Tuesday, June 28, 2011

and life goes on

i have been a quiet blogger.  things have settled down since busselton and i seem to have found my winter routine.

i have my swimming mojo back and i am loving it.  in the past i swam tuesday, thursday and saturday. now i have changed it to monday, wednesday and saturday. the two week day swims are at belmont pool which i have started to like. even though it is a heated indoor 50m pool it is not that warm but it is quiet and i usually get a lane to myself. but the highlight of my week is my saturday session at swim smooth. it has an open water focus and it is fast and furious. i love claremont pool. it is an outdoor heated pool and warmer than belmont and the water is just perfect. i will jot down this weeks workout and report back as they are a ripper.

I stole this picture from the squad blog. 
It was taken at 7 a.m. just before a big downpour and storm.

after my swim on saturday i head over to Kings Park and go for one of my three runs.  part of the city to surf half-marathon course (that i have 8 weeks to train for) goes through here and i have been getting in some hill running.  it is also a beautiful location and i need to take my camera.  my leg and calves are improving but i still dont have that spring in my run.  i have really been trying to stick to my stretching routine and i am now starting strength exercises.  i really never thought running would be so hard.  good news is that my feet are okay. 

i havent been on the road bike for two weeks.  since the leg starts up when i push the distance i thought i would have a break.   i havent had a weekend off from riding long in months and months so i dont think it will hurt.  the bike is now on the indoor trainer ready to tour france late into the night.  what I did do on sunday was to take my new MTB out for her first ride.  i did an easy 40k trail ride and i dont know how but it was completed 20 minutes quicker than any of the rides of the same trail i did last year.  quick bike or fast legs ?  the bike is awesome.

i dont say much about my really personal life because it is personal but this is funny and triathlon related - kinda.  i went out to dinner with a guy i knew from triathlon events and work.  nice guy, not really my type but you never know.  we knew we had triathlon in common and as it turns out that is ALL we had in common.  but the food was nice and i didnt feel the need to climb out the bathroom window.  as it was i could have snuck out the front door while he was having a power nap.  now i know what it is like to train hard and work hard.  he had asked to have dinner at 6.30 pm (only my elderly parents eat that early) but seriously - he couldnt stay awake past 9 pm ?  i am sure i was not that boring. 

so life goes on.


Monday, June 13, 2011

the problem with feet

as you know during my half ironman training i had quite a few problems with my feet.  i can say the effort and stress to make sure i could keep training was just as hard as the actual training.  constant ice, tennis ball massage, physio visits and pain was an experience.  i wasted money when i was referred to a really bad podiatrist.  tip - find out if the podiatrist has experience or knowledge about the sport you are in.  mine did zumba.  so the response from them was to just assume it was the plantar fasciitis and to hand me  a pair of orthotics that were/are useless.   they also forgot to inform me that it takes weeks to break them in and yet they knew i was three weeks out from busselton.  usually i try to be well informed but i was in pain and if they had told me i could compete without my feet i would have cut them off.  it did my head in that while running caused the problem it impacted me more on the bike and the swim. 

the training volume naturally eased off during taper prior to the 70.3 and then my feet started to improve and enabled me to recognise that it most definitely wasnt the plantar fascia but the balls of my feet and specifically the part below your second toe on each foot.  this is even more noticeable now as a callous on each foot has formed in that exact spot.  at times it felt like i was walking on a pebble and since my heel had never hurt it was pretty goods odds against it being plantar fasciitis.  the dimples in my foot come from my masseur sandals that are the BEST thing ever for injured feet.

Quite difficult to take a picture of the bottom of your foot - note missing skin from little toe !
 so now my mission this winter is to solve what went wrong with my feet.  i changed shoes prior to the race as i was informed that i do pronate but was running in a neutral shoe - the asic gel nimbus.  i changed to the brooks ravenna and they served me well.  a friend (who just completed comrades) recommended a podiatrist and i had an appointment on the weekend  and what a different experience it was.  the podiatrist i saw is a runner and was just brilliant.  she explained everything, checked out my feet, hip flexors, shoes and went through my history.  she then made little marks on the back of my legs and we went into another room where i ran on a treadmill - barefoot and then with my shoes on - while it was being recorded.  we reviewed the results.  firstly i only pronate very slightly on the left.  this explains why i was able to run in the gel nimbus for over two years with very few problems.  my arch (on both feet) does not collapse when i run and everything else is very normal.  the only thing that appears a little unusual is my extensor tendons near the top of my toes.  they look like they are over extended but without pain on top of the foot do not appear to be the problem.  when i run the extensor tendon near my ankle looks like it is being over extended and could be related to my calf problems.  this is something i will look into. 

so what is the answer.  it appears that once i increased the distance the bone near my second toe became inflamed and irritated.  this may have been due to the change in surface - running on grass and having to lift off more from the ball of my foot or just simply the increased distance.  metatarsalgia was ruled out since i do not suffer from numb toes or any tingling in my toes.  so my (new) podiatrist put very slight heel lifts/inserts in my shoes and added padding to the back of my inserts around the ball of my foot but cut out the space where the callous has formed.  i am still having problems with my calves (i dont know why) and the tendons at the back of my left knee and at this stage the best treatment seems to be massage and stretching.  rest makes no difference.  nothing is impacting my swimming and the only problem on the bike is the left leg when i get past the 70k mark.  no more burning feet.  running is a bitch.  i have the city to surf half marathon in 11 weeks and my calves will not let me run past 10k.  the podiatrist has told me to amp back up the distance.  we shall see. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

hbf run for a reason 14k race report 2011

this is well overdue but i am suffering from post half ironman blues and a lack of enthusiasm.  blah.  anyway i signed up for this because i did it last year (that is not a good enough reason by the way) and i thought that even though i had no idea how i would pull up after the half i could either not show - the event is all about raising money for charity so no loss there or i could just turn up and give it a shot.  during the week i had run twice only a 5 and a 6k and my calves were tight so i wasnt convinced it was a good idea.  (note - listen to self). 

last year was the inaugural year and about 4000 runners showed up to run the incorrect course of 14.5k.  this year there were about 10,000 people and a correct 14k course.  it was chilly but no rain.  the event was so well organised - especially the bag drop off and pick up.  great effort trievents.  they had a band at the start playing some great tunes to get everyone pumped and the t-shirts for north versus south of the river were brilliant except for the fact that my medium was probably designed for a medium 6ft 120 kilo friggin giant who obviously doesnt run enough.  i hate scoring a freebie that doesnt fit.

i had seeded myself in group b based on last year.  the start was but once we got onto riverside drive it was very congested.  they need to open up both sides of the road.  i was running along the road and then having to hop up onto the grass verge to run past the people walking ?!!  WTF.  why (oh why) do people put themselves at the start and then after 500 m WALK.  i was running 5 minute pace and my plan was to take it easy at 6 min pace.  once we got onto the freeway overpass things opened up and i could slow down and settle a little bit.  the crowds were great and all the bands along the way were fantastic.  running through the tunnel i lost my gps and it threw out the overall distance.  i wasnt too worried as they had a marker at each kilometre and all i needed to know was pace per km.

i stopped and walked for 10 seconds or so at two or three aid stations.  i knew that i was running harder than i wanted and tried to slow the pace but deep down i just wanted to get it over with.  the wind was nowhere to be found this year so it was quite nice running past the burswood and being close to the river.  the last kilometre or so i really pushed it.  my legs were tightening up and while my calves had hung in there i wanted to get it done.  the last km was run in 4.50 for an overall time of 1.19.01 at 5.38 pace.  last year i ran the 14.5k at 5.42 pace. 

i didnt stay around afterwards and grabbed my bag and headed to the train station for the ride back to guildford and my car.  the grass and all areas were wet so no stretching.  by the time i got home my legs ached and i ran a hot bath.  probably should have jumped in an ice bath.  my running has been up and down since with constant niggles.  so this was probably not a great idea and it is back to square one.   this is a wonderful event and a shame that it is only two weeks apart from the half.  i doubt that i will do it next year but you never know.