Monday, May 11, 2009
Back to the Future...
I seem to remember barbling on in last week's blog about not training to exhaustion on my Italian training camp.
When I got back from Italy I was exhausted. So, too it seems, were many of my team mates. So many demands had been made on my body that I spent much of last week in a state of almost perpetual tiredness, needing a lunch time sleep and having no energy left in me at all. Coach K said it would be so and, not for the first time, Coach K was right.
Coach K also told me to take it very easy training this week and to come back in if I was doing anything and felt tired. Now I know why. Having travelled sunday and had monday off, I went for a run on tuesday night, initially scheduling a brisk 20km. I decided to jog back in after 10km though as my legs were heavy and I was really tired. Only a couple of hundred metres from home my lower pack 'popped'. I have a history with this particular piece of my anatomy but, since my triathlon days began, it's behaved itself pretty well. I put this down mainly to my weight loss and my lower spine not needing to support a top heavy torso. Sure, it's 'gone' once or twice in the last couple of years but, more often than not, after a visit to the chiropractor I'm back training after a couple of days.
I immediately felt this would be different however. The movement in my back seemed somehow more... permanent. A definite 'clunk'. I could feel the pain setting in as I returned home and immediately called my chiro. Of course, no bookings for a week were available due to holidays. So I found another one. Lauren at the Berkamsted Chiropractic Clinic has been my angel of mercy this week, making room and squeezing me in to a couple of appointments (one only an hour from my ringing) where she could easily have said 'no'. A huge thank you to her.
The treatment initially left me concerned about the scale of the injury, however, as I felt no particular improvement through the week. In fact, I was in agony for three days, unable to function in any way normally, so training was completely out the window.
Now this isn't meant to sound in any way heroic and, if anything, probably sounds stupid. But all I can say in my defence is that I just had to do something. I looked at my diary and realised that eight weeks from last Sunday I would be stood by a lake in Frankfurt and that I HAD to keep training. How the hell was I going to do that? I'm serious when I say I was in great pain sat at my desk writing.
I had a call from Ben on the Thursday. Ben is doing Ironman Lanzarote this year and is good mates with my buddies Tom and Helen. His father isn't well (get well soon, Ben's dad) and he told me he was coming down from Leeds to see him (Ben's folks live locally) and would I like to ride with him on the Saturday. Frankly, there's nothing I would have liked more but there was no way I could contemplate 3 hour hill session. But I did say for him to pop in, say hello, I'd make a coffee and, if I was feeling up to it, I'd ride out with him for a few minutes and ride back just to see if there was any reaction.
Ben came. Coffee was made. I rode out and did 20 miles. There was no reaction other than the constant pain I was getting in my everyday life. So, I figured, why not be sat on the bike as sat on a couch. Getting back from that ride made me feel a whole lot better. I planned a ride Sunday morning, aiming to go further this time, aiming to probe at my back's longevity.
Not only that, but it would mark the 'coming out' of my beloved Cervelo P2C (my TT bike with its low aero position) for the first time this season. Those of you who know me know me to be someone who is not so much talented as relentless in his pursuit of a goal. Sometime that's a curse and sometime it's of benefit. We all have a different make up. That's mine is all. And so, as I got off the bike 103 miles later, having rode 100 solo miles in 5 hours and 4 minutes at an average of 19.7mph, I allowed myself a little smile.
And, as I write this with no reaction from my back other than the (now lessening) pain that would normally be there at this stage of the injury, I allow myself a little smile.
It could all go balls up, of course. But, so far so good.
The lesson from this for me? One I knew already really. Nobody knows their bodies like the folks that own them. And sometimes you just have to get on with things, no matter what obstacles are in your way. Injury and pain are part of Ironman Training... I've been lucky for a while and hadn't had much go wrong. I'd forgotten how it's easy to tell yourself you're injured and you need rest when, actually, you could be showing that injury who's boss... or at least trying to. Don't get me wrong... for the first few days, the injury WAS boss. No way could I move, let alone train. But I'm convinced that the exercise I've done on the bike over the weekend has helped my injury recovery. Whether that's psychological, physiological or a mixture of both I don't know. But sometimes... we just have to do things and see if they work.
Sorry if that's gone on a bit but it's just something I wanted to get off my chest. I'll keep you posted with the back situation but am going to try swimming today and, maybe later in the week I'll try and run. But there's always the bike!
Congratulations this week to Colin, who took part in his first GB qualifiying sprint triathlon on Sunday at Grendon. He scored well and timed in at 1 hour 15 which will put him in the frame for selection. He's confident he can shave the minutes required off his time to automatically qualify in one of his two further races. A training camp in Cyprus this week should help. Good luck, mate and great racing.
Well done also to my buddy Graham M., who timed at 1:14 for the same race. Graham's in great form this year and this was just what he needed to launch him into the last 8 weeks of training prior to IM Germany.
I'm twittering more and more and enjoying it immensely. For those of you who are 'tweeters', follow the link on this site to hook up with me.
My mind is also turning to which Ironman to do next year. Decisions decisions. I guess it will be a European one again and I have no desire at all to do a sea swim which would rule out Lanza and Nice. UK doesn't appeal except in a novelty way. Maybe Switzerland? Or Austria again? Trouble is, you have to decide and book now as they all sell out within 24 hours of opening for registration a year prior to their start date.
Tom and Helen are tapering well. Follow them on their blog here. They, and Ben, should be in great shape for Lanza. Take it easy guys and rest up. All the hard work is done. Good luck tapering too to Gabriel, who's also doing Lanza. I'm doing The Beaver half Ironman that day (May 23rd) but will be checking in when I can for your splits.
In the meantime, I'll be writing, training, being a dad and catching up on all my episodes of The Wire - true televisual crack cocaine.
Catch you all next week...