Friday, February 11, 2011
And that's the same for all of us as we march through our lives. No different for me. We aren't what we were and it's kind of tricky to live in the past and expect your body to perform up to previous expectations. I'm a great believer that one of the 'tricks' of a successful life (define success however you wish, though not monetarily) is to never stop re-assessing and, if necessary, re-inventing yourself.
In marriage, Fiona and I have changed from the eighteen year olds who fell in love. We are different people and, like anything joined together, one needs to work in tandem with the other to maintain cohesion and attraction. With children too, with business and with sport. We must re-focus, look at where we are, who we are, and never be afraid to re-assess and re-set our goals and day to day routine. That way, I think, we stay fresh, happy and, most importantly, challenged.
The above sounds like a 'Thought for the day' but it isn't meant to. I think it's born out of the fact that, emerging from a horrific year of injuries, I have begun to see that I'm not the athlete that began this Ironman journey. Gung-ho training has taken its toll and, more specifically, an inability to rest has not allowed my body to heal when it needs to. But I've taken the time to analyse my shortcomings and, now that the injuries are showing signs of healing, I'm able to apply what I've learned to my training.
So, what of the injuries? The back is going well. I'm able to swim and cycle with (current) impunity although I will forever need a regime of daily back strengthening and stretching exercises. I'm riding two long bikes a week of 60/70 miles at the moment plus shorter efforts of 20/30 miles in between.
Swimming was one thing that - in hindsight - I think really aggravated my back for minimal return. All that twisting around the core was, I believe, the poor technique of someone who came late to swimming but didn't truly know how to swim. So, whereas previously I would do MORE swimming to rectify this problem, now I'm planning on doing less. So what if my swim time drops a little... I'll be in much better shape to peform further down the event, through the bike and run. A 60 minute IM swim can become a 65 minute swim but my back will be stronger and, as I learned at Ironman Germany, you can't run a marathon when your spine is about to give way.
But running... ah, running. That elusive goal. Whilst my back has really improved, my achilles tendon has remained an obstinate, obdurate enemy. Running has been all but impossible, but finally I'm hoping that it's light I'm seeing at the end of this particular tunnel, rather than the distant rays of another false dawn. I've seen countless physios and specialists who have tried to help but to no avail. Currently I'm seeing Boothy, a mate of mine and sports injury osteopath (and our main coach at Team MK) who has had similar injury issues to me in the past. We're working on building up my arches to support my feet in what appears to be quite a complicated strike pattern when I walk and run. I'd be lying if I didn't say there was some slight improvement. But it's been so long that I can't tell any more for sure.
I am, though, an optimist. Hope springs eternal in my breast.
Not only am I back training but I'm back blogging.
I think that's a good sign.
Happiness and karma to you all.
May your shadows never grow less.
May the skin on your backsides never line a banjo.