20 June 2011


DNF at km 7.

I knew that I had a remote chance of finishing a marathon, but didn't expect to pull out so early :(

Tried to run early in the week, but leg was too painful. Decided to rest for the rest of the week and was also on anti-inflammatories diet, hoping that everything will come good on Sunday.

On Wednesday, about 30mins before our flight was supposed to take off, Qantas decided to halt all flights to Perth for 24 hours due to Chilean volcanic ash.

Qantas offered full refund for the tickets. I was very tempted to take the cash since the marathon was virtually a no hoper. Contemplated Gold Coast in 2 weeks time, but there was no guarantee that I'd recover in time, and more importantly, I haven't been training much for the last month so I wasn't gonna be in tip top shape anyway.

At the end, I decided to keep the ticket betting that everything will be alright on race day. Flew to Perth the next day.

On Friday, ran 9k in Perth at 4.45 pace (including a mile at MP) and legs seemed to hold up. Feeling a bit more optimistic, and hoping 2 more days on NSAID diet will reduce the inflmmation in the posterior tibialis tendon.

Meet the Perth gank for pasta dinner on Friday. It was a good boys night out, talking about running !

Sunday morning: did 1k warm up with B'man (who eventually ran 2.49) at 5+ pace and legs seemed okay. Lined up at the start with Epi (who finished in 3.00.30) and felt great for the first couple ks running at 4.12-4.15 pace.

Then I came undone in a flash. There was a steep downhill after Windan Bridge and the force sent shock waves to my legs - ankles, and posterior tibia as well as the anterior tibia. Legs were burning like hell. Hold on for another k but another steep downhill in East Perth put the nail into the coffin. Run, walk, run, walk for a while, before deciding to pull the plug at approx km 7.

If the pain happened say after 30k, probably I wouldn't mind grinding it out. But the shit happened so early and running another 35k or so it will not be an enjoyable (& rewarding) experience and akin to climbing K2.

Nevertheless, it was a good holiday. Been 4 years since the last time I was there. Visited all the restaurants we used to eat before, took my son for a walk in Kings Park, and managed to catch up with the Perth running crew.

So what's next?

The same injury (posterior tibialis tendon) has now caused me to pull out of two marathons (DNS Melbourne 2010 and DNF Perth 2011). Both of them were caused by over-worked muscles due to excessive heel striking (the tendon contracts eccentrically during heel strike)

The short term solution will be to rest before resuming normal training again. It took me about a month of total rest to recover last year. I managed to put in a good 4-5 months of training post-injury before breaking down again.

The long term solution is to alter my biomechanics into a midfoot striker. Not sure how easy this will be after running for 7 years and clocking about 25000 km  LOL. May have to look at options such as barefoot running, Newton shoes, learning about proprioceptive cues (falling forward running style) etc

In addtion to to the above, I might also have to look at altering my training regime. It seems 2 speed workouts a week is too much for my aging and aching body. I trained well during Melbourne and Perth preps but all came un-done in the last 3-4 weeks before the race (maybe Pfitz regiment of one speed and more medium long runs are more palatable??). Another modification is running more on softer surface. Last month I bought a car, and this would make travelling to training venues much easier. Once I gotten over my injuury, I might look at doing my long runs in Macritcihie forest trail or doing my tempo on the gravel surface of Bedok Reservoir - all of which would reduce the pounding.

If things go well and I can quickly recover from this shit, Melbourne Marathon on 9-10-11 will be the next marathon. That's less than 4 months away, so not very long to go !!

Gonna hang up my running shoes and go cross-training crazy for the next couple of weeks !!


Turbo Legs said...

Melbourne should be a good one to aim for i guess given that its plenty of time to recover and then train. :) All the best man ..

Congratz on the car ... which one did you get?

Sling Runner said...

I bought a 5-year old Lexus RX350 and it still cost me a BOMB!

Still not as flashy as your Audi!

by7 said...

A real pity!

I can feel your pain.

Without going into your individual case, I anyway found that in similar cases is essential to deploy "nuclear weapons" asap.
Voltaren Gel and similar stuff will not bring you to the finish line...
Cortisone+Lydocain can be the only cure, even if we might be reluctant.

About the foot strike, did you try running only in racing flats and similar ?

Sling Runner said...

by 7,

Yes, I always wear light trainers (adidas adizeros, kinvaras) for my runs, but still heel strike excessively.

Might look at cortisone shots if I am in top shape and running an important race.

Epi said...

Sorry to hear it and sorry I didn't get to catch up after the race.

Good luck with the biomechanics - might be worth seeing a exercise physiologist.

My thought is if you have continued to heel strike and using lightweight shoes, it's only likely to amplify the problem. Either you go back to the heavier heel cushioned shoes and keep heelstriking, or you go down the path of changing your running mechanics and use the more minimalist shoes


Ewen said...

Damn! I was hoping not to read a race report like this. Correct decision though to DNF at 7k.

All good ideas re future prevention. I like the drive to run on good (soft) surfaces idea. Shouldn't be too hard to alter form, even to a 'slight' heel touch (would be better). Try altering how your foot/ankle is flexed while it's in the air. Many other ideas for cues on the net.

jey said...

Hey! Ive had similar problems before. The thing that saved me was "backward" cycling and then easing short runs into my workout.

WKM said...

Hey Sling thanks! I read your blog sometimes as well. In fact the format of a weekly update was inspired by yours. We should run together someday. Recover well from your injuries!