...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Monday, May 19, 2008

When bad things aren't so bad after all

Picture added on 22 May 2008, c/o Pabla.

My left knee still hurts from the forest-jogging 3 weeks ago. It's my fault. I'm too stubborn for my own good. I thought I was better the moment I didn't feel the symptoms and then went cycling, spinning and running again, only for the pain to come back with a vengeance last Saturday. My ambitions of running the Vår Ruset today in 25 or so minutes dissolved as I realized that it could be harmful to join the run at all. The pain wasn't only localized to the left knee but crept up all the way to my left hip. It didn't help to "run the pain away" either – the pain only got sharper and I had to admit to myself by Saturday afternoon that I was too injured to run. I couldn't even take myself down the stairs without pain.

I called Medicinskt Centrum as soon as they opened today to book a time for a foot analysis. Thankfully, they had free time just before the Ruset. Not that they can do anything about the pain. However, I did get some peace of mind just knowing what it was that caused my knee and hip problems. The podiatrist – if that's what you call them – explained that the front of my feet over-pronate, i.e. twist a lot inwards just before the toe-off (the final movement of the running stride), causing my knee to move abnormally and causing too much stress to the leg muscles to which the knee is connected. Since there are few shoe brands that are designed for forefoot pronation, I'm going to have my feet moulded tomorrow so he can make special foot insoles to "cure" my problem. But in the meantime, there was still the Vår Ruset to run... or at least go to. I already paid the registration fee and I already received my race number a week ago. I thought that I might as well go anyway, even if that meant I had to walk the whole way.

My team, sans Kirsten, who haven't arrived yet here

I never thought I'd be so thankful that there were several start groups in the fun run. The first group are for runners who aim for under 25 minutes; the second group is for people aiming under 30, and so on until the 5th group who aim to walk leisurely, use Nordic walkers, or take their perambulators with them. A few weeks ago when I thought I could make it to the second start group, my competitive self was wondering what the point was with the last start group. I had no idea I had to eat my words!

I joined the second to the last start group – the walking and slow-jog group. (Walking with the retiree club and pram-bearing mommies in group 5 seemed too much, even for an injured person!) Even though half of me really wanted to give it a try running, I realized that I made the right decision in the end. My knee hurt anyway, as expected, about 1.5 kilometers into the track and I knew it would have hurt so much worse if I had ran. I know it sucks, but the most important thing is that I decided to go to the fun run anyway and finished it.

Gals from the 4th start group (we're somewhere there in the middle – Kirsten with a gray sweater and Pabla waving). As you can see, this group wasn't exactly in a hurry, which was good for me. Photo c/o Pabla and Sten.

You can't imagine how ego-soothing it is that everybody gets a medal and a bag of freebies at the finish line. I registered into this thing with such a competitive mindset. I trained hard thinking that this would be an opportunity to "conquer myself" – in that martial arts style of thinking – and that it wasn't worth it to just jog the track slowly. Being injured is really a humbling experience not only because my body demanded another limit than my brain had in mind, but most of all because I finally understood why this fun run wasn't a competitive race to begin with.

I recall what I said when I first thought about registering for Vår Ruset: that it is in the first of the two words where the emphasis in "fun run" really lies. So true! Anyway, Kirsten, Pabla and I (who were all in the second to the last start-group) finished in 48 minutes. The others in our team finished earlier, as they were in the earlier start-groups.

Some funny things about the Vår Ruset:

1. Warming up in our start-group "corral" to agitating music, led by overenthusiastic men in tight shorts. And after the start countdown (with an electronic-sounding voice-over), a puff of smoke rises from a tower.

2. Whatever the situation, Swedes can't do without their candy. Somewhere at 3.5 kilometers, the Red Cross were not only handing out cups with water but also different types of candy -- which I of course took advantage of, heheh! It defies logic to serve candy during a sports event, but hey, it tastes good :-)

3. We got soda with our picnic basket and they gave out free cookies at the sponsors' tent. I'm not complaining though; I told you this event had no pretensions of being a serious and competitive race.

4. There was entertainment and music all along the track – first a young pop group, then some Swedish folk dancers, then old men playing accordions. It was amusing, but it's a pity that everyone just passes them by in a hurry.

5. Being overtaken by brisk-walking women pushing baby prams. Bummer!

But yeah, we had a good picnic afterwards. And already, some of us are planning to go to Tjejmilen, the 10K women's race in Stockholm at the end of August. I will be better by then!


Blogger aka Cheryl said...

this is such a timely post! i've been looking for something new to do for the month but wala pa ko naiisip.

you know, i don't remember entering anything with a competitive mindset. pft. maybe what i need (for my "something new") is to do something with the intent to "conquer myself". hmm, i like that idea. i really should try it.

hahahaha. sorry, di pa talaga ko nagkaron ng realization, while making this comment ;) anyway, hope you get your foot mold soon! :)

9:33 AM

Anonymous Esther Garvi said...

What a Swedish thing: to hand out a medal to everyone... Kind of cute, really! :-) It's was a while since I walked the Vårruset - thanks for sharing! And nice to see pictures of you as well!

6:45 PM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Hi Cheryl!

Glad I could, uh, inspire you :-) Hehe! Any ideas of what you're going to do? Believe me though, once you start moving you'll want to do it continuously and not just "as something new to do for the month". (It's some behaviorist thing. You keep on going as long as you see that the psychological rewards are worth the effort and pain.) For my part, I already got my insoles. Will write about that soon. And next week I hope I could start running again.


Yeah since I was injured and didn't get to the start group I wanted, getting the medal was really humbling. Everybody's a winner just for deciding to get out of their apartments and walk that walk. Yeah I should post more pictures of myself -- everybody says so. But I seem to be taking more pictures of others than they're taking pictures of me! :-D

6:49 AM

Blogger Prixie said...

Ahoy there! I loved this post! Since getting into running, I've been interested in fun runs and all. After I ran my first 4k, my knee hurt as well and I couldn't run for sometime. It's better now but only rest cured it. Running is so... zen.

By the way, for someone who mostly walked the entire way, you looked good! And I want some of that freebies basket!

10:37 AM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Hi Prixie! :-)So cool that you're into fun runs too! Yeah, running is a bit like martial arts isn't it? Hihi! I hope your knee pain doesn't come back and get worse. I read that one shouldn't be afraid to rest when the pain sets in. I should follow that advice more often!

We already ate everything in the freebies basket (except the bandana, which isn't edible of course!) :-D Yum!

11:20 AM


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