Wednesday, 29 July 2015

On non-runners and "running injuries"

I love how non-runners always seem to be the most opinionated about running injuries.  Want an expert opinion on just exactly how bad running is for your knees?  Just ask a non-runner.  The perfect knees of a lifelong runner obviously mean nothing at all.

Now a certain senior member of my household, whose name I won't mention here (ahem, Honey), is not exactly a non-runner (or an expert runner, for that matter), but an expert on running injuries nonetheless.  Or rather an expert on differentiating between running and cycling injuries.  Like last week: After returning from his century training ride on Saturday, I noticed that he couldn't turn his head all the way to the left (or right) and obviously had some kind of neck spasm going on.  Upon enquiring about this, I was promptly informed about his latest "running injury": A stiff neck...  Now, in all my 30+ years of running, I've never had a stiff neck as a result of it, but perhaps I'm just doing it wrong...?  He added, of course, that the neck spasm had nothing to do with the fact that he just spent 100+ km on a bicycle, constantly peeking over his right shoulder at oncoming traffic...  Sigh.  Whatever you say, Dear.

[Photo by Vrystaat Fietsry.]

The same anonymous member of my household (with whose permission I'm writing this), is also a big advocate of the "running is bad for your knees" theory.  Just take his own knees, for example: There's a chronic pain just to the outside of and under his left knee cap - quite obviously the result of his twice weekly 5 kay runs.  The fact that he has been running in the same pair of running shoes since we got married back in 2007 is, of course, of zero importance or relevance here - running is bad for your knees and that's the end of it.

So, in light of all of this, and for the sake of peace and sanity for all, I did what every good running wife would do: I got him a new pair of running shoes for his birthday today.  A cushy, bright and beautiful pair.  So here's to the end of that chronic knee pain and the beginning of something beautiful - I'm just not too sure that it will take care of the stiff neck, though...?  

Happy birthday, Honey!


Monday, 27 July 2015

Cape Town Marathon Coffee Date II: The Long Run From Hell

We're one week closer to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon - aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!  And although things are going really well training-wise, I must admit that I clocked the long run from hell last week - ever had one of those?  The run itself went quite well - no niggles or pains, but let's just say that I now have a very good idea what not to eat before race day.  Holy moly!  Four bathroom bush stops later, and I wont' be going anywhere near pudding and custard before September 20th...  Anyway, moving on.       

As far as race-day gear goes, I'm still playing around with different options on long-run days.  Shoe-wise, I'm leaning towards the Asics Gel Nimbus 16s for race day: I've had zero issues with them so far, plus I ran the 2011 Paris Marathon in a previous version of the Nimbus, with zero blistering or other problems.  Why mess with what works, right?

Clothing-wise I'm loving my new tights from adidas - they're medium compression tights and so, so comfortable on the run.  Plus they're funky - bonus!  Being compression gear, they're quite tight in the, ahem, bum area, and I keep on getting these visions of the tights ripping open at the butt seam mid-race - something that will obviously be equally traumatic for me and those running behind me, ha!  Here's hoping that those seams stay in place. 

If there's one thing I've learnt through the years, it's that what you do in between runs is just as important as running itself.  So while I usually pay attention to rest, recovery, refuelling and hydration, I'm extra vigilant about these things leading up to the marathon.  Coconut water is still my No. 1 post-run hydration choice - I literally glug it down after each run!  I also keep my water bottle with me throughout the day and drink whenever I'm thirsty.  Sleep-wise we're doing pretty good too: Both Miss K and Baby J are sleeping through the night these days (hooray!), so we're all getting a sweet 8 - 9 hours each night.  Bliss, I tell you. 

Hydrating like a boss.

Eight weeks to go - let's do this!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Project Posture

Once upon a time, long before the birth of Miss K and Baby J, I used to look at new moms and wish that I could just straighten them out.  Literally.  Because to me, as an outsider with zero understanding of their situations, it seemed that almost all of them slouched.

And now, two bundles of joy and a chunk of life later, I've realised with a shock that I'd become one of them: I slouch.  I actually SE-LOUCH, because writing it in small letters just doesn't do my degree of slouching any justice.  I catch myself hunching over at least 100 times a day, and then always wonder how on earth I was able to actually function with my torso literally folded double.  It's bad, guys.  And it needs to change.

Exhibit A.  *cringe*  Slouching like a boss - even on the run.  [Photo by Stanley Harvey.]

Now don't get me wrong: I full well realise that slouching is 100% preventable; and so easy to fix.  Just straighten yourself out, right?  But somewhere in between the late nights, the dirty nappies, the mounds of washing, the full-time job and well, life, I've also discovered what I think is the main reason why so many new mamas slouch: Energy.  Or a serious lack thereof.  I'm literally sometimes too tired to straighten myself out.  Ugh.

But since hunching like a grandma at 38 isn't an option, I'm embarking on Project Posture for the remainder of 2015 - I need to straighten out.  My approach is multipronged: Ten minutes in the semi-supine position every morning for increased body awareness during the day (it works!); a few push-ups after my planks every evening to strengthen the upper body; religiously taking my supplements every day (e.g. magnesium and other energy metabolism-related stuff); and getting enough rest.  I'll be straight as an arrow before you know it.

Any other tips for sorting my posture out?