|Not ideal preparation for the race.|
1) Be well rested
2) Have all my kit sorted out
3) Remain injury free
I'm doing ok on 1) and 2), but number 3) is proving harder than I thought. After best part of 10 days with almost no cardio training, last Thursday I decided it was time I went out and enjoyed the ability to run in the middle of the afternoon and the lovely weather. Fifteen minutes into the run however my left calf muscle gave a disturbing popping/squelching sound and I almost fell to the ground with the pain, unable to stand on my left foot, or walk on it, let alone run on it. Five minutes at the side of the trail hoping it was just a really bad cramp and trying in vain to stretch it out left me fearing the worst. I turned, somewhat dejectedly and hobbled off in the direction of home. A fifteen minute run out turned into a fifty minute incredibly painful limp home, interspersed with a liberal amount of swearing and cursing as I played through in my head what this might mean for the race in just two weeks' time.
At home I had a hot bath, elevated my foot and applied ice and took anti-inflammatory drugs to try to minimise the damage. And continued swearing. I seriously thought that was my race over - a quick google of torn muscle injuries didn't help as I discovered recovery time was at best 2-3 weeks, at worst several months. Given that I couldn't put any weight on my left leg, I was fearing the worst.
The next day I went to see a physio recommended by Darryl - Derek French. I'd heard of him a long time ago through the tri-club so his reputation was widely known about. He said it was too early to determine exactly what I'd done, and that the key thing over the next few days was RICE treatment - rest, ice, compression and elevation, just what I'd done since the injury. He also applied an electrical therapy to my leg (a bit like a TENS machine). It passed electrical pulses into my injured muscle to stimulate the healing process and felt quite odd, very tingly and made my foot twitch. 25 minutes of that and I was amazed at how much better it felt. I was warned that the injury would start to feel worse again as the treatment wore off, but it did make me feel a little more positive.
Since then (it's now Monday) I've rested a lot, applied a lot of ice, worn compression socks all day and night and sat with my foot elevated for many hours and it's got a lot better. I can walk with only a slight limp, although I can't push off from my left foot with any force. I guess I'm protecting it a bit as it's made my sciatica flare up a bit more in the last few days too. I'm back to see Derek the Physio tomorrow, followed by the Chiropractor Lee at Breathe Pilates recommended so I'll have a better idea of how it's recovering and hopefully have some improvement in my back too. Based on how much improvement I've seen in 4 days I'm confident (notwithstanding any more injuries!) that I'll make it to the start line, although I have no idea what it's going to mean for my race pace.
Apart from the injury my preparations have been going pretty well. I've got my ECG done, thanks to my friend Alli the Cardiologist. Oddly the ECG print out stated "abnormal ECG", although Alli simply scribbled over that with a biro and wrote "normal ECG" next to it. I assume the race doctors will be fine with that!
|Luckily I didn't need to shave my chest for the ECG|
|Apparently it's "normal".|
We also had an evening with a couple of sports psychologists at Sheffield Hallam University on Thursday evening. Just 4 hours after my injury it was potentially excellent timing as my mood plummeted. In fact the conversation was a little unstructured and seemed to loosely cover areas we'd touched on at the Racekit training weekend last October. It was useful to remind ourselves of some strategies to deal with things going wrong, but the whole session seemed a bit predicated on us all assuming the worst and risking crumbling at every turn.
The weekend also saw the start of our heat acclimatisation training in the Virgin Active sauna. Nothing at all camp about three middle-aged men spending their Friday night sweating in the sauna for 45 minutes. Three sessions in total over the weekend ahead of the more formal heat chamber sessions at Sheffield Hallam Uni next weekend and every day in the build up to the race. Not sure I feel totally at ease in the heat just yet, but I'm assured it will help.
I now have all 4,885grams of food parcels packed up ready to go. I am now focusing on keeping the rest of my kit to somewhere under 5 kilos so that my pack isn't ridiculously heavy at the start of the week.
|19,401 calories for the week, including pork scratchings.|
|Not sure what to put in it yet, but my pack has been pimped ready for action|