Hello strangers, long time no see, or as they say in Japanese – “hisashiburi”.
It’s been a while since I wrote, and I’m not going to promise regular updates from now, but I am sat in a bus on my way to one of my favourite places in the world, and I thought what better way to pass sometime than a quick update on my blog. This is all being written by my thumb on mt mobile, so apologies in advance for grammar, spelling or layout errors!
It’s the middle of summer now and I’m back in very hot Japan, last time I wrote was middle of May from the warm sunny coastline of Spain.
Unfortunately the bad news is I had to cancel all my race plans to date, mostly due to continuing issues from the accident suffered in Feb. The initial doctors prognosis was 3 weeks rest and recovery but my shoulder is still giving me gyp a full 6 months after coming into sudden and violent contact with the asphalt. The good news is that I believe I’ve recovered enough and managed to train enough to compete in Ironman Korea in 3 weeks time. Which is why I’m in Hokkaido now, heading towards Hirafu, a ski resort in winter and a somewhat remote and much cooler part of northern Japan, and my own piece of training heaven. Imagine the green of the England countryside in the summer, with less rain (although raining now), better roads, much less traffic and lots of mountains and hills for climbing practise! Oh and no aggression or anger towards cyclists, just locals who are happy to have you exploring their beautiful country.
So I’ll have 6 days of intense running and biking in beautiful countryside, before heading back to Tokyo and starting my taper. Although a few weeks ago I really didn’t think that would be possible – because, once I recovered enough from my injuries to start training properly I discovered I had lost all my run endurance. I mean it was literally just gone, nada , nothing, kaput.
I had spent 5 years running every single day, averaging around 50km weekly in the off season, pushing upwards of 60-80 during training periods, happily knocking off a 21k run before breakfast mid week, then long runs of up to 30km at weekends. However once I started to seriously train again I was suddenly unable to run anywhere near that. Worst case was bonking on a 4km jog, best I managed was 22k coming after a complete day of rest, but even so my first walking break was at 12km followed by multiple breaks thereafter, and a finish time that was so embarrassing I deleted from my Strava feed.
My first thought was I was tired from increased activity, but cutting back didn’t help and I noticed it was only my running that was effected. Next I thought it was dehydration, but drinking copious amounts of liquids didn’t make any difference. Maybe the summer temperatures were tiring me out, but cooler days and night running changed nothing. As time went by I really started to worry, and my whole training schedule was weeks behind where it should be….
Blah, to cut a long story short, I searched and realised my symptoms matched those of anaemia. It seems pretty rare for a man to suffer and the first chemist I went to ask for supplements refused to sell me as “it must be something else”. So I just went to the next place, picked it off the shelf and went home to try. The outcome was outstanding, within 3 days I was feeling stronger, within 5 days I was easily running 10k and just over a week later I ran 24k without stopping, at a pace under 6 mins per km pace. That was the day after a 121km bike in 32C heat ..
So there we have it, two weeks since starting the iron supplements and I’m fit enough to train at full volume. I am a long way behind where I should be but I hope with an intense 6 days now I’ll catch up a bit. I still need to find out why I’m anaemic and I’m still slower and weaker than I’d hoped. After all, October last year I was planning on qualifying for Kona, now I’m happy to finish my only triathlon of the season, but I’ll take that and once it’s all done and dusted, I’ll take stock and decide what my next challenge will be.