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Gotta shoulder the blame…..

Another long interval between posts.  That is because I have been off the training radar, mainly because on the 5th April, I got knocked off my bike!

I had decided, on a whim, to take a cheeky ride after work on a particularly sunny afternoon.  Right at the end of the ride, whilst overtaking slow moving traffic, a car decided to turn right, which left me nowhere to go except for a flight across his bonnet, landing on the pavement.

I jumped up immediately and, in a very British style, apologised to the driver.  Well I should not have been doing the speed I was, 42.5mph according to my Strava App.  The driver felt guilty too as he admitted he did not look in his mirror before making his manoeuvre.  I tried to get my my ride finished but the back wheel had flung free, the shifters had been knocked inboard and the seat had copped for a bit of a rub too.

Bent shifterScuffed seat

The driver offered to give me a lift home, after much more persuasion I gave in and accepted the lift home.  My shoulder had started to sting a little as the adrenaline dwindled.  Within an hour I was struggling to lift my arm.  After another bout of persuasion from the wife this time, it was off to A&E.  A&E on a Friday evening, nice!

Katherine dropped me off at the door and in I went.  Only to be greeted by a stuffed full waiting room, I turned round and walked home.

Over the weekend the shoulder only got worse.  I got stuck in the bath, my left wrist had gotten in on the action, which meant I couldn’t push my self up.  This combined with the shoulder not working meant I had to push against the tap end and kind of roll out of the bath.  This was one of the greatest moments of my adult life, a true high point. 

Monday morning I went back to A&E.  Surprisingly at 8:00am there is no queue at all.  I was seen, x-rayed and discharged within an hour.  Job done!  No breaks, but was told I needed to make a n appointment with the fracture clinic to ensure there were no underlying issues.

My appointment was for the Thursday.  Until then I had to put up with my useless swinging arm.  No exercise all week, man it was hard.  As the appointment drew nearer the realisation that this could spell the end to my Ironman dreams.  I was genuinally scared going into the appointment, not because of the damage but because all the effort I had put in over the last 6 months could all be for nothing.

The Dr saw me, poked at me, asked me to do some stretches and gave me his evaluation. There was no break, this I already knew from the A&E X-Ray.  What had happened was a Grade 1 sprain.  Basically the tendon which holds the collar bone on to the shoulder bone had been stretched, meaning that the collar bone was miss-aligned.  Given rest the tendon would return to it’s previous position. 

I asked the question ‘I have a triathlon in June, can I compete?’ His reply? ‘Give it three weeks rest and see how you feel, but by June you should be fine’.

YESSSSSS!!!!!!!

The shoulder is still sore, and the first run was OK, but with the boucing about the shoulder was a niggle all the way.  I left it 2 weeks before attempting to get back on the bike.  I chose the MTB as the bike to ease me back into riding.  Figuring the suspension would offer me a little more protection.  This worked until I pulled on the handle bars to get up a curb.  OWW! It was like someone had punched me right on the damaged tendon.  I rode the rest of the way with my arm swinging by my side.

3 weeks went by and it was time to get back into the pool.  My weakest discipline needed much work to get me up to the needed level.  With a held breath I took my first stroke.  Result! the shoulder held out.  The pain was evident but nothing that would stop me from getting back on the training wagon!

In May so far I have swam 8 miles, ridden 116 miles and run 38 miles.  Nice digits, but there is still a load more work to be done.  So no time like the present, maybe I can squeeze in a little run before that first glass of wine!

Have fun!

Matt

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Seventh day, seventh swim

If I had been told in December that by April I would be swimming a mile everyday for a week, I would have bet my life savings on it being a lie. Luckily I have no savings, as today has seen me swim everyday since last Monday.

I have tried each day to do 64 lengths, which is equal to a mile. On one day though I did 70! In my mind I had it that 80 lengths was the same distance I needed to swim in the Half Ironman, but my sums were wrong. It is 76, so I was not too far off with my 70.

This coming week, I am going to try and do the 76 at least once, but try and focus mainly on getting quicker, as my current time is right on the limit. I think I have 1hr10mins to complete the swim. The pro athletes are completing the swim in less than 30 minutes!!!! I will be happy to complete the swim leg within the time limit.

Not ridden the bike since Wednesday as the weather has been so bad, but today I had a bit of a tinker. I removed my carbon aero wheels, as they need a bit of truing,well the rear does. Thankfully I have a friend who enjoys the challenge of wheel truing. This means the good old trusty RS10’s are back on the steed.

A while back I bought a set of clip on aero bars and today I finally fitted them. We are planning a long ride over the Easter weekend, so it will give me a good chance to get them set up right.

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My fixed gear bike had gotten a loose chain over the last few weeks, so I decided to take a link out. This was one link too many and meant the chain fitted no more, so after a quick rummage in the ‘stores’ and a replacement chain was fitted.

I will order a new yellow chain was payday has arrived, so it can get back to ‘normal’.

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So all in all a good week, just need to keep the momentum going and hopefully this cruddy weather will jog on, so I can get the running and riding back in track!

Have fun,

Matt

This week…….

Monday saw the start of a new wave of training/exercise. At 5:15 my alarm sounded and from my warm pit I arose. With all my kit laid out the night before, I quickly got dressed. I decided to start the day with a High 5 energy drink and a High 5 gel with added caffeine.

Now I had read about caffeine ‘encouraging’ unwanted bowel movements at inconvenient moments. As I was putting on the dogs harness, I felt a mild gripe. I dismissed this and set off on an easy 6k run.

After 3k this gripe had upgraded itself to a full on pain. This was to be my initiation into joggers trots. After another half kilometre, I could run no more, having to now concentrate all my energy to keeping my body water tight!

I only just made it home! I have learnt my lesson, DO NOT HAVE A HIGH DOSE OF CAFFEINE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.

A quick change of clothes and into the car to the swimming pool. I managed a good hour swim session, then had to escape to get to work.

As part of my gym membership I am entitled to attend gym classes. After a quick search I found a cycle blast session at another gym (I can go to 6 council run gyms) which is local to work. The session is only 30minutes, but promised to work on cardio. Just what I need, someone to keep me pushing. A couple of clicks later and I was booked in.

5:15 on Tuesday came too quickly, but a training ironman has to put the hours in to get the results. Why did I ever sign up for this? 🙂

This time no caffeine gels, just an energy mix and a regular gel. This time the 6k was completed. A quick change of clothes and backpack slung on, it was onto the bike for a quick dart to the pool.

I am ultimately wanting to do three swimming sessions a week, so my plan will change again once I feel I have got on top of the swimming malarkey. Therefore whilst I am going everyday I should be able to get a feel for the best days to go. This should allow me to maximise my time in the pool, I don’t want to be simply stuck in a crowd and not getting the full benefit of the session.

This said, Tuesday is by far the busiest day so far. Still I swapped between pull buoy and kick board work. This seemed to work well for me, and seemed to keep the variety of lengths/drills working without me having to plan it. So yet another good swim session. Am I finally starting to relax and enjoy the water? Maybe, MAYBE!

An hour session came to an end to quickly. Changed and ack on the bike for another quick dart to work.

I kept thinking about the impending spin class and what it would be like. I have never been to a spin class, and am more accustomed to solo training. However I was looking forward to a new experience which would take me out of my comfort zone, both socially and physically.

12:00 came round and back onto the bike to get to the gym with plenty of time to spare. Booked in and down to Dance studio 1 I went. There were 6 women in there, one of which was Alex our trainer. After a quick familiarisation with the bike and it was down to business.

30 minutes on a bike, how hard can that be? I mean I am used to 8hrs + in the saddle, so 30 minutes should be a doddle. Wrong! Alex started us slowly and took me to a point that sweat was literally pouring off me. Everyone else seemed to take it all in their stride. I was even pretending to increase the resistance at some points, just to get me through it.

This highlighted what I had been feeling all along, my cardio fitness is appalling. A quick bike ride back to work, still in my shorts as I hadn’t stopped sweating still, and I quickly booked myself in again for next week.

My alarm went off at 5:15 today and I just struggled to get my head together. So I got up and walked the dog, electing to not run today. Back home, quick change and back on the bike to the pool.

Just three of us in the pool today, and for a 20 minute period there was only me in my lane. I was still doing drills with the pull buoy, kick board and hand paddles, but wanted to see how many lengths I could do. I managed 70 in the hour. Which is only 10 short of the distance I will be swimming in June. There is a time limit on the swim in June though, I think it is 1hr 10 minutes, which after today’s effort seems a very possible goal.

If I can do 70 lengths in an hour with numerous stops to catch my breath and to change equipment, oh a quick wee break, then 80 in one continual length is achievable. There is still a heap more work to be done on the swimming, but to say I have only really started the front crawl since mid January I am more than happy with my current level.

Thursday should be my day off, but I am going to sneak a swim in, just to see what Thursday mornings are like at the pool

Have fun!!

Matt

A reet good swim session

I finally think the swimming malarkey may have finally clicked. After a few months of struggling with the breathing technique , I feel it is finally starting to become second nature.

At first it was shear panic which prevented me from concentrating on the technique for bi-lateral breathing, or any type of breathing in the water. I recon there could have been a fruitful career in Baywatch as a swimmer in distress. Alas that series is no longer running, which left me with having to stop drowning, and start swimming.

I have recently been going for a 1hr swim on a Wednesday morning, and still doing our Saturday morning swim too. The Wednesday morning has been going well. But by the time I settle down it is time to get out. Today however, I had a 1 1/2hr swim. The difference today though? I didn’t count the lengths, didn’t worry about other swimmers, didn’t worry about my drills and simply relaxed and enjoyed being in the water.

It really did feel awesome, like I was meant to be there, like I had been doing it for years. This ‘moment’ couldn’t have happened at a better time, as this week I joined the gym which means I can go swimming whenever I choose, and I am planning to introduce at least two more 1hr morning sessions into my weekly training.

I can’t wait for next week now!

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Have fun!

Matt

A week off

After the 24 mile run on the 3rd March, I literally could not walk for two days. I got the nutrition completely wrong and managed to deplete my glycogen stores completely. This meant I was struggling to move let alone exercise.

By Wednesday though I was itching to get some exercise in, so attended my early morning swim session. It was a god send as I had no weight on my legs and used a pull buoy to ensure I did not use them.

Thursday is my usual day off, due to work and life commitments, so I drove and told myself to get back on it on Friday. This plan was foiled by me getting a new phone and simply not hearing the new alarm tone. So I drove, again, but brought the dog to the office as a bit of company

I was proper gutted as my legs were feeling like they were ready for more punishment, but hey I only have myself to blame. All was going well until the dog decided to reverse eat his breakfast. As I bent down to scoop him up, I pulled my hamstring. Nice!!

So I took the weekend off too. Time really is flying by.

So to try and make amends I have been running with the dog, just 6km, then have some breakfast and jump onto the bike for a 14k bike ride. Done this for 2days now and it all seems to be going well. No exaggerated pains or twinges. Fingers crossed injury and illness stead clear of me now, so I can get some decent miles under my belt

I read that I should be doing at least three swimming sessions a week, at £3.70 a go it will be cheaper to get a gym membership, so tomorrow I am going for my induction at the local community gym. Hopefully I can build up to doing a mock ‘dry’ run of the Half Ironman. So do the swim then get onto the exercise bike and finish it off on the dreadmill.

In summary, all is going well but I need to have a good clean 3 months to give me any sort of chance of completing the task in hand.

Have fun!

Matt

Long time no write

Well loads of time has passed, and loads of achievements have been, well achieved 🙂

I have now got my running up-to 24 miles, and have run half marathon distance twice. Admittedly the 24 mile run has taken me out for 5 days now, but still I ran it. Oh and so did the dog. After 20 miles we went onto a trail and I let him off the lead, he shot off like a rocket. I wish I had his legs.

My swimming is finally starting to make some positive progress. I attended 5 swimming lessons at the Manchester aquatics centre, but I could not get the breathing sorted. It is funny how after nearly 37 years I am having to re-learn breathing. It is the habit of being able to inhale at any point required, this is not the case when ones head is submerged in water.

So after taking Christmas off from swimming, I really have been pushing myself to get the swimming sorted. I am now up-to 62 lengths. 64 would give me the mile, so that is my next target.

The riding is still as it was, albeit with a few new toys in the toy box. My Sunday ride is simply super sonic now, and demands to be ridden hard, way harder than I can currently ride it. I completed a 107 mile ride the other week, which was part of another Strava challenge. Surprisingly it went really well and my legs were fairly good the day after.

I have also started to incorporate riding a fixed gear bike too, this makes me ride harder as I simply cannot drop down a gear to amble up an incline. For your viewing pleasure, here is Tim.

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Duty calls, so off to do the dad bit now.

Have fun!

Matt

How Time Flies

I cannot beleive a week has slipped by since my last post.
Well this week has been dominated by the ongoing MTB repair. Despite having a new chain, new cassette and a new crankset, the gears are still jumping about like a kangaroo on heat. It is not only annoying, but also dangerous. A few times i have been stuck in the middle of a junction. I have just ordered a new rear mech, this is the last piece to be replaced, so if it doesn’t solve the issue, i swear the bike is going to meet the bottomnof the canal!

On the exercise front, i have finally managed to get Strava to work on my android phone. A good friend told me about Strava many months ago, i could not fully understand his cobstant enthusiasm for it. Man is it addictive!!! Every ride becomes a race, as you pootle along you have the thought ‘this could be a segment’ and you then push harder.

I would love to get a King Of the Mountain award. To earn a KOM award all you have to do is be the fastest over a segment. Sounds easy? But there are some proper fast riders out there. Crossed fingers and sore legs are on the horizon for a few months :o)

Yesterday i went for an early morning run, the dog and I got to 10k and the pain in my knee was unbearable, and had to walk the last 2k home. Hopefully a bit of rest will see it mended.

We then went to the swimming pool for our usual Saturday morning splash. I had on some new shorts as my usual ones had gone missing in action, last seen heading towards to laundry basket.

I set out to do a few lengths and see how it felt on my knee. After 10 lengths i felt like i wouldn’t be doing many more. Not because of my knee, but i just felt out of energy. 10 soon became 20 which ran into 30. 40 seemed a good goal, but that came and went. 50 was the new 40, which stretched out to 60. At this point i thought i would go for the 80. 80 lenghts is 2,000m, which is the length i need to swim in the Ironman.

Not that I am celebrating though, as i would not be allowed to get on my bike at the Ironman if i swim the distance that slowly. That said though, i am full of confidence knowing that i can swim the distance. I just need to improve the pace.

This week did however see me incur my first swim related injury. As i said earlier, i was wearing new shorts. After about 40 lenghts, my left knee felt uncomfy. It was my right knee i injured on the run. I carried on though as it didn’t feel muscular, just uncomfy.

When i got in the shower though i soon realised what the issue was. I had chaffed the skin just above my knee. Not the worst injury i will be subjected to, but a new one that i think will be s common occurance as my discipline lengths increase. Nice!

Have fun!

Matt

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