Before I start, I’m not some elite athlete whose livelihood revolves around triathlon, I’m just some guy who enjoys the training and taking part in triathlons.
Since the New Year, I’d really got my mojo back. As I touched on in my last post, its took me a fair while to get rid of the Iron Man hangover but I’d done it, and was working towards my main race this year, IM Austria. I’ve got a few other bits and bobs in there as well, but that was the A race for this year.
I said “was” because about 2 ½ weeks ago, I was in the gym with my trainer doing some core and weight work. Nothing heavy, just some reps to keep my strength ticking over. Felt fine, did the first 15 reps ok, had a quick recovery and was onto my second set when at about the sixth one, I felt something go pop in my back. I’ve never had any back trouble so this was something new, and it hurt like hell, and believe me, the rest of the gym knew about it as I launched the weight at my trainer, swore at the top of my voice and hobbled off. Whilst the initial pain was in my back, the pain was now all down my right leg, I couldn’t put any weight on it at all. It was a really strange pain, whilst it really hurt, it was more of a tingling sensation, a sort of cross between cramp and pins and needles. I managed to hobble about and get some feeling back into it, tried to stretch but it was just too painful. Fortunately, my wife was in the gym so she was able to drive me home, and on the way out, a mate gave me a number of a local chiropractor and I booked myself in for the next day. Got my lad to go to the chemist for the largest dose of anti inflammatory pills he could legally buy and just tried to rest as well as I could.
The chiropractor was one of those typical converted house type surgeries, so when it was my turn, I shuffled in leaving everyone else in the old lounge. The radio was on some sort of easy listening channel, but I didn’t really care too much for them playing “Dont fear the Reaper”. Anyway, explained what I did and where it hurt so got asked to get on the bed, which was at right angles to the floor, which was a new one on me. Just got told to face it, hold on and I got electrically moved into position, nice touch. Soon was getting prodded and poked, and got told to move onto my side, knees up a little so she could lean over me and manipulate my back.
“Thats fine, now breath in, and out.”
“In and out.”
On my last in or out, I’ve forgotten which now, she pushed onto my back, there was an almighty crack and I swore very loudly. So loudly that unless Motorhead was on the radio playlist at full volume, anyone waiting in the lounge will have heard it, and perhaps be a tad unnerved.
“I wasn’t expecting that.” I croaked.
“I know, cos if you were, you wouodnt have let me.”
Fair point I guess. I managed to hobble out and drive home but it hurt like mad down my right leg. It was a constant throbbing and no amount of tablets seemed to help. I went another couple of times that week and whilst it made the movement better, the pain was still there, and while the pain was still there, I was really struggling to sleep.
The main concern was a lack of movement in my right foot. If she applied any pressure on it, I couldn’t fight against it and my foot went all wobbly, so not really ideal for running. It actually made me even more clumsy than I am now, I’d tripped up a few times during the week because I just couldn’t lift my foot so she suggested I get a scan. Fortunately, I’ve got private health which without discussing the politics of it, helps enormously in speeding this kind of thing up. The chiropractor wrote me a referral note, which I took to my GP on the Friday whilst I was getting some extra strength pain killers. I was booked in to see a specialist on the Saturday morning and had my scan the following Monday.
The specialist seemed a decent chap. He seemed to confirm everything the chiropractor had previously said but then said something that worried me
“Once we’ve got the scans back, we’ll have a better idea of what to do. I think you’re in the grey area between rest making it better or opening you up, but don’t worry, I’m not knife happy so hopefully it wont come to that.”
Knife happy??!! Shit, that thought hadn’t even crossed my mind, I was only interested in when I could start training again.
I think that was when it actually started to sink in that this was a reasonably bad injury, and the likelihood of doing much this year wasn’t good. As I’m typing this, I should have been in the 10k at Oulton Park, next week the duathon at the same venue and the following week the Wilmslow Half Marathon. Then there was the Wilmslow sprint tri, the half iron at Stafford and my main one, IM in Austria. I’ve accepted this month has gone, and tried to convince myself if I can get right this month, then maybe I could have a stab at Austria, but its leaving it far too late. I’ve not trained in 3 weeks now, cant see myself back within the next 2 at best and even if that happened, I’d have about 9 weeks to get myself ready and I’d end up rushing through the training, possibly aggravating the injury again. At the end of the day, I do this for fun, the events will still be there next year, and I just need to get myself right. Doesnt change how gutted I feel though.
I’d got my plans and expectations all done for the events this year. I’m never going to be troubling anyone at the sharp end of the races I’m in, I just do them to test myself, and I guess this is just another test in a way. I had all my timings in my mind set out that I wanted to achieve, but they’ll still be there next year. I guess the one silver lining is that I don’t have to get up at 6 in the morning to do a quick run, or go into the garage to do an hour on the turbo while the wife watches the soaps. And I don’t smell of chlorine permanently. I’m jealous of watching people out running and on their bikes as I’m driving past, but guess thats just human nature. Once I get my results back, hopefully it’ll be just rest for a while, and then once I can do some exercise, do it gently. There’s enough races next year, and if it means me missing this year to be right for next year, then so be it. At least I wont have the IronMan hangover I had this Winter. I’m already planning next year, what races I want to do and this time, I’ll be better prepared as I’ll be able to appreciate better what I’m doing as its been taken away from me this year.