My Iliotibial Band (ITB) Injury

I planned for peak form in February/March this year and achieved it. I was then scheduled for a double metric century ride (200+km) in Singapore, a century ride in Bintan, ascend Mount Kinabalu, then run a full marathon and a half marathon in Singapore. All within a space of a month. I completed them all but not without cost.

The rides went well. I will probably document the double metric century ride in future posts as it remains my best ride this year. However, the Mount Kinabalu climb did not go well. I have never climbed a rock wall before, much less a mountain. I turned up at Mount Kinabalu under prepared and without the right equipment. I was basically swinging a dry pack, sweater, cycling gloves and running shoes all the way up the highest mountain in the Malay Archipelago. I suffered on the way up. Altitude sickness hit me really bad and I did the second half of the climb with an empty stomach, nauseous and with a terrible headache. But it was the descent that did the damage. On top of my rag-tag equipment, I was given a broken walking stick. This meant that I descended without a stick and relied on my legs to give all the support. I subsequently strained my iliotibial band (ITB) and could only hobble around Sabah and subsequently Singapore for a week.

A beautiful ascent but I paid the price for poor preparation and execution
A beautiful ascent but I paid the price for poor preparation and execution

I managed to recover in time for the full marathon and completed it. But I strained my semi-recovering ITB further. It was only after the marathon that I felt a sharp pain on the outside of my right knee. I decided complete my last event as it was only a half marathon. The last three kilometres were painful but I pushed through to complete the busy month. I could barely walk after the event.

Two weeks of rest did not help. The initial strain and lack of immediate recovery (but instead further strain) caused significant damage. I had to lay off running for a good while, only coming back a week or two to clear a scheduled half marathon before re-straining my ITB and having another layoff.

I am still at that stage but am working on putting in stretches to gradually strengthen the area and reduce inflammation. The ITB stretches are simple but appear to be effective. My last major running event is the Standard Chartered Marathion in December this year. My hope is to be ready by then and not to re-strain my ITB for that event. Thankfully, my ITB injury has not prevented me from cycling as it is primarily triggered by impact. Hoping for the best for December!

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