Archive for February, 2012

I’d been looking forward to this session all week, though still with a tiny amount of trepidation. At last a chance to properly kick off my swim training and start to make some progress. There were five or six people at the session, including the guy who’d been in the beginner’s lane at last Thursday’s club session (though I think he may be there just to show off as he’s really quite good). Mark got straight into it and had us doing lengths of the pool working on a different aspect of our stroke on each one, even breaking the pull, push and so on into smaller parts.

Even this however was too advanced for me so I spent the session trying to emulate what the rest of the group were doing, all the while holding desperately on to a float, clinging to it like a rejected would be lothario does his last shred of dignity by telling all and sundry that he never fancied her anyway. We finished the session and Mark suggested I come to next week’s an hour or so early to get some one on one time in with him so as to start catching up. Needless to say I couldn’t agree quick enough.




Day 52 – I Can But Try

Posted: February 29, 2012 in February
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I’m playing it safe(ish) with my calf at the moment so no track session for me tonight, and seeing as I’ve biked the last two days I headed to the pool instead. I thought as this was the latest evening session the pool might be pretty quiet but it was actually really busy, mostly with people just messing, lollygagging or chatting. Really hard to get anything done but I did what I could.


Day 51 – Flexitime

Posted: February 28, 2012 in February
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Seeing as yesterday’s cycle appeared to do me no harm I had a turbo session today – medium gear, high rpm, nice and steady and hopefully doing my calf no damage.

Speaking of my calf, the physio has me doing a series of stretches that will hopefully loosen me right up. Calf, hamstring, quad, glutes and hip flexors x three, three times a day.

Well I’m trying to do them three times a day anyway.



Day 50 – Moody Blues

Posted: February 28, 2012 in February
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I had a pretty shitty start to the day today. Our soccer team has really struggled of late, both in our matches and also in getting numbers at training. It’s a vicious circle of course in that the less people that go training the worse we perform in our matches leading to people not wanting to go training or to the matches and so on and so on. This morning it came to a head and we ended up forfeiting the match and possibly pulling our team out of the league. It’s incredibly disappointing for those who put in the effort week in and week out but if the numbers aren’t there there’s not a whole lot else we can do. It’s just a shame that people would rather give up than put in the work required to get better.

I spent most of the morning making phone calls to various people about this, letting them know the match was off, trying to figure out what to do and so on, and by the time I was through I was thoroughly fed up. Ordinarily in this situation I would have gone out for a run as there’s nothing that lifts my spirits and lets me forget about any of my woes like a good run, but my calf was in no state to let me do that. Dwelling on that just made things worse, and I couldn’t face the thoughts of another frustrating pool session, so although I probably shouldn’t I hopped on my CX bike and went out for a quick blast.

I came back some time later completely refreshed, in an altogether better mood, and amazed as always at the ability of something as simple as going out for a cycle or a run to completely change your mood and your mindset.


Day 49 – Kicking. Lots of Kicking.

Posted: February 28, 2012 in February
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In the pool again today trying to follow up on yesterday’s session, alternating between lengths just kicking and lengths of ‘my stroke’. It’s bloody hard work this kicking lark.


Well that was embarassing. I finally admitted to myself that all the fluting round by myself in the pool wasn’t really doing anything for me so I bit the bullet and went to Portlaoise for the club swim session. I’d been putting this off for some time, hoping that somehow my swimming would magically progress, so that when I went to my first session I wouldn’t look too much like a fish out of water (if you’ll pardon the water based pun).

At any of the club’s running sessions I’ve been to so far there’s been ten to twenty people there, so I was expecting similar numbers at the pool tonight. When I walked in to the leisure centre and asked at the desk whether there were specific lanes for the triathlon club only to be told that they had the entire pool booked out I suspected that might not be the case.

Walking into the packed changing room I recognised no one from any of the session’s I’d done so far, and I was loathe to spend too much time looking around at everyone as I didn’t want to be known as the new guy who’s always staring at everyone getting changed. When I did actually see one person I knew I asked him to point out either of the coaches and at least they were easy enough to spot as they were the only people there fully clothed. I walked out to the pool area to find them and if I thought the changing room was packed that was nothing compared to the pool itself. The lanes were full, with people packed in there and splashing around like Flipper in a tuna net and every single one of them looking at me, or so I thought, as I made my way over to introduce myself to the coaches. I haven’t felt so self conscious since I was thirteen years old and walking across an empty dance floor in Nijinsky’s to ask a girl out to dance to Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad*.

After introducing myself to the coaches (Mark and Elaine) and explaining just how bad a swimmer I am I was ushered towards the beginner’s lane, where it quickly became apparent that the coaches and my definition of ‘beginner’ differed somewhat. The two occupants of the lane were gliding up and down the pool, performing various drills, and after a couple of failed attempts it was patently clear to Mark that I was indeed a whole different category of beginner. Though I was really beginning to despair at this point all was not lost as Mark told me there was actually a separate session for proper beginners on a Wednesday evening, but seeing as I was in this class I might as well make the most of it. In order to do that we started right from the start – kick drills.

Although I struggled to make much in the way of forward progress Mark seemed to be of the opinion that I had the makings of quite a strong kick. Whether that was him just trying to massage my battered ego or being honest I’m not sure, and to tell you the truth at that point I didn’t care. It was a glimmer of hope that I could hold on to and I was going to hold on to it for dear life.



*One song that always guaranteed you the shift.

This calf pull isn’t going to heal itself so tonight I went to get some physio. My sister had recommended someone that she’d used with success in the past so I’d made an appointment, and though I’d never used this particular physio in the past I had a real sense of deja vu – “you’ve got slightly flat arches, you’re legs are all very tight, your muscle just went pop at the weakest point”. It was eerily similar to  my physio visit when I tore the same muscle last year. At least this time round I caught it before it actually tore.

She did say to me however that if I were to run my scheduled race on the 25th there’d be a very good chance of me tearing the muscle, which would mean two months out. I didn’t definitely  pull out, but decided to wait and see how treatment went. However, at this point in time it’s looking very unlikely.

I was feeling considerably better after physio so had a short session on the bike when I went home, partially just to stretch the legs and get the muscles moving, but mostly just to keep my 100% record going.


Day 45 – An Exercise In Futility

Posted: February 27, 2012 in February
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Well I can’t run today, and I really shouldn’t cycle, so over to the pool I go. And an hour later it’s home I went without really having achieved anything.




My calf was feeling pretty good and showing no ill effects from the weekend’s cycling so I headed over to the track session in Portlaoise eager to get running again. I spoke to our coach about doing some extra specific stretching before we started and after getting a few new ones from her I set off to do a few easy warm up laps before I did them. Half way round the very first lap, after not feeling anything at all from it in the last few days, my calf tightened like a ball again and I was forced to hobble back round to the start line. After a quick word with Denise we decided there was nothing for it but to head for home, massage and roll it out and then get physio as soon as possible.


I was absolutely miserable going home and walked in through the door a truly morose motherfucker. It was my birthday today and I was really looking forward to celebrating it with a good training session, sad and all as that may sound, but instead I was now face down on the couch at home with Brid trying to knead knots out of my calf muscle. As it was my birthday I decided to console myself with cake and wine and spent the next two hours wallowing in self pity (and chocolate).


You know what? I really don’t feel so bad today. Certainly nowhere near as bad as I thought I was going to anyway (probably due to me having sufficient willpower to stop myself as I was walking up to the counter in Burger King at three o’clock this morning*). Rather than slobbing about on the couch all day I decided to make the most of the failing light and the lovely crisp air and get out on my cyclocross bike so I got geared up, got some Diplo on my Sansa Clip and headed out.

I set off along the canal path, up and over the bridge and spent another twenty minutes or so working my way back up the far side of the canal rattling the teeth out of myself over what looked like for all the world like sharp cobble stones. I came back on to the road then and decided as there was still some light left in the evening to head for the woods. After a lap around there I turned around for home but decided as I got closer to stay out a little longer and head for the canal again. Even though the CX is harder work than a road bike it’s a lot more fun and encourages you, or me at least, to keep going and pushing harder, searching out paths and lanes and side roads to have a little excursion down. Combine that with two hours worth of Diplo essential mixing and you’ve got a brilliant workout, even on a day where you’re feeling not quite 100%.



*admittedly I was after having a Big Mac meal and a Fillet’o’fish not five minutes beforehand but I still thank that’s showing commendable restraint.