What the Physio said…

It’s not everyday that you get a free consult from a physiotherapist that provides answers you just didn’t realize you needed.

Last week, I visited old Running Junkie friend, Francis, at her practice, Francis and Terry Rogan Physiotherapists, for something non-injury related.

I replied to her “How are you?” opening line with a casual, “Agh, my knee is niggling me.” I went on to explain my dilemma:

  • I was registered to run the Edenvale half marathon on Sunday.
  • I really wanted to run a 21km before Two Oceans. More for mental prep than physical to be honest.
  • I had been trying to increase my weekend long run mileage and had planned to up it to 15kms for the month of March.
  • I worried that my knee wouldn’t make 21.1kms. It’s been uncomfortable and weak with bursts of pain under the knee cap whenever I walked down stairs of drove my car.
  • So I’ve been Googling ways to strengthen my knee so that I would ready on Sunday.
  • I’ve listened to some of a couple of Coach Parry podcasts Brad Brown sent me.
  • I’ve started doing yoga which has been amazing & worth it’s own blog post!
  • Oh and yes, I’m taking cataflams. Should I continue with these? (Snort, you should’ve seen the look she gave me!)

In a nutshell, I’m desperately trying a bit of everything (as runners do).

Francis asked 3 simple questions that for some bizarre reason, I had failed to ask myself:

  • Is it your goal race? No.
  • If it’s about mileage, why not run the 10km and add in a 2-3 km cool down if your knee feels okay. I could do that.
  • Have you checked out the race calendar? Um, no. Why not enter Jackie Gibson later in March to run a half. It’s also not too close to Oceans.

I wondered why it was so difficult to reason it out for myself. Duh!

I went ahead and ran the Edenvale 10km road race on Sunday. My knee was fine. *phew*! I also managed to add on an extra 3kms for a cool down jog which gave me a total of 13kms mileage for the day.

My knee has felt ‘okayish’ this week. Let me put it this way, I’ve managed to continue training. With 5 weeks until Two Oceans, this is what counts, right?

You can Google what you like and convince yourself that you’ve made the right decision. But some times you do need someone to sense check you and make sure you’re asking the right questions, especially when it comes to injuries.

Runners cannot self-diagnose. Fact!

I know that if I had run the 21kms on Sunday, I would’ve been hobbling around this whole week, unable to run, with my knee in pain rolled up in an ice pack. Not ideal. Thanks Francis!

Shit! Did you read what I just said?

5 weeks to Two Oceans! How’s your training going?

Smelling the roses on the run

I’ve always had such a complex about my running pace. (I mean, just look at the name of my blog!). So as I stood at the starting line of Sunday’s race, I was terrified. A running friend asked if I’d like to run a race with her and I jumped at the opportunity. No one had ever asked me to run with them before! I was overcome with my usual insecurities; would I be able to keep up? Would I cramp? Would I slow her down?

At about the 4km mark, we slowed down quite a bit as she started to take strain. She had been struggling with a nasty flu bug from the week before and had misjudged how weak she still was. It had knocked her hard and she was not herself on the day. It happens and so we ended up just taking it easy.

Unbeknownst to her, I was tackling a lot of my own demons. It was only the second race that I was running since starting my running training with Coach Dave so I had no idea what my pace would be. But I felt super strong and confident. This is new.

This is what really mattered on the day:

  • I’m able to run without having to stop and walk every 500m.
  • I am definitely getting stronger.
  • I don’t have to be terrified anymore.
  • A day came when I was the strong one for a change.
  • I don’t care what the finishing time was. To me, what mattered was running with my friend.
  • Runners are a different breed. Why was I worried that she would leave me out on the course? Because I would never have done that to her.

PartnerLong road







My running priorities have definitely changed over the weeks since I’ve been attending track training. I signed up to run faster but as the weeks go by, things that I never thought of before make sense to me now. Such as managing to run and not walk as much as I used to. Such as finishing a race feeling strong. And knowing that some days it’s not about the time on my watch that defines what a great race is all about. Sometimes, it’s all about the company and facing those demons head on. Thanks Denise!

Keep up. This is my race.

It gets to that point of any road race where the elite runners shoot off, the slower runners / walkers start lagging behind me and I find my spot among others who run/walk at the same pace as what I do.

Running a 21.1km race alone is tough. There’s no one to chat to. There’s no one to push you and no one but yourself to keep you motivated. So every now and then, I look around and strike up a conversation with those around me. The thinking is that we must* be doing the same pace so we might as well get to the finish line together. But that’s not always right. I learnt this lesson during the recent Johnson Crane half marathon.

It was close to the 14km mark and I found myself running next to a guy who ‘appeared’ to be running at 8mins/km (my pace). I was doing a run/walk strategy of 800m run/200m walk at the time and he joined in. We chatted away and my spirits lifted as I started to think that we would get each other to the end. It wasn’t meant to be. He started to struggle on the 800m runs and requested we walk a lot sooner. I gave in too easily and we landed up walking 800m and running 200m for about 2kms. But eventually I realized that he was holding me back so I waved goodbye and ran off.Running together

Reflecting on the race (and analyzing as I do), I realized that it was really great to run a part of the race with him. I enjoyed it. It’s the one thing I long for is a running partner. But another part of me acknowledges that he was not right for me and was slowing me down. It just shows how quickly my running strategy changed to accommodate someone else. It was a horrible feeling leaving this poor guy behind, but I had to do it.Running off

How quickly in life we accept situations which are not what we wanted. We get into relationships which are not right for us. We fall in to a comfort zone and make excuses. Sometimes, those we are with are on a different path and will hold us back. Choices we make will either slow us down or get us to the finish line a lot quicker. It’s deciding what you want more that matters.

(By the way, if you run at 8mins/km, I’m looking for a running partner.)