11 Weeks To Go: Post Broken Collar-bone

The week is a blur of sleepiness, quite a bit of pain around my broken collar-bone, working in my living room, eating junk food and marking little victories on the road to recovery.

As I recover from my second broken collar-bone, and write this blog I’ve discovered my life without training could be very different. For one my routine is gone and not training makes me lethargic. I’m an hour into procrastinating about going for a run. It’s not the injury that’s stopping me. It’s lack of routine, and a bit of tiredness. But I’m making plans and from next week will kick-off with an adapted training plant that will be mind-numbingly boring* and based at the gym.

Pain Threshold Almost Reached

The week started painfully! I couldn’t remember the pain being so intense last time I broke my collar-bone. But if I got in the wrong position it was taking my breath away.  I was on nil by mouth, on stand-by, ready to hot-foot to the hospital for the operation to fix the break. The call came around 845am and I was told the op would be on Tuesday. I was delighted. I hadn’t expected it to be so quick. And I was able to enjoy my morning tea!

The rest of Monday morning was spent drinking coffee in the garden with Chris and trying to get myself into a position where I could type and reply to emails. Ironically, it was easier when I broke my right collar-bone. I only really managed a few emails and wrote the story up for this blog.

 

Ready for the op – clad in green compression to match my top!

After the op – coffee and chocolate before leaving the hospital!

On Tuesday Chris dropped me at the hospital for 730am. I was very glad that I didn’t have to wait another night for the plate. It was all straightforward, and as I posted on Facebook, after the morphine and general anaesthetic, my manic post op babbling in the Recovery Room was all about triathlon. In between laughing a lot I felt 100 per cent sure I was in transition and had the marathon to run, and told the staff what was happening! The woman attending to me found it very funny.

Once I was ‘back in the room’ I drank lots of tea, water, ate half a sandwich and enjoyed the biccies and a Costa Coffee choc-thing on the way out. I tried to concentrate to work, when I got home but was mainly out of it.

Slowly does it!

Wednesday started slowly. I managed a couple of work emails, but the morphine had worn off so I pumped myself full of codeine. Feeling stir-crazy, I had to get out of the house by lunchtime, so decided to go for a walk (with sling). A mile into the walk and I suddenly remembered I had a Tesco shop arriving, so ended up running and even measured the last half a mile for Strava! (11 min mile pace!). A blurry sort of working afternoon followed once I’d put the shopping away.

Energy Levels Up (& Down)

On Thursday I woke up early and managed to get a good four hours work done, then got ready to go to London for a meeting. It seemed energy levels were restored. I managed London and the tube (thankfully off-peak) on the hottest day of the year with my sling and spaced out on codeine/paracetamol and nurofen, and had a great meeting.

In the evening, family came to visit and we had pizza and even a beer and went to bed around 1230am! I decided not to run/walk or do anything as I had walked a fair bit around London.-Friday was a planned day off from work with my cousin Eamonn, his wife Mary and their son Kaiden visiting. Coach Marianne and I met to discuss plans and rehab exercises I’m going to do. I ruled out the next 100-mile TT Race on August 12th! I also had to pull out of a standard and sprint event.

Knowing if I was not self-employed I would have been given a sick-note I enjoyed mooching around the kids splash park, and the amusements – even having a go on the fruit machine – my alter ego, living on the edge in a different way!

Pikey me! What life might be like if I didn’t do triathlon

By Friday night I hit a zombie-like exhaustion. I’d had a whole day of just nurofen and the pain was much better, I had also realised that it helped to ice my sore neck (muscles aching either from the fall or from being in the tuck position on the TT bike!). I had thought I might run in the evening, but not a chance!

Procrastinating before running

So here I am today. Without my usual significant two to three-hour block of training to do, after dropping the kids to work (oh, yes another landmark, driving), I was able to crack on with work and managed to do four hours before picking up my son. And now, after procrastinating on social media, and then choosing to write this to stop procrastinating, I’m putting on my sling and heading out for a run. There really is no excuse and part of my recovery is getting back in the groove.

Mind over matter

Just back from my first proper ‘sling’ run. This is all psychological. I was feeling heavy, lethargic etc. And I was a bit cautious – and that’s how I ran, plodding along at 10.15 pace. But could I have done more today? I The general anaesthetic was on Tuesday and I haven’t had a painkiller today, so I think there’s no accident-related reason for lethargy. I was cautious as I didn’t want to lose my balance (wearing a sling to stop vibrations around the still repairing collar-bone) and fall again, but then I reasoned that I only broke my collar-bone because I flew off my bike, out of my cleats at around 20 mph, I was jogging along today at over 10-minute mile pace. The mind plays a big part in training – but overall I was really pleased to get out today.

Time on my hands!

And so, here I am having finished my weekly update, early. I have found 10 hours this week that would normally be spent training. But the plan tomorrow is to train as normal, starting with a run and I hope to get to the gym for some turbo, too. As I’ve written before I think it’s a good idea to stick to the routine and keep hours to dedicated training when injured, but just do something a little different.

*Boring is good for training the mind in Ironman and I said to Marianne I see turbo training as an opportunity to get some bike strength.

 

 

 

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13 weeks to go – The Galway Tribesman Middle Distance Tri

This week I had a lower volume week & raced The Galway Middle Distance Tribesman Triathlon.

Wednesday 11th

I’m writing this before we go. I’ve done my pre-Galway training now. I’m working with a new coach, Marianne.  She helped get four other triathletes cross the finish line in Nice, I’ll be talking to them very soon. Watch this space.

So this week started, dare it I say it, with me feeling knackered – again! This time it was because I’d just done 85 miles on the bike. So on Monday I just managed a swim set, which was 2.2K and sets of 300s. On Tuesday I met my friend Tori and hit the Velodrome which I’m very fortunate to live less than five minutes from. I’ve not really used it before so it took a while to get going but an hour spinning round was a good session – just got to get round one lap in under a minute next time! After this we did a very gentle 3.5 mile jog round the park. Today (Wednesday 11th) My HRV app was showing I was tired – I knew I was but good to have it confirmed. I decided I had to complete my Watt Bike and swim set, tired or not. I’m still struggling to get the RPM up on the Watt bike but with a very low/no gear I can manage 85 to 95! After an hour on the bike, my legs were like led for the first 200M of the swim, but I soon settled into an easy pace and completed 3.5K in the pool.

Monday 16th July – looking back on the week

So the week had less hours of training overall than previous weeks,  and two days off, but obviously there as a little more quality as I raced a middle distance triathlon.  I broke a 31-day run of no days off – with triathlon, I feel I need less rest and recovery than with straight running, so a total day off isn’t always necessary, just less intensity and a mixing up the activities seems to offer recovery. Mentally, however, whether swimming easy, or running hard, it may sometimes work to have that day off, especially before and after racing.

 

On Thursday I travelled to Ireland on the boat, so a very early start and packing put paid to any training and I was glad I had scheduled a day’s rest.

On Friday we managed an easy run on the seafront in Galway reviving a lot of childhood memories of stop-offs at Salthill with its 40ft diving board into the sea (it was in fact about 15 to 20ft but it was firmly etched in my childhood memory as being 40ft).

Close to the edge? Well not quite!

As a young girl (who loved to dive off the top board at home) I’d always wanted to dive off but mum and dad hadn’t allowed me (not surprising when I stood up there). My cousin did remind me I had jumped from it on a hungover morning in my 20s (but I couldn’t remember that!).

It was on Friday morning that I’d realised my Garmin 920 XT had limited battery, that the race was in fact on Saturday not Sunday as we’d somehow told ourselves, and after some panic and a few calls I realised I was actually entered in the race (I just hadn’t received the confirmation email). It was a blessing in disguise, when you come to race, you come to race, so another day mooching round the shops and seafront wasn’t needed. After our bike ride we drove the bike course. After the boat journey and early starts I was dropping off as we drove along the windy and roads through beautiful Connemara. I had that real sense of the distance. Weirdly it seems longer in the car than on the bike to me!

The Galway Middle Distance Tribesman Triathlon

Before we’d left I’d said to Chris we’d better double-check whether we should be packing our TT bikes, but as the website had declared it wasn’t a course for PBs and to look out for the big hill between 40 and 50K we’d opted for road bikes. As it goes there was no giant hill, and the undulating course was well-suited to TT bikes.

The swim in the River Corrib, was perfect. I decided to do exactly as Marianne had advised, stay relaxed, practise drafting and sighting. It worked, I had a great swim for me, and was delighted to see quite a few bikes when I got out of the water – and for the first time ever, I was out the same time as Chris. Even though I’m still a slow swimmer, I’m really pleased that now I don’t think what’s lurking beneath the weeds, or panic, or try to get away from other swimmers (clearly not a good strategy). Now it’s all about staying relaxed, enjoying the stretch out, focusing on who to follow and making sure I’m not swimming too far off target!

On the bike things changed, and as TT bike after TT bike whizzed past me, I was cursing about not bringing the TT bike. This was race-head irrationality, it really wouldn’t have made that much difference, these cyclists were all men and all faster than me, whatever bike they were on! And as it goes the wind further up the course may have thrown me a little on the TT bike.

As we approached half-way, I started to get a bit of a sinking feeling as I counted how many were ahead of me. By the time I reached 40 I was seeing quite a few women – I thought around eight to 10. I estimated I was in the bottom third now (haven’t double checked yet but reckon I wasn’t far wrong). The rain and wind picked up on the way back, and there were a few stops for traffic, but overall it was a great bike course, undulating, great roads, and when I did look up and peer through the mist and spray, stunning scenery. Having run the course in the Connemara half, marathon and ultra, these were roads I was familiar with, but on the bike they didn’t seem quite as tough!

My Mad Race Head

My main aim on the run was to catch the women who I’d seen 20-plus minutes ahead of me! A typically unrealistic race mentality. Even though my running is in my running eyes pretty poor, by triathlete standards I’m still okay, especially when compared to the bike, so I managed to work my way through the runners, only overtaken twice by two faster men, one of whom I reckon was a lap ahead anyway! I like laps and aimed as I did at Swashbuckler to keep my pace at 8 min mile. Around halfway the low battery sign popped up so I couldn’t see the pace which I knew was flagging. My race head – which I do watch and find amusing as it chats away to me in races – said two things, one not being able to see the pace was the reason I was slowing down and then the other part of my head was telling me, it’s  a good thing you can’t see the pace slowing down, or you’d slow down more! As for catching women, I only managed to catch up with one, and women who I thought were ahead of me where behind me, the woman I thought was leading was in fact fourth (she must have wondered why I was so enthusiastic in my well dones as she’d passed me).

Through the whole race I didn’t look at my watch to see what the overall time was but on the last lap I spotted five something and wondered if I might crack 5.30. As it was I came in on my watch in 5.31 an on the clock in 5.32. According to the first set of results I was first V50 and sixth woman. After checking splits and chatting to Chris (who’d finished in 5.18) I felt satisfied that progress has been made, and allowed myself a little celebration – a couple of glasses of Guinness and a lot of food! The boat’s pulling into the harbour as I type. The week ahead includes another trip to my son’s graduation, but once again  it’s all about getting back on it and being psyched up for the 12-week countdown to Barcelona.