This morning I had my HOPEFULLY last maintenance session before Comrades Marathon 2018.
When I embarked on this Comrades quest, it followed a four-year break from my last running of the Ultimate Human race (2014) and a period of very little running at all as I focussed most of my attention on cycling.
I looked excitedly at the change back to running and the money I was going to save in bike services, spare parts like tyres / tubes etc etc etc. Cycling is expensive. For running I had accumulated all the kit I needed for this endeavour in previous forays. All I needed was a few pairs of shoes and that was it.
But boy oh boy was I wrong. It seems that I’ve simply substituted the expenses I incurred on the vehicle of cycling – my bikes, with the vehicle of running – my body.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve softened, I’ve aged or I didn’t take a gradual enough return to the demands of long-distance running.
I don’t think I’m softer. If anything, more years of battle hardiness should have made me a bit more accepting of the pains and strains that are par for the course of endurance sports.
I am about to turn 46 next month, so am no spring chicken, BUT I’m not that flippin’ old (c’mon) and I can’t believe that the 6-years since my first run in 2012 would have made such a difference in how susceptible I appear to now be to various stresses and strains. Maybe the effects of age, like compound interest multiply as you get older so in running years I’m actually about 56 in normal years. Oh Crap.
Maybe 4 years of relatively little running did require a slower return. I felt I approached the whole thing quite sensibly. I started in July odd last year with short 5-7km jaunts twice a week with a slightly longer run on the weekend and kept increasing the distances in small jumps every few weeks eventually hitting my first 21 in early November and then pushing on from there into the bigger mileage in January. Now that’s pretty sensible in my book.
So what has caused all the niggles? I dunno, and it’s maybe not worth the mental capacity to contemplate it any further.
But the money-saving I hoped for appears to have been a pipe dream because the amount I’ve had to spend on keeping my body running from one long training weekend to another, hasn’t been as big a difference to what I spent in maintaining my bike.
I started the year with a pretty serious Achilles issue – and you don’t want to f*&^ with an Achilles issue – which required 6 painful shockwave therapy treatments in 6 consecutive weeks (check out blog post for more on that). Thanks Andre le Roux for sorting that out and Jo-Dee Pryce who heads the excellent Advanced Rehab practice.
I developed a really painful coccyx following two big weekends which required dry needling and both calves have played-up intermittently over the course of 5 months requiring various physio sessions and one emergency physio visit while on holiday in Umhlanga in April when my left-calf decided it wasn’t running another f*&^ing kilometre. That decision was made in Durban, 12-odd kilometres from my home in Umhlanga making the long walk back on that 30km run all the more enjoyable.
So my final maintenance (I’m thankfully not carrying any injuries at the moment) sessions were a visit to the chiro on Friday (cheers Marie Rosenberg) and a visit to the excellent Kirsty Weaver this morning to turn me into human pin cushion. I am a firm believer in dry-needling, of which Kirsty is a master practitioner – I honestly don’t think there is a treatment that offers as tangible a feeling of recovery to sore muscles – and requested that KIrsty please put as many needles into each calf and into my coccyx as was humanly possible as a final muscular send-off to Comrades.
So that’s hopefully the last physio visit I need for a long time and I hope and pray that the great work done on this tired aging body by the legion of medical practitioners I’ve had to visit this year keep it together on Sunday.