Following the Landmarks Half, I decided to treat myself to a week off as I was knackered and wanted a little break before Tri Training started. I ate what I wanted which seemed to include at least 4 pieces of congratulatory cake (any excuse) and relaxed. It was wonderful and just what I needed.
The following weekend, I went for an 8k running plod (just for fun with no mind of speed) and then the next day took “Shiny Sheena” (yes, I have named my road bike) out for a 13 mile spin. I had been so excited to get out and try my new bike for a couple of weeks and when I finally managed it, she didn’t disappoint. I really like cycling and was able to test the gear I had bought (“all the gear and no idea” describes me down to a tee!”). I went up the Bristol and Bath Cycle Path to the Warmley Tea rooms, (which has a toilet decorated to look like Doctor Who’s TARDIS), I had a cup of tea and then cycled back. Other cyclists waved to me and I felt like I was one of the gang.
The “Tri Mums” (This Mum Runs ladies that do Triathlons) had been enormously supportive with my planned triathlon endeavours and were on hand to help offering advice on gear, outfits, shoes (hooray – yes we need new shoes) and training plans to myself and a couple of other newbie Triers. They recommended that to avoid “chafing” in the bottom area, it was best to wear no underwear under the cycle trousers at all.
Frankly I was horrified. Having just been through the whole underwear/runderwear debacle with the running, it seemed that underwear (or lack of) was now a new feature with cycling. It seems to exercise in 2018, one must be knickerless and enduring a cold tummy. But these ladies know more than me and so I trusted them and followed their advice for the bike ride. They were correct. The padded bum part of cycling trousers did not rub and so I was delighted. Unfortunately the razor like saddle did aggravate my bottom, significantly and I was uncomfortable for a few days.
I will stop now and tell you that my husband has begged me not to put the next bit in this blog as it’s a bit embarrassing and extremely personal. But my blog is a “warts and all” log of my exercise journal and so I must go against his wishes. (Sorry). On the Monday after the cycle, I was horrified to discover that I had an UGIDA . An “Uninvited Guest in the Downstairs Area” as my daughter named it, rather perfectly…..or a hemmaroid. I was not happy and extremely uncomfortable. Over the counter medicine was doing nothing to rectify the situation and so after a week of panic about not being able to run (it was MUCH too painful) or cycle (absolutely unthinkable) I went to the Doctor. The Doctor was fantastic and, importantly, a runner. I was surprised to find myself in tears as I explained to her (and her two medical students in with her as they all had a good look at the “UGIDA”) that I was desperate to run as I had an upcoming triathlon and so my training plan demanded that I run. Let me tell you, I am not a fan of running, but not being able to run was absolutely hideous and I needed to get the “situation” sorted quickly. Unfortunately, the human body, and mine in particular, doesn’t give two hoots about triathlons or medals and so there was nothing to do but rest and try and recover. The Doctor impressed upon me, in earnest, the need for rest, stating that this is not uncommon in runners and athletes and she wished more people would go and get their “UGIDAs” checked etc. So as I blinked back the tears, I tried to heed her words and resolved to rest in the hope that this would fix the problem. So I rested. And then rested a bit more. It didn’t get any worse and possibly improved a bit, but it was not happening quick enough for me. I am currently waiting for a referral to come through to have the little blighter removed. I resigned myself to not being able to do the triathlon or run the Bristol 10k, which as you may know, is what I refer to as my “Annual Nemesis” as I usually use this to test if I am improving as a runner. I was gutted about the triathlon but I think if I’d had a choice over which event I would do if I could only do one, I would have chosen the 10k. It’s been a dark couple of weeks and I have felt at times as though I should simply set up a direct debit from my own bank account to Boots as I have desperately tried numerous creams to try and alleviate the symptoms.
I have been very, very down. I have been surprised by how low I have felt to be honest. I have bored my Sisters with updates on “Asswatch” as they’ve tried to help and keep me sane, but not running has been hell.
Hattie has been training with Curly Sue without me and making fantastic progress but I have struggled to go along and watch as it made me feel quite upset not to be running alongside her, sweating as we run up hills or sprinting around Queens Square. One small glimmer of light however, has been that although you can’t run or cycle with an UGIDA, swimming is **virtually recommended** and so at least this was some form of a lifeline. I have practised my front crawl over and over again in the past few weeks and I am confident that it has improved. I can now swim 400m front crawl continously (at Christmas I couldn’t even swim two lengths), which is the required distance for the Sprint Tri, but I am significantly faster if I alternate breaststroke and front crawl. I’ve swum on average 2k a week and it has helped me a bit.
Then last week, in my desperation I went to Boots (again) to see if there was another type of cream that might offer some miracle. I was elated to discover that this new cream made an immediate difference and it was enough of an improvement that this last Wednesday (2 days ago) I felt ok to run home. I hadn’t run for 3 weeks and it felt AMAZING and more importantly, there was no pain. As I ran, the 10k flashed through my brain and so I decided to run for 60 minutes to see if I could. I could indeed run for an hour (imagine if I’d told myself that 2 and half years ago – that after a 3ish week break, I would be able to run for an hour!) and it was clear that although I wasn’t as fit as I had been after the half, (understatement) the swimming had preserved some of my fitness and so the 10k felt possible. I mean, it was going to hurt, but it was possible.
If the 10k is possible then the triathlon should be too if I put my old bike saddle on Sheena, as Merida had suggested….. I’m massively undertrained on the bike now and running out of time so there will be an element of “winging it” but what else is new?!
Therefore, as long as my referral with the hospital doesn’t come through in the next two weeks (highly unlikely) and as long as I am not in pain (most importantly) I have decided that I am going to run the Bristol 10k on Sunday and attempt the Westonbirt Sprint Triathlon in 2 weeks time.
I say this knowing that I might have to withdraw from one or both mid-race if things go wrong or anything “appears”….. but I think for the sake of my sanity that it is worth the risk. Plus…I have already bought a trisuit (well 2 actually…it’s a long story and I couldn’t decide between them) and I NEED the 10k medal to keep my annual collection consistent.
There is a 75 minute pacer at the Bristol 10k (TMR are providing official pacers in the Duracell uniforms this year at 75, 80 and 90 minutes after “Pacergate” in 2017) and 4 weeks ago I would have felt confident at giving this a bash for a sub 75 minute 10k. Sadly I don’t think it’s realistic anymore and so I intend to follow the lovely 75 minute pacer for as long as I can and then try my best to stay ahead of the 80 minute pacer, but I also know that this might not happen. I’ll do my best though and will hopefully have a shiny medal by lunchtime on Sunday. Wish me luck.
Disclaimer **virtually recommended**– not really recommended, more that I bullied the Doctor into admitting that I could swim as long as it didn’t hurt but running and cycling were absolutely prohibited.