Last year I took on the well i am 4 challenge. I was one of the Transformation finalists and found myself physically and emotionally lighter. I had become a passionate social runner, building up to 15 km with relative comfort. Sweets and sugar had never appeared less appealing to me. My affinity towards Coca-Cola and Fanta had become more like the way you think of an ex-girlfriend who is crazy. Until injury struck.
Having built up last year I ran the 10km at the Soweto Marathon in a time of 1:12, not fast for many of you, but my fastest run yet. I had been running for a couple of weeks on a painful ankle and at this point I crossed the threshold of what I could sustain. I went to see a Physio and after an initial assessment of 2 weeks of recovery, took 8 weeks to heal up from an Achilles tendinitis.
Starting the new year I was excited to get running again and after a couple of weeks was back up to pace and running with a regularity that would have shocked past versions of Jabu. I managed to run the few kilograms I had gained in December away and had quickly built up to a 10km distance again. But then, slowly and surely, I started noticing an intense pain in my ankle. The pain grew daily to the point that moving my ankle at night in bed caused me immense pain. I could not handle the pain any longer and took myself to see an orthopedic surgeon. Dr Street at the Linksfield Hospital was able to identify the cause of the injury was a weak core and my walking style is slightly lopsided due to a knee injury from 7 years ago.
I have since spent two and a half months with my brilliant biokeneticist Gareth Devine, a retired professional footballer, who has helped me strengthen a range of muscles and my core to the point where I can now start slowly but surely building my distance again. I still have some pain but the process is not complete yet but the progress has been encouraging.
Injuries can be devastating to anyone who is consistently active and training for an event or ongoing participation in a sport. The physical repercussions are usually apparent, but the emotional and psychological consequences are often less obvious. The devastating effects of the injury were very psychological. You see the injury, the second time around, hit me so hard that I was down. My ambition around eating healthy was derailed. My efforts in packing a healthy lunch were dismissed and a disappointing reintroduction of sugar to my diet was just depressing. The more that I couldn’t run or play sport, the more I comforted myself in food and in particular in sugar. I have only recently truly learnt how devastating an injury can really be. It sucks. It hit my self-esteem, it hit my emotions and the fear of a recurring injury plagues my mind often. The ability to go and take part in a sporting event and release frustrations was removed and as such I have been feeling my stress more than ever of late.
I joined the well i am challenge for the well i am 5 and truly have been nothing more than an entry. To those that had looked towards me for inspiration and encouragement, I apologise. I have been a victim to my own war and may very well have traded punches with innocent bystanders. I am sorry.
But the time for being sad and sorry for myself is over. Its time to move on. Starting today I am going to make a commitment that in the 70 odd days remaining before my son is introduced to the World I am going to do everything that I can to get fit, to get healthy and to get strong. I want to be a role model for Jabu Junior. Tomorrow is too late.