Sunday 24 July 2011

Brick this!

I think I might get 'round next weekend.  If I can work out how to get the k-tape to stay on through the swim, it's going to work.

T2 brick test today; 31km bike followed immediately by a 7.8km run.  The secondary tests were, some race fuel (High5 EnergySource) to see if my stomach is OK with it, and drinking on the bike.

Apart from being yelled at by a twat in a Chelsea Tractor at Wimbledon Common (dude, if you had a less stupid car and a bit less of a vein sticking out on your forehead, you'll probably live longer), the bike was good.  I'm still completely useless at using a bottle on the bike - seriously, if you've never tried it, it's a lot harder than it looks.  I can get the bottle out of the rack relatively OK as long as I'm free-wheeling, but drinking is really difficult and getting it back in the rack again is pretty stressful.  I ended up with sticky drink on my hands, handlebars and down my leg a bit and some of it in my mouth.  My heart rate monitor hadn't worked for the cycle, so fuelling was really going to be a bit off as I'd got no idea of the amount I'd burned through.

31.16km in 01:11:04 including slowing down for traffic lights, being a total useless goit with the drinks bottle several times etc., so I'm hoping that will translate to 01:32 - 01:35 next weekend over the 40km race route.

I chugged the remainder of the fuel drink and the run started off pretty nicely.  As usual between bike and run, my legs felt a bit heavy at the start but I went off at a reasonable pace and the route was a loop of around 2.5km which allowed for stuff going wrong and being not too far from home if it did. 

Pace-wise, that's around my usual fastest 10km pace -without- having cycled 31km first.  So I'm quite encouraged by that.  That sort of pace should give me a 10km run time of around 55:00 - 56:00, hopefully.   My knee stayed quiet throughout and the only indication of anything not being perfectly fine was a tight hamstring into the back of the knee and that was it.

So, I'm pretty sure I'll get 'round next weekend.  No idea what transition times will look like, but with a 30:00 swim, a 01:35 bike and a 56:00 run I'm looking at an overall race time of 03:01:00 plus transition, so a target of 03:10:00 seems reasonable.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Kinda sorta rather promising

We pootled up to the common for a run on the Parkrun course; a 2.25 km loop, so if my knee went pop it was never far to hobble back to the car.  I was all strapped up with the K-tape and ready for a slow trot.

Given that at the British 10K 2 weekends ago my knee got angry around the 7km mark I had to go at least that far to see what happened.  We set off at a very gentle pace, really very very gentle and kept it steady for the first few km.  At 4km, everything was feeling fine so we agreed to turn up the gas at 7km to try to force something to happen if it hadn't already.

7km we took it up a notch and again at 8.5km and my knee was not only feeling OK, but it actually felt -better- than the other one.  It felt like a smooth, well-oiled joint; noticeably more comfortable and 'right' feeling than usual.  I tried to keep up with Mr TOTKat when he kicked off at 8.5km and almost sort of did then decided I was too under-fuelled to go on past 9km so we stopped there and had a gentle jog to cool down a bit before a stretch, drink and back home again.

So.  Without wanting to get too excited, I think the K-taping may have made some sort of difference.  How much of a difference will only become apparent with a brick session.  So I'm planning to do one tomorrow (and combine it with testing some race fuel for next weekend - OMG LONDON IS NEXT WEEKEND! *cough*  With all the injury mess, I've done no training and it's my first Olympic distance triathlon!  Halp!)

Thursday 21 July 2011


Physio visit involved a recap of the MRI results (mild ITB irritation, fat pad inflammation and mild fraying of the cartilege - perhaps related to the syringing many years ago) and a bit of a trot with physio in tow, assessing my gait.  Apparently my back is very rigid, my hips do something weird and one foot does a floppy thing every 5-6 steps at slow speed but at fast speed my gait becomes much better.  He prodded my hips and glutes and did some deep-tissue work on those (OW!) to loosen things up a bit.

Current thinking is to tape my patella to encourage it to move a bit differently, to see what effect that has on the pain:-

Will go for a decent run at the weekend to see how that works out.  And in the mean time physio is drawing some pictures and having a think about what's going on with my hip movement to see what's going on there.  With 1 week left to London thereafter there may be some other interim management required to get me through that before the more long-term management strategy.

Monday 18 July 2011

Thames Swim

I didn't die.

I did get a good two mouthfuls of Thames water, but I seem to be not ill (yet - bit of a sore throat, but hey).   No training, due to general arseness of lack of faith in being able to push my body at the moment.  So.

We were hit by different organisation this year and, quite frankly, not so good.  Queueing was a farce and lots of people almost (and probably did) miss their wave.  We almost did, after queueing for registration and finding the timing chip queue was massive... I just queue jumped the entire chip queue as I found someone had been fast-tracked in front of me in the registration queue only to find out had the same start time as us.

I lost Mr TOTKat at registration and panicked that I had no money to pay for the bag transport, but it turned out it was included in entry anyway.  Dumping my bag off, I realised I'd not lubricated the neck of my wet-suit so was going to have to take the hit of a potential awful neck rawness at the end.  I trotted off to the start, to find there was only 7-8 minutes to the wave kick-off and I was still not completely in my wet suit.  Thankfully the guy who was fast tracked offered and helped me zip up and I reciprocated.

We'd both missed race briefing and having heard race organisation grumblings, were given a re-run of the briefing and Mr TOTKat showed up with seconds to spare before we plopped in to the water to paddle to the start.  I was rude and shoved my way to the front and waited for the hooter to start us off.

Long and boring swimming happened.  With a bit of a melee at the start, I had no problem holding my position and not wavering from it whether it meant getting a smack on the head/arm/back/face/legs/body or giving one.  Breathing every two and cursing the race briefing that said the yellow buoys were every 800m (there were 5 in a 3.65km race, none at the start and an orange one at the end, go figure) it was basically extremely boring this time around.  Visibility was rubbish, but then it's a silty river, so what do you expect?  Put on a bit of a spurt of speed once at about 2.25km in and then again at about 3.2km and was helped out onto the ramp at the end.  Wobbled up the ramp and then cursed that the timing mat for the end of the race was quite a way along from where you get out.  Cursed even more when I saw Mr TOTKat picking up his bag, 45s ahead of me.

To be fair, he's trained for this event and I haven't.  So well done him.  A whole 10 minutes quicker than he was last year, which is 12.5% faster!  (me, I was 3 minutes faster than last year, which isn't awful but not unexpected due to being generally fitter anyway)

No sore neck, no chafing at all from the wetsuit.  AND my lovely 2XU swimming compression top did a fabulous job as I'm not utterly crippled today and can easily raise my arms above my head.  Result!

Friday 15 July 2011

British 10K

Having specifically asked the orthopaedic surgeon whether I could safely train/exercise and not been told it was a bad idea, I decided to run the British 10K last weekend.

Having not run at all for a month (the last run was 4 weeks earlier and only 5km) and done naff all running at all in the last 4 months, it was always a bit of a stretch to consider even finishing a 10km run in any reasonable time (or, if you're being sensible about it, to go that far one one go).  But I'm nothing if not bloody-minded and pretty fed up about not being able to compete in sports events properly/at all at the moment.

It was an earlyish start and the tubes were quiet.  A good bowl of porridge in our bellies, we made our way in to town for the run.  There were a few runners on the tube, but nothing that gave any idea of the scale of this event even slightly.  It was only really apparent when we were lined up, queueing up the road to cross the start line.  We weren't all that far from the front and turning around to look behind us, the number behind us was phenomenal.  Around 25,000 people ran the British 10K - I say "ran", there were an awful lot of walkers.  People who walked from start to finish and never had intended to run (it's called the "British 10K run", the clue is in the title!), people who were just doing it for charity and that's where I went wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for people raising money for charity.  But I think it absolutely ruins a lot of sport events; the London marathon is two events now, the elite runners and then people who raise money for charity by titting about in a banana costume.  It's not a sport event for anyone who isn't an elite because it's so hard to get a place without raising money for charity.  And, to be honest, I think that really really sucks.  Yes, there are people who are trying really hard, for them.  And there are people who simply can't run 10km.  But it's just frustrating for people who actually just want to enter a 10km running race and not be made to feel guilty for not raising money for charity.  Seriously, if I had to raise money for every race I entered I'd only be able to enter one per year because, you know what, people get charity fatigue and you can't just keep asking for sponsorship all of the time.  It's a sad state of affairs that a large proportion of the population equates "normal" people doing sporting events with raising money for charity and that there's no other reason you'd be doing it.  Oh I'm not sure where I'm going with this, it's just frustrating.

Anyway.  Race started, we ran.  We ran around everyone who was walking, and by god there were a -lot- of those all through the race.  I needed a wee from about 20 minutes before the start (yes there were loos but we were "kettled" for over 40 minutes before the start and I needed to go again) so spent a lot of time considering exactly how endurance runners deal with this sort of thing until the 4.5km mark where there were loos - yay!  I stopped my watch while I queued and weed and started it up again when I was done.  And it was rather warm.  I don't deal with warm very well.  Felt a lot better after the comfort break, but not long after that (around 7km) my knee decided to say something.  And it got noisier and noisier, but there was no point in not finishing, so I did.  57:something on the watch.  And then we went to find food and instant ice-packs.  And accidentally had awful burger and chips and beer...

...followed by a total fail when we got home when we ended up having takeaway pizza.  *sigh*

OK, so I managed to finish a 10km run, but I'm not feeling enthusiasm or a sense of achievement.  Mostly because my knee is still in indeterminate state, but that aside, the time was cack and the official time awful due to the pee stop (01:04!  Yes, the loo queue was looooong!).  How can that be something to even be OK about, never mind proud?

Tuesday 12 July 2011


The good: After a good few calls, I think I may finally have got my MRI results and notes sent to the physio.

The bad: I have discovered a new symptom and I don't like it.  The knee, under load, now has an abnormal feeling movement when squatting (*clonk*).  Where load may be simply body-weight.  It feels Wrong.

I really don't like it.  And I'm not sure what to do with it.  I'm hoping that I get an appointment with my physio again soon with the MRI results notes through from the hospital and I can discuss it with him so I'll call the physio at lunch time tomorrow to see if the notes have arrived yet.

Saturday 9 July 2011


I was at work and in the middle of something when the surgeon phoned with my MRI results.  I caught something about "he (the sports physician who did the MRI) made a very bold statement and said it's definitely not the IT band" and "knee tracking" and "pinching the fat pad".  I asked if I need to lay off exercise and training and he said some stuff about being OK to do things that don't hurt.  It was all a bit too much of a context switch from what I was doing at work at the time to follow in any detail.  The important bits that I did take in were that I need a set of sessions with the physio, 6 to 8 of those, and that it's OK to do stuff.  To be honest, I really don't care any more what the diagnosis is, given most of the treatments/rehabilitations are exactly the same for an awful lot of knee-based injury.  As long as there's nothing that's going to get worse over time if we don't do something with it and given there's nothing going on with bones or cartilage, risk there is extremely low.

So I did a quick trot around the block a couple of times this morning.  Average pace 08:12, peak 06:17, only over 2.5km but I've not run in 4 weeks, so best not to go nuts.  (so, er, I'll be doing, or at least starting, the London 10K tomorrow *cough*)

Thursday 7 July 2011

Still no news really

Saw the sports physician yesterday.  He prodded a bit and took history and decided it's probably an insertion of the ham string tendon.  He wanted to prove it's not a cartilage problem for sure, given it's all very close together around that area, so booked me in for an MRI.  The MRI was later in the day and I got to stick my leg inside a 1.5 Tesla magnet.  Noisy thing!

I should get a call from the orthopaedic surgeon with the results tomorrow (as the sports physician is on holiday now).  So, hopefully I'll actually have a concrete diagnosis by the end of the day.

Funny how we started with a suspected insertion a few weeks back, went through the possibly hysterical break and/or dislocation, through cartilage damage and back to an insertion again.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

No real update yet

But I have an appointment tomorrow to see a sports physician with a bunch of diagnostic toys.  What's been nice over the last couple of days is a call from my physio, following up where I'd got to with getting a referral to someone with some cool diagnostic toys and then a call today from my GP to follow up from his side.  Well, he's not my assigned GP, but he's the doctor at the surgery I've been seeing for my knee wonkiness.

Current suspect between the physio and GP is now cartilage, but we'll see tomorrow.

Friday 1 July 2011


So I'd been sort of doing my physio instructed exercises for my knee but there was still a niggling wrongness going on and I'd not had a follow-up appointment so I arranged an appointment this evening in advance of the weekend's races, in case a quick bit of acupuncture might be in order to help get through them.

Bloody good thing I did.

The nerve inflammation is lesser and the stiffness is gone compared with 2.5 weeks ago, but what it has shown up is a potentially serious problem.  My left fibula is either broken or dislocated.  Or, more likely from what we saw this evening, both.  The physio had a good old poke and yank and got a second and third opinion from two others (one of whom had the decency to say "wow, that's really not right!") and then some ultrasound shows up what rather looks like a break where the outer edge of the bone has splintered in a fanned-out pattern in addition to the head of the fibula being way too far back compared with where it should be.  This would explain absolutely everything with all of the symptoms (and some others I'd not mentioned because I didn't really think to).  The kind of break it looks like would be as a result of a hard impact.  *cough*  Like a bicycle accident.  *ahem*

So.  I'm waiting to hear back from the physio as to what his sports doctor thinks and whether I can get a scan ASAP to work out -exactly- what's going on.  Best case, it's "just" dislocated and needs relocation either in the clinic or in hospital (more likely given the kind of dislocation involved).  Worst case it's broken and partly healed and dislocated and a nightmare to fix.   There was talk of months of pinning and fiddling about after unpinning etc.

All I can do is wait to hear back.  And my default position right now is no racing this weekend until I hear that I definitely can.  *twiddles thumbs and waits for the phone to ring*  To be honest, I'm feeling fine about it all and I'm glad this is happening now rather than this time next year.