Sometimes all it takes is one good ride to gain back your confidence.
If I haven't told you yet, a couple of weeks ago when we were riding our first 10 Before 10 from Speed Theory (that's 10 laps of Stanley Park done before 10 am), I injured my Achilles. Not a rupture, no surgery required, but I couldn't bear weight and it was pretty depressing. I couldn't stand all day at work, and walking three blocks to Starbucks was out of the question.
I had booked the following weekend off of work to get some serious mileage in. Nope.
I watched as all my friends put in hours and hours of training over Easter Weekend. I logged 2.5 hours, and most of that was noodling. But it was okay, because every day I was getting a little better.
Then it hit me
Tuesday morning, I woke up to head to Masterswim. Maybe it was the fact that it was 5 in the morning, but as an athlete, that was about the worst drive in I've ever had. I had counted down the days until Ironman Coeur d'Alene at the end of June, and at my current rate of recovery, I just couldn't do it.
I can't train for a 180km bike ride on 45 minute rides. Despite some great indoor spins throughout the winter, I really hadn't logged the long rides I'd need in February or March because the weather was so terrible. I just wasn't going to have the legs to do this ride.
and 30 seconds of running, then walking for 5 and a half minutes to recover is no way to run a marathon.
I was ready to pull the plug
But, I thought I'd give it one more ride. I took my tri bike into work, as I knew the steeper saddle position would force my ankle to stay a little higher, thus relieving the pressure at my foot. It was the last day of a 4-week-long Hill Climbing clinic (of which I'd missed 2 classes), and we were riding up Grouse. It was while climbing Prospect Point at Stanley Park where I first noticed the injury, so I thought this would be the way to really test things out.
I told myself I'd be honest. The week before, I had devised a Pain Threshold Scale (where 1 is barely feeling any feedback, 10 is excruciating pain) and made a deal that if I reached a 6, I'd stop and completely back off the intensity, and if it reached a 7, I'd go home. Honesty was the key.
Well, I started climbing, and kept things at maybe 80% of my usual effort, but nothing ever rose above a 3, and that mostly when I climbed out of saddle. If I sat back down, the feedback would lower back down to a 1.
Fast forward to today, where I rode out the Sea 2 Sky Highway to Murrin Lake and back. 4 hours, 100 kilometers, riding every hill, every headwind, solo. Achilles Pain Rating: 0
Now, before you caution me:
Yes, I know I have a lot of work to do, both in continual rehab and in training. Currently, every C priority race on the schedule is cancelled, and B races are on hold. In 2 weeks I head down to Las Vegas for a week of riding with the boys, and I'll use my performance and recovery there to gauge how to proceed on the rest of the season.
But I no longer have to quit, and that makes me happy.
I'd like to throw out a couple of shoutouts:
First, to Drs. Jenn Turner and Sarah Jung from Moveo in North Vancouver. Thank you for fitting me into your busy schedules, and for laughing when I cursed the Graston "Butter Knife"
Second, to my co-workers at Speed Theory and our fantastic Ambassadors. I know I wasn't a pleasant person to work for a while - thanks for putting up with me.
Also thanks to CEP Compression and Compressport Canada. Whether socks, my new compression tri shorts, or full-leg compress sleeves, the high-quality garments from these two brands have got me back in the game. If you're an athlete and still have hesitations about compression technology, I'd seriously recommend giving it a try.
And last but definitely not least, to my wife for putting up with my misery, though I think she may have enjoyed the extra 15km/h bike rides with me :)
Onwards to victory (or ending up in a ditch)