My legs were hurting, really badly. Something very tender and inelastic had taken residence in my left leg where the calf muscle used to be. I also had this insatiable urge to eat copius amounts of junk food and then sleep for a many more hours than would be healthy, strictly speaking.
It was Saturday evening 01 November and I had just arrived back in PE, having driven in from Queenstown where I ran a marathon in the morning. Queenstown is a small town about four and a half hours inland from PE, still in the Eastern Cape. I had driven out there the previous afternoon, after waking up from my mid-afternoon postcall slumber.
On Saturday I was up at about 4.45am to go around to Bonkolo dam just outside Queenstown where the race started at 5.30am. It was chilly, overcast and raining. I was wearing the red Crusaders running club red singlet and shorts. Ideal attire for running (in hot sunny weather that is!) The starter’s gun was fired and off we went. I finished the the 42.2km race in 4hrs 11mins, after having passed the half-marathon mark at 1hr 46min. So yeah things obviously went pear-shaped sometime in the second half…
There is a lot that happens in a long race, one of the things I have noticed is that any old injuries that you may have had before creep into your run, ostensibly at 30something kilometers when you’re just starting to think that this thing will be over soon. My right knee and left Achilles heel are my most frequent unwanted niggling visitors. The left calf is a new member of this club, I first started feeling it at about 23km, had to stop and stretch, then carried on in a fair amount of pain. This isn’t me making excuses for how my race went, but yeah that’s what happened…
When I have a bad race, afterwards (or sometimes during!) I go through a bit of a what-went-wrong in my head. I wasn’t happy with my result, having hoped to go under 4 hours, even if only just. However, having thought about it a little, the b
ottom line really is I just hadn’t done enough work in preparation. I’ve been going through somewhat of a lull in the last few weeks. That is to say I have been in an amotivated state, as opposed to a motivated state. In the week leading up to the race I had managed to dragged myself through two 20km runs, and a solitary 15km run the week before. Not nearly enough. The week before that I was away on a bit of a holiday (been meaning to blog about that actually) so no work-outs then. Prior to that I had been doing my usual two or three runs per week.
“More hills,” a fellow runner said to me after the race on Saturday. “…and more speed work,” he continued. “You need to be running twice a day if you’re going to be…” At that point I more or less stopped listening. Yeah sure, I’ll get up early everyday go for a run, then go to work, get back from work later and go for another run. In between all of that I’ll fit in a couple of hours of reading (specialist physicians don’t make themselves!) Well… I suppose there are 24 whole hours in a day 😌.
Speaking of studying, I haven’t done much of that lately either. “Are you ready for the Part one exams Dr Mukenge?” My HOD asked me facetiously the other day. “Well Doc, you see I haven’t really been… You know, it’s just been really… I was on leave the other week… then there was that presentation I had to prepare and… uhmm…” “But that was last week” He said, clearly enjoying the sight of me squirming.
I did get started on some reading durduring the week actually, I went through some short notes on valvular heart disease and cardiac murmurs (I may or may not elaborate on these at some point). It’s a lot more interesting than say the cell and it’s organelles, or the nitty gritty of carbohydrate and protein metabolism, some of the stuff I’m supposed to be getting through for the primary exams. I get this soul-wrenching guilt everytime I catch a glimpse of my medical physiology book at the flat. I think I should just hide it away somewhere 😒
My sombre mood re the Queenstown sojourn was somewhat lifted on the drive back. I have previously mentioned my appreciation for good scenery and the need to ‘capture the moment’. Well I have to confess I am not impartial to ‘forcing the moment’ at times. On the trip back I actually stopped the car at the side of the road a few times to take some snaps…
The pain in my left calf has me limping 😦 I’m really hoping it’s something relatively mild and that I’ll recover promptly. I always have some or other niggle from running or working out and end up having to explain to people, mostly my colleagues at work. “You hurt yourself doing… what?!” A nurse once asked, “What kind of a grown man falls?” she continued. “And what were you doing running?! Were you late for something?” Now she was enjoying herself “Were you trying to catch the bus?” Picture cackling with laughter “Was someone chasing you?” Now unable to hold herself, practically guffawing… Some people have no appreciation for athletes.