Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 140, April 2021 Apr 2021 | Page 21

Annalie being kept company by then clubmate PJ Moses at Comrades 2017
depression and anxiety – I was first diagnosed with these conditions when I was 18 – and when I started having trouble with dizziness , they took me off the meds for anxiety , which contributed to my feelings of depression .
Trying to Push Through
In spite of her ongoing problems with the vertigo , Annalie tried to keep running , saying that she tried to maintain enough fitness to run a marathon or ultra here and there , while trying every medical treatment she could find in order to get to the bottom of the problem . “ I left no stone unturned , and I was literally trying every treatment I could find . I visited various doctors and specialists , and went to both the ENT Clinic and Neurology Department at work . Finally , I was diagnosed with Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness ( PPPT ), but I still thought the sinusitis was the main problem ,” she says .
“ At this point , I refused to accept that I could not run again , and when I went back to the clinic , one of the doctors suggested I try vestibular rehabilitation with a physiotherapist who specialises in these conditions . I found one at Mediclinic Cape Gate , and she diagnosed a really bad balance issue , then addressed the underlying balance and core issues , which helped with my balance and core , but while I had better form , therefore slightly less dizziness , there was still the underlying problem .”
Annalie tells that she also tried a few sessions of kinesiology , which helped her with the depression and anxiety . “ It helped me a lot with getting my positive spirit back . It was actually fun , with all sorts of movement with hands and arms to balance the mind . I wanted to believe it could work , which helped me get into a better mental place .”
Reaching Breaking Point
However , with the dizziness persisting in spite of all these treatments , Annalie finally reached a point after two years of struggling where it got too much for her . from there , doing my first race at the Tyres and Tekkies 10km at Jan Kriel School . I was dead afterwards . I slept the whole afternoon after that race !”
Chatting to James De Villiers kept Annalie going in the 2019 Two Oceans
In 2013 Annalie tackled her first 42km at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon , and says it was another hard run . “ Again , I was dead after that one , as my longest training run was only 28km . I was so stiff afterwards ! But I simply loved my running back then , as I had no problems or medical issues , other than a hamstring problem one year . From there I moved up to the ultra distances , running four Two Oceans Marathons from 2016 to 2019 , and two Comrades in 2016 and 2017 , but my favourite ultras were the two 8-hour Challenge events in Wellington , even though it was hard to keep going in the midday heat . I finished second in my first 8-hour in 2018 , then finished tied second the following year .”
However , those last few races in 2019 were not all smooth running , as Annelie was struggling with her health . “ My history with vertigo started with a really bad middle-ear infection and sinusitis in August 2018 . I had suffered from bad sinusitis for many years , but this was much worse , so I went to the GP . The first course of antibiotics I was prescribed didn ’ t help , so I tried another GP and another course of antibiotics , but the dizziness persisted . I continued to do races but was really battling with dizziness and nausea ,” says Annalie .
“ My running pace got very slow , and I was running with such a negative spirit . That also affected my mental state . I am not afraid to say that I suffer from both