One of the hangovers from my back operation a couple of years ago is that I have some residual nerve damage which affects my left leg and foot.
Mostly it’s a minor discomfort. There’s some numbness in the foot and continuous muscle flickering in the left calf. Occasionally however the constant firing of the muscle in the left calf can cause problems.
When it’s bad the calf looks like there’s a little baby alien crawling around in there trying to get out.
It’s probably a little bit Irish and parochial that I think when I’m writing my weekly blogs that everyone reading knows me, my background and what I’m hoping to achieve. I often think it only Ais, my folks (hi Mam) and a couple of training buddy’s who read this. However this being the internet where we are just as likely to have visitors from Australia as North Dublin I went checking to see where the actual traffic was coming from.
Online everything can be counted and measured and tracked so when I decided to have a look at who’d been along for a visit the biggest surprise was that we’d had people reading from 105 countries.
One of my pet hates is people being late. The unfortunate part of this pet hate is that more often than not that people is me. For the most part I get away with it because I’m the boss but when it comes to training I try to always be early, it’s probably the only area of my life that I do.
I think it probably stems from showing up for group rides where athletes arrived on time but they did so in their car. They would then spend the next ten minutes getting on shoes, overshoes, gloves, helmet and assembling their bike while the rest of us stood around shivering.
As a result I tend to roll out a ride at the exact start time so as to encourage people to be there early and ready to go.
So with that little introduction to this weeks blog I will start at the end of the week, Saturday evening to be exact. Myself and Ais got all of our kit ready for the Sunday mornings run, shorts, t’s, gloves, warm gear for the post run coffee and clothes for work afterwards. While packing my bag I realised that I’d left my running shoes in the van after my last run. I decided I’d grab them in the morning on my way out.
We were up early the following morning and had a coffee before gathering kit bags and started moving towards the door. I went looking for the van keys only to have Ais remind me that we’d left it in work the previous day and had come home in the car.
I felt that horrible sinking feeling in my stomach as I knew I didn’t have time to go get my runners. The fact that we were doing a three hour run also meant that I wouldn’t get away with a pair of racers. My feet would likely be in flitters after three hours of mud and grass in featherweight shoes. I went rooting through the kit room hoping I’d find something suitable and eventually found a really old pair of trainers that I figured would do.
The problem now was that our finely measured schedule had been thrown out of whack and we were going to be late. I rushed back downstairs then rushed out and piled into the car and headed in to meet the lads.
In the end we were about five minutes late and I deservedly came in for some stick as I’m rather fond of warning people to show up on time of the run or ride or we will be gone without them.
Next week I’ll make sure I’m on time again and I might even wait a couple of minutes in case anyone else has lost their runners…
Anyway let’s crack on with this weeks training…
“Everything happens for a reason, sometimes the reason is that you’re stupid and make bad decisions”
Looking down the barrel of a year filled with promise and potential I can’t help but wonder how we view a single day, a number as having such power. I don’t know quite why, when the calendar switches over from the 31st of December each year to the 1st of January we en-mass suddenly see our future as holding some promise that it didn’t have before.
Losing weight, getting faster, being happier, why do we believe in these possibilities because of an arbitrary number?
I’m no more immune to the allure of breaking old barriers and achieving something life changing regardless of how big or small and I have a slowly building excitement as we set some of the years targets and goals.
The first one will be the Boston marathon in April, both myself and Ais are running it and I’m just looking forward to feeling like a proper runner again for a while. I’d like to get my running to a level that will allow me then build towards a summer or autumn Ironman but I’ll wait to see how the body handles the return to training first before hitting enter for a race I mightn’t be ready for.
This is one of my favourite races (that’s probably got a lot to do with the fact that it’s one of my very few race wins back in 2013) That was three years ago though and I was in better shape back then so this time around I didn’t have any real expectations going into it. That being said there’s always a little part of you that hopes that no one fast will show up, or if they do maybe they’ll get lost or slip into the canal or something… Anyway that’s enough of a glimpse into the nasty side of my mind. Lets move on.
Three years ago I had back surgery and spent almost two months in bed. I was horizontal for 23 hours a day. This came at a time when I had been in the best shape I was ever in. I’d just finished my second Kona and was looking towards a third and with the accumulated fitness built over three consistent years of hard training I was starting to think the next step was to aim for a top ten finish in my age group at the Ironman World Champs. All of these plans came to a screeching halt as I faced the reality of a long and frustrating rehab and the resulting total loss of fitness. Two months of complete lack of any activity never mind training meant I wasn’t just coming back from injury. I was starting at a place that I hadn’t been for probably ten years.
I was asked a while ago if I had old race reports and if I could pop them up on the blog. Here’s my 2011 Ironman Florida write up. A good day and a PB and quite a few lessons learned. Click on through to check it out.
One thing that kept on coming back to me over the 24 and 48 hours afterward the race was how ridiculous it seemed to be chasing tiny gains like trying a new aero helmet or a faster chain or wearing a swim skin in the hope of gaining seconds or minutes when in fact what I needed to be competitive is almost an hour. It feels like putting the cart before the horse. I’ve always said that I didn’t want to lose out on a Kona slot by seconds or minutes for the lack of investing in the best equipment I could afford. But I think I first need to be in the right ballpark before chasing those gains.
Given both of our results it’s by far the worst I’ve ever felt after a race. I crossed the line feeling I’d failed myself, failed Aisling and all of the people who’d helped and supported me.