I’m one of the many runners who won’t be taking part in today’s London Marathon – but that’s for the simple and shockingly straightforward reason that I haven’t entered it!
Consider then, the poor individuals who have – but who’ve had to pull out through injury or illness.
One of my former work colleagues says on FaceBook he’s “gutted” he’s had to sit this one out, but urges other runners “have a great race and soak up the atmosphere”.
But the good news – for those who got in via the ballot – is if you had to withdraw your entry through illness or injury the organisers say they will guarantee you an entry for the 2018 event – as long as you follow these guidelines, that is!
None of this was directly down to an unhealthy choice, it was down to a supposedly healthy necessity – I’d broken a bone in my foot and doctors advised me not to do any exercise that involved putting weight on it (in other words my normal exercise routine!)
Admittedly I could have been more creative in how I adapted my workouts but in practice this didn’t happen.
One of the many results was a limited choice for work outfits for summer. A big bust, flabby upper arms and a slight belly are better off hidden under baggy black tops. The Guerrilla training I was forbidden to do would’ve sorted the issue.
Now, of course, that’s in the past. And I’m very, very grateful I can run today – I’m in my running gear as I type this and the sun is shining outside! Am I procrastinating?
Good Luck to everyone who likes working out but who’s still recovering from injury. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen! Hang on in there.
Gratitude, as I said in my Blogiversary post, is a many-splendoured thing.
I had a glorious Guerrillas workout again this morning, as opposed to this time last year, when I was rocking the granny shoe look.
This unflattering form of footwear was the only equipment offered me, and I have a looked at many other accoutrements made available to others who underwent leg injuries.
For example I would’ve enjoyed the services of a knee scooter and so, I’m pretty sure, would my friends in the pub!
The magical Marilyn Monroe knew that crutches certainly were NOT a Girl’s Best Friend – but that didn’t keep her away from the cameras.
Note the interesting combination of stiletto heel with the bandaged foot shown right – she doesn’t look too happy does she?
I had imagined that, as Marilyn was no stranger to the joys of exercise, (regularly going jogging before it caught on as a trend) her frustration could only be imagined.
She sprained her ankle whilst filming in 1953 and not happy with the conditions in which she was injured, reportedly insisted on wearing a cast and taking time out of the schedule – to get back at the director!
If I’m wrong on the above please let me know – I’m admittedly no expert on Monroe, but I like her spirit.
Hopefully, most leg injuries are temporary in the great scheme of things, but – for those who do currently have a broken foot like I did – and/or need crutches like Marilyn – here are some questions to ask yourself/your doctor/your best mate etc etc:
Will you be able to rest your injured limb on the ground? If so, can you use it for balance while walking?
How can you bathe? Can you stand in the shower, or do you need to use a bath tub?
Can you just use one crutch as a cane? If so, what’s the best way to walk with a cane?
Can you go swimming?
What are the best ways to position your arms and maintain posture while using crutches?
My inevitable fears over putting on weight led to an article on my pet hate – dieting. And I’ll level with you, the inevitable flabbiness caused by lack of exercise did impact on the choice of clothes I could wear for work in the unforgiving summer.
ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injury is common among footballers – and can bring with it a frustratingly-long recovery period.
In April I spoke to Jonty Sargent – a football-mad sports presenter at Signal Radio forced to the side-lines by an injury sustained in a tackle during a Signal 1derers game in August 2014.
A catch-up revealed he no longer needs his crutches – but, in terms of regaining his confidence, it’s very early days indeed.
In May, surgeons cut a section off his hamstring and used that to replace two of the cruciate ligaments in his knee.
So he can do run-of-the-mill stuff which we mostly take for granted like using the stairs and walking the dog. He continues his “rehab” with twice-weekly physio sessions, and yes, he can now run and use the leg press at the gym.
So, I asked, were they ever times he thought things would never return to normal?
Jonty replied: “Well that’s the thing, to be fair I don’t think it ever will. In reality it’s always going to be that thing at the back of your mind…
“With playing football I’m unsure of whether or not I’ll really play again if not for a few months minimum at least. But I’ll never have a normal attitude to sport and running about.
“I’m always now going to be wary that it’s going to give way – and that it’s going to snap, essentially.”
And he knows he’s in good company.
“I ‘spose you get this with a lot of injuries – especially footballers and stuff – if you get a bad tackle and then, if you see that player again, or even walking back on to the pitch, you’re going to be so wary of it.
“And you see, in particular with footballers, that they’re never quite the player they were.”
However, he’s still involved with his passion via his work at Signal.
“When people who don’t quite make it as footballers (go into) radio and TV and media, I mean some people can go into the coaching and management, that’s the closest thing you can get to it which is quite good and I enjoy my job.
“I do miss football – in particular the big charity games that we get invited to play in and I can’t play in them, it’s really disheartening, but like I say being close to the sport in my job is something that I enjoy.”
Meanwhile he’s getting light-hearted advice on what exercise he can take from players like Jermaine Jenas – and, as evident in the video below, he’s sufficiently recovered to play Mini Ping Pong with Chris Iwulemo!
Yoga is the latest addition to my seemingly Phoenix-like return to exercise.
I went for a run yesterday morning – so after a shower and a change of clothing, it seemed the perfect antidote.
The “Restful Yin” class was ideal – as it involved a much-needed stretch for the muscles I’d used in Guerrillas and running.
Most people are familiar with the idea of yin/yang – with my favourites leaning towards the “Yang” side of things obviously.
But here’s a definition from someone who knows a bit more:
“The term “yin yoga” comes from the Taoist tradition. Yang relates to movement, often repetitive movement, creating heat in the body. Yin is about finding stillness and cooling the body.” Geraldine Beirne, Yin yoga: be part of the yin crowd, The Guardian, 5 January 2015
It essentially involves passive stretching – in other words, relaxing into the pose and letting the body weight do the work rather than actively pushing into it.
Breathing techniques also help as you use the breath to intensify the stretch.
Imagine then, what that’s like for someone like me!
The idea of “letting go” is very difficult for someone who’s used to the idea of having to deploy every ounce of their will-power into things like running up a hill or lifting something heavy.
In other words, most of the exercises I do almost involve “mind over matter” – envisaging what I want my body to do and dragging it along there with me.
And actively welcoming the idea of muscles “softening” – anyone reading this blog knows my opinions on having a soft body!
Nevertheless, the results were fantastic – the stiffness from my more Yang-ish endeavours diminished.
I have deployed yoga as a solution a number of times in the past.
With the aid of YouTube I have managed to heat a cold living room – and my even colder self – with an Ashtanga session.
And as being able to speak is an essential part of my work I have also warded off being side-lined by whatever “nasty-bug-that’s-going-around” with asanas geared at boosting immunity.
My only criticism would be that – in a lot of cases on YouTube – the instructor is far more flexible than I could even hope to be.
Let’s face it, who can resist showing-off if they’re good at something?
So many of the ensuring poses are impossible for me and leave me standing gormless on the mat.
Here’s just one example of YouTube yoga for runners – it’s Ekhart Yoga – one of my most trusted (and less ostentatious) sources.
Believe you me, whether it’s a YouTube front room job or a class, yoga does work!