Tag Archives: injury

Ivet Lalova’s Comeback

Ivet Lalova Ивет Лалова was one of the favorites to win a medal coming into the 2004 Athens Olympics. She had just set a new personal time of 10.77s, drawing level with Irina Privalova as the sixth fastest sprinter of all-time. Ivet, however, fell short of the podium in Athens. She finished in fourth place behind Yulia Nestsiarenka (Юлія Несцярэнка Юлия Нестеренко – 10.93s), Lauryn Williams (10.96s), and Veronica Campbell-Brown (10.97s).

Click here to read the full article…

Frustration (4 October 2011)

The past five weeks have been difficult. The weather has been uncooperative, with several typhoons ruining my training plans. As a result of the cold, rain-soaked environs, I succumbed to a series of illnesses, further interrupting my otherwise consistent training cycles. I could not help but feel so frustrated. Just when I was starting to reap the gains of my technical sessions, training had to take a back seat due to the aforesaid factors.

Last night was no different. Even if my legs felt well-rested, I was somewhat out-of-sync. It was my first hurdles workout in almost two weeks and only my second track workout since coming back from a mild throat infection (thanks to Typhoons Pedring and Quiel). I was hurdling quite well under the circumstances. Hell, I was feeling the rhythm! Perhaps it was my being overeager that did it. I felt a slight niggle in my left hamstrings during the first round of flat, three-point starts.

I tried to shake it off, opting to go straight to the sprint workout. But my leg felt wobbly and somewhat numb. I know for a fact that I had a mildly strained muscle. Rest is the only option.

I sat at the one of the monobloc chairs in the track, blankly staring at the joggers trudging in circles and the frisbee players throwing discs all over the field. The second half of the 2011 season has been a big disappointment. My weekend classes prevent me from participating in the PATAFA Weekly Relays – the only other local athletics meet open to non-students.

There and then, I wanted to hang up my spikes and quit the sport for good. I felt fucked up with my uncomfortably-drenched spikes and mildly-throbbing leg. Dammit, I said, as I cursed silently. Thankfully, I did not storm out of the track in a rash manner. I weighed down the facts. In a few weeks’ time, I shall be in race shape – good enough for a couple of rounds doing the 100m dash, should my class schedule permit. If worst comes to worst, I’ll end the season with an ignominious trial run (pitiful, isn’t it?) and rest for the upcoming 2012 season. It won’t be entirely fruitless since I have made significant inroads into technical proficiency, especially with my hurdling technique.

Train Without Pain

I had some minor trouble with my right knee the past few days. Perhaps three consecutive days of basketball (Monday), weights (Tuesday), plyometrics (Tuesday), sprints (Wednesday) and hurdles (Wednesday) took its toll. I first felt the numb pain on the right side of my knee cap on Wednesday morning. It hurt every time I touched it. Nevertheless, I soldiered on. At the end of my Wednesday night workout, the pain multiplied five-fold.

Hence, I took the entire Thursday off, not wanting to aggravate the mild injury (it was probably tendinosis). I’m feeling much better now. The pain has dramatically subsided. Since I only have the PATAFA Weekly Relays to train for (a minor meet), I’ll be taking it easy the next few days. Train without pain shall be my mantra, as always.

Ever since I jacked up the training load with more hurdle and running drills, I’ve been plagued by minor niggles. The most troublesome were mild hamstring strains and now this, a bum knee. In light of my limited recovery time, I have to be a lot careful when it comes to planning my training load. Good thing I’ve religiously kept track of my workouts through my trusty training log.

Battle Scars

I’ll never forget 2 November 2006. It was a particularly nondescript Thursday afternoon. The team was on its first training session after the Bacolod Unigames. Save for a couple of athletes, all of my teammates were in Rizal Memorial Stadium.

I was still somewhat pissed at my forgettable third place performance, not to mention bothered by matters of the heart (a laughable fact, in retrospect). The hurdlers and I were doing our usual five step warm-up over senior hurdles. I could feel the rage brewing deep inside.

When my turn came, I felt something amiss whilst clearing the hurdles. My rhythm was off. I clipped the third or fourth hurdle with my lead leg. Strangely, I was somewhat distracted by a kid walking beside the hurdle. As I hit the crossbar, I saw the imaginary horizon fall. I’ve hit hurdles countless of times before, so I just went with the flow, so to speak.

Everything went black.

I was roused to consciousness when I vaguely heard the word “Kamay! [arm]” When I looked at my left arm, I saw it horribly twisted from my forearm’s midpoint. I was in shock for a few seconds. My coach came to my side. “Coach.. sorry,” I said. The first thing that came to mind was the UAAP competition, which was barely two months away.

Read my original blog post about the injury here

Then I felt the pain. It was the most excruciatingly sharp sensation of suffering I’ve felt to date. I could do nothing to stop it.

Needless to say, the entire team was shocked by the turn of events. Too shocked, in fact, to adhere to basic first aid principles. Instead of finding a splint to stabilize the fracture, my worried coaches had me walk the 200m or so distance to the sports clinic. I was walking with the other half of my forearm hanging limp from the broken radius and ulna, until Coach Toto had the presence of mind to straighten it, so to speak.

All throughout my trudge to Calvary, I was grimacing. I saw Jerome Margallo, a future Team Hwa Liong/PPVC teammate and I screamed “Jerome, ang sakit! [it hurts]” He could only glance in pity. Halfway through the parade of pain, I bellowed a raucous, almost desperate “Beijing 2008! [in reference to the upcoming Beijing Olympics, since I’ll be missing the UAAP!]” to a bunch of PATAFA officials. When we got to the clinic, I slipped on my way down the ramp. The pain, needless to say, was unbearable. It turned out that I was still wearing my spikes!

My arm with the metal plates. A few months after the operation.

I was rushed to a nearby hospital, before being transferred to my mom’s preferred medical institution. That very night, the entire team went to my house for an impromptu dinner gathering. I was in shambles, but the presence of my friends did much to assuage the hurt.

View pictures of the operation

View video clips of the operation: Part 1 Part 2

A few days later, my surgeon-uncle operated on my fractured arm. At the end of the procedure, I had two titanium plates and ten screws in my forearm. It took four to six months to fully rehabilitate my arm. I was back on track in nine months, clocking a relatively competitive 15.3s in my first race since the injury. Two months later, I broke the fifteen second barrier.

Despite my quick recovery, nine months simply were not enough to heal the psychological scars of the freak accident. For the remainder of my collegiate career, I was silently haunted by the injury. Even if I was running faster than ever, there was this latent fear of the one-meter high barriers that remained.

Almost five years later, the fractured bones have fully healed and the plates and screws have long since been removed. Psychologically, the two years I spent away from athletics did much to bury the demons of the past. All that reminds of me of the injury are small grooves on the fractured part and two nasty scars [which are good conversation starters, by the way]. I might not have won a UAAP gold medal in college, but I do have some mean-looking battle scars to show.

Track Beauty of the Week: Georgie Clarke

Georgie Clarke is this week’s track beauty!

Athletics is a sport where mature, full-developed athletes rule. In fact, athletes below 16 years old cannot compete in the Olympics or the senior IAAF World Championships. Clarke is a rare, once in a generation talent. As a 16-year old, the Aussie competed in front of thousands of her screaming countrymen during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Clarke talks about her Olympic experience (Runner Space)

The Geelong-born middle distance runner went as far the semifinals – a big achievement for any athlete, especially for a teenager. Clarke narrowly missed the third slot in the 800m run, losing out to veteran campaigners.

Photos from Australia Athletics, Life and Geelong Advertiser

Clarke won her first national title at the age of 14. As a 16-year old, she ran the second fastest 1500m by an Australian (4:06.77). Her personal best in the 800m run in 2000 was a world class 2:01.73, faster than middle distance greats Steve Ovett, Steve Cram and Sebastian Coe when they were at the same age, according to a Cool Running article. Prior to the Sydney Olympics, Clarke lived in Europe to compete at the prestigious European circuit. An informative feature article by Running Times Magazine, accurately depicted the athletics prodigy’s difficulties in living out the elite athlete life. At such a young age, she was uprooted from her comfort zone. Clarke was unhappy, according to the article.

Photos from Geelong Advertiser, 101 West Photography and Running Times Magazine

Since her stellar performance at the Sydney Olympics, Clarke has been hounded by injuries, missing the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. She suffered fractures in her spine. There came a point where the once-promising middle distance prospect could hardly walk without pain. But still, the 2001 World Youth Champion persevered. In 2008, despite running with a stress fracture on her foot, she missed qualifying for the Beijing Olympics by two-hundredths of a second. A few months later, her foot broke.

A lesser person would buckle under the pressures of constant defeat and chronic injury. Despite the pain of it all, Clarke did not waver. The following quote from Running Times captures the essence of the sport completely: “I always would look back to why I started to run. It was for the pure reason that I loved it, for the freedom and simplicity of it.”

True enough, Clarke is still at it. Most recently, the now 26-year old former child prodigy is at the top of the distance category in the 2011 Australian Athletics Tour. She ran a competitive 4:17 in the 1500m to finish first palce in the Brisbane Track Classic.

Indeed, her running days are far from over. With the London Olympics barely 2 years away, the prospects for an injury-free Georgie Clarke are bright.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Sources:

Running Times Magazine

Cool Running

Video Credits:

Runners’ Tribe

Runner Space

Severely Sprained Pinkie (11 October 2010)

I lifted weights last Monday. Since the guys over at Celeb are in the process of transferring the old gym to a new spot, the premises were devoid of vanity mirrors. I must admit that it was a little bit disorienting. Mirrors seem to create the illusion of space, making the workout quite easier.

I had my left pinkie checked that afternoon. Thank heavens nothing was broken or dislocated! It was just a really bad sprain. I tried doing my favorite Olympic lift, thinking that since I had my right pinkie buddy strapped to the next finger I’d have a much easier time doing the lift. It turned out that the limited flexibility of the left pinkie makes it harder to endure the pressure brought about by the recovery phase of the cleans.

For the 2nd straight week, I settled pushing exercises, single-jointed lower body exercises and plyometrics. My body is yearning for the good ole Olympic lifts!

Gym/Plyometric workout:

Bench press + standing long jump

Squats + lateral raise

Leg curls

Various ab exercises

Lackluster (6 October 2010)

I sprained my left pinkie in a basketball game a week ago. Although the swelling and pain had dropped significantly, I still couldn’t perform vital Olympic lifts. In last night’s workout, I again resorted to a combination of plyometrics, lower body weights and the few upper body exercises I could perform without pain.

The gym was almost deserted, aside from a handful of habitues. I must admit that I found the environment quite boring. But then again, I wasn’t there to socialize. My motivation is intrinsic! I chose to ride the stationary back for my warm-up, instead of the bloody treadmill. I found a copy of the triathlon magazine, Multi-Sport (I admire triathletes, especially the elite triathletes and those with day jobs), to read whilst warming up – a new, yet apparently ineffective combination!

Jessa Zaragoza – a popular singer a few years back – was at the gym too. She was without make-up, revealing her true face behind that mask (why the hell, am I writing about this?).

As a result of my lackluster warm-up, it took quite some time before I got into the plyometric groove. With the gym devoid of people, I was able to do single leg bounds indoors. By the time I did pikes, my core temperature had gone up quite a bit. I topped off the night by doing a series of simple, single-jointed lifts – interspersed with ab exercises.

I missed doing the more challenging Olympic lifts in light of my minor yet limiting injury. The important thing is not to aggravate the injury by over-exerting oneself by disregarding the body’s signals.

Plyometrics:

Bounds

Pikes

Modified box jumps

Gym workout:

Bench press + squats

Shoulder press + leg curls

Various ab exercises

 

 

Injured… and loving it (28 September 2010)

My left hamstring suffered a mild strain last night. The circumstances were quite amusing. I was just about to step on the treadmill when the gym trainer came up to chat for a bit. Before actually running for my quick 5-minute warm-up, I tied my shoe laces. My leg tightened up whilst making the first stride. I shrugged it off, opting to continue with my light run.

Any sane athlete knows that “training without pain” is the better mantra than “no pain, no gain” of the olden days. This refers to the bad kind of pain – that attributed to injury.

With practically nothing on my athletic calendar, I decided to man up – in a crazy sense of the word. Although I was perfectly aware that the proper thing to do was cut the workout short, I did the complete opposite.

But then again, the rational athlete prevailed at the end. I cut short my plyometric workout and gym workout to prevent further damage.

I’ve had my fair share of injuries in the past years. This minor hamstring train is nothing compared to my previous injuries, the most serious of which is the broken radius and ulna I suffered in a freak hurdling injury back in 2006. Perhaps, I just wanted to feel a little pain for a change. I’ve been far too pampered by my tame routine that a minor injury is a welcome change! Hell, you can say that I’m injured and loving it!

Plyometrics:

Depth jump + standing long jump

Single leg hops

Gym workout:

Jerk

Leg press + Alternate dumbbell row

Deadlifts + dips

Sidekicks

In the 90’s movie, Sidekicks, the late Jonathan Brandis’ nerdy, asthmatic character worshiped Chuck Norris. In one particular scene where Brandis’ character was having difficulty climbing up a rope in gym class, the protagonist imagined his hero, Norris, instructing him every step of the way.

Some guys idolize Kobe Bryant or Lionel Messi. I look up to Liu Xiang.

I can somehow relate with the guy from Sidekicks. In the countless hours I’ve spent honing my hurdling technique, the name Liu Xiang was a constant fixture. Back in 2005, when I did hurdle drills at length, I viewed all the clips of Liu Xiang’s races and training just to be able to correct the deficiencies in my form. I patterned my technique after Liu Xiang’s.

In my wildest daydreams, I pictured myself racing against my idol – and winning! There was a time when my training buddy, three-time UAAP sprint hurdles Champion Mike Mendoza, and I watched most of Liu’s ads in Youtube. The rest of the Fab Four hurdlers (Lech & Jots) also sang along with Liu Xiang’s music video. In a strange, Sidekicks-like sense, Liu Xiang was like an actual, albeit imaginary teammate.

The first time I saw my hero compete was way back in 2002. My high school coach told me to closely watch the Chinese hurdler. So I did. Boy, did he run away from the competition, demolishing Saturo Tanigawa, the 2nd placer. I even recorded Liu’s first major international win on tape.

Fast forward two years later to the 2004 Athens Olympics.  I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning just to watch the live telecast of the 110m high hurdles from a Japanese sports channel. My heart was beating triple time as I waited for the started gun. The false start brought tense moments. Once the race started, it was over before you knew it even began. Such is the fast, intense action of the sprints.

Coming into the final barriers, it was apparent that Liu Xiang was on the verge of writing history. Liu outclassed everyone in the field, stopping the clock at 12.91s – breaking Allen Johnson’s Olympic record and tying Colin Jackson’s world record. Liu Xiang became the first Asian man to win a sprinting gold at the Olympics.

I was ecstatic. It was victory not just for the Chinese, but for all Asians as well – Filipinos included. Not wanting to wake up my sleeping siblings, I muffled my screams as I jumped up and down the living room, punching the air.

During the 2005 Captain’s Night, my teammates’ dad (who worked for Coke China) gave a signed copy of Liu Xiang’s autobiography. As the newly minted co-captain of a resurgent Ateneo Track & Field squad with my first two UAAP medals in tow, I was already in cloud nine. But when I saw Liu Xiang’s handwritten message, I became euphoric.

Note: I brought the signed book to most of my races and all of my big meets. During Unigames 2009, I even had a friend bring the book all the way to Bacolod as a moral boost for the other hurdlers (I chose to stay in Manila to train).

Throughout the last 8 years or so, I’ve seen all of Liu’s major races and most of the minor ones, thanks to the advent of broadband internet. I rejoiced when he broke the world record in 2006 and became World Champion in 2007. When Liu hobbled out of the Bird’s Nest in 2008, I mourned with the rest of the shocked Chinese people.

Since local coverage of the Olympics was practically non-existent, I had no other choice but to rely on live text updates from the web. I was dumbfounded the moment I saw “DNF” beside Liu’s name. I was in disbelief. Minutes later, cable news networks were beaming in live feed.

My eyes welled with tears. I was speechless.

A year after the Beijing Olympics tragedy, I stumbled upon Liu Xiang’s comeback race. Liu and long-time rival Terrence Trammell dove to the tape with identical times of 13.15s, with the latter getting the upper hand. Even though I had ceased track & field training, I still felt joyful at my hero’s seemingly successful recovery from injury. A closer look at his race would show that Liu’s form wasn’t as fluid as before. He seemed stiff as he cleared each barrier. Little did I know that in the months to come, Liu’s condition would deteriorate.

It saddens me to see my hero finishing behind guys he would have severely outclassed at his prime. I wish Liu Xiang the best as he recovers from injury and regains his top notch form.

Think London 2012!

No Excuses

I did a 15-minute run and circuit weights on Monday night. My back felt funny afterward. Might have strained it a bit. Luckily it got better in time for another long run/weights session on Wednesday. This time around, it was my recently-recovered left hamstrings that felt tight.

I had no other choice but to cut short the workout, and a planned drills session tonight. I’ll be resting my mildly injured leg for two days, hoping to begin building the technique base for my hurdling.

My ungodly schedule is killing me. The travel time between Makati (where I toil) and Quezon City (where I live) is so long that it eats up what little free time I have left at night. I start my day at around 5:15 AM, leave the house by 6:00 AM. Since EDSA traffic exponentially worsens, the practical thing to do is to leave as early possible. The 1 hour commute rules out a possible morning training session (since I have to be at work by 8:00 AM).

It gets worse in the afternoon. Despite leaving the office at precisely 5:00 PM, it takes 1 hour and 45 minutes, on average, to get home. After a light snack and a light shower, I pack my bags again and drive to Celebrity Sports Club (15-20 minutes away, depending on the traffic) for gym sessions or to Moro Lorenzo Sports Center (20-30 minutes away) for indoor track sprint workouts.  To do hurdle workouts, I need to go straight to Ultra from Makati to save on travel time.

I end each training night at around 9:00 to 9:20 PM., feeling drained from all the physical exertion and enormously hungry since it’s way past my dinner time.

Frankly speaking, I hate distance between work and home. Back in college, I had the luxury of time (and daylight) that I do not have now. But then again, work is a reality everyone has to contend with.

With this grueling schedule, I’m having a hard time getting at least 7 hours of sleep a day. Hence, recovery between training sessions becomes even harder.  Sometimes, I just feel the urge to give this all up – to enjoy the good life.

My reply to that urge:

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