NM Galaxy Race 12km- Secret Results & Phantom Prizes

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Apology posted on Facebook by the organisers of the NM Galaxy Race Series 12km run which took place this past Sunday at Lake Titiwangsa.

If you ran the race, you’re very much aware of the NM Galaxy 12km run’s deficiencies – lighting, toilets, loudspeaker, legible distance markers, inaccurate route distance, not to mention the endurance event that was race bib collection! Plenty of people have been voicing complaints and suggestions on these issues, an others, on the NM Galaxy Facebook page so if you didn’t run, but are considering joining the next NM Galaxy race in May – there is a planned series of four races with interconnecting medals – or you’re just curious with some time on your hands, pop over there and have a look. (By the way, I’m sick to death of people going on Facebook after races – not just yesterday’s event, it seems to happen after every race here – complaining about goody bags. You sign up for a race to run for goodness sake, not to get free mouthwash samples and cartons of Milo.) That said, most of the online complaints have been very valid. And to give credit where it’s due, the organisers have not been defensive in their response. In fact, they’ve been downright apologetic promising to do better next time (very like a child who knows they’ve done wrong).

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NM Galaxy 12 km (11.5km) route recorded on my Garmin watch.

My biggest reservation in signing up for this race was the route along a very busy highway, Jalan Tun Razak, in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. However, thanks to traffic police and placement of cones, I felt pretty safe throughout the race on a route that proved to be very pleasant with only a few small inclines. I imagine though that as traffic got heavier, this was not the case for all runners. The route doubled back on itself twice which meant that there were runners running on either side of the central reservation which was actually nice as people could cheer friends along when they passed in opposite directions. (And thank you to the people who shouted ‘Go Expat Runner’ – you really spurred me on to keep going).

Now, cheating is unacceptable but a route with two u-turns does lend itself to such behaviour for the deviants who engage in it. At the first u-turn there were volunteers writing down bib numbers of the leading runners, and at the second there was a timing mat. I really hope there weren’t any participants taking shortcuts and then collecting Finisher Medals. At the end of the day, such people are cheating themselves as much as undermining the efforts of the folk who push their limits to complete a race. And to the person on Strava who only ran 8km of the route? Maybe you weren’t registered and just went along for the ride. Hopefully you didn’t collect medal. I’m looking forward to your response 🙂

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Is this the finish line? Confidence in the organisation being a bit low, and my watch being 500m short of 12km, I had to ask.

Back to me. Since coming back from my PTT injury, I’ve aspired to run a 10 or 12 km race at 5 min/km pace and on Sunday I managed 4.58min/km so I am really, really pleased. I’ve come a long way from the person who moaned and complained and cursed their way around a route as I’ve realised that a positive mental attitude when you’re hurting is everything. I can’t blame the shin splints I suffered for the first 3 km or the side stitch I had for the final 8km on the organiser unfortunately; these were all my own fault, but I managed to run through them thankfully. However, the debacle at the finish certainly was the organisers’ fault, and as no one has yet to mention it on Facebook, I would like to suggest improvements here.

Now I know it took a bit of effort to figure out the event rules, regulations and prize details, as no handbook was provided at bib collection, but being a pedant, I had searched out this information on the event’s Facebook page. Clearly, the lady operating the laptop with the timing information at the finish line had not read the handbook. Or maybe she didn’t like the look of me, or perhaps she’s always rude. Whatever. It is the norm here to place tags around the necks of the placed athletes who cross the line. It hasn’t happened to me often, but when it does, I tend to cry. There were no tears this time, because there were no tags. I knew that there weren’t a lot of women in front of me so I thought I might have been placed but I was only guessing. So I approached the laptop lady to politely ask if she could check my placing. I suggested that place tags at the finish line would be useful but was told quite definitively that this is too confusing. Huh? I was certainly confused.

Laptop lady initially refused to check my placing but I explained that I wanted to know whether I could go home or not, so she relented and tapped her keyboard to check. She showed me four fingers. ‘Fourth?’ I clarified. ‘Yes, but I don’t know how many prizes there are,’ she said dismissively. Thanks to the fact that there were several races on Sunday, and some of the ladies who are faster than me took their chances with other events, I had come 4th place in the Women’s Veteran Category. I’d read the information so I knew this meant some sort of prize. I think I came 5th or 6th overall, but as the organiser is so secretive about the results, I can’t tell you that for a fact. Again, I’m only guessing.

Mea Culpa picture posted on Facebook by the NM Galaxy Race Series organisers.
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Two hours after I crossed the finish line, two hours in which no information was provided to participants and no placings were posted, two hours of listening to dodgy music and the results of some prize draw (in Malay so I can’t tell you if I won anything or not, or indeed whether I had even entered), and five hours after I’d got out of bed to come to the event, I was called to the stage to collect my Rm150 prize.

Except it wasn’t my prize; it was a letter telling me to go to some other part of KL to collect my prize! Yes, I ran for 57 minutes on Sunday, faster than it took to collect my bib, way, way faster than it took to not collect my prize, and no doubt faster than it will take me to drive across town and back to find the organisers office to get 150 Rm. God help me but if they give me a cheque that requires that I queue up in the bank, I will lose my cool altogether.

Having started this post endeavouring to keep calm and carry on as they say, I’ve ended up ranting after all. And only because I won something. I know, poor me! Time for a run.

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On the home stretch, running, which is what it is all about.

At the end of the day, no one was hurt that I know of, and the NM Galaxy race series is a welcome addition to the local racing scene. The more people who are encouraged to run and train, the healthier, stronger (and happier) this nation will become. Yes folks, I really do believe that running is that powerful! I personally had a great run and am grateful to the volunteers as always who gave up their time to facilitate that. I’m sure the lighting, toilets, distance markers, start-line loudspeaker, start-line chaos, protracted bib collection, over-sized t-shirts, finish-line logistics, and unpleasant demeanour of stressed personnel at the start and finish line, and other issues now being aired online, will be improved for the next race, a 15km, on May 18. They had better be, as I’ve already signed up!

Race photo links:

Maszuari Muhamad

Running Malaysia Magazine

RFF Team

UPDATE: Tuesday evening: The results of the NM Galaxy 12km Run are now on the event’s Facebook page here.

MPIB 12km 2014

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For once, everything went right, nothing went wrong, and I had a good race! Hilly and hot, and 500m longer than last year’s route, I shaved over a minute off my time and clinched 4th place. Training aside, I was mentally stronger this year. Whenever I felt like slowing down, I repeated the mantra ‘I love to run’ in time with my cadence. It still wasn’t easy to keep going but despite nausea on the final 2 km, I did it. I had no clue where I was placed until I received the 4 th place tag at the finish line. What a nice surprise! I wandered around dehydrated but too nauseous to eat while waiting for the prize-giving ceremony, wearing that tag with tremendous pride, meeting old friends and new. All in all, MPIB 2014 was a blast. Take that Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis (PTT), your ass just got kicked!

When Self-Doubt Takes Hold

Last week I blithely, yet proudly, mentioned to a friend that I had done a PB on the hilly 7km loop from my house through Desa Sri Hartamas/Mont Kiara. My father-in-law had just died suddenly and unexpectedly in Denmark, and my husband had flown home for the funeral, so I guess I was using my legs to blow out some mental cobwebs.

‘Oh I never run PBs in training,’ my friend replied matter-of-factly. A-ha! Of course she doesn’t. Just this past weekend she stood on the podium of a 15km race and received a well-earned trophy for third place. My friend, and probably most runners, keep their best for race day. Most runners, aided by adrenaline and motivation to succeed, can out-perform themselves when there’s a medal to be gained. However, I find that nerves get the better of me so that my adrenaline levels peak before the race begins, and I’m lucky to make it from the portaloo to the start line in time for the gun. For my last race, I didn’t even manage that!

In the run-up to the MPIB 2014 12 km race next Sunday, I have found myself crippled with self-doubt. I have a a severe case of performance anxiety, so bad, that yesterday I was wondering whether it was time to drop this whole racing lark altogether and just run for pleasure. (I’ve had similar anxiety issues about work in the past so it’s not as if my personality isn’t being consistent). Despite my injury, I’ve trained hard in the past 12 months, and I can see from my Garmin logs that my training pace is noticeably higher than it was in December 2012. I’ve also done speed-work since September, something I had never heard of a year ago. So, on paper, anyone would expect that I will run faster in this year’s race than last, when I was unexpectedly awarded 10th place and won some nice prizes and a trophy. This time, I’m terrified that on race day, I won’t be able to come up with the goods, that I will fail to get placed, that I won’t live up to expectations.

The philosophy about running for fun, running to be part of something whether it be a community or a race, has been somewhat overwhelmed by anxiety over whether I can out-perform myself (and others) in this upcoming race. I think it’s safe to say, that even if I’d been born with Paula Radcliffe’s lungs and pre-injury legs, my brain would have sabotaged any chance of World Championship medals. It must take an astounding level of mental toughness to withstand the expectations of a nation on top of one’s own expectations, at a task at which there is only one chance.

This morning, in an attempt at quelling my nerves, I ran much of the MPIB 12 km route with my husband. Last year I remember cursing aloud good-humouredly as I struggled up some of the hills. Despite the physical effort, I enjoyed the absurdity of the situation I had put myself in at sunrise on a Sunday morning. This morning I wasn’t cursing so much but aware that my suffering was self-imposed, I was metaphorically shaking my head at having signed up for a race at all! Darn, but it was hard going. Of course, running hard is similar to childbirth-once home I was hit by a sense of achievement and euphoria, the physical sensations felt en route slightly forgotten.

The route for the MPIB 12 km is very, very challenging with much of the first 5 km uphill. Anyone who completes the race in any time deserves a bloody medal – and should feel a sense of achievement and boost to their self-esteem! Somehow, in realizing this today, I recaptured a sense of why I run, and why I need to push myself through my fear of races. My body is capable of far more than my mind will ever give it credit for and my mind has been doing a fairly decent job lately of sabotaging my running joy. This morning’s run allowed me to stick two rude fingers up at the little voice that keeps undermining me, the voice that continuously tells me that I am never good enough. The endorphin effect was as short-lived as an epidural but strong enough to convince me to try to race on Sunday – with lower expectations. I’ve decided that I don’t need to do a PB on race day – even if I’ve managed to do one today in training – if the pressure to do so takes away every ounce of pleasurable anticipation and replaces it with dread. Who’s pressurizing me anyway, other than my own ego? I’m no Paula Radcliffe after all. Being capable of hauling my ass around a hilly 12km route next Sunday is simply going to have to be good enough, PB or not. Actually, getting to the start line in time, and near the front, will be the bigger achievement! No kidding!

Wherever you are, runner, walker, couch surfer, whether you’re facing a race or other less trivial challenges in your life, whatever your dreams and ambitions, I wish you all the best as we head into a new calendar year. Thanks for reading. Oh, and if you haven’t tried running, I recommend that you try it 🙂

Happy New Year.

Johanna x

 

 

Temples & Toilets – Angkor Wat Half Marathon 2013

passAngkor Wat Half Marathon was, for me, dominated by toilets rather than the temples. And judging by the queues at the portaloos pre-race and the number of people scurrying behind trees and rocks during the run – I’ve never seen anything like it! – I wan’t the only runner thus challenged. Still, I’ll try and put my loo issues behind me – ahem – and focus on other aspects of the race.

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Snapshots of Siem Reap, Cambodia

Firstly, Siem Reap is a lovely town of low-rise buildings, teaming with stalls, shops and restaurants. Angkor Wat Temple is about 15 minutes drive out of town. The race was SUPPOSED to start at 6.30AM on Sunday so we left our hotel at 5.30AM and arrived in plenty of time to queue up for the loos. My friend and I joked that it was better to wait in line for the loo and to time a last wee just before the gun went off than to go in the bushes and end up hopping from one foot to the other with nerves at the start line. Mistake! As we ran from the portaloos in the direction of the start, we realized that the race had already started – without us! And it was only 6.24!

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My broken Nathan bottle race cap.

So I was three minutes into the race crossing the start line, which makes my ranking on the results look bad, but heh I was never going to be in the Top 20 anyway so there’s no use in being upset. Actually upsetting, was the fact that the valve on my Nathan bottle collapsed at the start, sending my Accelerade drink all over my shorts and leaving me with no fuel for 21 km. Water stations provided 350 ml bottles of water every 2.5 km and I ended up carrying one for most of the race; this did nothing for my posture but made me feel more secure about staying hydrated. The disadvantage of starting so far back was the need to overtake slower people who had started at the front. Weaving in and out, and avoiding slamming into the back of runners who stopped to take photos, dominated the first 5 km, which I took easy, breezy and dare I say I would have enjoyed if it hadn’t been for the constant need to swerve around people. At about 8km, I looked longingly at a gel a girl was taking though I had none with me as in the past they’ve made me feel nauseous. Another girl had a bag of Haribo gummy bears but she didn’t offer me any;( Of all the rear ends I saw on Sunday, one stuck out from the crowd. ‘How’s my Running? Call 1-800-EAT-DUST!’ was printed on a girl’s shorts. Love it! Somehow, after running around a slower lady, I got dizzy, and felt my stomach lurch. I took the next few kilometeres at a pretty good pace, keeping an eye out for a toilet, debating whether it was worth the loss of time or not. At around 10 km, I spied a sign for toilets and bolted out of the race and into the loos. I never thought I’d sabotage a race thus, but I did. Somehow my pace never recovered after this. Having passed so many runners before the pit stop, I couldn’t muster the will to try and pass them again. In fact I don’t really remember much of the last 10 km; probably due to a combination of lack of endurance training (I had a stitch for 9 km), lack of electrolytes (may also have caused the stitch), and the fact that I’d been sick for the 10 days prior to the race. I’m afraid, I wasn’t running with joy, more a sense of a chore that needed to be completed. I didn’t at any point run fast enough to get out of breath – during the first half I was afraid to in case I ran out of steam, during the second half I simply couldn’t because of the stitch.

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My detour!

Compared to tropical cities like Singapore, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, running at Angkor Wat felt fresh and breezy. The route is very flat and the surroundings are beautiful. Local children lined the route cheering, their hands outstretched for runners to clap, collecting water bottles which they can make money from recycling. Distance markers were clearly painted across the road at every kilometer. At some water stations, there was a can of something I didn’t recognize on offer but I didn’t risk it. By the end, the sound of water sloshing around in my stomach was enough to put me off drinking anything, so I’d probably even have refused a 100Plus if it had been available. Still, it would have been nice to have a sports drink on offer at a few water stations 🙂Image

Strangely, I crossed the Finish line feeling cold, my skin covered in goosebumps. I was delighted to meet a friend who gave me water as there were no refreshments distributed on the finish line. The medals were hard to find too; eventually, after asking many people, I found some children handing out medals to anyone who asked, in the middle of the finish line melee. My husband, who ran the 10km, got a medal identical to mine, stating Half Marathon. I’ve read complaints on Facebook that there were no medals left for Half Marathon runners who came in around the 2:30 mark which seems very unfair! Image Unfortunately we couldn’t hang around after the race for more than a few moments as we had a flight to catch back to Kuala Lumpur. My time was 1:56, which was a PB, but the fact that it could have been nearer 1:54 without the pitstop is hard to let go. Still, one MUST be positive. My foot, which I had taped, didn’t hurt at all during or even after the 21 km which, if I wasn’t such an ungrateful cow, should have been my opening line on this post.

I’d love to return to do the Angkor Wat Half Marathon in 2014 but as we’re moving to Perth, and there are no direct flights from Perth to Siem Reap, I’ll probably not have the opportunity. If we were staying in Malaysia, I’d definitely return (wearing a nappy – kidding!). I’m determined to master this 21 km lark. By this I don’t necessarily mean improve my timing – though this of course would be nice – but to cross the Finish line feeling a sense of achievement. Looking back I can see that the races I’ve enjoyed most, or that have given me a sense of accomplishment, have all (three) been 15 -16km. I haven’t registered for another Half until March, so I’ve plenty of time to work on my stamina and endurance to see if I can ‘master’ the 21 km distance. Image

In the meantime, I’ve ordered new race caps for my Nathan bottles and I will continue with physio for my PTT. And then there will be race toilet training which I have now added to my New Year’s resolution list for 2014!

Cambodia here I come

Almost three months after my PTT injury, I am finally going to do a Half Marathon this weekend. Sure I trained all summer before my pace came to an abrupt halt and sure I’ve only managed one 21 km training run since, so I’m in nothing near the shape I thought I’d be in when I signed up back in April, but there is still much to be excited about because the race is the Angkor Wat Half Marathon. I’m thinking of this as more of an ‘experience’ race than an ‘achievement’ race; I know it will be a special experience, not least because it’s my first trip child-free with my husband since July 2008, our second in over 12 years.

family Angkor

We were lucky enough to have a family holiday in Cambodia around New Year 2012/2013. We visited many temples including Angkor Wat which dates from the 12th century and is the oldest religious monument in the world. Back then my husband and I decided that we’d return for the race, a very popular event amongst running expats in KL. In fact the first time I heard about it was three years ago while eavesdropping on a conversation between a friend and a lady who had just returned from the Angkor Wat race. I was truely flummoxed as to why anyone would want to travel to another country to get up before dawn on a Sunday morning to run 21 km. I still very distinctly remember how my pre-running mind boggled. And here I am now – packing.

Today is a day for logistics and final planning (for my kids). My nerves are in shreds at the thought of leaving them even though I know they will be in very safe and capable hands. I won’t really start thinking about the race until tomorrow on the two hour flight to Siem Reap on which I will meet up with an old friend, from my Aberdeen work days, who nowImage lives in Jakarta. When she did the Singapore Half Marathon two years ago I was in awe, never dreaming that it might be something that I too would be capable of. Yes, and here I am – packing.

I had my last pre-race session with Akmal, my physio, yesterday and I’m very happy that my foot is now in great shape. My new Brooks Adrenaline trainers feel very comfortable while offering arch support too.

I’m really going to try and run the Angkor Wat Half Marathon with gratitude, gratitude for the fact that I get to participate in a unique running event in a beautiful country that most people will never get to see in their lifetime, gratitude that I can run pain-free, and gratitude for all the familiar and unfamiliar faces, smiling, possibly grimacing at times, that I’ll see on Sunday morning under the rising Cambodian sun.

I’ll keep you posted.

2XU Compression Run Results

I wasn’t even racing, just training, so I’m astounded to discover that I ranked 14th by gun time out of 928 women in Sunday’s race. What a great morale boost! My net time was 1:25:44. You can see that it took me almost 2 mins to reach the start line after the gun went off.

Here are the results which can be searched by surname or bib number: 2XU Compression Run Results

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Reclaiming My Runner’s Joy

Last night, after a nine (9!!) week break, I returned to my running club. It was the best evening I’ve had, well, in nine weeks (not counting of course my nights on the sofa watching Breaking Bad).

It was made all the more enjoyable by the fact that despite what I thought were ominous pains in my foot last week, the foot didn’t hurt (while I ran). Funnily enough, it was sore beforehand, when I arrived at Lake Gardens for the running clinic. An hour poised over the brake (mostly the brake) and the accelerator of a car on what in light traffic is a 12-minute journey is bound to make anyone’s foot complain. Right?

Last week, having found Nemo and discovered a rare Irish fish in the sea off the Gili Islands in Indonesia (see photos), I ran 7 km at 5min/km pace on the hotel treadmill. I didn’t ice the foot afterwards as I was too lazy to walk to the bar and ask for some. My foot really hurt. Despite rolling my arch several times a day on a tennis ball and being really attentive to my running form, it hurt. I worried, and dispensed with any intention of running again last week.

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Clownfish off the Gili Islands, Indonesia.

Now while, the downside of living in Kuala Lumpur may be the traffic, one of the many upsides is affordable healthcare. It costs me Rm85 (27 USD/ 20 Euros) for a physiotherapy session that often lasts an hour. On my return from Indonesia, I went for my rehab session expecting bad news. But there was none.

The amazing Akmal released the tension in my arch and toes, and spend a lot of time stretching out my calves and hips. There was no re-injury, just scar tissue which he will continue to work on over the coming weeks while I diligently do my prescribed exercises at home. Ok, well maybe not diligently but sometimes, when I remember, at least. He recommends I see him three times a week. On a per-week basis that’s cheaper than a facial (even in Kuala Lumpur). Sure, it makes me high maintenance, but given the fact that I never actually have facials (or manicures or massages), and that physiotherapy is in fact maintenance, I’m happy to oblige. One woman’s rehab is another’s pampering.

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Irish Buttfish (who appears to be trying to run?!)

So back to last night’s running clinic. We did 8 x 500s, the same exercise we did nine weeks ago. As expected, I’d lost fitness, so my average 500 m time dropped from 1.59 mins to 2.03 but still. I was happy! I managed to complete the 8 ‘sprints’. I had a lot of fun with the other runners. I got great advice on pulling my shoulders back and keeping my chin up when I run. My foot felt fine and I experienced a real post-run high which I can only describe as joyous.

I’m thinking of running the 2XU Compression 15 km race on Sunday as I need to get in a long training run and that’s about as long as I should be doing at this stage of recovery. There will be no PB but after an unplanned five month break from racing, it’s time to be brace and pin on a bib. (And get up at some Godforsaken hour to eat breakfast, drive and find a parking space, go to the loo, to be ready for the start whistle at 6 AM).

As a competitive person, who daily has unrealistic expectations of herself, my instinct is not to run when I’m not at my peak fitness but the rational side of me knows that there is still a lot to be gained from participating even when a PB is out of the question. The atmosphere at races here is always very positive and the race is an opportunity to catch up with a lot of runners I haven’t seen in ages. The route is very hilly so it will be an excellent training opportunity. If I have to run 15 km anyway, I may as well do it in company. And, at the end of the day, even competitive old me has to remember that running isn’t always about racing, even when you’re racing.

On Sunday, I’m going to try run joyously, and celebrate the fact that after injury, just being able to run is a gift. A finisher’s medal will of course make the ‘comeback’ all the sweeter.

Quit at Never

This morning I ran 8 km dressed in irony. I wore my race shirt for tonight’s BSN Putrajaya Half Marathon which shouts Quit at Never from the back. I’d dreamed of showing my back to the majority of ladies running tonight but thanks to my Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis I’m hardly able to run 10 km so racing 21 km is out of the question. Quit at Never? Hell no, I’m quitting before I even start!

20131019-111640.jpgOn the positive side, it’s school mid-term and I’m heading to the beach (where, lesson learned by my Achilles Tendons, I will resist the urge to run). My girls (age 11 & 12) and I are flying to Lombok, Indonesia, a tiny island adjacent to Bali for a few days. We’re going to snorkel, visit some craft villages and chill out poolside away from homework and little brother. Pre-injury, I booked the only hotel on the island with a fitness room so I hope to hit the treadmill a few times to continue the fight back to fitness. Unfortunately, I can’t take my physiotherapist with me – think of the gossip! – but I am still packing for rehab: tennis ball ( to roll out my arch), Theraband (ankle strength training) and aqua belt (to give bored people something to stare at in the pool). I’ll be relying on the hotel bar for ice 🙂

Tonight, I plan to watch the final three episodes of Dexter Season 8 and try not think of all the folk shuffling their feet at the start line in Putrajaya. It’s hardly the stuff of dreams, it may even be the source of nightmares, but when it comes to television box sets at least I’m still able to Quit at Never 😉

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Shape Night Run – not!

So there is a perception that in20130907-143659.jpgjuries are part and parcel of running, but up until now I’ve been fortunate to experience nothing worse then a strained Achilles Tendon due to over-eager barefoot running in Vietnam. That was worth it for the sheer bliss of the experience! And I never had to not run because of it; I just had to be diligent with ice and stretching after hilly runs in particular. In fact this past week, having managed to remember to do some heel lifts and drops on a step every day, I’ve had no tendon discomfort. But..

Yesterday I did an easy pre-race 6km around my neighbourhood. I wasn’t aware of any twisting or ankle turning. I was wearing a new pair of trainers but they are the same design as I always use, and having done a PB in a brand new pair of similar trainers in the past, I didn’t think this would cause any problems. And maybe it didn’t. But something did, as at the end of my run my inner ankle in front of the joint was sore. I iced it, forgot about and got on with a very busy day, made busier by the arrival of 300 Little League t-shirts on my doorstep and the subsequent discovery that the print work of 57 of the tops was botched. Yes, I had a helluva Friday night, blissfully unaware of my ankle sprain. That was, until I lay on the bed reading with my son and noticed that my ankle was swollen and tender to touch. I iced it and took an analgesic to help the swelling and hoped a night’s sleep would resolve the issue. The ankle wasn’t back to normal this morning yet for hours while watching my kids’ soccer practice, wearing a compression bandage, I really thought I was still going to race tonight. But the ankle started to ache and by early afternoon was still swollen. I think I could run on it but I’m not sure if I could manage 12 fast kilometres. I ran a race in April with a serious chest infection and was off my feet for a week as a result of what in hindsight was plain stupidity in avoiding the doctor as I knew he/she would advise me not to race. I said I’d never ignore common sense and behave so irresponsibly with my health again.

So this lunchtime, I traipsed off to the doctor for a professional opinion. If he/she said ‘don’t race’, I’d be a good girl and do what I was told. Funnily enough it turned out to be the same doctor on duty as when I went in April coughing up a lung after I’d raced. That time he sent me for an x-ray to check for pneumonia. This time there was no x-ray and no need to explain my love of running as somehow he remembered me!
Three days ice, rest, elevation and painkiller patches, he said. Actually he said a week but I knocked him down a few days. I should be gutted at missing the race but what’s the point? I know that if I race tonight I consciously risk seriously straining my ankle ligaments or even tearing them. That would mean no running for weeks, maybe longer.  My fear of greater injury has trumped my ego which wants to see how well I could do in Putrajaya tonight. And I’ve got two more bibs waiting to be pinned on this month, so sacrificing one has to be worth it. At least I need to believe that.
On the positive side I now avoid a long drive at night on my own. I also get a wake-up call on the importance of tying my shoelaces tight and not suddenly doing heel drops on the other foot for the hell of it, the only causes I can think of for the ankle sprain. Oh yes, I guess I’d have been fine if I hadn’t gone running too – but let’s not even go there!