What I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Running

before i started running

I promised myself this post was not going to be negative and depressing. To be honest I just can’t guarantee it won’t be. After my experience on Saturday and the resounding result that I have had to quit my goal for this year to run a marathon, I am going through all the stages of grief.

Right now I am angry. I’m angry that I fell in love with running, and I’m angry that now my body has gone against me, and now I can’t run.

But I am really trying to take something positive from this whole experience. I mean there must be a learning or insight that I can pass on to you through this experience? Perhaps my hurt can inspire you to get up and be thankful that today you can go for that run. And this weekend, when I’m stuck on the couch in pain, you can head out and run all the worries out.

Here are a few things you can learn from me if you are just starting to run. These are the things I wish I had known BEFORE I started running:

1. Start Small:

Your big run might only be 1km to start with, and that is totally cool! In fact I recommend learning to run for 1km before you start running 2km etc. Don’t rush in and start entering 10km races, you need to build up to it.
2. Realistic Goals with High Expectations:

If you start small have a big goal in mind but work hard to achieve it. So if your big goal is to run your first 10km, work towards it slowly. Give yourself enough time to train and work towards it.
3. Get a Running Partner:

Joining a running group, find someone who likes to run, or marry a runner (hee hee). Get someone who can hold you accountable and someone you can call and share your experiences. You are going to have times when you have great runs and times when you don’t feel like a run, and you are definitely going to have a few bad runs – having someone who understands this all is so important.
4. Listen to your body:

I’ve said this a million times lately, but I am so serious. Remember to stretch and warm up, and most importantly – listen to your body. If you feel sore, or tender, or something doesn’t feel right – stop and take check. Take your rest days as seriously as your training days. Rest and recovery is part of the process too.
5. Don’t compare:

This is the BIGGEST thing, and if its the only one you take today, let it be this. You cannot compare yourself to other runners. There will always be someone faster than you, fitter than you, running more than you – just like there will always be someone struggling more than you, slower than you etc. Focus on your running journey and don’t compare yourself to others.

Guys you know how much I sometimes complain about those bad runs, those tough ones? I would give anything to having a bad run this week. Don’t take it for granted, go run, and be happy you can.

Let’s get fit, happy, healthy  

~ Meg ~

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The Hardest Choice I Have Ever Made

hardest choiceThis is possibly the hardest week I have had in a long time. I sound dramatic about the fact that I can’t run or that I got injured but people close to me know how much it means to me to run. A friend told me last week that it was the twinkle in my eye when I talk about running, its my passion that makes it so contagious and inspiring. Running is one of the things that really just pushes you to be a better person. In my mind, running cures a lot. It makes me happy for one thing. Thats way this is the hardest choice I have ever made.

I wont be running my first marathon this year.

There I said it. Its a good thing I didnt say it out loud, or you would see me crying. I have literally sobbed my heart out for nearly a week. I am devastated. But its the right decision to make.

If we look at where we are in relation to Kaapshoop which is on the 5 November (14 weeks away). With 8 weeks recovering from this injury, it will leave 6 weeks to train for the marathon. It’s just not realistic. It’s not like I can get back to my base of running straight after the 8 weeks are up. There is no ways I could even be running 40km a week from the first week, it’s going to take time. And time unfortunately, is the one thing I am short of. So it’s with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart that I decide that I won’t be running my first marathon at Kaapshoop.

A friend very cleverly pointed out that I could still go up and run the 21km – but we will need to see how my recovery goes before we make any crazy decisions about driving up to Nelspruit for a 21km.

This week I had a pity party for one on the couch and cried my eyes out about not meeting my goal to run a 42km this year. But now, with some reflection, I realise that there will be other 42km to run, and that I will run a marathon – it’s just a case of when. For now the focus needs to be on recovery and rest. So that is what I am doing. I will rest and I will recover and most importantly, I will run again.

Have you ever been forced to re-evaluate your goals and change them?

Let’s get fit, happy, healthy  

~ Meg ~

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When your body tells you something, you need to listen

listen to your bodyIf you follow me on Twitter you would have heard that on Saturday I injured myself, again.

I was attempting to run Alberts Farm Parkrun (for a race review for the blog) and half way through I felt tired and sluggish. After just coming back from an injury, I felt maybe I was pushing too hard because lets be honest even if a parkrun is a free weekly event, you don’t run it – you race it. At a little over 2,5km, I got sight of the parking lot and figured this was my chance to call it quits and head to the car. Its my first ever DNF (did not finish), so that alone should tell you I wasn’t feeling too great. As I walked away from the route, my ankle literally buckled underneath me. I say buckled because I wasn’t running, and I didn’t stumble or fall. It just gave way beneath me. I honestly felt like I heard a snap, it was the most excruciating pain I have ever felt and it made me fall to the floor and scream with pain. Some fellow runners graciously cut their run short and offered help. I couldn’t stop swearing (I apologised later) – it was that painful. I managed to splutter that my husband was here and I knew he would have finished already. In fact I could see him in the distance, waiting for me to finish. Someone ran off to call him and I attempted to get up. More pain. So much more pain. I couldn’t put my foot down. At this point my ankle had swollen, I could see it was getting big, and I knew I had done the exact same thing I did in June – except this time it was worse. So much worse.

Rob got to me and with the help of another guy, they carried me to the edge of the parking lot. I was crying so much I couldn’t see anything, tears literally flowing from my eyes. My heart knew what my head knew already – there is no ways I could get back to running and training in time to do Kaapsehoop marathon. My heart begged my head to keep quiet. Lets see what the doctor says, maybe it wont be so bad.

ankle injury

    On the way to the hospital

I am pretty lucky as runners go to have a physio in the family, my sister in law. Like Rob, she doesn’t panic under pressure, and calmly gave me the facts. It was one of three situations that could only be told with a visit to the hospital and some x-rays:

  1. I could have pulled off a piece of bone (i.e broken or fractured my ankle)
  2. A ligament tear or sprain
  3. A minor ligament sprain (which is what I had last time)

Off we went to Sunninghill Hospital, got admitted and waited in line to see a doctor. The doc gave me an injection for the inflammation and pain. A jab right in the ass. I’d like to say it helped immediately, but it took a while to kick in. After an hour and a half of waiting, I finally got my x-rays done. X-rays are tricky things, they don’t hurt to get scanned but they need to put your foot in various positions that literally had me gripping at the side of the bed and begging her very nicely to be gentle. Less than 15 minutes later, we were done. Now we needed to wait for the results.

waiting for results

     Waiting for the results, drugs are fun.

The doctor came in and simply said the following:

  1. Its not a fracture, its a ligament sprain.
  2. I need to be serious about this, because clearly my ankle was still weak from the first fall.
  3. I need to be on crutches and strapped up, I am not to put pressure on my foot for at least a week.
  4. Thereafter a minimum of 6-8 weeks of recovery and rest. No running.

She booked me off till Wednesday, so as you read this, I am happily sadly sitting in bed with a cocktail of pain meds and anti-inflammatories – because its still swollen and it hurts like hell.

Further to this inspection, my sister-in-law has given me an ankle brace, its called a rocket sock. It kinda looks like a corset for your ankle. It just gives my ankle more support. It is now my new BFF, for the next 6 weeks we are going to be inseparable.

After this long story about how it happened, I can tell you that I really felt like I listened to my body the first time. But things went wrong. I don’t know if it would have happened had I not been running, because I wasn’t running at the time – I honestly think that this could have happened any where. My ankles are weak, I get that, and I know now that I need to strengthen them and this will take physio and time.

Thanks to everyone who has sent messages of support and comfort, really, I have some of the most amazing friends. I will keep offering support and advice about starting to run on this blog – because really, you can learn from me, and I truly hope you are more fortunate than I and don’t ever have to feel this pain.

See you on the road, soon.

road to recovery

Let’s get fit, happy, healthy  

~ Meg ~

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Product review: Nuun Active/Energy Tab

product review nuunIf you have been following me on Instagram or Twitter you will know that I am an avid fan of Nuun (pronounced “noon”) electrolyte tabs. I use them either before, during or after my runs, as well as even throughout the day at work if I am needing a bit of a “pick me up”. Here is some need to know info about this great product.

What is it?

It is an electrolyte enhanced drink tablet designed for an on-the-go lifestyle. Packed with electrolytes, light flavor, and no sugars or carbs. Its gluten free as well as vegan.

How do you use it?

I take Nuun Active either before or after my run, to help restore electrolytes in my body. Then I use Nuun Energy for during my long runs, as well as sometimes I take them at work to give me a boost of energy as the Nuun Energy version has a bit of caffeine in them.

The Benefits?

The electrolytes found in Nuun (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium) will help alleviate cramps, help muscles function, communicate and burn energy efficiently.

What is the price?

Prices range from R100 – R120 for a tube of 12 tabs.

Where can I get it?

I get my stock from a friend, Phillip, you can order from him directly here (He is currently selling off some old stock at R90!). Alternatively you can buy online direct from Nuun, or through the Wellness Warehouse. You can also buy them at Dischem or Clicks, however I find their stock is limited.

Why I love it so much?

It tastes great! It comes in a range of fruity, yummy flavours (my faves are the strawberry lemonade, and tri-berry) and I honestly feel like its one of the best ways to make sure your body is replenished and rehydrated after a hectic training session.

Trying out @nuun_sa orange this morning before my track session. #nuunlove #hydrate #makeyourwatercount

A photo posted by Meg (@getfithappy) on

*This was not a promoted post, I was not paid to do this post. All views are my own.

Let’s get fit, happy, healthy  

~ Meg ~

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