Of ice and Ibuprofen

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I write this week’s training update with a packet of frozen peas stuffed down my trousers. No, you haven’t stumbled on the Belle de Jour Blog by mistake. I have sustained an injury and frozen peas are apparently an ideal way to ‘ice’ it. Either that or my physio is really having a laugh at my expense.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are only two types of runners: those who are injured, and those who are about to be. Finally, I can now bond proudly with the former! My injury problems first manifested themselves two weeks ago when my neck started to hurt (I know, me and a pain in the neck! Some days the jokes just write themselves). That was sorted by taking down my weights in Body Pump, but the hip problem is likely to be more of a challenge.

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The latest additions to my running kit…

The problem took a while to diagnose. First my physio needed to discount arthritis (not a possibility anyone wants to consider the week they become a forty-something), a stress fracture (I’m certainly pretty stressed) and complications arising from iliotibial band syndrome (I think my spell-check just injured itself in sympathy).

But no, the oh-so-glamorous sounding hip bursitis was the verdict. The recommended treatment is a complete lack of impact exercise (ie no running), side stretches, strong anti-inflammatories and regular icing. If that doesn’t work I might need a cortisone injection. Joy.

Reactions to my injury have varied – though I am still waiting in vain for so much as a scrap of sympathy. Howls of laughter at the frozen peas scenario have featured prominently. Closely followed by howls of derision that I, of all people, have managed to sustain a “proper” running injury. “Wow,” noted one of the gym instructors admiringly. “You must have been clocking some SERIOUS mileage to get bursitis.” “Are you sure you didn’t just fall over putting on your running tights?”, was another, less flattering response.

Joking aside, I am of course, pretty disappointed. For one thing, it’s painful even to walk. But most of all – and I can’t quite believe I am typing this – I don’t want to stop running. I went from being a conscientious objector at the start of my training, to someone with a sub-30 5K PB (a month ago I’d have needed a code-breaker to decipher that). At some point, my natural vanity kicked in, and I didn’t just want to complete my leg of the Moodie Multi-National Marathon, I was chasing a sub-45 TIME. (Yes, I know that’s not fast by normal running standards, but for me it was practically supersonic.) Unless my hip heals mighty quickly, that isn’t going to happen.

I will still run my leg, of course (probably very slowly). Or walk it. Or limp it. Or maybe a combination of all three. And that, I suppose, is the message of this week’s Blog. How you do it really doesn’t matter. Doing it somehow is all that counts.

To all you speedsters, flying along in training, more power to you (grrr). To the rest of us, who might be unfit, unwell, injured or even just plain unmotivated – remember, as with so much in life, faster is not always better.

The Marathon is a charity event designed to help the children of Haiti. They don’t care how fast or slow any of us run; this is a race only to build a better life for them.

So far this event has raised over US$51,000, and the money is still coming in. A staggering 45 teams, from all over the world, have signed up. Some of them will run fast, some will be slow. What matters is that all of them will raise money for Hand in Hand for Haiti, and there is still time to join them. As I so ably demonstrate, you don’t need to be young, fast, super-fit or a seasoned runner. You can cover the 7.03K distance at any speed you choose, any time from 4-7 March.

If you really can’t participate yourself, please sponsor other runners. You can do this via the Moodie Multi-National Marathon fundraising site, http://moodiemarathon.kintera.org, the place to go to register a team, set up targets, sponsor other runners or make a general donation.

As for me, I’m off to buy more peas.

(Rebecca Mann’s individual donation page can be found at http://moodiemarathon.kintera.org/running_mann)

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