This was a real bad luck injury
which happened 3 weeks before Comrades in 2008. I wasn’t even
running (as in training) when this happened. I was running to my
car which was parked outside, it was dark and it was raining. Not
wanting to get wet I ran at full speed, unfortunately for me there was
a short wooden pole (about 80cm in height) directly in my path which I
did not see. I hit the pole ‘head-on’, that is, my left quad and the top of the pole connected at full speed. It was a miracle that I did not snap my femur!
the time it happened it was really sore (the initial impact) and I was
able to walk back inside. Honestly I didn’t think that it was too
serious. As the evening wore on, my leg started to feel quite
“lame” as the muscle cooled down (and seized up!) When I got home
I applied some ice and hoped for the best. By the next morning I
was unable to walk on the leg. I was reduced to a hobble (which
is not a good thing to do).
After a panicky call to my physio,
I had an appointment later that morning. After examination it was
confirmed that I had well and truly buggered (for want of a better
word) my left quad
muscle. It was going nowhere. I was strapped up and put
onto crutches. What followed was 10 days of RICE* (rest, ice,
compression and elevation) and more gentle physio
with some ultrasound. It was only after 10 days that I was able
to walk normally. This left only 11 days until Comrades. I
realised that I would be no more running in preparation for
Comrades. My focus was to get the quad
muscle back into working order. With the help of a carefully
designed rehabilitation plan from my biokinetist (thanks Keryn!), I was
able to get the quad working properly and in doing so, saw me lining up at the start of the Comrades Marathon. In truth, I didn’t know if my quad would hold up on the day but I was backing myself
regardless. My run wasn’t pretty (it doesn’t have to be), but I
was able to finish, albeit in a slower time. But hey, a medal’s a
* the RICE I followed on this occasion was:
- REST – I didn’t run again until Comrades.
- ICE – I iced my quad daily
- COMPRESSION – My quad was initially strapped, thereafter I kept my whole upper leg covered with tubi-grip. I even slept with it on.
– initially I was put onto crutches so that I didn’t hobble. When
stationary, I kept my leg elevated as much as I could.
Key words: injury, quad,
Internal links: physio, back yourself,
External links: Official Comrades Marathon