Thursday, July 23, 2009

The waiting game!!

So, it has almost been 1 full week since my operation and how am I feeling??

A few words describe it: Bored and Frustrated.

For the first time, I have decided to follow doctors orders and have the full amount of recovery time off to give my body the best chance to recover.

In order to do this, I have had to mentally change my mindset for Yeppoon in 3 weeks. No longer am I looking to smash my pb, now it is a matter of getting the race under my belt to "re-start" my preparation for the WA Ironman. This is hard to take as to date I have pb'd every 1/2 that I have done and going up there with such a good start to the year training wise and seeing every leg improve in training. I am hoping that I surprise myself and have a good race 4hr 25min - 4hr 32min. Otherwise the goal will be to enjoy the race and more importantly enjoy the "cans" with old mate BIG BOY!!!

Many a time this week, I have felt on the improve until my body would decide that I am feeling to well and make me "move my bowels" and lay me flat on my back again. (For those that don't know I had an operation to correct some bowel issues) Will let you decide where the "entry point" was!!! Not a pleasant feeling.

So trying to plan when I am going to commence training has been put on hold as I will have to listen to my body for this to occur. Every day has been different to the previous as far as improvement. Tuesday, I felt like my improvements were coming along leaps and bounds, however yesterday (Wednesday) was a step back. I had a constant pain all day which lead to me throwing all plans of training out the window. Today is a different day and I hope that my improvements will continue, not only better than yesterday, but better than Tuesday.

My plan earlier in the week was to "maybe" get on the wind trainer over the weekend, just to spin my legs. At this stage the chances of that happening are zero to none!! Just walking around for 10-15min in every day life takes a lot of effort at the moment. Also, with the amount of antibiotics and pain relief tablets (some say EPO!!) my body is not handling the "highs & lows" to well with being unable to predict how I will be feeling 4 hours later, let alone 4 days time.

I travel next week for work, so this will give me another week to sit and think about the pain I have had in my ass. Hoping that everything recovers well and my body can cope with the amount of driving to be done, my aim is to get training going again the following weekend. My feelers have been out asking about the training that I will get back into. The advice which I have been given (thanks mate ;) ) has given me some confidence that I should get back to some reasonable training in the first week.

As for now I sit on my rump and think about training (some say that it is the thought that counts and not the outcome of the thought!) and wonder what others are doing and if they are making improvements whilst I loose some conditioning. Time will tell.

A positive that I can take from the operation is that my weight has dropped significantly and for the first time I have been able to stay under 92kgs consistently. My food intake has been adapted to suit my lack of training, so NO I am not starving myself either!! If i can maintain or drop some more, this will be a good springboard to resume training at.

For now...


Monday, July 20, 2009

Try to keep the focus!!

I went under the knife over the weekend to correct a stomach/bowel problem and have come out the other side with a hurdle to overcome...mentally.

After spending the entire weekend on my back due to having a pain in my ass.....literally, when it was time to "check out" of my pool side room (view of the car park) I had to ask when I could commence training again. This is where my first big mental test comes into it.

Due to the entry point of my operation, riding a bike will not be possible for at least 7-10 days. This is variable due to how much pain I have when sitting on the saddle. Also the length of time that I can ride for will be monitored as i go. For now the forthcoming weekend on the mag trainer for 30min looks like the option.

For the run, I have the same situation, not that I will have to sit down, but due to my bowels not having fluent motion at the moment and the doctor informing me that I have to try have "easy movements". So having an emergency stop in a public toilet is not an option that I want to encounter at the moment, as if things are not right.....could be very uncomfortable/embarrassing for me.

Now for the swim, this answer really surprised me. 2 FULL WEEKS off training, WTF???!?!?
I thought originally that I could hit the water sooner that the other 2 due to the fact that I would a lot less chance of having discomfort whilst swimming. However I failed to look at the fact of infection!! The doctor told me that a public pool, with such a high percentage of urine in the water, increased the chance of infection if I swam too soon.

So, not only did the operation give me a pain in the ass, it has made me realise that Yeppoon will only be a training race as I will not be in any kind of shape to race fully fit. Having the flu recently and now this means that I will have had 20 days off training during the month of July. Not the ideal preparation leading in.

I have to go into the race with the big picture in my mind that this is ONLY a lead up race for WA Ironman in December and the result is not as important to races later in the year.

The other thought is what to do in the 2 weeks that I will be able to train just prior to Yeppoon with traditionally having 1 week taper.

Do I have 1 really hard week with a week taper, or do I put in 2 medium sized weeks so that I don't put to much pressure on the body to close?

The answers to these 2 questions are not ones that I possess, so I have 2 weeks to find out the answer which will best suit my situation.

The only advantage of not being able to train this week is that I get to sit up and watch the Tour and watch to concluding stages live without having to have "red eye" syndrome every morning. This is probably the only thing that will stop me from going insane this week.

Anyway, I will be able to test my mental toughness this week and I will be able to see where I am at from here.

For now.....


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Small Hiccup - High Motivation

Last weekend I headed to Ballarat to "get away" and get some quality training done for the mind and body. My theory behind this was that if I could survive Ballarat's weather in the middle of winter, training in Melbourne for the remainder would not be to hard.

All good in theory as they say.

Arriving on Friday afternoon at Main Lead Comfort Inn, I cruised out for a 70min run around the old lake (i say old, as due to the drought, there is NO water at all in the lake). The weather was fresh, but was nothing compared to what I was going to encounter the following morning. Feet up for the rest of the night.

Saturday morning I awoke early and peered out the door to find wet roads, not a bad thing as I thought that it would not rain for the 4 1/2 hour ride & 30min run. I changed my original bike route to suit the weather conditions, not wanting to get too far from the hotel and have a mechanical. I managed to find a 25k loop which Incorporated the lake and a couple of suburbs around Ballarat. This was a suitable loop especially after the heavens opened up for the first 2 hours and the last 1 hour. So after being wet to the bone, I was also very cold with a temp of 5 degrees celcius and wind chill of -2 deg celcius, so riding wet in 3 deg was not pleasant.

I am sure that my hands went numb due to the fact that I thought my gloves were actually dry after the first downpour of rain!!!! Got through the session and relaxed back in the hotel for the afternoon.

The plan for Sunday was to ride 1 hour and run 1 hour in the morning and back it up with a swim session in the afternoon with another 30min run following.

So getting up early, hoping that the weather was more pleasant, I headed for the ride, and to my enjoyment, the weather was PERFECT for training, still a little fresh. BUT NO rain!!!!

Getting off the bike and running was so easy compared to the previous day with no mishaps whatsoever. The afternoon was a tough session, Saturdays session took a fair bit out of me and the Sunday morning session added to it. So off to the pool I went to try and get a solid swim set in. After a 4.8k set I dragged myself out of the pool for one more run before I headed back to Melbourne.

Ballarat was the perfect place to get away for a Training weekend and a place that I will definitely head back to in the future.

Now for the hiccup:

With training in the cold, I caught the flu, not knowing the full extent of it, I rode Tuesday morning in the cold. This did me no favours....A few days off work to recover.

So this weekend I have had a constructive weekends training without the fear of staying sick. 2 runs, 1 ride and a swim, no intensity, just k's have made me quite chuffed here on Sunday evening. Although having the flu, I am happy with how my progress is coming along with my swimming and running.

My first race this season in Yeppoon in 5 weeks has my motivation very high and my enthusiasm is sky high also as one of my good mates, James Monahan is currently competing at Ironman Switzerland. Is on the bike as i blog. My thoughts and encouragement go out to him as going through the training and the highs and lows of this game, getting to the start line is an achievement in it self. Carve it up MONAS!!!!

Anyway, I aim to put a solid week in again this week as I am going under the knife for a minor operation in the near future to resolve a stomach issue. This should not derail my training nor Yeppoon, yet see me make gains once fully recovered.

For now...


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The right fit!

Since WA Ironman, I have been searching for the right shoe to suit my feet.

I raced in asics 2140 prior to the Ironman and had no reason to change, so decided to run the marathon in the same shoes. My feet blistered badly, which, by never running a marathon previously I thought was normal. After chatting to a few fellow athletes (if I can be classed as one!) this was not a normal thing and had a few suggestions about changing my footwear. So since then I have been on the hunt for the elusive running shoe.

So I went and tried the Brooks T4 Racer at Geelong Half Ironman, purely for racing and was happy with this for any distance up to Half Ironman, I just don't think that this light weight show would be suitable for my frame for anything over this. Also, I am unsure what the life span would be, as in, how many races I would get out of the shoe before the shoe is finished. However, the shoe is comfortable and I am very happy to wear it in the suitable races.

So, for now I was happy with my purchase for my racing shoe up to Half Ironman. Now the search was to find a good lightweight training shoe, that might double as my shoe for Ironman races. The whole 1 per year that I plan to do. I tried a pair of New Balance 749's thinking that they were suitable to my feet. Unbeknown to me, these shoes were very unsuitable and gave me sore feet into my Achilles.

So I quickly decided to try again with shoes. I stumbled on a pair of New Balance 903's which were on sale at the time, so I didn't part with much coin to test ride a new pair.

( The pair on the left are the new model the 904's which I am on the look out for now.)
So with the 903's I gave these shoes every test under the sun from track running to gravel running to pavement running and they passed with flying colours. The only downside is that because they are a lightweight shoe, they need replacing often. I failed to do this and after running them into the ground, I developed a foot injury.

So unable to find the 904's at this time I am trying 2 other type of shoes: Brooks Defiance and New Balance 749's.

So far the Brooks have been my pick of the two shoes, due to having no blisters after the first run in them. Whereas the New Balance give me constant grief with the new design and the stitching being in the wrong spot for running. The stitching rubs just nicely one my toe. So for now I will be still looking for the New Balance 904 hoping that NB haven't changed the stitching on these also.
The Brooks have taken over as my preferred training shoe. Any other suggestions are more than welcome on shoes that work and shoes that don't.
For now...