Carolyn’s Workout Diary: Queenstown
Carolyn’s Workout Diary: Queenstown
Back in February I set the goal to lose 10kgs, get back running, reclaim my health and fitness, and complete a half marathon at the Queenstown Marathon event injury free.
It pains me to admit that I am human and that despite my best efforts, I haven’t managed to achieve the 10kg loss or injury free status but I am proud to say that I’m fit, I’ve lost 5kgs and kept that off. It would be good to budge a bit more off my frame but I feel good about myself and that is what is most important.
Now the Air New Zealand Queenstown marathon and half marathon is less than a week away and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous because eight weeks ago I was diagnosed with plantar fascia (joggers heel). This has meant no running for eight weeks.
Last weekend I managed my first run since the guys at Sports Lab instructed me to put my feet up. I ran/walked 7km and while it was hard it was fantastic to be out there again, running in the fresh air.
Over the past eight weeks I’ve done everything I can to maintain my fitness as well as rest my feet so that my heels can heal. Yoga, peddling on a bicycle machine, strength classes and water running in the pool.
Over this time period my trainer Gaz Brown of GetRunning has assured me that I’m going to be able to do it.
“You are strong enough now to run Queenstown,” says Gaz. “That’s not a problem, it’s about getting you there with the feet in the right condition and that’s what’s most important.
He also pointed out that it’s not like I’m going to have this foot injury “for life”. “And, that’s a big thing,” he says. “Often when people come into racing they get quite scared and think ‘oh, it’s all over’ but really it just needs a bit of time to heal. So keep off the running. You’re not going to lose anything.”
It’s helps to put things in perspective. After all, it’s not like I’m about to break any time records but I am committed to finishing it – for me, for Gaz who has put his faith in me, for those who have been following my Workout Diary throughout the year, and for The Biggo Trust for whom I’m raising money by running it: http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/RachelandCarolyneRun and everyone who has donated to the Trust.
Gaz also pointed out that what I’m going through right now, a lot of people go through. I’m a textbook case of someone not born with naturally good running mechanics.
“When I first met you I knew that your mechanics weren’t really natural so you were always going to maybe come up against these few little things,” Gaz says. “It’s a good example of if you can stick in there you’ll get through it.”
He instructs me to trust “the base” fitness that I’ve built up over the past year and to now hand it over to the “running gods”.
Even so, I decide a little more assistance cannot hurt, especially when seeking it from the guys at Sports Lab.
Sports Lab principal podiatrist and director Aaron Jackson (pictured below) has done amazing things with the inner soles of my Shoe Clinic-approved Mizuno trainers, replacing them with orthotics (not a sexy word but never mind).
Jackson wouldn’t normally recommend making a change so close to an event, but we’ve agreed I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“In your case the orthotic aims to facilitate a faster and more efficient transition from your rear-foot to your forefoot. Spending too long on your mid-foot (the short rotational “wobbly” bones in the middle of your foot) can lead to an instability which causes rotation or flattening of your arch and therefore stretching of the plantar fascia,” Jackson says. “We have attempted to engage your big toe earlier in your stride as this is linked with the plantar fascia (the mechanical movement of bending your big toe pulls on the plantar fascia like a pulley system) and active engagement of this structure will help to resist passive loading, which is how injuries occur.”
Sports massage has also been part of my rehab. After working out my super tight leg muscles Luke McCallum (pictured with me below) also tries to teach me how to do resistance training with my big toe under the watchful eye of Sports Lab physio Vaughan Craddock.
This involves pushing against a board with my big toe. Another exercise involves lifting all of my toes and then lowering my big toe first before following with the others. My toes are not super coordinated when it comes to moving them individually (you try it!), so it takes a while to get it. I’m instructed to do this 10 times a day.
“It’s teaching you how to recruit the right muscles so if you can recruit the right muscles then you can learn to have right pattern, and if you start with no loading, or low loading, then when you do it in a loading pattern (weight bearing) then it’s easier,” says Craddock. “Do something at a level that your body is going to accept now. Because a lot of plantar fascia problem is when you overload the tissue. It’s an intermediary step.”
And, now the countdown is on for November 22. The trail is mostly hard-packed but the scenery promises to be spectacular. Wish me luck!