Wednesday, August 7, 2013

On the up!

I have been on 'blog hiatus' for a while. At first it was because I thought the injury was rearing its ugly head again and I didn't want to deal with it, then I got busy trying to get right into my training and I thought the blog could wait for a while.

At the time of my last post  I was having some niggles again which were worrying me. One day I did the hamstring bridge test, which is an indicator of the state of the tendons, and I felt a tiny bit of pain - a sure sign things weren't great. I was told by my physio that if there was ever pain I had to back it off and not run to let it settle down so, in my new-found obedience, I took two days off running. During that time I focused a lot on the stability/strength exercise that has my back laying on the fitball, my feet on the floor and my knees bent at 90 degrees - then lifting alternate feet whilst keeping my hips level. I swear, this is a magic exercise - it, above everything else, seems to bring things back into line. It feels like it's switching all the correct muscles on again and stabilising everything.

After getting through this brief bumpy patch, things have been going from strength to strength. I haven't been this happy (or this fatigued) in a long time and it's wonderful.

I did my first race on 13 July - the NSW Road Relay Champs. This was a good, low key way of getting back to racing. It was short (4k) and I asked to be one of the middle runners (I was second) so I just blended in and didn't really have to think about a starting gun or a finishing position.

I guess it was a solid result - officially my time was 14:43 (I recorded it a bit quicker - there was a timing problem and my chip didn't register, but we'll go with the official time). That pace isn't great - it's pretty much the same pace as I've run my 10k PB in, but it was a race and it was so great to get back to it. Our team (Hills Open Women) finished in sixth place and my time was the 11th fastest run in the Open women's division.

The most positive things was that there was no pain during the run, no pain after (even though I had to drive a fair way home and sitting in a car never helps) and the next day I did my 31k long run without any issues.

Two weeks after the road relays I did my first half marathon since being injured (last November). Again, I did it in a really low key way - as part of a two-person relay in the Westlink M7 Marathon. My coach, Sean Williams, put the race in my program as a training run, so there was no taper which I was a little concerned about - I didn't want to run really slowly because I was both out of shape and tired!

The day before the race I realised how out of practice I am at preparing for a race. I couldn't remember the little things I do and even getting my clothes organised became an issue that I was overthinking. I thought I'd carry a gel in case I needed it but then discovered all my gels were past their used-by dates because it's been so long since I've used them. I found one that had only gone out about a month ago and figured it would still be OK. (I didn't end up using it so I don't know if it was. Most of them were probably fine but I didn't want to risk stomach problems from a dodgy one).

M7 Marathon Relay.
I paired up with another local runner, Jim Perrett, and he was fine with me running the second leg which meant I didn't have to deal with starting gun nerves. Jim got us of to a great start, running 79 minutes. I started my leg too fast (yep, as usual) and the first nine kilometres felt really clunky and uncomfortable (but no hamstring issues). Thankfully by 10k the running started to feel fluid again and I was loving it.

With 4k to go I was passed by a runner in another mixed team - Tim Molesworth. Not only is Tim fast, he's also one of those runners who puts it all on the line and doesn't stop until he detonates so, even though I tried to hang on to him for a while, he wasn't going to let our team have the win. Jim and I finished up second in the mixed pairs division and my half marathon time was 83:35.

I was satisfied with my time, given that I very honestly had NO IDEA what how fast or slow I would run. It's actually only 58 seconds slower than the PB I ran when I got second in the state champs last September (although I've never been happy with my half mara PB - it's soft).

Since then my tendon has behaved itself perfectly. I'm getting through all my sessions with hardly any variations (a couple of times I've had to swap things to different days to fit in with other commitments) and I'm working hard enough to have that wonderful fatigued feeling, but not so fatigued that I can't get through my training. I've had a bit of a flu-type thing for the past few days but other than that all is good.

Things are on the up. I'm so, so grateful.


  1. This is one of my favourite posts! :)

  2. Thanks Johanna, I've been reading your post and have commented a couple of times. You give me hope that this issue can be treated successfully. I'm now at the point where I've seen different physicians and all treatment has been unsuccessful. I've been told I've exhausted all options as nothing has worked. I'm not going to give up. You give me hope. Your physio sounds good so I've decided to make an appointment with him and see how it goes. He's in my area so that is a bonus. Thanks again for your blog. I know this can get better

    1. Good to hear you're not going to give up - even though I know it feels like you're banging your head against a brick wall sometimes. I can't speak highly enough of Brent Kirkbride and Dr Donald Kuah - they really know this injury inside out. Biggest piece of advice I can give you is to follow all their instructions (especially about when not to train - swimming using just my arms for nearly two weeks wasn't fun) and do everything they tell you. It was really hard at the time but I'm so grateful I did it now. Sending you lots of luck (and patience!).