Searching For Buns Of Steel

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By Murray Anderson-Ogle

Our sport of running is a dangerous sport. It is not abseiling, cliff diving, skydiving, moto-cross or any other sport that one might see on X Games.

Rather, danger lurks in the innocuous hills, pancake-flat stretches of road and our innate competitive spirit that leads all runners into the abyss of agony and bloating of our physios’ credit ledgers. We are not rugby players, those men who are lauded like warriors of antiquity.

Rather, we are relegated to the fringes of society, on the corner of Jekyll and bedlam. We endure conversations where our family and friends say ‘but running is so hard, it hurts, I get tired driving 42.2 kms, never mind running that far’.

I joined the club of injured runners recently. I was near the end and suddenly: pain.

An acute pain, shooting through my quad muscle that I chose to ignore; I chose to sacrifice my feelings on the altar of ‘pain is your friend, it’s good to have a bad run, Comrades is not a stroll’. I was wrong and I ignored advice I had received earlier that week, (‘if you feel kak go home and try again the next day’). Pushing through was awful and the pain subsided only at 4 pm that afternoon lubricated by beers, sunshine and boating.

So I find myself here, feeling like I should be in one of Lady Gaga’s S & M bondage videos. I am sporting Teesav’s (rugby pant), having my leg shaved, strapped, and feeling super awkward.

For the past two weeks, I have been at the physio being contorted, stretched and maneouvred, clenching my ass cheeks for all they worth. According to the physio, as my core is weak, my quads, hamstring and spine come under pressure. Oh and yes, your ass (or glute muscles for the PC folk) is crucial to your core and keeping yourself stable while running.

Armed with instructions for stretches, beach balls, wobble boards, squidgy boards and diagrams of bizarre strengthening exercises, I have been contorting myself, balancing, and flexing in all the hope of strengthening my body for the rigours of running. I am that guy at gym, rolling around on the mat looking like the French poodle at the foxhunt, completely out of place and ridiculous.

Cynicism is a default position for me. It’s easy to always have a short, curt and have a snappy reply. It is much harder to stay positive amidst injuries, frustration and the looming terror that is Comrades. Will I be ready? Will my body maintain the pressures of training? Perhaps I’ll look back and realize in hindsight that it’s not a bad idea to have an injury now.

If you’re in the same boat as me, hopefully you will recover and find out where your weaknesses lie, especially if you are a novice. I thought I was awesome; I had the arrogance of youth and comfort in my abilities to do well.

I have learnt my lessons well: do not over do it, and listen to your body. I am planning on running a marathon this weekend and in preparation I am stretching, flexing, and clenching to within an inch of my life. I will be slow, but I want to feel the kilometers under my feet.

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6 Responses to Searching For Buns Of Steel

  1. DG McWarren March 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    This kid’s got mad writing skills.

  2. murray March 8, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Thanks DG, much appreciated.

  3. Grethe Maleta March 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Really loved this one. Made me chuckle out-loud! Awesome stuff, Blatch! Super proud!

  4. ed machine March 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    nice blatch… u ran well on the weekend

  5. Che March 9, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    Awesome muurr!! hope your injuries sort themselves out! good luck for the marathon!

  6. Dawid March 10, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    Good update bru! I’m only at the half marathon mark but already starting to feel minor niggles. Knees the next day are the killer for me.

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