Sunday, January 6, 2008

From 0 to 100: The Stuff No One Talks About

This is my last entry in this series. I’m embarrassed to admit that this hasn’t worked for me and I am injured, and so I am not going to encourage others by continuing this series of articles. Fortunately for me, it is only an inflammation of my kneecap caused by a tight ITB. A bit of rest and stretching should do the trick and I hope I can be ready to compete in May.

Injury
Well, needless to say, you should seek medical attention. But, as driven athletes, we often train through pain, further damaging ourselves. In general, if you encounter pain during training, you should stop, apply RICE. If the pain doesn’t go away after about a week, seek medical advice before you do some permanent damage. Fortunately, I have a good friend who was able to help me (Thanks Jasmine!).

Fungus
It thrives in moist, warm conditions. Er, that’s just what it’s like here in the tropics. Perspiration doesn’t evaporate well in humid conditions. This means that you are going to be soaked in sweat for long periods of time if you are training for an ultra event – prime breeding ground for the dreaded ‘jock itch’ fungus.

If you’ve got it, they are stubborn buggers to get rid off. There are various soaps, powders and creams that you can buy off the shelf. I find the soaps don’t work, the powders work moderately well, and the creams work best. You’ll have to continue applying the medication until well after symptoms have ceased.

It’s best to prevent it in the first place. Shower up and dry up as soon as you can after training. If you aren’t able to do so, then at least change out of wet shorts and socks and towel dry.

Swollen Feet
I wore a size 9 ½ shoe when I started training for my Gobi Desert ultramarathon. Midway through the training, I needed a size 10. By the time I left for the race, I was wearing a size 10 ½. After the race, I couldn’t even get my feet back into my shoes. My mistake was that during the bus ride back into town, I took my shoes off, got a great massage and failed to elevate my feet.
The trick to reducing swelling is to elevate your feet above your heart. You can do this after long runs, or whilst sleeping during a multi-day race by propping your feet up onto your backpack. If you need a pillow, use a rolled up jacket or an inflatable pillow.

Good luck to everyone, whatever your sports endeavors are!

Photos:
Top: Two Runners in the Vast Gobi
Bottom: The Pain of Defeet. Getting a massage on the bus after the race. Hows that for service. Photo by Aloysius Wee.
Both photos taken using a Pentax Optio 43WR