Days 151, 152, 153 – It Draws Near

Posted: June 4, 2012 in June
Tags: , , ,

I’ve messed up my day count somewhere along the way, which is an occupational hazard of doing things retrospectively and sporadically. Regardless, this is now the three days leading up to TriAthy.

Wednesday – swimming session with Mark. Half the session is spent going over the basics again, half is spent trying to figure out my lack of progress. The lack of progress, both in terms of actual, in water propulsion, and overall has been baffling Mark. He’s really struggling to figure out how I’m swimming so slowly/poorly considering the amount of effort I’ve been putting in but eventually we make some breakthroughs. I’ve been keeping my legs stiff and toes pointed, so although it at first looks like my ankles are nice and floppy and my legs flicking, on the way back up they’re not relaxing, so I’m causing almost as much drag as propulsion. Secondly, I finally, finally get the whole ‘high elbow’ thing. Previously I’d been doing a massive, circular, twisty, reachy thing, which again caused massive amounts of drag, messed up my entire stroke and also took a huge amount of effort. Once I stopped doing those two things all I had to do was work on my breathing, stop over analysing things and practice incessantly for six months or so. A little bit late for TriAthy but at least I was at square 2 now.

My swimming wasn’t even over for the day then, as when I got home my friend and neighbour Benny persuaded me that it was time to break in my wetsuit. We went down to the river, but unlike Bruce Springsteen we didn’t just dive in. I clambered into a rubber and neoprene suit and waded out into the water while Benny stood on the bank drinking a beer. We had to rethink our plan as the water didn’t even come up to my waist, but Monasterevin isn’t called The Venice of Ireland for nothing, so off to the canal we went. After some gentle prompting, and a reminder that we only had about ten minutes until it was properly dark, I found myself jumping into a canal for the first time in nearly twenty years. I’m really glad now that Benny persuaded me to do this because that was a bit of a shock. Cold and dark, I stuck my face down, tried to swim and then couldn’t catch my breath for about five minutes. Eventually I gathered myself, relaxed and made a couple of little sorties up and down the canal. I’m really glad that the start of the race on Saturday now won’t be the first time I’ve experienced this.

Thursday – I picked up my bike from McLoughlins Cycles in Newbridge after their pre-race service (thanks again to Alison and the guys there, I massively appreciate this) and then headed in for physio. The previous session had focussed on my hamstring, knee and calf but this time the physio went looking for the cause of my problems, rather than just trying to treat the symptoms. She was happy enough that I’d get through the race, but once that was out of the way I needed to get my problems sorted. She traced all the problems to the left side of my mid-back, which was apparently a ball of horribly knotted and twisted muscle, which pulls at my glutes, shortening my hamstring and eventually leads to pulls and tears in my lower leg. I need to make some changes to my work setup, have a set stretching and strengthening regime for my core, back and legs, rest more, look after my body more, but before all that I need to have twenty minutes of traction, which essentially involves putting on a vibrating corset and then being stretched. Kind of like Cary Elwes undergoing torture in  Count Rugen’s torture device in The Princess Bride, though not quite as elegantly coiffured.

Friday – TriAthy offically opens for business today and I’m helping out at registration, looking after the t-shirt stand, which mostly consisted of trying to persuade ladies that they really could fit into the Barbie-sized t-shirt they’d been allotted (in a purely professional capacity of course). I finished up there not long after ten pm and then it was home, eat, sleep and be back at registration in a few hours to help out again before getting ready for my first ever triathlon.

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