Recovering from COVID-19 – Anna Crampin’s Story

Our Abu Dhabi based Runderwear ambassador Anna Crampin was down with Covid-19 in April.  We know she had a pretty rough time. Read Anna’s story of how she coped as a runner and how she is now training as a part of her rehab.

Sometimes being a runner means not running for while. Recovering from Covid-19 has been humbling. In the 6 weeks before testing positive I ran the Dubai marathon with Team Runderwear, Guided on the Women’s Heritage Walk, ran the Hajar 30 and led an expedition across the Sahara. I thought I could run forever. And then I couldn’t walk from the ambulance into the hospital.

Getting back to running after a layoff is part of being a happy lifelong runner and I reckon that everyone who runs will be injured or ill or pregnant or busy and have to take time out at some point. The interesting part is what happens when you put your trainers back on.

My foggy mind’s inclination, in a slightly manic way, was to write cheques that my body couldn’t cash. When in acute care and unable to sit up I planned long distance routes across Jordan and Egypt. In a more determined moment I ran 3k from the sink to the door. Being hooked up afterwards to a heart rate monitor was a little warning that Covid was in charge. Once out of hospital and quarantine (over a month later) I immediately set out on run albeit in a skirt lest my concerned husband should suspect. But it wasn’t like it was before. Muscle weakness, inflamed joints, a high heart rate, fatigue and difficulty breathing and the aftermath of exhaustion was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

I needed a plan. Kind friends suggested all sorts of things which I’ve been doing. Vitamin D, B, C Magnesium and Tumeric and gut bacteria soups. Runderwear sent some Stealth Protein powder to take after exercise to build my muscles. And I started exercising in a different way – patiently. So low volume, at a very easy pace (7.30/km and less than 150bpm) on soft ground. Probably about a third of my usual distances and usually round in circles so that there isn’t any pressure to commit to longer runs. Lots of walking too – to provide a low-level stress test for everything involved in running.

Being unwell in 24 hour solitary confinement is difficult and there is also psychological healing to be done. Running to Spotify, dog walking with a dear friend, taking the kids with me and now that I’m getting quicker gently running with my running buddies has helped with the lingering anxiety that came with how hard I found it.

To encourage this physical and psychological rehab I signed up to various virtual events including Mysported ultra marathon, ADNOC Abu Dhabi virtual marathon, 10k UAE virtual run and the Striders Virtual half marathon on the inphoto platform. My results have been unremarkable but the completion of each event has given me enormous pride and encouragement. I’ve also felt connected to a running community and motivated to get my trainers on.

It’ll be a little while longer before I’m fully better but 2 months after testing positive and I find myself wondering if I could do the Abu Dhabi Marathon in December and hoping that my expedition to Burma goes ahead in October. I really think that running can help to heal the damage of Covid-19.

More from the blog:

Running in Heat and Humidity

5 Reasons You Should Exercise In Your Swimming Pool

Adapting to Virtual Races as Athletes and Brands

Posted on 9th Jun 2020