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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Getting there a little bit quicker

Ok, good news to report.
Well, yesterday I managed 50 minutes of bike on the rollers at around 65-70% effort. And no pain, all held up really well.
Woke this morning with no aching, legs felt fine, movement not at all restricted, although still quad into hip flexor tight and sore a little, but I stretched off and massaged my quad and put heat wrap on it. Set off for a swim and had a reasonable session. Pushed myself and decided it was time to really get harder when swimming. I've been focussed on easy swimming drills and now my technique has improved it's time to put in some more effort. I need to build swim strength, and as I'm a really late starter to swimming I've got a lot of catching up to do with the faster triathletes.
This evening I did an hour on the rollers. 80% effort. Very good. I've lost a bit of my bike engine and a little in the legs, my cadence was lower than normal, my pedalling a little sluggish. But not surprising given I haven't ridden in anger for 7 weeks!
Legs ok after and I iced quad and knee after, just as a precaution and will continue to do that for te next week or so. Feeling much more positive today. Particularly after my visit to AECC to see Ed Morton of Zoom tri club. He sorted out my pelvis and lower back, stretched me out, worked on my back and fixed me up good. Loads more flexible tonight and haven't felt this 'up' for a long time. So I'll continue in this positive frame of mind and probably rest tomorrow, fly Saturday. Sunday, I'll put my bike back together and take off for an hour or two in the Florida sun for an easy ride and fit in a run later in the day, followed by a relaxing swim. Then I'll sit down and formulate a plan of attack for 8th November!!!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Faster swimming

Found this great article on swim technique.

http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/swimcenter/barrel.html

knee injury

Well, what a difference 24 hours makes. I should be a physio!!
I have had a tight quad right at the top of my thigh, and has been tight and aching for a few weeks now, but noone has given it much attention, ie. physios and sports massurs etc. And to be honest it's not really given me much room for concern as I have been so focussed on the knee. However, yesterday after my sports massage and doing stretches on my hip flexors a thought hit me like a bolt of lightning. This tightness in quad might just be why I am getting knee pain when on the bike. And if it's cold weather it ain't going to help. Soo, last night when walking for the train I kept kneeding my quad and it was damn sore, but as I was walking it seemed to release my knee more. I got to the station and jogeed to my house, about half a mile. Pain free.
Got in. Iced the knee. No pain. Massaged my quad like crazy and stretched out fully. Lots of arnica cream, then heat wrap followed by Voltarol cream on quad. Felt much better, but very sore still. Is sore again this morning. But as an experiment, I warmed up throughly, got a heat wrap around the top of my thigh and got on my bike, only for 1 mile. No pain in the knee. I stretched off, and walked 1 mile from being dropped off in town , into work. No pain in knee.

My conclusion and thoughts at the moment. Knee has healed now. I have obviously had an injury in a tendon coming down from the medial quad. It has settled at last, inflammation gone. Now, the problem is biomechanical. Tight hip flexors and maybe a little stiff in the lower back and tight top of quad(not sure what the muscle is called). Once I can get this right, knee pain will disappear. I am full of confidence now that I can get right and I truly believe that the warm weather in Florida and the relaxed atmosphere, and of course not being at at a desk all day will help get me right. I might not be fit enough to race hard at Clearwater but I am confident of getting round the course pain free. This is the best day I have had in about 8 weeks!

So my advice to anyone who has had a similar injury. Completely rest the knee, and get pain free. Then address biomechanics. I truly believe that the knee is not the source of the injury, it's the result of a build up of other issues, which lead to what is traditionally know as 'overuse' injury. If you are biomechanically perfect then I don't believe in the word 'ovruse'. But nobody is. The human body is designed to be used. I think that because of our modern lifestyles our bodies now lack the ability to re-adapt to activity and it takes time for the body to adjust. This is only my second full season in triathlon, and prior to that I was out of any sporting activity for over 5 years, I smoked and drank heavily and was 16 and a half stone. Of course on my way to getting fit and healthy my body has taken a while to adapt, and I am not surprised that I have picked up these 'overuse' injuries over this period. Once I am fully recovered from this one I truly believe that if I keep strong and flexible I will be able to continue my trianing for years pain free.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

11 days til Clearwater

Had a great Sports Massage this morning, and what a lovely way to start the day.
Has revealed a lot of tightness in my glutes and right hip flexor, and adductors, which I think is causing my knee to tighten when pedalling, therefore not helping. Thing is, I have been stretching them out, but obviously not the right way!
Massage done at Body in Motion. Well worth a look at, and have a special offer at the moment, sports massage is £35 for the hour as opposed to the usual £42. Just focussed on quads, hamstrings and glutes, and feel much better. Did a good stretch on my hip flexors. But unfortunately I am now sat at my desk in office which is not doing me any good whatsoever!
NO training today, as waiting for knee to settle. Still a bit achy this morning, and medial quad was tender and tight during massage. May swim tonight if I feel up to it.
I am starting to get myself mentally prepared for the race and approach it as if I have no injury. But add in to that I have to accpet the fact that I may have to drop out of the race. Any sign of pain at all during the race and I will stop. I promise!!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Cold in the UK

Well, it's a bit chilly today.
I had a rest weekend, of absolutely nothing. And pain free. All good. Had to ride to work this morning, unavoidable really, and bit of a dull ache in the knee. However, not all bad, as pain free now. Was early morning, and it was cold and damp and tight Assos longs on which restrict my knee movement. Will push bike to train later and get that home, not riding. I can now not ride for the rest of the week, which was my original plan for recovery. I'll swim at lunch today and tomorrow lunch and evening, just to get an aerobic workout of some sort. My fitness levels don't feel too bad. But I will have lost bike speed, and as for running, well, I'm not even thinking about it! Sports massage tomorrow which will help. On the advice of James Gilfillan, I'm going to completely leave my knee alone, no friction rubbing, no ice, no heat, no gel, just ot give it chance to settle. I did a lot less with it over the weekend, just stretching and it feels much better.
I read my training diary and it's more like a doctor's surgery notes!

This morning on the bike was a bit negative but I've put it behind me and am trying really hard to focus on staying positive. Pain free is the key! I am repeating that mantra to myself on an hourly basis!
12 days til race day! The countdown begins!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Triathlon photos

Some photos of me and other athletes at various races.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevebirtwistle/

Clearwater 2008


Ok, I'm going to race. I might not finish it, I might not even get on my bike, but I'm going to start and i'm going to give it my best shot. My legs will suffer, and it will be hard, as i haven't trained for 7 weeks now. But I will be there and I'll be fit. Time to get positive. Knee is much better. I've now had two whole days of nothing and no pain. I will continue to do nothing til next Monday, when I will swim. I will try to ride my bike for a very short time on Tuesday, as I have to ride to get to a sports massage! But that will be it next week. I'll get 3 or 4 swim sessions in. Not even thinking about running until I'm out in Florida and had a couple of days resting in the sunshine.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Physio

Well, was back on the physio bench again last night, and the consensus is, we do nothing from now until 1st November. Apart from swimming that is. I will have to wait until this knee injury has fully healed until I even start thinking of getting back on a bike or putting on a pair of running shoes.
It's some form of patellofemoral syndrome, or patellar tendonitis. It's not healing, and may be made worse due to a biomechanical issue, which I will address through chiropractor and disciplined yoga and stretching.
I did a good half hour yoga session last night, followed by lots of stretching. Felt much better. I swam this morning, nothing hard, but felt ok. Knee ok so far today, just a slight twinge when walking upstairs, more uncomfortable than outright pain. I am stretching as much as I can while sat at my desk, and will walk to station after work to get train. More ice and friction massage tonight, yoga and stretching. This routine I will follow religiously until I feel like I can put some load through the knee and start with some strengthening exercises.
I will recover, just gonna take time and I'm trying to stay as rational as possible and be patient. But as every athlete knows, that ain't so easy!!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Arrrggghhhhhh!!!!!!

Rubbish.
Set off on my bike this morning and I knew it was going to be no good. My knee felt sore walking downstairs early morning. I got 500 yards and then turned around, went home and got a lift into work. No point doing anything if there is any sign of pain now. Feels better this lunchtime, but I'm doing nothing on the bike for the rest of the week. I will swim tonight and get a good workout. I'll swim Thursday, but I'm leaving the bike until the weekend. Bloody annoying. I am doing everything right, and not rushing back into training, but it's 1 step forward 2 back.
Not happy. In fact, I'm almost considering not doing anything at all until I get to Florida. Race is going to be more of a sightseeing exercise!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Too Slow

Well, I managed a run. 2.5 miles, at easy pace with 400 yards of hard effort. Well, my heartrate can at least reach near it's max without me getting ridiculously out of breath, so that's not too bad, but hr is a bit elevated, which comes as no surprise at that was my first run in 6 weeks.
And my knee held out, but a little ache afterwards. Had an afternoon out with the family and it was aching later in the day and on Sunday.
Today I managed to ride into work more or less pain free, slight dull ache after 30 minutes of riding in foul weather! Done a 3000m swim at lunch, various 200, 300 and 400m efforts. Swimming not too bad. My easy efforts now are 7 min/400m pace, which I'm happy with. Come race day I'll be quicker, so not too bad. I will not be running now til I get to Florida, 7 days before race day. I'm going to do everything I can on the bike, as it's easier to ride pain free. I may be able to run again next weekend, which will be 2 weeks before the race, but I've so little to gain now, I may as well leave it and try to stay pain free as much as possible, looking beyond November. Was hoping to do New Forest duathlon this Sunday, but I'll see how I feel on Wednesday and see if I can get a late entry. I might do it, just as an easy paced effort, to get round the course. 5k run, 20k bike, 5k run.
I got physio on Wednesday and if it improves at the same rate as last Wednesday then things are on the up and up!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Breakthrough

At last, I am getting back to some sort of training, albeit slowly. After a very positive physio session last night, I rode 3 miles to swimming, did a 2500m session and rode back. A dull ache in the knee still, but no acute pain, and it seemed to improve as I rode. So much more positive.
Feels good today, keep flexing and stretching while at my desk. Rest of the office think I'm a freak anyway, so no worries there!
Going to leave running til weekend, and try then. Will ride rollers tonight very lightly for half hour and rest tomorrow. With only 3 weeks til race day, I feel confident that at least I will get round the course!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Triathlon Coaching

Looking into some formal and structured training for next season and have made contact with Harry Wiltshire at Driven to Tri.
Here's their website. DriventoTri

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Crap!

Bloody crap and double crap!

Knee is mending, I can feel the improvement, but any time I just pedal, it's a no no.
If no better in a week, then I am off to see a sports physician and it will cost me 70 bloody quid!
Ouch!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Progress update

Very little, apart from a couple of positive swim sessions, which is just about keeping me sane!
I am unbearable to live with at the moment, Mr. Angry!!!

I still can't ride, other than 5 mins on the turbo at lowest cadence in smallest gear! And cannot even jog 100 yards. Not good.
Slowly I feel my knee is better. Visited AECC in Boscombe and have been taped up with Kinesio taping. Very interesting, more to help with overall biomechanics and stabilising my right leg/knee.
Don't know if it's working yet as there is still pain in the knee. Once that has gone then the tape should help stabilise things, preventing reoccurrence of the injury. We'll see, jury still out on that one!
I have been back to my trusted physio, Roger Hoare, who is physio down at Weymouth Football Club, knows his stuff, and he is spot on with what the problem is. Scar tissue on the Patella tendon causing inflammation which is why the pain is not going away. He works on the knee injury and it always feels better after that.
Been to docs today to get a sick note for work, as I have been off for 2 weeks with a nasty stomach virus which has wiped me out, obviously not helping my body heal, hence why knee is taking so long to repair itself. Also asked him about cortisone injections, to which he can do, but there is little benefit to be gained as Clearwater is only 28 days away and ther is no way I can benefit from training at this late stage. I'll just swim and then take it easy round the course, and take in the atmosphere and experience. It's all about getting right for next season now. I'll be back at the docs next week for a homeopathic consultation and I'll give it a try. It's worked on his wife's injured shoulder, managing to start repairing itself after only 3 days of homepathic pills.
So it's frustrating at the moment, and I'm just learning to cope with an injury which has come at a bad time, especially as it's cost a small fortune o take the family out to Florida. But I'm sure it will be great just having 2 weeks in the sun!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Ironman 70.3 World Championships 2008, Clearwater, Florida, USA

Update of training:

Well, there isn't any!!!!
I have had a viral infection this week, just to add to the knee!
It was a stomach virus and has really wiped me out. I've been off work all week, and it has not been pleasant.
The upside is that I have been forced to rest, and the knee is mending really well. I'm hoping to be back on my bike next Tuesday. That's my next target date, which then gives me 5 weeks til race day. That will then be 2 weeks of light ease myself back into training and then just trying to get some miles in my bike legs, and at least 2 long runs, so that come race day I'll at least get round the course.
This year is all about experience, it will have to be. My goals prior to getting injured were 30 minutes for the swim, which is still possible, 2 hours 10 on the bike, which I could still do but it would not leave me with anything for the run. And my goal run time was 1hr 30. 4 hours 10 in total. But I'll be some way off that pace. If I can get anywhere near 4hr 30 then I'll be pleased.
It's now more of a 2 week holiday in the sun! So not so bad really! And looking forward to justbeing part of such a big event and among so many fantastic pro athletes and top age groupers from all over the world! Awesome!!
I'm focussing already on gettin gstronger and staying injury free over the winter to get a good base in for next season, while I try and find some new races/goals.