I am smitten. No, wait, that’s not what I mean. I have been smited. Yes, I think that’s more like it.
This CRETIN dost believeth that she hast becometh a runner! We art angry!
-Triathlon Gods. Yes they talk funny.
I spent the first few days assuring myself that I was merely sore from my epic achievement of running 26.94km, which is nearly 27km.
SIDENOTE: Yes I’ve taken to casually mentioning the distance as often as any conversation allows. In Aldi this morning the man at the checkout said ‘that’s 93 dollars and 10 cents please’ and I replied ‘Sorry did you say 26 dollars and 94 cents? Cos what a coincidence, that is actually how many kilometres I ran last Sunday! Ha!’
So on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – because my legs were ‘sore’ – I took gentle strolls and focused on my swimming to ‘let my legs recover’.
On Thursday I tried a bike ride and a short ROTB (run off the bike) which totaled 200 metres before I was doubled over in pain.
I pleaded with Matilda (an angel dog and therefore – logically – in possession of a direct line to the Triathlon Gods) to let me learn my lesson some other way.
But it was no good.
So it is time to announce: I am injured.
I do believe it is essentially the same injury as that which I suffered over Christmas, when I took to running rather too often because I’d broken my finger. This caused an overuse injury, as Jake The Physio later explained.
I guess that running 26.94km (27km?) in one hit basically simulated the same scenario and I have hurt the same tendon. Because my inability to run on Thursday night troubled me all day on Friday (yesterday)
Reluctantly, I realised my walk is still barely a shuffle combined with a stiff limp. It’s like I’m drunk all the time but frankly, I wish that were the case. Because then I could pretend that everything will be fine in the morning.
By the time it dawned on me that this ‘soreness’ is actually an ‘injury’ yesterday afternoon, I’d already wasted a week of potential physiotherapy. Needless to say I’ve been in Meltdown Mode since then.
CAN I JUST SAY – with three weeks to go until the Sunshine Coast Half Marathon, and bearing in mind that this injury (if indeed it is the same thing) took 6 weeks of physio to heal last time, AND at the risk of having any potential glory at future triathlon races (such as the upcoming Noosa Triathlon) snatched away from me –
DAMN YOU, TRIATHLON GODS! I EFFING HATE YOU!
Of course, the argument has been made (by the other half of my brain, which prides itself on being the more logical side) that the injury may be my own fault and not that of the Triathlon Gods at all. Because after all, I spent the immediate few hours after last Sunday’s race vomiting, laying on a bed and eating burgers from Grill’d. You know, instead of stretching, cooling down and looking after my old-lady joints.
But this logical half of my brain is the same half that occasionally rears its ugly head to tell me that I should give up beer and chocolate because it’s bad for me. Pfft. It cannot comprehend irony, humour, or the idea that sometimes it is nice to choose some of the things in your life that make it more challenging, rather than always having such things thrust upon you by other events and other people in this hard world.
In short the boring side of me is wrong and boring, as usual. This is all the doings of The Triathlon Gods.
Which seems terribly unfair. I suffered greatly during my three hours and twenty seven minutes on the trail (that’s the official time it took me to run the 26.94km according to the race organisers) and since I commenced this sport last October I have laid down multiple offerings to the Triathlon Gods, like a good worshiper ought. I mean, I have no idea where my expensive blister-preventing socks are but I assume I have unknowingly sacrificed them to the Gods for their ever-growing collection. I have even selflessly given some of Shane and Grandpa’s socks to the cause (usually just one of a pair though) so I would think my dues have been paid.
SIDENOTE: I can’t even initiate the Standard Emergency Plan: call mum, because she is gallivanting around Europe unaware of my predicament. So I have to sort this situation out myself.
Luckily, I can remember some of the exercises that Jake The Physio taught me to help my tendon heal. But I will need to call someone on Monday and make an appointment for dry needling, because that torture seemed to work miracles. Unfortunately Jake himself has buggered off to the UK (there is a recurring theme here!!) so I have to find an alternative provider. And I am traveling most of next week so I won’t be able to actually attend an appointment til the week after. My employer does not count ‘going to physio for self-inflicted running injury’ as sufficient reason to cancel my paid work obligations. Not that I asked, but some things you just know.
So I will be doing the tendon-healing exercises (that I remember) religiously and hoping that this helps to speed things up. We have THREE WEEKS PEOPLE. But I refuse to freak out and bury my head any longer. And I am going to do these bizarre non-strenuous exercises much more regularly than last time, like a good physio patient would. So far I did them three times last night and four times today (Saturday) so before too long this tendon is going to know who is boss.
Of course, I also have to stay fit in the meantime.
So swimming and biking are in, big time. Maybe not so much swimming because I am still rather crap at it and ‘not-drowning’ is not a great way to prepare for running 21.1km on the streets of the Sunshine Coast. Unlike cycling, which can easily make you want to die if you do it right. And wanting to die is the perfect preparation for a half marathon.
This morning I went to the spin class at the gym. For those who have never attended a spin class because you thought it was some kind of ballet or dance class like I did originally (true story) then let me explain. Spin bikes are a special kind of bike that have a spinning disc-type wheel at the front. You can control the resistance on the spinning disc with a spinning knob at the base of the handle bars. By the time you finish the class, the room will probably feel like it is spinning, but that is just because all of the blood has drained out of your head and into your legs. Because it is intense.
Basically all the bikes are in a dark room like the one I go to at my gym, pictured above (although I had the doors open to take the picture) and it feels a bit like a nightclub because it is dark and sweaty and the floor is generally a bit sticky from vomit.
Unfortunately there is no alcohol though. But there is super loud, pumping music that vibrates through your whole body.
During spin class, you get yelled at by a lady or a man who is the Fearless Pain Inflictor and sits at the front of the room. The idea is to try to move your legs in time to the beat of the music but the Pain Inflictor keeps saying things like ‘Turn the dial up!!’ which means use the spinning knob near the handle bars to increase the resistance and make it more difficult to move your legs. The Pain Inflictor can obviously see you, so you don’t feel able to just sit there and have a serene little bike ride to some cool music. You’re under pressure to perform.
SPECIAL TIP: Sometimes when the Pain Inflictor yells out ‘Turn that dial up for the last 20 seconds, let’s give it all we’ve got’ I just reach down and TOUCH the spinning knob but I don’t move it; I’m just pretending. HA HA this is my little victory over the Pain Inflictor.
Spin class is fun because it only goes for an hour and then you can get out of there. One hour is a quick workout in Triathlon Training Land, especially for a bike session. Unfortunately you can’t get away with solely training for your bike leg of a tri by going to spin classes, but to build your intensity and to fit in lots of hills over a small space of time (or indeed, if you’re short on time and can’t fit a long session in) it’s perfect.
Today I needed something fun. I needed to remember that I’m doing this because I love it. Because I really felt like everything was piling up against me and I am never going to get anywhere with this sport. When I’m back on track, perhaps I will blog about that niggling doubt that says ‘Your body is not made to do this’ and the mandatory requirement to keep moving forward and prove that goddamn doubt wrong. But right now I’m teetering on the edge of believing that doubt and one of the coping mechanisms is to block it out. So give me a few days to get back on track and perhaps I will regale you with tales of my neurosis.
Until then, I’ll be on the bike.