Trail running, Injuries and (non-)Paddling


Apologies for not writing more often. It’s been a crazy few months, and not crazy in the sense crazy busy. More like crazy because my whole world has been knocked off its usual axis. Time usually spent in my ski/canoe thinking of my heart rate, paddling technique, how many intervals I still have left, how beautiful my surroundings are, has ground to nothing. Zero, zip.

This must be the longest gap I have had from my boat in about 8 years. That’s 96 months, or 416 weeks, or 2920 days. A very long time. Especially the past 5/6 years, which have been 2-4 hours a day, most days of the week. No wonder I’m feeling out of whack. I not only miss the physical battle of pushing myself, but more importantly the absolute enjoyment I get out of chasing runs, shooting rapids, or just “clicking” in my technique and achieving that elusive effortless glide that is perfection.

Running in the Forest

So, what have I been getting up to? Well, in one word, RUNNING! Even cycling was aggravating my wrist (the gripping action of handle bars is remarkably similar to gripping a paddle shaft). I must say, I love running. Well, let’s re-phrase, I love trail running. Luckily I live in an untouched, trail runner’s paradise! Kranshoek and Harkerville forest have provided me with plenty of lung busting, leg crunching entertainment. And when I am really feeling tough I hit the infamous Robberg.

The beauty of Robberg

Running is not paddling though. I catch myself gazing out to sea from the cliff runs, checking out how good the runs would be if I was out there. I still check WindGuru every morning religiously. And at least once a week I give my ski a little pat and talking to.

The Island at Robberg

I have unfortunately had to cancel the rest of my big races for the year. I cancelled my flights to Hong Kong and Dubai, and have pulled put of the 50 Miler event and Cape Point. Disappointing stuff, but nothing is as brutal as missing out on my beloved Fish River Marathon and of course World marathon Champs (always wanted to get to Singapore!).

The ony consolation I have had is that I read on the report from the Dragon Run, that I won the OceanPaddler World series this year.

Regarding the wrist, it is healing, albeit slowly. The degree of damage is crazy, with a massive neural involvement too. Way too much racing, not enough downtime, and forgetting my basic movement patterns while only focussing on my special movement patterns. You know, the ones that make you go FASTER, for LONGER!

Well, its back to basics for me now. Re-learning basic movement, building myself from the inside out. The symptoms of my injury, and the warning signs were there ages ago. I chose to ignore them, and maybe, at the time I didn’t realise that everything was linked. The most important thing I am taking from this injury and four months of hell, is that EVERYTHING IS RELATED when it comes to the human body.

Anyway, I have learnt a lot of new tricks these past few months (including patience) and I hoping I will bounce back even stronger come 2012.

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