It’s just weeks to Mac Mac Ultra 100 miler, and April has “not been ideal” as a friend likes to say..

April has been a complete disaster of a month in terms of training and preparation. For those who have followed this series, you would recall that I, on the last day of March, did a social hill repeat training session called the Wolfpack Hell run (a 5 loop hill repeat session, covering 16km and 1410m of positive elevation gain). On the last repeat, I felt an odd tweak behind the right knee, but made nothing of it on that instance and soldiered on.

Come April Fools Day, I was given “not so funny” news from my physio when I went in for my monthly post-block-weekend sports massage and rub down. Some severe stiffness and tenderness of the ligaments posterior and medial area of my right knee, with stiffness and tenderness further up on the medial side of my upper leg. After two weeks of treatment (tissue massage, shockwave therapy and dry needles) by the physio, the situation displayed no improvement, despite doing no running.

We consulted one of the practice’s biokineticist and after some extensive gait and Cybex testing, the picture wasn’t a nice one. I was diagnosed with pes anserinus tendinopathy. In short, this is tendinitis of the pes anserinus, the area where the Sartorius, Gracilius and Semitendinosus muscle tendons conjoin and connect to the medial side of the knee. This is generally classified as an overuse injury.

The tests further indicated an inward rotation of the femur and collapse of the knee inward which then places stress on the pes anserinus during the repetitiveness of running long distance. The testing also revealed below average strength data levels in both the extensor and flexor muscle group.

The contributing factors of the inward rotation of the femur, in the opinion of the biokineticist, is weak glute, hamstring, abductors and Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscle activation and functioning.

In terms of the rehabilitation program, we are working on strengthening the abductors, hamstrings, glutes and the VMO. **what is VMO? I have been cleared for running, hopefully not too late to recover some fitness for Mac Mac Ultra. Progress in terms of rehab has however been slow and running has not been easy or plain sailing as they say, but can hopefully get to the Mac Mac Ultra start line in three weeks’ time, in some sort of racing shape.

Although April has been super frustrating (both for my coach and me – I can hear her sighs over the phone), it has not just been doom and gloom.  In the last weekend of April, some friends and I took a road trip to the Drakensberg, a trip originally meant for my final block weekend training for Mac Mac Ultra. We ran the gorgeous Tugela Gorge hiking route and up the chain ladders to reach the top of the Tugela Falls.

It was magical and made me love mountain running all over again.

In terms of total training time, this month has been dismal, to say the least with running only 94km with a sad 2354m of vertical elevation gain for the entire month. Not the sort of numbers that one would be aiming for in a peak month of training with a 100 miler looming in three weeks.

Be that as it may, we are working furiously to get me ready, and the team at Samantha Dunbar Inc. Nicolene Smith (bio) and Steven Hime (physio), have all been absolute rockstars in the process.

The positiveness of my coach, Linda Doke, has been invaluable in keeping me focused on the goals and the support of all of my trail “family’ has been epic.

Catch You On The Flip Side on the flip side of Mac Mac.. Hopefully..

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