So I went to see the Biokineticist for my gait analysis to get to the root cause for the problem with my knee. It was at the Tuks’ High Performance Centre in Hatfield. I must say, the whole process was a breeze, from the booking, all the way to the actual consultation.
I met the guy called Ernst, a true scholar and a gentleman. He put me through a series of movements and a treadmill session, all shot on camera for a later examination. The whole thing took about an hour, and the report was ready in a follow-up session about a week later.
The outcomes were not a serious as I thought. Mine was just a weakness in the quads and hamstring muscles; while the painful knee was the joint compensating for the imbalance. He gave me an exercise program to correct the weakness, which I was to incorporate in my cross-training sessions. That was awesome, because at least now I can go to the gym and actually know what I am doing.
Further to that, he suggested a few makes of running shoes brands, which he urged me to invest in. This was based on the assessment of my strike on the treadmill. His argument, though succinct, was quite compelling. He said “you wouldn’t try to race in the Grand-Prix with a Toyota Hilux bakkie, just like you wouldn’t want to move house in a McClaren race car. All shoes are used for different needs and yours is a neutral shoe suitable for road running.”
So off I went shoe shopping, I was looking for a pair Asics Nimbus. I shopped around for a while, until I came to the realisation that the people at Asics weren’t quite in tune with my fashion taste, but the shoes are comfortable beyond belief. After a few weeks of use in training, I decided to test them out at the “Om die dam” 10km race. But you have to understand, about three weeks before the race, this woman in my office coughed in my face and left me fighting the flu. Every time I thought the worst was over, I went out for a run and got caught in the rain, and I was back to fighting the flu. She thought she was hilarious. Nimrod!
So until about four o’clock on the morning of the race I was not going to run, because I thought I was not ready. Then, out of nowhere a thought fell into my head. It sounded a lot like my Mom saying “you paid R350 to register for this race, do you know how many braai packs you can buy with R350?”
So there I was, turning on the R104 to take R511. By that time you could see the red snake of the runners’ convoy slithering up Saartjie’s Nek. I tucked in behind this white Ford Fiesta, which left me in stitches. Because every once in a while I’d see this massive cloud of smoke emerging from the driver’s window. I swear, it looked like the cloud the Kongo (the Monkey Man) used to summon as an efficient mode of transport on his quest to protect Tripitaka (you have to be a certain age to get that).
The driver must have been indulging in some Vitamin Green, the “natural remedy for all diseases.” I could not help but think to myself, “is this what they mean by taking a pre-workout?” The lady, yes it was a lady, must have been so skilled at this to pull off what needed to be a quite a surreptitious exercise; considering that every intersection was manned by law enforcement officials assigned points-man duties for the day.
I eventually got to the starting line, and I was early. Can you believe it? You have to understand, except for a few exams, flights and the
auspicious occasion of my birth, I could not quite remember the last time I was early for anything. I have to say, standing at the back of the starting line helped my confidence. It was like the national conference of my running club; provincial chairpersons of all shapes and sizes.
Anyway, off we went – 3-2-1 BEGIN WORKOUT! My game plan was two minute walk, followed by a two minute run. I was not prepared to be there in the first place, remember?
The first two and half kilometers were hectic, it was like “Om die berg.” At the corner of Marias and Scotts Streets, I decided to call a quick meeting of the executive. Me, Myself and I had to talk and right there, some key decisions were taken. To list them – you have to listen to your body, or else you will not make it past 8km. Run when it feels right, walk when it feels right. Forget the clock.
As we turned off the R511 downhill towards the 3km water point, there was this graveyard on the left. I saw some grave technicians working. They looked like they were setting up for a funeral. I could not help but think, it didn’t matter how hard the next 7km were going to be, my struggle paled in comparison to the difficulties the family of the deceased were facing over the next few years. So I pushed on!
At 6.5km I saw these two ladies, they must have been in their 60’s. I think they were running for “met-Ace.” They went about their business, quietly and expeditiously, in sync on every step. While I tried to get away on my two minute running cycle, every time I stopped running for my recovery cycle, the ladies were running next to me. I said to Myself, you can’t be left behind by Ma’Gogos, so I kept pushing.
At the 8km mark the marshals started waving the 21km runners to the left and the 10km runners to the right. As I went to the right, the ladies started going to the left. I thought I was hallucinating. I thought I was going the wrong way, but the marshal confirmed “21 to the left, 10 to the right.” It dawned on me, the ladies were pacing themselves. If they were doing a 10km they would have left me behind long ago.
With 500m to go I saw these two ladies; one had this bleached blond hairstyle and reminded me of the Australian singer SIA. They were chugging along cheering at people
running past them, I find that so annoying. So with 250m to go I said to them, “you can’t walk over the finish line. Let’s go!” Bad idea, because one of the ladies said “ok I will race you to the finish line.” Off we went, racing down the final straight. What she didn’t know is though I might have expanded wide over the years, I took the bus for five years in high school and metro-rail for four years while I was studying. So I have a decent 200m sprint in me. The last 50m made the race a bit close, but being the perfect gentleman, I had to observe the “ladies first” protocol. She turned around and said “you are gonna swear at me in the morning.”
Never a truer word said in gest.
The next morning was particularly slower that most mornings. I thought I was suffering a bout of acute clinomania. But at least my knee was not sure. And the engraved image of the two tannies, left me more inspired than ever before.
Oh and the answer is eight by the way. You can get at least eight braai packs for R350. If you are getting less than eight braai packs for R350 it’s a rip-off.