Still in Training for Tokyo Marathon 2013 Despite a Metatarsal Fracture

This is an IQ question for Primary 2 students in Hong Kong which my mom-mah picked up from the papers:

You are given 3 photos of 3 men looking exactly like the normal man plucked off the street. Each one of them has a nose, a mouth, eyes, eyebrows, ears and hair. Can you tell me which one of them is an Alien?”

I brought this IQ riddle up because this is exactly the fly on the wall situation I was facing. I had a X-ray taken of my foot 4 weeks ago because I kept getting discomfort after my training. Ever since I broke the neck of my femur in a trail-running accident in a remote countryside in China 2 years ago, I have learnt to never EVER wing any discomfort or pain!  (Smart!)

For any athlete, professional or otherwise, one can never be the same after any injuries. I now have a titanium plate inserted in my hip and I still get occasional discomfort and aches (very weather dependent). My range of motion is no longer the same – say, crossing my leg to clip my toenails for instance!

…SO, the radiographer couldn’t determine any fracture and said in his report that “…There is a possibly a small  stress fracture.  Correlation with bone scan advised…”.  My GP prescribed Vit D and plenty of rest since stress fractures will heal by itself in 3-4 weeks.  Dilly-dally, dilly-dally, 4 weeks on, my foot is still feeling tired – no pain, just achy soreness after training. So I decided it’s high time to pay my Podiatrist a visit.

BAM! As soon as he saw my X-ray, he said “You see this? There is a huge crack between the 4th and 5th metatarsal!”

Shite! How can I not see it? It’s been staring me right in the face while I was scrutinising for a hairline fracture!!  Geez, no wonder you have to cough up to see a professional!

Anyway, my Pod said that this is a tricky fracture.  Basically, this type of fracture is asymptomatic, so the pain will not be on the site.  He squeezed my foot laterally and my foot screamed in pain!  But when he pushed on the injured site, I did not experience a single thing!  He told me that there is only 1 study done on stress fracture between the 4th and 5th metatarsals.  It was done a couple of years ago by a sports doctor in Sydney Uni on a footballer.  While I do not need to wear the boot because the fracuture is in a stable location – at the base of the toes, he advised me to baby-nurse it and not to put any weight on my foot.  And with me insisting that I am still going for the TM2013 (cue the Michelin eateries), he advised me to do massive amounts of cross-trainings and not to hold high expectations for the race, just run according to how I feel. The healing will not be fast, because of the lack of blood supply around the area, but after 6 weeks, with another X-ray I will know. So, fingers crossed, let’s hope for Good News in the coming week-and-a-half!So, there – the answer to the riddle is:

“The person who asked me to pick is the Alien!”

Moving forward with only 4-5 weeks left to train for TM2013, how am I going to wing it?


AQX Aqua Shoes, AquaJogger Floatation Belt, 2XU Visor and Gymboss

Deep water running (DWR), of course! I’ve been doing it for 4 weeks now and I believe I’m gaining good traction – in power, core engagement and endurance too. (How did I know? Well, …duh! Because I resumed my training the 3rd week after I got my X-ray back?!!) This was stoopid…Me a VERY Silly Nelly!) From the literatures I’ve read, DWR is highly specific to running. However, you must do with INTENSITY to spike the heartrate, otherwise it is of no use and fitness cannot be maintained. Just like running on land, you need to keep your back straight (no slouching!) and maintain a quick turnover of at least 180 strides per minute. Pump your arms the same way as well, maintaining about a 90 degree angle at your elbow.  There is a good sample of DWR  workout intervals by Pete Pfizinger.  And also, go to You Tube, there are lots of examples if you are not sure.  I like this one here.

What about Food?

One of the first thing I experienced when I started DWR was the increase in my hunger.  According to Tim Ferriss’s ‘4-hour Body’, this is usual, how else is Michael Phelps able to eat 7,000 calories in a day?

Because I know that once weight is gained, it’s hard to lose, so I decided to give Konjac noodles a go.  Shirataki or konjac noodles are supposed to be very low in calories. These are the products I have tried so far:


Kelp Noodles and Miracle Noodles

Slim Pasta from Woolworths

Slim Pasta

Product Review: Kelp Noodles. This is my favourite. Very crunchy. I give it a hot water bath, then mixes Dashi and Wasabi with it. I buy from iHerb.

Product Review: Miracle Noodle – I buy this online. It smells very fishy, so I rinse it with hot water and mix with Dashi and Wasabi.

Product Review: Slim Pasta. I buy this in Woolworths. It smells fishy and very slippery to chew. I rinse in hot water and mix with Dashi and Wasabi.

There are many recipes online on how to cook/ season these noodles, but I find Dashi and Wasabi are the best way. I eat them as salads with rocket and baby spinach.