Ironman NZ – 6 days to go!!!!

Summary of Week 2 : TAPER (2nd of 3)
Training Hours: 7:42 (Swim 0:10, Bike 5:16, Run 2:16) checkmark2.jpeg
Training Stress: 414
CTL Ramp Rate: – 7.5 (to 102.1)

ctl 1 week to go.jpg

I’m sitting on the plane to NZ as I write this. I’m practising the ‘keys under your nose’ typing technique as these damn seats don’t even give you enough space for a 13 inch laptop!

This last week has been a real disappointment. I started the week with my bike and run about where I’d envisaged them 20 weeks ago, and my swim a little underdone but nothing a couple of 3-4km swims wouldn’t fix.

But there was a dark cloud. While the visible injuries from the bike crash were healing up nicely, my left chest/shoulder appeared to be getting worse. After the crash I’d been able to ride hard, including a teeth and nails climb up Springbrook. My right hamstring was feeling a bit tight and needed attention, but the real problem was my chest which was hurting more each day. I was unable to swim, I had trouble picking up our 4 month old daughter, and it hurt to breathe deeply; coughing was excruciating.

(everyone on the flight just turned off their teles and closed their eyes to observe one minute of silence for the victims of the Christchurch quake – ordinary people going about their lives suddenly dead and dying – absolutely tragic!)

Monday I visited the physio, taking my doctor’s ‘damaged pec muscle’ diagnosis with me. He quickly located a very sore spot on my 5th rib down, about the size of a 50c piece. Eyebrows were raised, experts were consulted, theories were bandied about, and I was whisked off for an x-ray ASAP.

Fortunately the x-ray came back clear, leaving the pec fibres pulled away from the chest or an undisplaced fracture as the diagnosis.

But the pain continues. No swimming. Biking and running OK but no heavy breathing (which didn’t fit too well with my planned short, sharp sessions for this week). Physio sessions were booked for the remaining three days before I flew out to New Zealand. The pec was getting the anti-inflammatory gels, massage and ultrasound, but nothing was making a difference.

Meanwhile the right hamstring and glute continued to tighten up – to a point where I couldn’t ride more than 10 mins in the aero position before I lost all power and had to sit up.

The physio was incredulous that I had been riding with my leg in this condition for the last month. He would try and stretch my leg and shake his head in disbelief. He reckoned it was a miracle the hamstring hadn’t been torn off the bone.

I felt like a bit of a fool. I just never realised that the tight/tired feeling that was coming from my leg was an injury red flag. I just thought I was tired from all the training. I feel naieve writing this now. Now that I recognise the pain, I can constantly feel it. Even sitting here on this plane it is tight and sore. What a dope!

If I take one thing away from this Ironman build-up, it will be that you MUST have a regular massage (ideally weekly) during any period of intense training. I’ve never had a hamstring problem in my life. I barely have hamstrings! A stitch in time certainly saves nine when it comes to massage.

Yesterday, my last day in Aussie, nothing had worked. So out came the needles. I hate needles. I can never give blood, let alone watch a medical drama on tele. But desperate times call for desperate measures and no stone would be left unturned in the quest to find a way to get through this Ironman race.

So over the next 60 mins my pec, glute and hamstring were twitching and humming. Certainly some tension had been released. Who knows if it’ll be enough?

I have instructions to not even attempt to swim until the morning before the race. And to load up on painkillers. If I can survive the swim then I can face the challenge of struggling through the 180km ride/42km run along with everyone else.

3.8km of uncertainty.

I’ve checked the rules. I’ve got 2hrs 20mins. I reckon if I can knock off the first 1500m I can make it. Adrenaline and painkillers should get me close. My swim 24hrs before the race will tell me PLENTY!

A lot has changed in the last few weeks. This is not an ideal preparation, but the quake in Christchurch puts everything in perspective. I’m fortunate to even be able to attempt this race and DAMNED if I won’t do everything possible to finish it!

Coming Up?

Week 1. Race week! Rest, rest, REST…

Total training planned : 2 hours.

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4 Responses to Ironman NZ – 6 days to go!!!!

  1. idreamofkona says:

    Just found your blog – what a nightmare with the timing on hitting the dog! Still, it seems popular among Tour de France riders, so you’re in good company.

    Out of curiosity on the hamstrings; have you been using a foam roller at all? It’s no replacement for a good massage, but I found one called The Grid to be better than nothing on my tight glutes which were giving me hamstring issues.

    Race strong!

    • jontsnz says:

      Cheers Iain. I have looked at but not bought any of the TPTherapy products, of which I think The Grid is one. They always seemed a bit expensive. But at $70 a pop for a physio visit, it doesn’t take long to recoupe the outlay! I might have a play with one down at the expo…

  2. Jason says:

    Good luck…. keep the mental focus going… it has a lot to do with how you’ll end up doing!

    • jontsnz says:

      Thanks Jason. I’m conscious that the mental game is bloody important right now. Unfortunately confidence is a big part of that and I’ve lost a lot of confidence in my body over the last fortnight. I’ve moved from a mentality of sub 13 hours to one of completion which I’m not sure is that healthy for me but certainly more realistic.

      Once I’ve gotten through the swim and get out on the bike I’ll be able to gain a lot of confidence. And when I get to the 30km mark on the run I hope to find some extra inspiration in the trials I’ve faced to get that far.

      But, to be honest, it’s all faff and hot air until I get out there Saturday morning!

      John

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