‘If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl…

…but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward,’ said Martin Luther King Jr. in his ‘I have a dream’ speech.

Not only do I too have a dream – the Marathon des Sables 2013, Luther King’s words couldn’t have been better advice this week as I struggled with a shin splint. I can’t fly and so was going running. When I felt ill-advised to run, I walked. When I had walked enough miles, I crawled home and iced up! Yes, I was warned and yes I probably ran too far too soon. Or was it too fast? Or did I just heal-strike one too many times?

Either way, I have now learnt that the cheapest (and arguably most effective) ice-pack can be found, not in the pharmacy but in the supermarket’s frozen veg section. The little Tesco’s near me had run out of frozen peas (students!), but had plenty of bags of frozen sweet-corn kernels and for less dollar! It was interesting to note that a tea-towel wrapped bag of corn also delivered a lower intensity cold for longer.

However, for shin splints, the website Sports Injury Info, recommends rubbing a home-frozen ‘ice cup’ directly onto the affected area, which looks intriguing. I will have to give it a whirl.

But maybe I just need to harden up –

What Martin Luther King didn’t say, Baz Luhrman has kindly added in Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – the song based on the poem by Mary Schmich. Here are the running-relevant lyrics:


Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

And on that note, I feel like playing a song from the band CAKE called The Distance, because when I run over 10k, I look down at my feet wheeling round and round and often think, ‘Those things beneath my waist. They’re not my legs. They’re doing their own thing.’ Perhaps this is the nirvana of running? Let’s hope so.

He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
In her time of need.
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse,
He’s going the distance…

While we’re talking about distance, I have to mention my new 1000 mile socks, bought from Brian at Run Tru in Truro!

Made of Tactel ® a polymer which is apparently ‘soft, supplely smooth, breathable and lightweight,’ the socks have cute descriptions – women’s ‘trainer liner’ and a ‘technical racing socklet!’ To the feet, well mine anyway, the socks feel like silk gloves, which in case you’ve never put a silk glove on your foot before, feels divine! Here comes the science:

The Tactel ® inner layer stays with the foot, wicking away moisture, whilst the outer moves with the shoe.

Sounds pretty clever to me, but wait for it – my favourite bit comes under the heading THE GUARANTEE.

Money back or replacement if, within one year from date of purchase, either you experience blisters or the socks wear out within 1000 miles, provided care instructions have been followed and socks are returned with original receipt.

So, firstly I worked out how many hours, days and weeks of running that would entail.

1000 miles/1609.344 km @ 10k/hr =

161 hours of running

@1hr day/7 days p.w

23 weeks or just under 6 months.

Now, here’s the more important question. Assuming I run everyday in the same pair of socks and wash them overnight over the course of 6 months (and keep the receipt!), how many washes do you think the ‘technical racing socklets’ will be able to handle?

Answers on a postcard please!

...and if you can't crawl, there's always the hula!


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5 responses to “‘If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl…”

  1. toutletandisque says :

    Great article, I can tell your heart is in there. Sorry to hear about the setback, but glad you haven’t lost your sense of humour.

    There is alot of wisdom there too. As dissapointing as it is, I say take a rest, the weather’s about to break (hopefully), then get the bike out, go easy.

    Don’t be afraid to put a dream aside, if only temporarily. Life is short, but long enough that you have to take good care of your body.

    (ps – you don’t ‘ave to post this, i’s just empathizing and relating)

  2. Dale Cheek says :

    Excellent blog, Lia. Thanks. I love : “Your choices are half chance.”

  3. Julia Baker-Beall says :

    Please be careful Lia. You have the basic aerobic fitness from your rowing and cycling. Currently there looks like you have a massive imbalance between that and your fitness to take the pounding running does to your muscles ligaments and tendons. If you don’t listen to your body shin splints can escalate to a stress fracture – I know as it happened to me. It meant 9 months with no running plus I still have a weak spot on the inside edge of my left shin.

    So my advice (for what it’s worth)
    The ICE sessions are great; however you’ll get more effect if you alternate warm and cold for 3-5 mins apiece, about 3 times.

    If you must run; run off-road, NO DOWNHILLS, and aim to work on efficiency and speed. Basically boring stuff alongside a football pitch until your lega get better. Maintain your aerobic fitness by cycling and the odd workout in the gym is good too.


  4. Julia Baker-Beall says :

    Lia, please take it steady. If you don’t recover form your shin splints it is possible to get a stress fracture. I know, I’ve done it. This meant 9 months with no running.
    As I see it you already have the aerobic fitness but need to build muscle, tendon and ligament fitness. You cannot do it faster than your body will let you.
    Could I suggest you keep the aerobic fitness going on your bike and do shorter but faster sessions OFF-ROAD to reduce the pounding and give your legs a chance.
    The frozen peas/sweetcorn ICE is great; only remember to write on the bag “Do not eat” unless you want to take a chance with food poisoning!

  5. arborealmammal says :

    Your crawl still outpaces the rest of us…

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