been different with different goals and an entirely different journey to get to the finish line.

2014: The first Comrades race

KK was meant to run with his friend David but injury forced Dave to pull out after Two Oceans. With no coach and following a training programme pulled from a Modern Athlete magazine, KK set out with a goal of just finishing the race before cutoff. He ran a time of 10:37. He always says that with no previous experience and heading into the unknown was perhaps the best run of them all.

The before & after pic.

2015: Year of the pelvis Elvis!

During his training for Comrades, KK started to ache in his groin area. Hours of physio and being instructed to rest meant that he started Comrades with the least amount of training ever. Zero ultras, no long runs and very few kms under his feet, he managed to finish the race in a time of 11:18. The reason for the ache? A cracked pelvis. I know! But he got his back to back medals and that’s all that mattered to him.

Spot the medals.

2016: Training kicked up a notch

KK ran many long hours with Running Junkie Shaun this year. Following a training programme of track sessions combined with weekend long runs, he went in prepared and hoping to at least improve on his 2014 time. He finished strong! His time: 09:51. He was thrilled. It’s realising that he can improve that set his sights on 2017.

That smile! (after 89kms)

2017: Ultras and more ultras

This year has been quite different, training-wise (him) as well as emotionally (me). It’s been much more intense. After many months of training, waking up three times a week at 4am, long runs on weekends, KK is more determined than ever to improve his time and do well. He even took leave from work in order to avoid all the sick people in the building! He has listened to his coach and there’s nothing more he can do now other than rest and wait for Sunday morning to arrive.

I’m nervous, as always. I’m excited too! Supporting is a whole different ball game. Your heart sits outside of your chest for the entire day! But it’s an awesome experience!

It’s time. Let’s run!

My Mom’s honey cough mixture recipe (aka boere rad)

I posted a pic on Instagram on the weekend showcasing all the medication that KK was taking. It’s a combo of his usual pre-Comrades panic mixed with a really runny nose. His fear is that it grows into a full blown chest infection. Eeek! Then on Sunday, I started to come down with an incredibly rusty throat & dry cough. Such bad timing. We both decided to bail on the RAC 10km race & suffered huge FOMO trawling through our Strava feeds. 

A couple of comments to the pic mentioned (over)dosing up on honey, especially some really passionate & convincing advise from @LaceyMcCarthy that honey was the only cure. 

Somewhere out of my memory bank I remembered that when I was younger, my mom gave us spoonfuls of a hectic concoction made with honey & a whole lot of other stuff. It was vile but it worked! 

Recipe in hand and chatting to my mom, I mixed up a bottle tonight. That smell brought back so many memories! It’s going to take a bit of convincing for KK to try it, but there was no hesitation from me! Honey cough mixtureI’ve got a strong feeling it’s going to work. It’s either because it’s so strong & deadly or possibly because it filled me with such happiness & pride that my mom’s honey mixture has been passed down to me. 

In case you’d like to try it, here’s the recipe: 
Lennons hoesmiddel

750gm honey 🍯 

1 bottle Lennons Turlington

1 bottle Borsdruppels

1 bottle Paregoric

1/2 bottle peppermint druppels

(Heat honey slightly if needed and add ingredients).

Let me know if this helped you! (And if perhaps my Mom should start her own business!