Thursday, March 31, 2005

Big Day

I had some casual work today, so I got up to the pool at 7AM for an hour of swimming before work. The outdoor pool was closed, so the swim was indoors (25m pool). After 200m of warming up, my usual squad coach Louise, who was coaching kids in the next lane noticed me, and said "what are you doing over there, get in this lane!". So I paid my money, and jumped in with the kids. I felt a bit gipped when the squad finished fifteen minutes later, but Louuise stuck around, and what I got was a tough 2K squad swim. Louise laughed at me when I got out because I could hardly walk.

The work today was physical, I'm helping with an office move, relocating computers in Silverwater. Traffic was hell getting home, and when I did I got striaght into my running gear and pumped out a slow 6K. It took 38 minutes which means either the course is longer than I measured or I ran very slow.

I walked the dogs an hour after the run, and that's when the knee really started hurting. It was fine during the run, but the walking gave me bad patella femeral pain. I will put the heel raises I am using in my running shoes into my walking boots and use my knee brace on walks and see how that goes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Learn from it.

Yesterday morning I got out on the bike with the for a 32K ride. Three laps of the Triathlon Club race course. I think I was probably about one gear too high for the first two laps, but I got it right for the last one. It felt pretty uncomfortable - the same knee pain that troubled my last ride recurred. There was also a little pain in the adductors.

That morning I had a physio appointent, where he took the adductor pain to new levels by releasing the adductors and the quads. It feels a little looser, but I guess the real proof is in the next ride.

That afternoon a little voice in my head was saying "you know you haven't done enough swimming this week". So I headed for the pool for a short swim. I felt really sluggish for the first 600m, but I got my shit together for 200m after that. I pulled the pin at that stage, it was only meant to be a short one. from there I had a really good night out with some friends including my brother, who has now flown back to Ecuador, where he is teaching English. I'm unlikely to see him for 10 months, and I'll miss him.

This morning saw me in Silverwater with little to do, so I drove over to the scene of Saturday's debacle - the famous Bay Run. My idea was to replace my fortnightly tempo run with 4 accurately measured 1K reps, with a 1K warm up and warm down. This gives me the opportunity to practise my pacing (which I obviously need), as well as doing a decent little speedwork session.

The aim was to run them in 4:45 to 5:00. I did the first one in 4:20, and was completely stuffed. Long rest before doing the second in 4:43. The others were 4:45 and 4:42. I have a mental block about going too slow, and I have to get over it.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Awesome weekend - Awesome workout

On my rest day (Sunday) I performed the Master of Ceremonies role with my brother at my sister's wedding. It was the perfect wedding - a very happy day with nearly all the family (uncles, aunties, cousins) in attendance. I caught up with a few I haven't spoken to in ages. The band was fantastic covers band, so there was some excellent alcohol fueled dancing.

The wedding was on the Central Coast, and we stayed at Forresters Beach, so in the morning I drove to Wamberal, parked the car, Ran about 2.5K to Terrigal Beach, had a 15 minute open water swim, and ran back to the car. Being a Westie a swim at the beach is a real treat. The knee felt great, even though I was in the 2090s (my older shoes.) I was feeling pretty rusty in the morning, but that workout just set me up for the day. I went to a BBQ later for more catching up with family, which was great.

And to top it all off, there was very little traffic on the F3 coming back to Sydney from the Central Coast.

Top weekend.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

CR Bay Run Challenge 5K - Burn Baby Burn

5AM start today to get to Drummoyne by 7AM for the for this self handicapping event. It wasn't raining when I left, but it certainly was by the time I got to the start. Met a few Coolrunners at the start, and decided to aim for a PB by heading out with the 24 minute group. After goading Omni into joining me in the attempt, we found that we were the 24 minute group.

In the past I have found "Darth Vader" pacing in 5K events effective. This is where I sound like Darth Vader after 200m, and I maintain it for the full distance. The force was not with me this morning - we did the first K in 4:20, after which Omni stopped to adjust something. I kept going, doing the same time for the next 2K. I knew it was too quick, but I'm not very good at slowing down (as can be seen by the improptu PB two days ago), so soon after the 3K marker I stopped to tie my shoelace, kidding myself that I wasn't taking a breather. It came untied again about 750m later, and I stopped again. Took a few walk breaks and came in at 25:11 - a new PW. Omni came in five minutes later to complete the crash and burn performance for both of us.

We dawdled the 5K back to the start, and eventually got up to breakfast with the other Coolrunners, huddling around the hotplates for heat. Good conversation about running ensued. It's a great community - I'm always concerned that I'm boring the tits off my friends and family when I talk about my training and injuries, but Coolrunners understand.

Tomorrow I have the day off training - my body needs it.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Thrills and spills

Being a clumsy and uncoordinated bloke with poor balance, I knew that cycling was going to lead to a fall. I rode on my own today, doing the standard 50K tri club Saturday loop. I took it very easy after my big day yesterday, keeping my HR in the low 140s. I had a fair amount of pain at the bottom of my dodgy knee, which is a concern. I've got a physio appointment on Tuesday, so we will see what happens then.

I came off the bike twice. No real injuries - grazed knee and blood blister of hand. The first fall came from trying to put the drink bottle back in the holder and the second one came avoiding a pothole. I feel like a dork.

Finished the 50K in 2:09. Like I said, very easy, but I have felt very drained for the rest of the day. I have slept for the last 2 nights, so it isn't that. I hope I'm right for tomorrow - I'd like to take a few seconds off my 5K PB.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

10K PB - This is supposed to be training, you idiot.

I have been asked to MC my sister's wedding on Sunday, about which I am very excited. So this means I want to have a rest day on Sunday. Given that I have just committed to the Coolrunning 5K on Saturday, I decided to do my long run today with a swim in the afternoon and a long ride tomorrow morning.

So I set out this morning with a plan to run at 6 min/k pace and turn around at 27 minutes, coming back for a 9K run. I went out a bit hard, and once I hit a couple of hills my HR was up to the low 160s. I should've slowed down but didn't, and hit the turnaround time further than I expected. I slowed down a bit, and did the loop in 55:20. By the end the HR had crept up to 173. I should've gone slower, but after my last run, slowing down seemed dangerous for the knee, and todays run was relatively free of pain and I didn't want to risk it.

I later measured the course in the car. My conservative estimate of the distance is 10K, it's probably a little more. This makes it a 10K PB by 1:40. While I'm happy that I'm getting quicker, I'm a bit pissed off with myself for pushing too hard. The schedule for the next couple of days is punishing, so I needed to take it a bit easier than that.

I swam a very slow, very fatigued 1500m in the afternoon. 1K straight with a couple of breaks in the last 500m. I was getting out of breath quite badly towards the end. It wasn't a comfortable swim, but at least I did it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Don't spin into the wind

Wednesday is bike day. That's the routine.

Hard slog. It was blowing a bloody gale out there this afternoon, but since it wasn't raining, off I went. I felt like I was fighting nature for the entire 30K loop (an extended Richmond and back course). I ran a HR of high 140's for pretty much the entire time.

I'm getting my cadence up much higher now, but short of buying a shit-hot bike computer I don't know how to judge whether I'm spinning enough. Any suggestions gratefully accepted, I'm considering going to the gym, and just getting a feel for 90 rpm. Thoughts from any triathletes?

My knee has been niggling all day, which worries me, but the sports physician has just changed me to Voltaren gel and icing 4 times a day, so I will see how that goes before I start seeking further help.

I haven't mentioned my insomnia for a while, but it appears to be getting worse. I haven't really had any sleep for a week, and I've cut back my coffee intake and tried sleeping tablets. I guess it's getting to the stage where it's a little bit more than just annoying. The good news is I'm getting pretty tired right now - hope springs eternal!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Treadmill Fartlek

This afternoon I jumped on the treadmill with the intention of doing a 35 minute tempo run. I started running at 8kph, slowly ramping up to about 9 before the knee pain started to claim me. I slowed back down to a walk, and to use one of the oft-repeated phrases from Coolrunning, I listened to my body. I just felt that the problem was my running style, just by the way the pain came on, so I decided to increase the speed up to about 10 kph and see how it felt - and it felt OK. So I ramped it up to 12, and it felt even better, from there I just played with the speed and my stride and footstrike, changing things in a subtle manner to see what felt best (using the logic of another Coolrunning favourite phrase "We are all an experiment of one").

So with the mixture of fast and slow, it was 5.2K in 30 minutes. The knee feels a little rotten this evening, but an email from the sports physician has suggested a new treatment - Voltaren Emulgel. Hopefully this will work, because the oral anti inflammatoriesd just mess with me too much.

Back to reality after an awesome weekend

Well, that ended up being an awesome weekend.

My dad shouted me over to the Hong Kong Sevens for the weekend. I got over there on Friday afternoon, and I went out with my Dad, my uncle Steve, everyones Uncle Bill (a good family friend from Hong Kong) and a few other mates. Had a really nice dinner that unfortunately did not agree with me, as I spent a sleepless night vomiting. I was feeling pretty ordinary on Saturday, so I stayed in the hotel and watched the Sevens on TV, not even feeling up to a walk around the hotel until late afternoon.

The following morning I felt much better, so off the the Sevens for the Sunday. An excellent day, Uncle Bill's real nephew Ricky scored a try for Hong Kong, Fiji won the competition, with their 38 year old captain Serevi (absolute legend) winning player of the tourmnament. Had a great day.

When I got back to the hotel at 10:30 I even felt good eneough for a run, so I headed out across the road from the Grand Stanford and ran along the harbour (cheers Greenie). It's been so long since I went for a "real" run - no treadmills, no ovals. I'd almost forgotten just how bloody wonderful it is. My knee felt fine, I ran about 8K in 48 minutes and loved every second of it. I ran over a few overpasses, so I even tried some hills (haven't done that in months) and the knee didn't falter. I felt very weak afterwards, but the run was just beautiful.

I caught the day flight home yesterday, and if I needed a reminder that it was back to reality, I got it during the 45 minute wait at 11:00 last night at Blacktown station getting home from the airport.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Luke, I am your father

Swim Squad this morning. The problem with the Thursday squad is that it is not triathlon specific, so I find myself doing a bunch of strokes I wont be using, and am utterly useless at.Todays format was:

50m free, 50 back x 3
25 butterfly, 25 back, 25 breast, 25 free * 4
50m drill, 50m free * 5
100m breaststroke kick (at which I am as useful as breasts on a bull)
300m backstroke warmdown

During the drill/free combos I really struggled, and I sounded much like a quick breathing Darth Vader after each one. One of the other squad members actually asked if I was asthmatic (I'm not).

Anyway, 1600m of swimming, and this afternoon I have just got off the treadmill, where I did a cruisey 7K listening to the MP3 player. The mind was really beginning to wander at around 6.3K, so I needed the MP3 player to give me a "sing out loud" song to bring me home. It obliged with "Throw Your Arms Around Me", so I pretended I was pissed and at a party and someone had dragged out their guitar. Excellent way to round things off.

Going away for a weekend of male bonding and footy watching with my dad and uncle this weekend. I'm hoping for the opportunity to train a bit, but we will have to see.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Comfortable Morning Ride

With the threat of afternoon thunderstorms I dragged my lazy arse out of bed early to go for a bike ride. I was planning a shortened version of the 50K tri club Saturday ride, bringing it down to 30K, but about 18K into it I hit roadworks and decided to turn around and go back the way I came.

So it came to about 36K, done in 1:20. It felt good, the spinning is feeling a little easier.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Better than it started

For most of today I had a turd of a day. Zero sleep combined with the zombifying effect that Voltaren has on me meant I was just a listless mess for the entire day. I had no motivation to train, but I eventually dragged myself onto the treadmill and set off on an interval session. 400m efforts at 13kph, 200m intervals at 8kph. I did seven of them. By this time I was feeling great, so after the last effort I put the tready on 10kph and rounded the run out to 6K before warming down, stretching, icing and showering. After this I felt really good.

Ain't endorphins great?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hard 'n' Fast

Sunday night on the treadmill I ended up doing 5K at 10kph on a 2% incline. I used the incline to test the knee out a bit, and it passed the test with flying colours. It's amazing the difference that 2% makes. After 5K my HR was hovering around 170 (90%) and my shoes were squealching with sweat.

This afternoon was a killer swim squad. It was only 1700m, but consisted:

400m warmup
4 * 100m hard efforts, 1 minute rest.
100m slow
200m time trial (4:11)
8 * 50m sprints, 1 minute rest
200m cooldown

By the end of it I was spent.

The Voltaren is knocking me around a bit, making me feel listless and tired. I'm waiting for the sports physician to get back to me about trying Celebrex, but this has had the same effect in the past. It's really diminishing my motivation to train, which is a shame, because of the positive affect on my capacity to train. Blogging helps - you want to have something to write about. Reading blogs helps too - you can't help but get inspired by the Six Footers blogs at the moment.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

A bit of everything

I've missed a few days - I'll make it short and sweet.

On Thurday I had morning squad - very hard, incorporating all four strokes. I almost vomited towards the end. 1.8K swimming.

In the afternoon I attempted some intervals at the oval (I was sick of the treadmill). 1.6K warmup, 400m efforts (about 2 minutes each) with 200m rest intervals. I pulled the pin, when again I nearly vomited during the last effort. I'll avoid 2 hard sessions on the same day in the future.

On Friday I had a rest day.

On Saurday I rode with the tri-club. Very small turnout (3 of us), and it was a cruisy 2 hour 50K ride. I did it sans HRM an with my bike computer still on the blink I had no digital feedback. I'm still getting used to spinning in the low gears, so I don't know if I'm getting better at it or if I was feeling better because we went a bit slower this week. I suspect a little from column A and a little from column B.

I will go for a run this afternoon/evening. I took my Voltaren on an empty stomach a few hours ago (silly boy) and I'm feeling a bit ordinary. I might wait till later and do it on the treadmill.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Move over Warnie...

I'm spinning up a storm.

Today I hit the bike for my 31.5K midweek ride, and I stuck with spinning in the low gears. I'm still getting the hang of it, and I think I took it a bit too hard today. The bike computer is still on the blink, but the available figures are that the HR hovered in the high 140s, and I did the ride in 77 minutes where it normally takes me 84.

I'm a bit unsure about what to do from here. I think I went out a bit hard today - my quads were burning a bit and I'm not sure I could have kept going at the same pace. I did a fair bit of coasting today, so maybe I should try a lower gear, but I feel like it's pretty bloody low already. I might have a bit of a talk to some of the tri club people on Saturday. I might head to the gym and hit the stationary bike, where I can get a feel for what 90 rpm feels like. I'm just finding the spinning a bit hard to judge.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

No real answers

I saw the sports physician this morning. We had a thorough examination of the knee, ITB, core strength etc. He was puzzled by the fact that all of the evidence points to a problem with the right knee. There is a pelvic tilt and my left leg is "functionally shorter", but there is no definite "do this and it will get better", but I guess there was little hope of this. He finished up by saying "I hope you've enjoyed this because I find it a fascinating problem." or words to that effect.

The upshot is: He has put me on anti inflammatories (Voltaren to start with, Celebrex knocks me around too much), he has got me to put a 3mm heel raise in my left shoe and he wants me to ice my ITB after excercise and before bed. No physio for 2 weeks, he reckons the releasing of the ITB may be causing further inflammation.

If I'm still having problems after this, it's off to Homebush for a gait analysis.

The knee felt OK during the treadmill hitout I had this afternoon (6K, 10kph Max HR 155), but the real test will be how it holds up to a 3 run week, so I'll have another run on Friday and then on Sunday.

I reckon I got close to 6 hours sleep last night - a step in the right direction. My GP has given me sleeping pills that I have tried a couple of times, but I still wake up at 3AM when I get to sleep. Hopefully things continue to improve from here.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Swim Squad with the Flower Pot Men

The physio worked my quad today - which was a new approach that didn't hurt as much. Unfortunately my ITB still feels a bit tight.

Only one other guy turned up for swim squad this week - named Bill. So it was Bill and Ben with (another) Ben instructing. It was a short session in distance, but with 10 x 50m efforts at a pretty hard pace, it was no easy workout. In all it was a 1500m swim.

I'll decide on what direction my training takes after seeing the sports physician tomorrow.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The complete opposite run

On Friday I went for a 6K 10kph run on the treadmill that was really hard slog, but the knee performed admirably.

Today's treadmill run, same speed & distance, was the complete opposite. The highest my heartrate got to was 152 (quite comfortable) and I just seemed to cruise except for one thing - that damn left knee niggled for the full run and just started out and out hurting when I started to warm down. It was actually fairly sore after the ride yesterday, but it had settled down by this morning, and I thought I might be OK.

This will no doubt continue the seemingly endless cycle of painful release of ITB - knee feels good - go for run, feels OK - go for run, feels awful - painful release of ITB. Physio tomorrow, but I have an appointment with the sports physician on Tuesday, where I will ask whether an extended break from running will help. As much as I can't stand the thought of it, the cycle must be broken.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Spin spin spin spin

As Carolyne (Flashduck) and everyone else I talk to about it has said to me, I should sit in a low gear with a high cadence when I ride the bike. Today I stuck with this advice, even though it feels like a whole lot of spinning for not much output.

It must be working. The tri-club usually rides in two groups, and I am very much in the slow group. Today we all rode together, and it was quick - we averaged 28kph (much faster than I'm used to) and although I fell off the back of the pack at the end, I did a whole lot better than I'd have expected. The HR was high throughout the ride (you don't say!) and I reckon I averaged about 145.

Just to answer a question put to me by Carolyne, I am using 188 as my Max HR because I measured it at 184 at the end of a hard 5K race and I just bumped it up a few beats on the assumption that if I did a "proper" test it would go a little higher. One day I'll do a proper MHR test - I keep putting it off.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Hard slog on the treadmill

I took my rest day on Wednesday, which started with a gruesome physio session.

On Thursday I had swim squad. The Thursday swim squad is a whole lot more professional than the Monday squad. It was a good combination of drills and endurance work, but again, just a little soft - suits me, I'm trying not to go hard this week. I came home to some unexpected but much appreciated casual web programming work.

Thursday evening was awesome: I saw The Goodies live. They've aged a whole lot, but they are still very funny buggers.

Friday finally saw me doing some running. With the misadventures of the knee, I thought it best just to hit the treadmill and punch out 6K at 10kph. Sounds easy, doesn't it?

It started well enough. It took me 1K to get my HR to 140, but it just kept going. By 2K I was beginning to feel like I was doing speedwork, and with the HR at 160 by 4K it just about was. Remember, my max HR is 188, so in the last K, when I hit 170 I was feeling crappy. 90% of max HR is not where one needs to be on a flat, treadmill standard training run. I'll hit the oval for my next run on Sunday. The knee feels great!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Afternoon Ride

I felt OK by the afternoon so I headed out for a 31.5K ride, 3 times around the triathlon 10K race loop. It was slow, it was windy, and it didn't feel all that great, but I'm glad I did it. I tried to stick to low gears and spin a bit, but I'm not real good at it - much rather stick the bike in a high gear and use my strength. I'll keep working on it.

I'll take a rest day tomorrow.

Half Arsed Swim Squad

My ITB fely extremely tight yesterday and I was getting a bit of pain in the knee. I suspected this would happen after Sunday, so no surrprises there. I won't be running until I've seen the physio on Wednesday.

I fronted up for swim squad last night not really wanting to be there and still feeling a bit sore after the tri, and I was the only one to turn up. Ben (swim squad instructor) and I gasbagged for most of the time, but I did get through 1.3K of swimming. The hard bit of it was 3 sets of 200m, where the first 50 I breathed every 3 strokes (my normal pattern), the next 100 I breathed every 4 strokes, and the last 50 I breathed every 5 strokes. Real lung busters, those ones.

I'll see how I feel this arvo before I decide whether to ride. I feel lousy this morning, and a rest day might be in order.

I'm a bit worried about where to go to with my training now, I've done the triathlon, and the plan after that was to focus on my 10K, but the ITB looks like stuffing this idea up. I might put a bit more effort into the swim and try to get myself up to an Olympic distance triathlon, but I will just take it easy this week (it's been a while since I did that) and work on a new program after I've seen the sports physician.