South African Athletics
London sadness for Van Blerk
Irvette van Blerk (Supplied)
Cape Town - Due to bad luck and several serious injuries, Nedbank Green Dream Team athlete Irvette van Blerk won’t be lining up for the London Marathon in which she finished 10th last year in a time of 2 hours 31 minutes.
“Is there ever a good time in an athletes career to get that news of your worst fears where the doctor tells you, you can't run," asked Van Blerk.
"It all started in 2013 when I had a great start to my year winning 12 races in a row, coming third at Oceans Half and running my personal best at London Marathon - 2:31 - and coming 10th.
"Then from there on it was battling with a knee injury that seems to come and go as it pleased. But I could maintain all my training with not too much discomfort. Then I still had a few solid performances over 10km and the half marathon distances. But then end September my knee got worse and I couldn't control it anymore. Then I found out my worst fear. A torn meniscus. I was heart broken I had such great races lined up for myself to end the year of with a bang. And just like that I was out of competition.
"Had my arthroscopy done on October 14. Operation was successful and I could look forward to recovery and getting closer to run again.
"All went fine. Had no pain. Did my rehab, swam, cycled until six weeks was done and then started to slowly gradually getting back into my running. All seemed on track for my comeback after injury in the London Marathon. To run my dream time of a sub-2:30 marathon.
"Coming into 2014 my knee started swelling worse than that I thought was normal after my surgery I had in October. And my knee started to feel a lot of discomfort while running. But the worst came after a run. But I thought I was paranoid and too over protective of my knee. Just to make me feel at ease I made a doctors' appointment as soon as we got back from holiday. The doctor sent me for a MR and it confirmed the worse. Good news my meniscus wasn’t torn. I have bad sinovitus and edeem in my knee that resulted to the extreme swelling I was experiencing. Basically it is overuse of the knee joint. Kind of like a stress fracture. Went to an orthopedic surgeon and he gave me news that no athlete wanted to hear. 'You have to rest for 3 months'. What a total shocker! It felt like all my dreams and goals for the year went up in flames in 30s. My heart just broke. I was thinking not again. It is a nightmare. And I can do nothing about it but rest. My heart felt heavy and I had one question on my mind… WHY ME? Nobody can answer that question. ou have to accept the facts and make the better of a bad situation. I was already starting to think to get positive. If I can't run for three months. What can I do? I can swim, cycle, do core, pilates, yoga and I started to feel more positive in the sense that I can still train although it is not running it is at least something.
"Although I will only start running end March, beginning April. But on the up side there is more positives than negatives in the long term. Yes it's not easy accepting the outcome of resting three months. But one can sit in a paddle of tears and refuse to accept the facts. Or you can look on the positive side and start setting new goals and challenge yourself with cross training exercises to remain fit. At least I know if I listen to the doctor's orders of resting. I know I can run again. And a happy runner is a running runner.
"Looking at the rest of 2014. London Marathon was one of biggest goals for the year. It is the most amazing race I ever ran. The atmosphere is just unbelievable. The challenge of training for a marathon and running one. I will describe as my biggest achievements in my running career.
“If you want to run, run a 100m. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.
"It is all the miles and hard work coming together on one day. The fact that in your mind you know there is so much that can go wrong in the over a distance of 42.2km but yet so much that can go right.
I had a great race last year at the London Marathon. Until 34km everything was on track for my sub 2:30 but the last 8km was just painful and my pace just dropped. I finished in a 2:31 still a personal best time and a solid 10th place.
I see a marathon as the first half your legs and mind are working together. Then from 25km it is just your mind because the legs doesn't react anymore on what the mind wants. That saying 'Mind over body' that applies 100% to a marathon.
Setting new goals. It is sad that I am missing London Marathon this year due to my knee injury. But excited at the same time because I have my mind set on another great marathon - Berlin - end September. If all goes well watch out Berlin! I am not yet done with chasing that sub 2:30 mark.”