Training continues - but injuries bite me!

Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 17:27

TriathlonOz - Michelle

Since writing a blog a few weeks ago for the start of my Busselton 70.3 training (Weeks 1 & 2) I've now completed my 5th week but things have not been going so well for me unfortunately, as I'll explain. Sorry if it's a bit long or boring, but it may help me to log this.

Week 3 started with a bit of pain in my hips towards the end of my long run (14km) and a niggle in my knees too, but nothing terribly painful. But within a few hours the hip pain became quite intense and I knew something wasn't right. I was lucky to get a spot right away at the physio who said it was glutious medius tendonitis. Treat with ice, do these stretches, roll about on this spiky ball, oh... and stop running at the first sign of pain but otherwise continue on - you're just not built for running, you need to improve your form... your glutes are too weak, you've got knock knees...rah rah...

Two days later (after more cycling, and swimming) I do another run (7k steady-state) and things seems fine during the run so I don't stop. Twice a day I dutifully do my stretches, apply the ice religiously, and roll about on this nasty spiky ball - which digs into my glute medius - its really rather awful but I know its helping.

But the next day I am too tired to get my training done and missed 2 sessions (bike & run). Next day I do a 2k swim (focus on speed) and feel fresh and then a long ride the next day (85k) and felt strong (having discovered you can use glutes to ride up hills!).

Week 3 ends with 10 hours, 2 mins total training done.

But Week 4 starts with the long run so I to myself "this will be interesting".... I've programmed an easier week so this time I only aim for 12km instead of 14km and the first half of the run is awesome - feeling strong, happy and I push up my favourite hill to the lookout at north end of Mullaloo, take a look around, get my breath back and head down the hill.... as the path flattens out I falter... hobble, wobble, ooops... these knees are going to snap!! Thats not good :( so let's walk a bit.... I'm ok now so I run again but after I've got through 10km I know I'm not going to make it home so decide its time to walk the rest of the way (2km) and I keep the ice on for a long time.

The next day it's my weekly checkup with the physio who asks "so how's the hips?" and I say, the hips are fine but my knees are buggered now. And so he checks me out and says I have Patellofemoral pain - which is pain behind the kneecap, a problem with the cartilage, have I ever seen a podiatrist... no, I haven't but it's time to fess up that I did get orthotics 2 years ago from a physio but I ditched them... perhaps I better see a proper podiatrist....

Again, I'm lucky to get an appointment the same day, so the podiatrist watches me walk and run and takes video on his iPad and points out all the problems I have. His first line of treatment is to give my arch some support, so modifies the inserts of my shoe as a temporary test for a few days and says to continue with my program unless I have pain.

The next day is Tuesday, which is a big day with a hard ride in the morning (55km with 4 hill repeats to start and numerous hills throughout the ride), walk the dog/kids to school then a busy day at work, walk up to get the kids again and commence a hectic afternoon taxiing kids to activities, and a big swim session in the evening. It all goes well and I get on the scales and find I've reached stage 1 of my weight loss goals - only 1kg more to go! That gives me something to smile about!

Wednesday comes around and that means run in the morning. I head out for what I hope will be a 10k steady run with a 1k walk to warm up. But after the first 100m my knees give the message that they're not going to party today but I ignore them and tell them its going to be great soon just keep moving! I get to my 5k turn around point and realise this isn't going so well isn't it... so I walk a bit to assess the pain. I'm hobbling. I feel like someone is boring a drill bit through my knees from one side through to the other. I've got to kid home to get the kids off to school though so I try to run/walk a bit but by the time I am 2k from home I've totally broken down and crying in realisation that I am damaged - this is not mind over matter, this is not a figment of my imagination... this is an injury and I am expecting I will not be finding myself having an easy time getting through my program to the 70.3 - boo hoo and I cried and I cried as I hobbled my way home.

Thursday arrives and it's my 44th birthday! My dear husband showers me with the most awesome gifts - all the little extra bits of triathlon equipment I need.., (new Sidi road bike shoes, new bike gloves, an extra tool bag for my bike) but he also knows I'm injured and sad so gives me a voucher for the local day spa!! I had a lovely lunch out with friends too and decide I should be thankful that my unplanned day of rest due to injury allows me to not feel guilty for a little indulgence on my birthday but I'm not in the mood to even have a drink :(

Friday swim is always pleasant and I do 2.8k, but I don't do the run I would have done that afternoon. Instead I called my physio and explained how painful my knees were - I was finding it hard just to walk, especially down any kind of gentle decline. He did every test imaginable and again confirmed that it was my patellofemoral issue and that I really had to give it time to recover - which meant NO RUNNING AT ALL FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES and make sure I get very aquainted with my podiatrist! Disappointed to hear this news, I pull out of the Women's Triathlon scheduled for the following weekend. But, thankfully he says cycling (no hills) and swimming (no fins or heavy kicking) should be fine and continue with that.

On Saturday I have to ignore that my program that says brick session and I take it a little easier than usual on the long ride because its easy week but feel comfortable and have no pain for my 70k ride and have a 31k average so happy with that.

Total training time for Week 4 = 9hrs 5 minutes.

Week 5 begins without my long run :( but I'm kept busy by taking the kids to the club kids triathlon day. It's usually a bit hard on the legs so I took my chair and avoided marshalling duties so that I didn't do anything stupid. I also skipped my usual yoga class but whilst David will went, I snuck in a strength/cardio session in our home gym - I started just walking on the treadmill, and interpersed some floor workouts like planks, abs, glutes etc and then I mucked around videoing my feet on the treadmill - and yes, I cranked it up a notch so that I did about 6 sets of running in short (but gentle) bursts of about 2 mins but this felt ok actually.

Monday it meant to be my rest day, so I had a nasty massage with Ike for one and a half hours. She stripped my glutes so bad they bruised by wow they felt great after. She also totally fixed (and I write now some 7 days later) my right groin pain that has been constant for the past year. It's gone - amazing. But, she started on my back and ran out of time and I knew things were a bit wonky and now today I have pinched a nerve in my back... urgh! When will this stop??

Anyway, Tuesday (Valentines Day) I was careful with my big day - instead of hill repeats I stayed on the flat terrain but I took the distance up to 60k and did the usual club ride but stayed back with some new riders which meant I took it easy. We had a lovely picnic at the beach together for lunch but we went to a secret spot suggested by a friend that involved a massive set of steps. I wasn't too sure I should've walked down them but took it easy - two feet per step like a Nanna! I made it back up the steps ok and then had a busy afternoon getting the kids here and there, and then didn't want to do my swimming at 6.45pm. But I did - and within seconds of getting my head wet I felt so invigorated. Unfortunatley, I didn't have time to get in more than 40 minutes so only did a 2km swim.

Wednesday I didn't run - I did as I was told and rested. Oh, alright... I did do a 1 hour strength session - it's not all strength, I do stretches as well focussing on my hip flexors, and doing heel rises etc too, but I do 3 sets of various glute and ab strength exercises of 25-30 reps including front and side planks.

Thursday, like Tuesday, is my other big double-session day but instead of the club ride I did a session on my bike indoors using the wind trainer (or ergo or spin or whatever you want to call it). David has just bought himself a new wind trainer system so now we can do our sessions together. He has bought a Tracx Fortius which has a steering frame, and a motor which drives the wheel and applies a brake to simulate hill climbs and descents and it is all computer driven with software and you either choose to look at graphs on the screen or you can ride a course with video footage that makes you feel as if you're riding the French alps etc. Because I had my bike alongside, I was able to manually do the same program - which this time was 90 mins beginning with a 10 minute warmup, then 5 sets of 30 sec MSE with 30 sec rest (Maximum Sustainable Effort), then blocks of 85% Max HR, with equal time 65% recoverys x 8 sets I think, then a 20minute tempo at 75%. Boy, I have NEVER lost so much sweat!! We both walked out of our gym dripping water down the hall - and my bike gear weighed about 2kg when I put it into the wash!

David went to the club interval running session without me, but I did another strength workout instead.

Friday was my turn to pick a swim session from our book (we're using Swim Workouts for Triathletes). I picked an Endurance Form session with lots of drills and distance (3.3km). It was a great swim and a gorgeous day! I actually felt like walking again and went to get the kids from school with a happy spring in my stride so thought "yes, I think I'm on the mend...maybe it's time to try running again soon..."

In the afternoon I had a followup with my podiatrist but I had told him that I wasn't running so wasn't sure it would be a useful session - wrong! He was fantastic... and strapped my knees and feet, removed the support from my shoe insert, tells me now go running tomorrow first thing and tell me how you go. Means I have to skip my long ride but I do as I'm told and ..... bingo! 5km run NO PAIN! Love that strapping tape :)

The knee is strapped using the McConnell taping method (with some odd tape over the top to stop it slipping) and my feet are strapped to give arch support - he thinks I'm headed for a set of new orthotics next. He wants me to run on Wednesday again without the knee taping, just the feet and we'll make an assessment from there. Oh I can't wait for Wednesday!!!

So, today's program is the long run (not happening) and also the Women's Tri (sold my entry to Moya) but I still ended up at a triathlon because my two little girls still wanted to do their Tadpoles event. It was a gorgeous day at Hillarys beach and it was fantastic to watch my kids and all my lovely friends get out there and do their thing. Felt a bit odd just watching but tried not to get too hung up about it. I came home and ate two Lindt balls instead hahahaha!!

So Week 5 has ended, and I've still managed 9 hrs, 26mins so not bad for no running.

But now, it's the start of Week 6 and things should be starting to build. I've no idea where my week will go but I'm quietly confident that the rest for my knees has been good and the strapping is awesomely supportive so I think my podiatrist is on the money with this approach so I'll do whatever I'm told and keep my fingers crossed!!

Here's the last 3 weeks training log off my Garmin - quite a bit different to "the program" but what can you do but smile and be thankful. Good luck to everyone else - I know a few others with various injuries and especially Sue who like me couldn't run today's race but still managed to pull off a great team effort with a fabulous ride.
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