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Jenny: The Athlete's Physiotherapist & Ultra-Marathon Champion!


 
Coming into the running scene with a physiotherapy background allows me to understand how the body performs as an orchestra of fine tuned individual parts. This is my advantage as a competitive long distance runner.

Allowing my passion of running to mix into work as brought me to improve my own running efficiency, technique and training; and in turn, allows me to treat my own running clients even better.

As a runner, one of my goals (as most long distance runners share) was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I did just that in 2012 meeting the qualifying time by 15 minutes. Once I achieved this, I wanted to take on an ultra--marathon and so I signed on for the Singapore 100km Sundown 2013.
 
 
 
 
Training for a 100km race was not easy. Balancing work, kids, and logging in mileage can be hard; yet achievable especially in Singapore where running at midnight is still safe. During training, injuries WILL happen between muscle soreness and fatigue, biomechanical faults like patella-femoral syndrome, or the occasional accidents where the ankle gets sprained. With all this in mind, as a physiotherapist, I was able to keep on training by attending to my own injuries with use of taping, trigger point massage, rumble roller use and proper recovery. I truly believe that the body should keep moving even when injured, but the key is to move without pain (avoid the motions and terrain that would flare up injured parts) and cross-train. I had many options in front of me even at work with indoor Spinning, TRX and Pilates.
 
 
As part of the training for a 100km race, signing up for shorter races was an integral part of the whole picture so that I can rev up some speed as I continued to accumulate mileage. But as I said, injuries happen and on one race, the Straits Time Run in the Park 15km run, I twisted my ankle just minutes before the start. Yet I ran the race knowing if I was able to maintain proper body mechanics and minimize ankle torsion, I would be fine; I won first for that race. The same day, with significant swelling, I Kinesio-taped and R.I.C.E'd (rest, ice, compression, elevation) my ankle to prepare for the following week's Singapore Army Half Marathon, which I placed fourth.
 
 
 
 
All the training led to my 100km race Sept 14, 2013. And with all the things I do, I do it with all my mind and heart. For the first 80 km the body's orchestrated practice over the few months played its best symphony; but the last 20 km that symphony got tired! What makes each runner's experience for each race spectacular isn't the outcome, but the actual source of their strength during the race— it is where the mind goes when that last push is needed. For me, the 100km brought me back to my dad, who passed away last year, and also my kids who inspire me everyday. On top of this, the logistical mind was using what I normally advise patients on efficient running—run light, extend the hips, and reciprocal arm drive. I placed first for my first 100km race at 10 hours and 38 minutes.

Written by Jenny Huang, Physiotherapist