Supporting in the right way

My ankle has taken longer than I had expected to heal. In the back of my mind, I was hoping to be ready to run Two Oceans half marathon this coming weekend but that doesn’t look realistic now.

It’s been okay when I run shorter distances but standing in the starting pen, waiting for the race to start, and then hitting the road for 3 hours, carefully dodging 16 000 other runners doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. For the first time in almost 10 years, we’ll be giving Two Oceans a miss. *FOMO alert*

I’ve been doing my rehab exercises and taking extra care of my foot in general. I’m fully aware that an injury and pulmonary embolism doesn’t just heal overnight – the daily blood thinners remind me of the nasty ordeal.

One small way I’m giving back to my ankle is by wearing comfy, supportive shoes. I can’t believe the pairs of shoes in my cupboard that offer almost zero support! It’s ridiculous that women still buy such dreadful shoes!

But then, I happened to spot gorgeous sandals on Instagram and had to have them! They’re imported from Greece and kinda remind me of Birkenstocks (another one of my favorite brands).

I tracked down Maxie Moda & bought these two pairs. I couldn’t resist!

I bought both the black & tan pair. The black look fab with jeans. Photo credit: @khoslene_photography

These are my feet in the tan pair. Super comfy!

To be completely honest, I wasn’t just thinking about my ankle and a new pair of shoes. But since we’ve been running with our small business, CW-X, it’s become very important for me to support other entrepreneurs.

Just knowing how incredibly tough it is out there, to get your name established, to attract customers and make a sale. It’s hard work! So I’d rather buy from another small business and support their vision than buy yet another uncomfy sandal from Woolies with no support for my ankle.

I’m keen to look for other nuggets hidden across Jo’burg!

This is an unsponsored post and my own opinion. But I urge you to support your family & friends who are trying to grow their businesses.

Tinsel on the tree

We decided not to decorate the house for Christmas this year. KK was headed to Brizzy on business, my leg was in a moon boot. The jolly feeling just wasn’t there and it felt like more of a schlep than anything else.

But I kinda regret that now. Since my nasty visit to the hospital last week, my condition has improved 100%!

Two visits to the physio confirm that my ankle has healed nicely! In fact, my healing timeline is ahead of schedule! I was originally meant to be out of the moon boot only around 22nd December. But guess what? I’m ready to kick it off and walk in an ankle brace! Forced bed rest was actually a good thing!

The strengthening homework has started: stretches using the band, standing on a pillow while someone throws a ball at me and balancing on each leg.

My physiotherapist, Shelagh, also gave me some mental homework. To walk in the garden.

I haven’t stepped out into the garden since my accident. I’m terrified. That’s where the accident happened. I’ve been too afraid in case I step wrong again. So this morning, I walked out onto the patio and sat on the step. I touched the grass. The birds were chirping like mad and excited to see me. It felt good! *deep breaths*

Christmas is a time of presents, family and gammon. But the main message of Christmas is life; the story of the birth of Christ. The gift of truth, love and hope.

I’ve come through a dark patch but there is light on the other side. The healing has begun and there are so many reasons to celebrate and be happy!

Tomorrow I just might walk out onto the grass. And maybe put the Christmas tree up, tinsel and all. I’m feeling kinda jolly!

Tips for treating that dreaded Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common injuries among athletes, affecting approximately 10% of runners at least once during their lives. It sparks fear in most runners because it’s a stubborn injury that can take weeks, even months to heal.

When I was struck down by plantar fasciitis (a little dramatic, I admit), I started to do everything I could to treat it. And I mean everything! Here’s my top 5 treatments:

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1. I changed my running shoes from Asics to New Balance. Best decision ever to follow the advice of an Orthotist. The tests he performed were so interesting and have made a huge difference. My NB’s are so comfortable.

2. One of my Running Junkie mates recommended the FS6 foot sleeves from Hunt Orthopaedics. These compression socks are designed specifically for sufferers of plantar fasciitis. I wear the sock around the house or whenever I don’t have shoes on.

3. I bought the B4Play ball from Sportsman’s Warehouse. This gadget ties itself around your ankle so while you watch TV, you can comfortably do your exercises with no hassle at all. The best part is that it’s designed specifically to treat plantar fasciitis.

4. This photo is me as a baby, crying. I still enjoy a good, ugly cry. But whatever you do, you need to deal with the frustration that a stubborn injury brings. It demands patience. Plantar fasciitis is a debilitating injury that can take months and even years to go away. For a runner, it’s a death sentence but be patient. Try something else while you wait. I tried hot yoga at the gym and it’s fabulous!

5. Physiotherapist & friend Francis hooked me up with a Strassburg sock. I sleep with it every night religiously and for me, it has made the biggest difference. The compression part irritates me & sometimes I will pull the sock off in the early hours of the morning in my sleep, but it works. I’ll say that again. It works!

6. Calf stretching & massages. My bio Mari alerted me to new research in the beginning & I’ve been disciplined in following her stretching program. It’s worth the read.

There’s a whole range of other treatments which I haven’t even begun to explore yet. Needling, taping, electroshock therapy. The list is endless. What have you tried that’s worked for you?

It’s been almost 6 months since I started treating my stubborn heel. Six difficult and long months. It’s taught me an incredibly valuable lesson in patience. It’s forced me to stop and rest. I think out of everything, for me as a runner, that’s been the hardest part. But it’s humbled me. I long to be out there, running pain free. The time is coming. The foot is healing. Eventually!

I’ll keep you posted!

I took a gamble on Om Die Dam & it paid off

My foot is still not better. Even though I’ve been quite obsessive with all the treatments, socks, granny shoes, massaging and exercises, it still aches. I was about to surrender my Two Oceans half marathon entry but then spotted on KK’s training program that he was running the Om Die Dam (ODD) 50km race. It got me scheming…

  • I had not run a 21km race since last year’s Two Oceans half marathon
  • I need to run a 21km race for this year’s Two Oceans half marathon
  • If I get halfway and struggle with my foot, I can walk to the end. Time on feet, right?
  • The race has a 4-hour cutoff for the half. Ample time!

So off we drove to Harties early Saturday morning. We haven’t run ODD for a couple of years. The congested traffic, the crowds, KK wasn’t running many ultras. It was a race we rather avoided. This year was different. Parking 100ms from the start, well-organised and 24/hr manned spotless port-a-loos in every corner. Always a good sign.

KK and I split up before the start. He wanted to slip into his starting pen early, I wanted to take my time lubing up and getting into ‘the zone’. I had not set a goal time. I was hoping to run under 3:10 but had no idea how under-trained I was. Perhaps 3:20 was more realistic?

My half marathon time ranges between 2:44 and 3:15. But this was the first time I had taken such a long break, focusing instead on 10km distances. Would it come back to bite me? I was also unsure if I would undo months of resting & care of my foot. Only one way to find out. *stupid thinking*

Mentally I had done my homework. In the days leading up to the race, I had envisioned running the distance. I wrote down a few positive statements on my pacing chart that I planned to whip out & read when I hit the dark patches en route. I was ready.

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The fish eagle crowed (the start gun!) and off we ran. I had bumped into friends, Billy & Christa, at the start of the race & when she mentioned that she wanted to run 3 hours, I thought, “Okay Bron, stick with them.” But soon found this to be impossible.

In the first few km’s their pace was too fast. I was struggling. I desperately wanted to keep up with them thinking that if Comrades race veteran Billy was pacing, I’d be fine. But they slipped further and further away. Getting to that finish line was all in my hands now.

I slowed down to a more comfortable pace and looked around, trying to take my mind off the run. I had completed 7kms in 1 hour. Was this too fast? Typically, if I can run 7kms every hour, I make the 3-hour cutoff gun. I was on track. I was confident. Was I overly confident? Perhaps. Definitely. I was over-thinking.

Just as I was about to pull out my pacing chart, a friendly face popped up alongside me. My ex-colleague and friend, Thiren. We started chatting away and it was just what I need to take my mind off the run as we neared the 14km mark. 2 hours had passed.

It’s quite amazing what the body can achieve if the mind believes and I declared to Thiren that we would make 3 hours if we pushed ourselves. I started to see that finish line! He was struggling with calf pain and managed to run to the 18km mark together before he trailed off.

I wasn’t done yet. I felt fantastic. I was strong. Hurting, but still strong. As I reached the 19km mark, I spotted Billy’s familiar white Comrades cap. I had caught them! What joy! I was thrilled that we had both achieved the goals we had set out at the start. It was 3 hours.

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I crossed the finish line, elated! My foot had survived. It wasn’t sore (YET! The afternoon was hell). But my mind had achieved what I needed it to do – believe that I could manage the distance. The body explodes with feel-good hormones when you finish a race. The best part is that this feeling lingers for quite some time afterwards…and boy was I happy!

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Two Oceans, here we come!

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