A few pictures of my cast progression ending with a light weight removable splint the nice lady at St Thomas’s fashioned for me yesterday. I must admit it was a huge disappointment. I had been under the impression it would be hinged at the ankle as I’d been told I’d be able to cycle with it provided I could get a cycling shoe on. At least I can get it wet and in theory I can swim. I will try it out this weekend (at The Four Seasons near Nice !). I’d made the mistake of getting my hopes up. I was visualizing a great race following a restart to my training beginning with 6 weeks of swim and bike focus. I imagined riding 100 miles every day I was in Lanzarote (not likely whatever the splint …). When I got this on yesterday and walked out of the hospital I was slower and more awkward than with a cast. I’d imagined ditching my crutches but with this I will need them for another six weeks. I was distraught.
Luckily my consultant is very responsive via email and he got back to me and said I should come in and see him on tuesday. He’d hoped for something with a little more movement. He said we are looking to balance protecting the tendon and allowing some movement so I can get at least some training done.
It’s been quite an inspiring weekend of racing. I knew a few people doing Ironman South Africa and they all did awesomely. Firstly Roger. It’s been inspirational to see his progression from surprise qualifier in New Zealand last year to absolute contender now. Despite a puncture and two loo stops on the run he still managed to win his age group (12th fastest run overall !). This should be a lesson to us all – you race the race whatever it throws at you. I know that every time I’ve qualified I could have spent 10 minutes fixing a puncture and still qualified. Reckon I know two people now that can make the podium at Kona … hoping I can put the work in to join such excellent company. Next Mat. I met Mat my first year at Kona in 2005. We just bumped into each other (as you do) and spent the whole week hanging out. He had a great race that year (9:37 as I remember !) but pretty much stopped racing after that. In South Africa he managed 2nd in his age group and a Kona slot (which he turned down). Finally Richard. Ever since I’ve been racing Ironman Richard has also. In my first Ironman he gave me the great advice of not having coke till halfway through the run. This year you may have seen a comment he made on this blog that he’d see me in Kona. I love it when someone is open about their goals and willing to commit to say they’ll do it. It showed such confidence. I’m a firm believer in telling people your goals. Anyway he totally delivered, having an awesome race, including a 4:55 bike, to get 2nd in his age group and a slot. Kona this year is shaping up to be more fun than last year – the more people you know there the better ! Splashers may not have enough room for all of us to enjoy a post swim breakie ! I’m sending my best vibes to all those people I know getting ready to try and qualify in Lanzarote.
Since this is a “Training Blog” I better mention what I’ve done – pretty much nothing. I’m learning something about my self. Bevan said to me during the Epic Podcast that I was ‘a man of extremes’. He is probably right. I felt a little pressure to do at least something as so many people say get down the gym etc… Initially I visualised heading there and doing X amount of situps, getting to be able to do one arm chins. You can see it was also pushing the limits. However, I never quite had the motivation. Partly it’s because I feel for fitness it’s all or nothing. I wonder whether I could ever just do a little bit each week to stay healthy. Mostly though it’s because it feels like a drop in the ocean. Will what I do now make much difference compared to what I can do once I’m back on the bike. My attitude may change if it turns out I can’t get a splint that allows me to ride.
The other bit of advice I’ve had over the years is to give up the booze when you have an injury. This is pretty sound based on the fact you’ll put on weight if you booze whilst training. However, when training I don’t want to booze as it impacts my sessions. This is the one time where I can happily sleep in so I’ve chilled out. I feel that this complete break from training should be just that. Not only rest physically but also mentally, switch off and feel no pressure to do anything just because it’s good for performance. In this respect my timing has been pretty good. In the past two weeks I’ve been drinking with old school friends back up in Middlesbrough. Old university friends took me out a week ago. On Monday I was boozing at my sisters wedding (and will be doing the same at the wedding blessing this weekend) and on tuesday I had a beer with a new friend Martin over lunch and followed it with a quiet pint on my way home – I needed the rest !
I met Martin because I was sat doing a Su Duko wearing a Kona cap on the south bank. He was running and stopped for a chat because he saw I was an Ironman. This is why I wear things like that, especially in the run up to races. It’s such a great way to meet people.