I am sat on a plane flying to Japan as I wrote this. It’s about 2.5 weeks since I had my sudden and painful meeting with the Spanish tarmac, and as you may expect, things have been up and down. It was in all truthfulness a minor crash, but it got to me a bit due to a) my inability to do stop the inevitable accident once the car started pulling out, I could see everything unfold in front of me but I was powerless to change anything and b) the realisation that if any one aspect had been different, I could quite easily have been much more seriously hurt. My own mortality and inability to control what happens were highlighted in a big way, and it truly made me think.
Anyway, its done and its over, my injuries are healing nicely, bruises turning yellow and green rather than black and blue, and scabs beginning to peel. My shoulder is still painful, but I am able to use it and have just begun to pick up on some serious training again.
I basically ignored the doctors’ advice of complete rest (it did seem excessively over-careful to sit and do nothing) and was out on my bike around Javea within a few days, slowly increasing distance as the range of motion increased and pain subsided, with me able to complete a final ride of 3 hours before I left Spain. I was damn stiff at the end and I was very aware of the bumps in the road, but I really enjoyed it.
I even managed a swim last weekend, which turned out to be very informative. Basically, I didn’t have any expectations or internal pressure to swim any pre-set distance or time, I just wanted to test out my shoulder, so swam single laps with a quick break each turn to let the ache subside. I just concentrated on my stroke, the injury allowing me an excuse to take it easy which meant I was able to consciously choose to swim with correct form… with the outstanding result of a full 5 second differential between focused and unfocused laps. And not just the odd one or two, but consistently I was able to swim each lap well, as long as I thought what I did. I ended up doing 40 x 20m laps for the fastest 800m swim I had ever managed, and that’s with a dodgy shoulder and battered legs. Really proves that I can make some massive improvements if I ditch the ego and just concentrate on my form rather than thrashing out a mega swim every time I get in the water.
Have also completed a few runs over the last two weeks. The first couple were very hard, I did have some pain from my legs and ankles, but mostly it was due to the shoulder injury. The simple movement of running hurt the separation point, however the biggest problem was that the muscles were so stiff, it felt like I was made of wood, sending jolts of pain down my arm at random intervals. It also effected my breathing as I couldn’t expand my chest enough to get a full lungful of air, and every time I tried it felt like a cracked a rib. I took things slowly, and I’m happy to say that this morning my run was pain-free.
For the last week I was in England during the worst winter weather experienced there for years. It was bitterly cold and as my house had been empty for a couple of months, it took a full day to warm it up properly. The minus 10 temperatures, over 30kph winds, record snowfalls and lack of appropriate clothing then stopped me being to do any outside (and no transport running so couldn’t get into town or do anything else), so I spent 4 days in a row hitting my Kickr turbo trainer hard, which was great but highlighted again my absolute pathetic level of power and cadence on the bike.
So, this is all pretty boring stuff, and believe me, I have been bored shitless. If I was still drinking I would have spent the last two weeks drunk as I was soooo lost and depressed! And I became more and more pissed off that my injuries and the snow would knock a huge hole in my plans for Japan Half Ironman in June, with there not being enough time to train properly for it now. Seems every damn plan I have made in the last year has been knocked off course, and I really did feel sorry for myself… until yesterday…
Yesterday the sun came out and things looked brighter, which was enough of a change for me to I kick myself up the butt and decide to get my focus back. I went online and checked out some races to choose what I would make my “A race” to give me my big target to aim for … and I found it… well actually I “re-found” it as was only a month or so ago I wrote on here about China Half Ironman, although I had lost momentum for it with everything that happened. But looking yesterday I truly got excited again
Here is why (again)
- Its 22 weeks away, absolute perfect timing to really work on my weaknesses and be ready. I will have Japan half IM in 15 weeks’ time as a good marker to see where I am at, then have 7 weeks more to tune up
- It is deep in southern China, really isn’t easy to get to with at least two flights and two hours of driving. You need to apply for Visas and of course there is the worry of pollution, food etc etc. It makes it more exclusive and more of an adventure for me!
- There are 25 slots for Kona and 50 slots for Paris HIM finals in Paris on offer. A quick calculation means roughly 5 or 6 spots in my age group, something almost unheard of these days.
- I checked the time out of the finishers there last year and compared against my own (as we all do, right?) …. I could be in the top 10 if I hit my best individual times I have managed in half ironman over the last 5 years or so. With 22 weeks to improve I believe if I train hard, I cannot only reach my previous PBs, but surpass them, meaning I have a real chance to be in top 5.
- All of which means I there is a tiny chance I could win one of the coveted slots to either the full Ironman Worlds in Kona 2018 (unlikely as probably only one per age group) or Half Ironman Worlds in Paris 2019.
Hmmmm, that is easy to write but the reality is very different, to be honest its VERY unlikely I will be any where near qualifying time, but I am excited and ready to try. It will be EXTREMELY tough to attain the levels I need to reach, with HUGE improvements needed, but I won’t get anywhere if I don’t set the target and make the first steps.
Ok, time to try to sleep a bit. I always find it hard to sleep on the plane but have a very busy schedule when I arrive in Japan. Will probably take me a while to get around to updating my blog after I land, so this maybe a tad out of date when it finally gets posted. But bear with me, going forward I plan to go into much more detail of my weekly training and how I am progressing, hopefully culminating in 22 weeks’ time with me surprising everybody, including myself, by qualifying for the 2019 Half Ironman 70.3 world championships.