Niggling Injuries

Thankfully, after a bit of a concern that my injury sustained in the Halesowen Triathlon was my Achilles, it turns out that it’s just another one of those niggling injuries. Something I’ve learned since getting back into sport is that I’m not as young as I once was (famous words) and thus the body needs a bit more TLC. I’ve always been fiercely competitive, starting with myself and this often means that little messages from my body are often ignored under the premise of ‘no pain no gain’. 

Training for my two recent events; The London Marathon and my new found love of Triathlon, I had similar issues, both are intensive endurance sports and thus it’s quite normal to hurt during training, but it’s clear that I need to be more sensible. In the run up to the marathon I felt some pain in my right knee that meant I had to walk home from my last long run. Rather than getting it checked out, I stopped running for 3 weeks and then tried to take part. This was a bad decision as I suffered badly with my ITB (iliotibial band – the one on the outside of the knee) to the point that I had to walk the last half of the race. Top tip if you’re having to start a race like this, maybe you shouldn’t be starting it at all….  

Injuries - if you're starting a race like this, think whether you should be starting at all 

Similarly, in the build up to the triathlon I felt a sharp pain in my right calf area during a steady run, this required me to walk home. You can probably guess what I did next… Correct, didn’t see anyone about it and stopped running. At this point I should also remind you all about the fact that I had hurt my shoulder trying on wetsuits at the 220Triathlon Show and hadn’t swum since then either. Hey, at least I was still able to get some decent miles in on the bike! I headed in to the race not what I would call ‘prepared’ and you’ve probably read how that turned out.

Having now discovered a very good local physiotherapist, Anna Curnow, I shall hopefully be more sensible going forward. I had my first appointment with her yesterday, during which I fully expected to be told that I had ruptured my Achilles. Thankfully this was not the case, I have ‘just’ injured my calf. During the consultation, I received a bit of an MOT and Anna is of the belief that my injuries are, in some ways, linked. My right leg is clearly much weaker and much less flexible than my left, whether these issues are cause or effect of the marathon injury, no-one can say. I have come away with a series of strengthening and flexibility exercises to do, targeting my calves and hip flexors. This shouldn’t be too long out of action – hey my shoulder is better as I managed the same time for the swim as my previous time trial, but I will definitely be paying more attention to my body and working just as much on strength, conditioning and now flexibility as I do on swim, bike, run.

I am a triathlete

It’s not quite the same as those immortal words entered at the end of a certain race in Hawaii but I can now say that I am a triathlete!

Today was the Halesowen Triathlon, a local sprint event with a pool swim. A while ago I decided it would be a good first race and so it proved. It’s safe to say that my preparations didn’t go as well as planned, a number of niggling and occasionally ridiculous injuries blighted things but we got to race day in more or less one piece; or so I thought.

Halesowen Triathlon 2015
Halesowen Triathlon 2015 – First Triathlete Number!

The Swim – 9:08

I hadn’t done any swimming of note since wrenching my shoulder trying on wetsuits in late January, however I felt reasonably comfortable following a gentle tester last week. The first difference to my normal swimming was the 33m pool, but it turned out to be a non event. I felt the best I’ve ever done in the pool, aside from missing a breath or two, and was very pleased with a time equalling the time trial I did in January, which given the lack of training was excellent.

Halesowen Triathlon 2015 - Triathlete Swim
Halesowen Triathlon 2015 – First Triathlete Swim – Photo: Aniko Towers

The Bike – 57:21

After a very leisurely T1, note to self need work on that, 3:16 is not ideal but then again descending wet concrete stairs isn’t either! One of the niggling injuries was a calf strain I did about a month ago, so I’ve been using Compresssport R2 Calf Guards and they were a hassle to get on too. The course was a pretty hilly one and the wind was evil, strong sideways gusts on tricky descents and then strong headwinds on the uphills! Once more I had a major speed wobble on one of the downhills, but I was more prepared for this after the recent recce. I need to find out why I’m having the wobbles though as I was steadily gaining on the guy in front of me on the climbs, but he left me for dead on the downhill bits due to my lack of confidence. I did eventually get him on the longest climb and he never came back passed me. Not much more to report, it was a decent ride and I beat my PRs on pretty much every section according to Strava. I need work on my bike skills though as despite maintaining a decent average cadence of 84, I never felt like I was really working that hard but simply couldn’t transfer the power through the bike – it’s early days though, I’ve only been riding a few months!

Halesowen Triathlon 2015 - Triathlete Bike
Halesowen Triathlon 2015 – First Triathlete Bike – Photo: Aniko Towers

The Run – 35:08

Thankfully T2 was much better at 39s, the Nathan lock laces certainly helping here! Sadly that was pretty much the end of the good news for the run. Straight away my calf muscles felt very tight and were cramping quickly. I took it steady and stopped to stretch occasionally, eventually I got into a bit of a rhythm and started to pick the pace up, but sadly just before the turnaround I felt my right calf give up. I had no choice but to walk and headed back to the finish line. After about a mile I was able to ‘hobble jog’ and being determined to finish with some degree of a run went for it.

Halesowen Triathlon 2015 - Triathlete Run
Halesowen Triathlon 2015 – First Triathlete Run – Photo: Aniko Towers
Halesowen Triathlon 2015 - Triathlete Medic
Halesowen Triathlon 2015 – First Triathlete Medic! – Photo: Aniko Towers

There was great support from everyone at the finish and I finished with an overall time of 1:45.30, currently a PB! Here’s to the next one, as I’ve definitely been bitten by the bug and plan to do more!

A nod at this point to thetrinerd who trashed his time from last year and finished in 1:15 – great stuff!

Halesowen Triathlon 2015 - Triathlete The End
Halesowen Triathlon 2015 – Triathlete Over – Photo: Aniko Towers