Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 New Zealand Ironman Inspirational Video

This was a great watch and certainly gave me an ispirational insight into the challenge ahead of us on March 6, 2010!

Ironman - The Distance: a bit more to help the mind!

Ironman Triathlon - some motivation to start 2010

Thursday AM Session

Swim session this morning:
  • 10 x 50 (25 Breastroke/25 Free)
  • 500m breathing every 3
  • 10 x 50 (25 One arm/25 Free)
  • 500m breathing every 4
  • 1000m pull buoy
TOTAL= 3km

Session Reflections:
  • I was a little unsure how I would go this morning as I was really feeling it after last nights swim session, but really at this stage and my situation with 64 days until IM...tough...just need to get in and suck it up.
  • I really enjoy these longer sets and I was luck enough to be able to do them in a 50m pool which enabled a good rhythm to be developed.
  • The first 500m I did on 8m55s and the second was on 8m57s so it was a very consistent pace. I was happy with this particularly after the second 500m was done after a 500m one arm set....not a particular favourite but I'm warming to it.
  • The warm down (hmmm...anyway) was 1000m pull......looked like this in terms of time 1st 500m 8m46s and the second was 8m52s with a total time of 17m39s. Not too bad, quicker than the 500's without the pull the pull is a personal favorite and it does best reflect the situation of swimming in a wet suit.
  • Overall the session went off without any major arguments with my arch enemy.....there was a discusssion but no major argument.
  • The arms are a little fatigued....feel like there are going to drop off actually....but what doesn't kill you is good for you...well in IM training it is.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The hill (Mt Cootha) welcomes me back

Wednesday AM Session

This morning was my return to the old foe. A return that was inevitable and in the long run is a required!

The session was 5 'up and backs' of the Channel 10 side.
Session Reflections:
  • It was wet and humid
  • The back was really good throughout the session.
  • The legs were very much feeling it by the 4th and 5th ascent, but I put my mind to overcoming the negativity and completed the session in good mind.
  • Great to see all the other BTS IM athletes out there...inspirational stuff.
  • The first half (up to about the 1.0k mark) of the ascent was a reasonably good, but it was the second half of the acent that was really character building.
  • Throughout the ride (ascents) tried to stay up on the arm rests or gripped the bull horns near the arm rests. The TT bike really isn't a good hill climbing option but there isn't any other option...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

There's some running to be done in those hills!

The advantage of being on holidays is that you can get out on the training 'paddock' whenever you like. This of course allows for the occasional later training session in the mornings. (a positive) however a negative to this (particularly with the Brisbane weather) is that it is a lot more hot and humid, which of course was the case this morning.
Leaving home at 8.50am for a 60-75min add to this I'll have to admit being a little (very) un fit at the moment didn't help the cause.

The stats for the run looked like this:

Session Reflections:
  • The was hot and a little with removing with some of kilos :-)
  • Overall fitness...crap!
  • The back is holding up very well.
  • There is a lack of strength (the endurance type) in the legs.
  • Going that late and not eating before the run didn't help much
  • It was good to be back in the forest....the hills will again become my friend/s.
  • Ice bath recovery.....not bad at all....the ice doesn't last long.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Action a is for GO!

This morning was the long awaited visit to the back specialist. There were might anxiety this morning before the appointment, but there was also a positiveness about the household as I left this morning.

The out come of it all is along the lines of the following:
  • I have a very healthy back and there are no real concerns for my back's health in general
  • I am unfortunate enough to have a condition of spinal canal stenosis which I have all my life. This is a narrowing of the spinal canal in one or more of my vertebrate.
  • Along with this it appears that I have a small bulging disc in between L4 and L5. Because I have this spinal canal narrowing this is therefore causing the leg (sciatic pain down the left leg) People with a normal size canal may get away with a little bulging as the is a bit of room to 'play' but for me I don't have this luxury.
  • Below is a section view of my back, the circle showing the bulging (the top one is the one that is causing the issues)
  • Options for treatment are:
1. Continue on and let it recover itself
2. Use an epidural injection to get some relief (I explained I had, had one of these and this was not all that successful, so PL decided to scrap this option)
3. Surgery on the disc with the stenosis, widening it to allow for some more room in that region.
  • Then I presented the idea of doing IM in 12 weeks and the associated training leading up to it into the equation. PL indicated that I should go for it, with caution of course. That I have a healthy back and what I have (the stenosis is something I have had for a long time) so doing IM would be fine with some level of caution and gradual introduction to the 'heavy' training. Throughout this time (11 weeks) it will be very important to get into some regular physio and massage and to really work on the recovery of the body throughout.
  • It was pointed out to me that the training will not create and further issues as long as we proceed with caution.
  • Throughout this time of training I will also have access to a 'Selective Nerve Root Block' if the pain get of a concern. This is where they will inject into the area of concern.
  • It is planned that after IM Nz that I will get the surgery done which will assist in keeping me training and competing for years to come.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day one of action.....

Better late then never.............

Enough talk.......hope it's not too premature..........

The day included:
  • 60min core, flexibility and stretch session on my own this morning. Good session, but there is much work to be done.
  • 20min of running drills....ladder work mainly....quick steps with small strides, trying to minimize the impact on the back and legs. It felt comfortable throughout no pain during the work out which was a step in the right direction.
  • Walked to and from the physio. Good Physio session.
  • Then off for a 90min easy ride along the bike track to the Crit track at Nundah which included a 10km TT (or hard 10km) no idea what the time was but it was ok....hmmmm need some bike fitness though.
  • Time for a bit of lunch
  • The now off to see Nic (Cadence Cycling) to have my 'bike fit' readjusted with the new seat...needed to be dropped about 3-4mm. The other option we have with the bike depending on the outcome of tomorrow is to bring the stem up higher.....therefore tending to be less stress on the back.
  • From the bike fit to the pool for firstly a 50min water run......riveting stuff that.... but it seems to be worth while....trying to build up that general fitness and drop off some of this excess weight.
  • Straight after the water run was the swim session.....2.5km..ish was a good session...tough and character building.
Tomorrow is D to see the's hoping.....for some direction forward.....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The time is nearing......

The time when I will finally know a little more is nearing. (Thursday morning....8.00am)

This week so far has been 2 core sessions and 1 swim session. I am missing the training but I am becoming more aware of the different options that maybe presented and it comes back to the 'big picture' and how long I want to stay in the sport.

Time for action..............

Saturday, December 12, 2009

12 weeks....out!

It is now to the day 12 weeks out. And where am I at? Well excellent that at times I struggle to answer. But I am going to give it a go.

There are a number of things that have put my campaign in such a predicament. One being the back injury that I sustained going on 11 weeks ago. This has been the main cause of the the other issues preventing me from training over the past 11 weeks. As I have mentioned in a number of other posts the weight has been a real issue.....I'm now in the Clydesdale division...not happy! (more self discipline required here)

The whole issue I believe is that I haven't had a real outcome/prognosis on my back and therefore really haven't know which direction I can head with my training. It has been 6 weeks since I arranged for an appointment with one of the leading back specialists in Queensland. Throughout this time it has been regular Wednesday trips to the Physio and interspersed throughout this time some acupuncture and this week I have been back to my old massage therapist (who does a brilliant job) ....the hike over to Camira is certainly worth it. So much of my guidance throughout this time has been from the physio and some well researched information...but I am really looking for direction from the he 'should' know best. Giving Triathlon away is NOT an option so I am looking for options to enable this to occur.

Within the last couple of weeks I have found that because I am 'floating' in limbo and that there is NO DEFINITE goal apparent at the moment, the attitude and thinking is reflecting this...I am a goal orientated person and the goals must be realistic achievable goals that are clear and defined from the start..and at this stage the goal of completing an IM in the first half of 2010 is NOT. I am hoping that this goal (to complete NZ IM or OZ IM in 2010) will become more defined on Thursday next week.

But still what about setting other smaller goals...well yes..but (there is always another perspective). There have been these goals, complete 90% of my program per fortnight, increase core strength and stability, improve diet (still got a lot of work here), loose the spare tyre round my waist (see previous goal!) and increase stretching and flexibility. Impressive set of goals but personally without that BOMOAG (big overriding mother of a goal) these small ones don't seem to be important. Now, I can tell you that after writing that I know this is not the case and that these things should be important all the time and not just during the base period, time of injury or off season. And I am the first to admit that I do require A LOT MORE FOCUS on these sorts of goals...but it is currently a real struggle and it of course puts pressure on me achieving that BOMOAG. In that I have to use possible 6 of the 12 weeks to IM to get a level of fitness that will do me justice to then go into (a far from ideal) 6 weeks of build and peak for IM. This is my predicament this appointment is at the end of the 12 week window and because the other 'smaller goals' have not been achieved throughout this 'time of injury'. I am going to struggle to achieve this BOMOAG, particularly when IM is now not about finishing, its about going better than 10h50m and ideally this time round 10h30m, if this not going to be able to achieved on a limited preparation then I am starting to rethink my goals for 2010 and firstly it should be recovering completely from this injury (based on the specialists recommendations) and then consider a few more HIM on the calenders round the region. This is not to say I am completely closing the book on
NZ IM or OZ IM in 2010 but I will be considering all options on Thursday December 17, 2009 after 9.30am.

Where are we at in terms of training......
Last week:
  • On the monday went for a walk with KO and could not get any further than 500m down the road before the inside of the left foot/toe began to tingle and go numb...which is a symptom of a prolapsed disc impinging on the nerve (particular when walking down even the slightest incline) This was a bit of a concern as I thought that things were improving as I had a lot less pain and discomfort down the left leg and the nerve pain was really isolated to the glute area.
  • Last week complete 3 out of 3 swim sessions. Which included a 400m TT in 4:25.
  • Worked hard on the core strength
  • Phiso on Wednesday
  • Gave the indoor trainer session a go on the Saturday and seem to be able to handle it without too much of a problem...other than being really unfit and was 'blowing-up' after 20min of a 45min session.
This week:
  • complete 3 out of 3 swim sessions. Which included a 800m TT in 13:23. This was within 30sec of my PB so considering...things aren't too bad....even though I'm carrying many extra kilos.
  • Worked hard on the core strength
  • Phiso on Wednesday
  • Massage on Friday - Felt great after this and I am going to look at some other possible treatments that Indulge Your Body Clinic offer. I am willing to try anything to assist the healing process.
  • Acupuncture today (Saturday)
So at this stage I'm not giving up hope and a lot hinges on the appointment this Thursday. Until then I will remain positive and try to improve my attitude towards the 'smaller' goals....particularly the diet and weight.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ok but working to be more than ok..... all happens with focus and the 'over throw' of the arch enemy.

The completion of 2 swim session over the last 2 evenings has been a small step forward. Last night saw being able to complete a 2.8km session which included a main set of 5 x 400m (3 x pull buoy and 2 straight freestyle) However by the end of the session there was a little soreness in the back but very little discomfort.
Tonight's session was another couple of baby step forward with the completion of another full session. On an aside....I finally won another 'snake' in the end of session relay (thanks to my fantastic team mates) the way that's 2 wins in over 2 1/2 more and then I can average 1 win a year....woooohoooo.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is walking on water any easier....

This week brings a new commitment to training particularly after jumping on the scales last night...and then again this morning to check that the scales weren't telling I guessed....they were telling me things were going backwards.


Do I want it....after further consideration..(which wasn't much)...sure DO!

IM NZ is still a realistic goal..but I need to get my head back on track.

Swimming tonight was a good start to the road to recovery....but it's got to be baby steps. Tonight I lasted 1hr & 15min in the pool before I felt a little discomfort. A positive result I think. Really enjoyed the session as a whole.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Injury Update - progress report

There has been some deep thought going into where to next in terms of my direction with training and racing over the next number of months.

So...where are we at:
  • still injured? ....yes but things are slowly improving, the pain level in the left leg has subsided more and there is a little less discomfort. I am booked in to see the spinal specialist on the 17th of December....MRI before then....hopefully a early Christmas gift....fingers cross. Meanwhile there is plenty of physio, acupuncture and light massage (beginning this week). I am embarking on other means of assisting the healing in detoxing the body as I firmly believe that if rid the body of those toxins...which I certainly have plenty of....this will certainly assist in the processes of returning to 100%. The other things are meditation and working on the core strength.
  • the self discipline has gone out the window......the eating has been out of control and the kilos have returned...the lack of self discipline has again been a disappointing factor throughout this injury challenge...there are always plenty of 'walls' that are put up as obstacles throughout the recovery process and this is one that I just can't maneuver round...simply I am running into the wall of ill discipline in many of these challenging periods. The mind need further refinement in this field....when it's's down!!! When it is in form it runs the body like a well drilled army regiment.
  • I am struggling with the inability to get out there and is irritating me some what....the patience is beginning to run thin.
  • To overcome this lack of patience I have begun to set myself small achievable goals.
  1. Begin light massage this week
  2. Get on the bike around the end of the month
  3. Run for 5km straight by the end of the year
  • Swimming will obviously still play a big part throughout these stages.
Another week...another set of challenges to hurdle....positive thinking and a relaxed body assists in the process to recovery.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hope and now a little disappointment

Within the last couple of hours I definitely think the local has begun to wear off. Things are beginning to feel like they were last week.....I still have some hope that maybe the steroid part of the injection will 'kick' in shortly....please...please...please. I'm not desperate ;-)

Kicking Dirt

Further research....the road to recovery.

Below are some core strength exercise that I'm going to utilise in the recovery process:

Abdominal crunches:
  • Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent.
  • Cross your arms in front of your chest.
  • Lift your head and shoulder blades off of the ground while contracting your abs.
  • Hold the "crunch" for a second before slowly returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Prone hyperextensions:
  • Lie on a mat face down with your arms by your sides and your legs fully extended.
  • At the same time raise your upper body and legs off of the mat.
  • Your hips and abdomen should remain in contact with the ground.
  • Slowly lower to the starting position and repeat 10 times.
  • Stand with your back against the wall.
  • Extend your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground and with your palms touching each other.
  • Rotate your trunk to one side while keeping your hands and arms in front of your chest.
  • Try to come as close as you can to the wall with your hands in a pain-free range of motion.
  • Repeat to the other side.
  • Do 10 repetitions.
Improve flexibility with the back flexion:
  • Lie on your back and pull both of your knees to your chest until you feel a slight stretch.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat three times.
Seated lower back stretch:
  • Sit upright on a mat with one leg extended against the ground and the other leg bent at the knee with your foot on the floor.
  • Rotate your torso towards the bent knee until you feel a slight stretch in your lower back.
  • You can gently pull against your knee to increase the rotation of your torso and get a bigger stretch if desired.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Cat stretch:
  • Kneel with your hands and knees touching the mat.
  • Round your back up as if you are trying to pull your navel into your spine.
  • Hold the stretch for a second before reversing the movement so that you are pushing your navel and glutes outward and stretching your lower back.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Friday, November 6, 2009

1.10pm : Spinal Epidural Steroid Injection

It has been done....relatively painless procedure and so far worth it....there was instantaneous relief. The sensations are rather weird but there has been some relief.

Some background information on the procedure is detailed below:

Why is it done?

It is usually done where there is pain due to nerve irritation or compression in the spine. Specifically, it is most often used for two conditions. The first is spinal stenosis and the second is sciatica, usually due to a disc protrusion. It is sometimes done for low back pain, but it is not often very effective for this.

What is it?

This is an injection into the spine, into the epidural space. This is the space between the bony spinal canal and the spinal cord and nerves. The procedure is similar to that done for pain relief during childbirth. The injection is different in that it contains local anaesthetic and steroid.

How does it work?

The local anaesthetic works to numb the nerves in the area. This is temporary and lasts about twelve hours (usually overnight). The steroid is like prednisone or cortisone, and it acts to decrease swelling and inflammation. It helps decrease the nerve irritation, and usually starts working a day or two after the injection.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

5 weeks...........Baby Steps

Tonight was to return to some form of training. It saw a return to the water.

Driving into the pool, I was a little apprehensive but new that I had to just give it a judge something without first giving it a go.

The session was that 'full on' but it was hard enough to put some stresses on the back to give me an indication of whether further swim session were possible. Things like 50m with bands gave it a good workout.

Thought out the session there was some discomfort at times but it was bearable and at no time was it painfully sore, good sign I guess...but baby steps I new philosophy for moment.

Tomorrow is the spinal epidural steroid injection. Here's hoping...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hold on to the hope.....

This morning I had the first bit of treatment on the back since I injured the back 5 weeks ago.

Now knowing what the injury is, and the extent of the injury, it is a little more logical that now I can present the this to practitioners and then they can effectively assist in the recovery of the specifics of the injury.

This morning was a trip to the physio. Talking through the injury with my physio helped in me moving forward and working with some hope. The strategies to go forward are along these lines:
  • Weekly physio treatment. This includes electrotherapy, ultrasound and light 'rotational' massage.
  • Swimming is back on the cards, but the other 2 disciplines are so forthcoming.
  • Going to focus more on the 1%ers. This includes diet/nutrition, stretching and core strength which will assist in the recovery of the injury.
  • Off to see a back/spinal specialist.
  • Start some accupuncture treatment.
  • I am also reviewing the looking at whether the back to back IM is such a good idea for 2010 and maybe better to consider for 2011. NZ IM maybe the main focus

Monday, November 2, 2009

Injury Update - Finally a diagnosis

Findings of CT Lumbar Spine

L4/5 shows moderate spinal canal stenosis with broad-based central disc protrusion with liagamentum flavum redundancy and there is probable pressure on the thecal sac and descending L5 nerve roots.

L5/S1 shows mild spinal canal stenosis with broard based central disc protrusion to a lesser degree with possible pressure on descending S1 nerve roots. There is some dystrophic calcification of the degenerative L5/S1 disc.

Final Impression :
Moderate spinal canal stenosis at L4/5.

Treatment options to this point in time:
  • Epidural Injection (Friday)
  • See one of QLD leading back specialist
  • Getting a second opinion.

Further Info......

What is lumbar spinal stenosis?
Lumbar spinal stenosis is a broad term referring to the symptoms which may result from the narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back. This may be due to age, injury, or degeneration.

Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the bony tunnels in the spine that transmit the spinal cord and nerve roots become narrowed. The spinal nerves (or nerve roots) typically become compressed, leading to pain in the lower back and legs.

Lumbar spinal stenosis may affect one or more anatomical compartments, including the spinal canal (lumbar canal stenosis) and intervertebral foramen (lumbar foraminal stenosis).

The spinal canal is a long tunnel running down the centre of the spine. This canal sits directly behind the bony blocks, or veterbrae (‘vertebral bodies’) which form the spine (vertebrae) and contains the spinal cord (which usually ends in the upper lumbar spine) and nerve roots. When the spinal canal is narrowed, the spinal cord and nerve roots may be compressed- this is known as lumbar canal stenosis. The lumbar spinal canal may be subdivided into other compartments, notably the lateral recess and subarticular compartments. Narrowing of the calibre of these specific compartments may give rise to ‘lateral recess stenosis’ or ‘subarticular stenosis’.

The spinal nerves (‘nerve roots’) leave the lumbar spinal canal by passing through the intervertebral foraminae. The nerves then travel to the legs, bladder and bowels where they control sensation and movement. When the intervertebral foraminae are narrowed, the nerve roots may be compressed- this is known as lumbar foraminal stenosis.

In summary, lumbar canal and foraminal stenosis are both caused by the same underlying processes, and can present in a similar fashion. The two conditions commonly co-exist and can be broadly referred to as lumbar spinal stenosis.

What causes lumbar spinal stenosis?
Lumbar spinal stenosis is common and is usually caused by osteoarthritis and disc degeneration. Typically, a combination of disc degeneration and bulging, joint and ligament thickening (‘hypertrophy’), and sometimes a slight ‘slip’ (or ‘spondylolisthesis’), causes compression of the nerve roots. Risk factors for spinal osteoarthritis and intervertebral disc degeneration include smoking, poor posture, obesity, repetitive heavy lifting, and ongoing exposure of the lower back to significant jolting or vibration (for example, racing car drivers).

Trauma can also cause spinal stenosis. This includes the kind of injury caused by picking up heavy objects improperly. The vertebrae (spinal bones) or intervertebral discs (shock absorbers between the bones) may be injured, resulting in pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerves. Spinal fractures may result in fragments of bone which intrude into the spinal canal.

Lumbar spinal stenosis may also be caused by the spread of cancer to the vertebral column, or by infection (discitis, osteomyelitis, epidural abscess).

What are the symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis?
The symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis can vary, and in some patients there may be no symptoms at all. The degree of compression changes with posture and activity, accounting for variations in the pattern of pain.

Symptomatic patients with lumbar stenosis typically experience pain on standing or walking, and may have trouble walking for any length of time or for long distances. They need to sit down or lean forward (such as when pushing a shopping trolley) to relieve the pain. The pain typically returns when standing upright. This pattern of pain is known as ‘neurogenic claudication’.

In severe cases of spinal stenosis, nerves to the bladder or bowel may be compressed, which can lead to incontinence (loss of control) of urine and/or faeces. Anyone who experiences problems controlling their bladder or bowels should seek urgent medical attention.

How is the diagnosis of lumbar canal stenosis made?
Making a diagnosis of lumbar stenosis can sometimes be difficult because the symptoms may mimic other conditions. For example, the leg pain of neurogenic claudication can be confused with that of vascular claudication, or poor blood supply to the legs. Vascular claudication becomes worse when you walk uphill and improves when you stand still, whilst neurogenic claudication is usually worse walking downhill and improves when you leaning forward or sitting down.

To determine the cause of you symptoms, your neurosurgeon may require several investigations. These may include computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In some situations, such as when you are unable to have an MRI, you may also undergo a CT myelogram, in which CT imaging is performed while a contrast dye is injected into the spinal column. Ultrasound scans of the blood vessels in the legs are often carried out to exclude vascular insufficiency as a cause of the symptoms.

What are the treatment options for lumbar canal stenosis?
Lumbar spinal stenosis is almost always treated conservatively in the first instance. Medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation are utillised. Analgesics include pain relievers such as paracetamol and codeine. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) include aspirin, ibuprofin and naproxen, and these relieve pain as well as reducing inflammation and swelling. Other pharmacological agents include a short course of corticosteroids (prednisolone, cortisone), as well as agents specific for nerve pain (such as pregabalin).

Other nonsurgical treatments for lumbar stenosis include physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, pilates, chiropractic, acupuncture and osteopathy. A physiotherapist can teach you exercises to help you build up and maintain strength, endurance, and flexibility for spinal stability. Some of these exercises will help strengthen your back and abdominal muscles (core muscle groups), since they help support the back. Physical therapy can also include the use of heat or ice packs, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and massage. These treatments can relax tight muscles and ease pain or discomfort. A back brace or corset can also help support your back and may be especially helpful for people who have degeneration in more than one area of the spine.

In more severe cases, you may be prescribed a corticosteroid injection into the spinal canal. This may comprise an epidural injection. Local anesthetic may also be injected around the compressed nerve (transforaminal nerve sheath injection) and can have both diagnostic and therapeutic value.

Your neurosurgeon may also suggest that you rest your back by restricting your activities. Rest followed by a gradual return to exercise can help the back heal in some cases. Prolonged strict bed rest, however, is generally not recommended.

Severe cases of spinal stenosis may require surgery. There are several types of surgery done to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves and to help strengthen the spine. The most common surgical procedures are decompressive lumbar laminectomy, laminotomy, and spinal fusion.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Recovery Update

The weekend brings and opportunity to give the back injury a bit of time to begin to heal properly without the stresses of being on my feet all day at work or any training. It is slightly improving however, I haven't been on my feet that much over the weekend and have found some great reflief in sitting down or lying down a lot over this time.

I have done some further investigation into different stretches and core exercise that will help the recovery process:

Exercises to release sciatic nerve pain are as follows:

The exercises to release sciatic pain can be performed at home without any fitness equipments. Most of them constitute muscle-strengthening exercises for the lower back, thighs, hips, abdomen and legs. The following exercises should be performed twice a day starting from 5 repeats per stretching move. Repeat the exercises on alternate sides and increase gradually or as directed by the therapist.

Stretching Program to Release Sciatic Nerve Pain

Good Morning Exercise
Keep a bar with some weight on your shoulders. Bend at the waist with your knees bent a little and the back straight till the trunk is parallel to the ground. Relax in the upright position and repeat.

Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back and hold on the back of your thigh, lift the knee 90* above the ground and straighten it until it exerts a mild stretch on the back of the thigh. This exercise helps increase the muscle flexibility and reduce the stress on the lower back exerted through the pelvis.

Piriformis Stretch
Lying on your back, cross the right leg over the left knee, grasp the back of the left thigh and pull the knee close to the chest. This stretch helps in the overall flexibility of the pelvic region.

Psoas Stretch
Lying on your back, bend the knee close to the chest and clasp it just below the knee.

Pelvic Stretch
Lying on your back, fold your arms, bend the knees and soles directed to the floor. Without supporting the hands, lift your buttocks off the floor and slowly rest them back.

Hip Stretch
Lying on your back at the edge of the bed, hold your knees to the chest. Keeping one knee in bending position, lower the other knee till a stretch is felt on the hips.

Abdominal Curl Ups
Three types of abdominal curls given below can be practiced separately. Lie on your back with knees bend. Lift up your trunk and try to reach below the knees, try reaching the knees with the elbows, and bending forward with the hands folded behind the head.

Lumbar Extension Stretch
Lie on your abdomen and slowly use your forearms to raise your upper body above the ground, and then lie down again. This back arching is important to help in stabilizing the spine.

Walking, cycling and pool therapy are some of the aerobic exercises that should be incorporated with your back exercise regimen for an overall increase in the quality of life despite the illness. Exercise balls can be a good tool for exercising your back without straining the back or any other joints.

Ergonomic Tips to avoid low back pain
Good Posture
Avoid long term standing
Avoid sit-ups with straight leg
Avoid touching the toes while standing
Avoid lifting heavy weights

To sum it up, the activities and exercises that tend to increase the back pain should be avoided.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The mind.....the 4th area of training

This evening sitting at home reading the latest 'Australian Triathlete' I came across a great article on Mind Games. This is very timely after last nights blog entry:

Instead of starting with POTENTIAL, you should start with BELIEF. When we develop this absolute certainly that we just know it will happen, it's that certainly (belief) that makes you tap into your FULL POTENTIAL, which leads you to taking MASSIVE ACTION. If you consistently follow through with massive action, you will tend to start getting MASSIVE RESULTS. Your self-belief will be reinforced and will only get stronger, which then further develops this extraordinary potential for you to tap into. This is turn creates huge momentum and the results you have conditioned your mind to become a positive self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is a great philosophy for this IM campaign.

Listening to your support the big picture.

Its been a thought provoking day. Today I finally did it, I went to the Doctors to finally find out what is actually going on with my back/left leg. To put it plainly, it is a prolapsed disc that is pinching the sciatic nerve.

Treatment and recovery looks like this:
  • Take it easy for the next 2 weeks
  • CT Scan and injecting the inflammation.
  • Taking anti inflammatories.
  • Have some light physio treatment
  • Acupuncture
  • A good and positive frame of mind.
This evening was rather uncomfortable in the pool with it and the running is definitely out but the jury is still out on the cycle. One suggestion is that water running with a belt would have some benefit.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Prelude to 2010 Iroman Challenge

It is 20 weeks out from IM New Zealand and then a further 22 days to IM Australia.

Yesterday was the IM Information afternoon for the members of the Squad who are expressing an interest in doing either IM NZ or IM Oz, or in my case both. It was a fabulous turn up and it was great to see all the partners there. The outline for the next 20 weeks looks something like this:
  • For the next 4 weeks, focussing on our 'weakness' - In my case this would be a bit of swimming and I would also like to say core would also be a critical weakness which I believe is causing many of the latest niggles (or the lack of core strength)
  • For the following 4 weeks it will be a 'bike' focus.
  • Then it takes us into the 12 weeks out period.....where the tough stuff begins....time to pull the finger out and do away with the pitiful excuses NOT to train.
The last couple of weeks whilst being very frustrating has been very inspirational. Watching the World Champ athletes digging deep and realising all there hard training in fantastic results and then Scott's champion effort at Hawaii last week end was just eating at me to take this champaign even more 'professionally' than my previous champaigns give it a real go at quailifying for Hawaii in either IM NZ (which is my 'AA' race) and IM Oz.

Watching Hawaii for about 7 hours last sunday just gave me the drive to 'fire-up' for this campaign...take no prisoners and instead of working around 80%, in terms of attitude and seriousness to training, nutrition, recovery and mental training, I am very serious to take it to the next level and work at about 95-100% of my potential ability.
The things I really have to nail this time round is:
  • Core strength
  • Diet and nutrition ----> getting my weight down to 78kg by 8 weeks out (I am currently 86.6kg as of 19-10-09)
  • Stretching
  • Recovery
  • Consistent training commitment
These are 5 most critical for achieving this 95-100% training potential!
The other areas I am keen to improve within this campaign is:
  • Riding hills
  • Overall speed
  • Arm strength in the swim
Today I applied for my leave from work for the 2010 Ironman Challenge and had this time off approved. So now it is full steam ahead for booking accommodation, flights and paying for entry.

For the 2010 Ironman Challenge, I am again going the regularly update my blog with text, video and podcasts on my journey towards successfully completing the 2010 IM Challenge.

The BOMOAG for this campaign is this:
  • IM NZ - go sub 10hr 20min
  • IM OZ - go sub 12hrs

Revised - Race Schedule for 2009/2010 Season

Saturday, October 10, 2009

IM New Zealand Planning

Some preliminary thoughts of IM NZ:

5:50 PM Tue 2nd March Brisbane
11:59 PM Tue 2nd March Auckland

3:30 PM Mon 8th March Auckland
4:15 PM Mon 8th March Brisbane

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GC HIM Pre Race Reflections

Wednesday............4 days out from the venture......Gold Coats HIM

Whilst it has not been ideal preparation leading up to the GC HIM it has been much better then the preparation for Yeppoon HIM. Throughout this training campaign, whilst short, it has been interrupted with work commitments, and a back injury but we have pushed through and now have arrived at the taper end of the race preparation.

The back injury has improved out of sight over the past 48hrs, to assist this recovery I have been back into the regular massage (this afternoon, last Wednesday and the Saturday before that) along with the massage has been 3 physio appointments over the last 10 days.

Mentally, I feel rather positive about the race, not expecting too much but hopefully a lot better then Yeppoon. I feel that my bike prep has been a 'little' better and the run prep has been fair. What I am happy with is my current swim form.

The race strategy is looking something like this:
  • Use the 30/15 nutritional/hydration strategy
  • Work with the 140/150bpm bike/run pacing
  • Don't go too hard in the the bike, even if I'm feeling good....the run will be the challenge either need to just leave some 'in the tank'
  • Use compression sock throughout the ride and run.
  • Use the cola run strategy.
The race sees me embracing a new bike setup and using orthodics (in my bike shoes). It will be interesting how I find the running off the bike with the new setup.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday's Training Reflections

AM Squad Run Session
The back was still a little tender but better then the previous couple of days. This is a good thing. Throughout the session I was only working at about 60-70% effort just looking after the back. Throughout the drills, the effort was a little higher at about 80%.

Physio Session (3.30pm)
This was a good session with the physio, again focusing on the back and working out some of that stiffness that I have built up of time. But overall the outcome was promising.

PM Squad Swim Session
Good session, 10 x 50m on 1m15s cycles with a dive start - hard efforts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WHAT the!!

Well it's been 20 days since my last blog entry...that's pretty slack...but things have been consuming life that are important to consider.

Its interesting and of course so true that many athletes who have a full time job, at times really do struggle with the balance. With me it's (and many other athletes), as many people point out (well Mark at least) its all about consistency in training and unfortunately this consistency hasn't been there as the balance has been 'out of wack'. Along with this imbalance is an injury...of the lower back to be precise and it is being a real stubborn cow! (or is it the athlete who it belongs to?)
It think I've covered this point before...but it seems to be recurring....I actually know what is being told to me about this injury and of course have heard it all before, so the question begs...what the hell am I doing? and it is a GREAT question and as yet I have not a clue how to answer it.

But in short.......MY CORE STRENGTH IS POOR....hmmmmmm....that's putting it politely.......this is of course something I have been aware of for sometime......hmmmmm....24 weeks from IM....something to work on I guess.....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

5 Top Performance Tips from the World's Best Coaches

1. Frank Dick, OBE, International Sports coach, Dr Frank Dick OBE, International Sports coach, President of the European Athletics Coaches Association, Creator of the IAAF Academy and “UK Sporting Hero”

Mental toughness. “This is what separates mountain people from valley people. The 2 main elements are: 'Persistent Resilience', this means being committed and being able to go the distance; and having a 'no limits attitude'- once through that line today, there is no sense of having arrived, because there will always be another line.”

2. Mike Forde, Performance Director, Chelsea FC; former Performance Director, Bolton Wanderers FC.

Think bigger, be better, aim higher - nothing is impossible. “Always look towards tomorrow. Learning from yesterday is important, but you have to plan for the next challenge more than anything else in this job. “

3. Valter di Salvo, Director of Real Madrid Performance Centre

Look after your assets. “The number of games has increased in the past few years. This creates a conflict for us because studies reveal there is a 4% chance of injury in every 1,000 minutes spent training. We therefore have to control the efforts a player makes throughout the season with data and signs of exhaustion. In order to determine the risk a player is facing we look at how many minutes he’s played, how much he’s trained and how much he’s run. “

4. Dave Brailsford, MBE, Performance Director, GB Cycling

Be brave, take risks, look forwards. “Be bold, make changes, but not in haste; update training methods, continually chase the best support team. You have to ring the changes.”

5. Bruno de Michelis, Assistant Manager Chelsea FC, former Head of Milan Lab, the high tech performance research centre set up by AC Milan.

Always treat members of a team as individuals. “Milan Lab was an application of a very simple idea, which is putting the person at the centre and trying to have a holistic approach to working on injury prevention. It is trying to be really proactive, more scientific, so we make decisions based on data and information rather than opinion – that is in the tactical, the technical, the nutritional, the biochemical, the psychological, etc.”

Thursday's Training Reflections

Today was a runners day out.

First up this morning: 30 min run inc 6-8 x 50-60m strides afterward.

  • Solid run, legs were a little slugish but improved throughout the run.
  • The strides were done on a slight incline.
  • Felt good throughout.
In the afternoon: 15 min jog; 20 x 30 sec @ 180 cadence with 30 sec jog between each and 10 min jog

This was very tough, trying to achieve the 180 cadence. I constantly achieved about 172 which I suppose isn't too bad.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday's Training Reflections

It was out on the running track on Tuesday morning.

Just working on drills. A really worthwhile session. Revisiting technique is such an advantage.

In the evening it was a 800m TT - 13min 08sec. I was really happy with this achievement as last month the time was 14:06, oh what 4 weeks makes with a change of attitude.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Sessions Reflections

The go......3.5-4hrs on flat @ easy pace in 53 ring @ 90+ cadence

Hmmmmm.......should read program a little better next time....

It may have been more like
3.5-4hrs on hills @ easy pace in whatever gearing to get me there @ a grinding cadence.

But I had it in my blood this morning, I felt that the 'Hills' were a calling so I answered them and they there we were. Together on Nebo, I found it a really worth while session this morning, the legs were working in circles....smooth...uninterrupted circles....with a bit of a 'bob' at times....LOL.

The stats are:

Average HR: 117bpm
Max HR: 153bpm
Min HR: 58bpm

Recovery was a serve of Endura Opti and a 10min cold water treatment.

Things to monitor:
  • Lower back very sore.
  • Pain in the Left Hip flexior region
Overall, I was pleased with my efforts this morning the legs got me through and I suppose it all about getting a bit more of that strength back in my legs and condition them a little more to ensure continued power throughout races etc.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday's Training Reflections

Today, Thursday......3 day until the first race of the season. Even though I am no where near prepared, I feel quite excited to have a HIM race, it has been a long 'off season' and I think my mind has let me down over the 'off season'. I haven't achieved as much as I would have like too over the 'off season' but it is no use staying in the past and I need to focus on the season ahead, an exciting and challenging. It think I need this race just to kick my butt. I have then 7 weeks to seriously hit the training to achieve around 4h30m for GC HIM.

The spin session tonight was good....I felt good....I felt strong....great session Suz. And the run....ran like the wind! (it was only about 500m) but anything will do!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Mental State of a Triathlete - Part 1

No matter what distance triathlon an athlete calls their own, there is obviously the physical aspect of the sport but even more importantly there is the mental side. Without an athlete being mentally trained (or mentally prepared) the physical preparation/training etc. is difficult to 'get right' to enable the athlete to achieve their goals. In fact one doesn't go without the other, they go hand in hand.

There is then a number of aspects that mental preparedness is important:
  • Training
  • Racing
  • Recovery
  • Diet
These 4 are what I believe are the most critical in a triathlete achieving their goals and these 4 areas are quite important to each other. If an athlete is ill disciplined in one it will affect one or more of the others. This leads to another trait that influences an athletes level of mental preparedness and that is there level of discipline. Without a high level of self discipline the mental preparedness of an athlete will have areas of deficiency.

All this also has a number of other influences that makes it easier or harder for an athlete to be mentally prepared.
  • Family
  • Work
  • Goals
  • Natural ability
  • Injuries (susceptibility to)
  • Support structure (coaching etc.)
  • Time (relates to a number of the influences above)
Each week I plan to open these ideas up a little further, from an athletes point of view and pose some practical ideas on achieving a balance in achieving mental preparedness for a triathlete.

Hope.....the direction forward.

Thursday night, Friday was to start with all good intentions, but just in setting the clock radio it was never going to be one that would be advantageous to improving my overall swimming fitness...if you get what I mean. However, in saying that, I did have some early morning work commitments.

From here, let's move on. At 4pm I had a Podiatrist appointment to pick up my orthodics, would this be the thing to finally help in helping this foot injury to improve, time will only tell, about 4 weeks to be exact. They are quite a 'interesting' feeling. But I will just have to get use to them.

Friday evening was a core session and 20min run. This session was actually completed. The sore session went off well and then a 20-30min run afterwards. This run was with the orthodics. Hmmm they are going to take a bit of getting use to. But it has to be done.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday's Training Reflections

This morning I really struggled to find the motivation to drag my legs out of bed and out onto the bitumen for a 45min run. This was particular made harder by a reduced amount of sleep the night before and the foot being rather stiff and sore this morning. People could say a little soft...maybe...but I would call it cautious.

In the evening I fronted up for the BTS Spin session (with John), wow, great workout and it was a great indication that there is certainly still a base there, but the strength and muscular endurance has diminished to a certain extent. This is really something I need to 'get into' over the next 8 weeks.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday's Training Reflections

The dark, cold, lonely winters mornings, the triathletes last frontier.

This morning I over came the attraction to stay in bed to get out their for a mid week ride. It was a great session once I got out there. Drove to work then completed a 2hr ride.

I felt good throughout the ride, however towards the end of the ride the legs would fatigue a little up reasonable inclines.

As much as possible I tried to stay down in the aerobars. Since changing my arm rests over I am a little closer to the central axis of the bike and whilst feeling a little cramped I am finding that it is a little more efficient in terms of maintaining an aero position.

The evening session was a swim session, this was more a technique and stroke correction session and was very enjoyable. I am beginning to feel a little more 'sleek' in the water. A little more of the bark is wearing off.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday's Training Reflections

Running it should be quicker than a walk.

But a sprint is quicker than a run.

Mental toughness will take you from a walk to a jog, then on to a run and finally on to a sprint.

Drills are a the basis for a runner to become a better more efficient runner.
The run this morning was a new start and I can't expect miracles but always can help them to happen over time.

Swimming, the art of moving through a liquid substance, without drowning.
Tonight was certainly a challenge for me, it has been roughly 1 week before the water and I met and it sure was noticeable. When I was pre-ironman I felt like a dolphin, smoothly, cutting through the water but at this stage 16 weeks after IM without much training behind me lately, at times I didn't feel sleek and smooth at all, rather like a log through the water. But after a while the log will loose its bark and become smooth moving more efficiently through the water.

800m TT Result (Swim) - 14min 06sec

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Disgrace!!

As a child you grow up learning what is good for you and what's not. As an adult we build on these lessons to get us through life and to achieve our goals and bring success to things that challenge us.
However, it seems that I have lost sight of some of the lessons I have learn over the past 2 season of training to be an Ironman Triathlete. Whether it be from pure ignorance or a lack of discipline, it seems I have got myself back to 'square one' and again it will take sometime to get back to level of fitness I will be happy with.
However, this time I have procrastinated far too long to get back on the 'wagon' and I fear that the goal of 4h 30min for Gold Coast HIM is not out of my reach.
Or.....I can 'pull my finger out' and work hard for the next 9/8 weeks and give it my best shot. This is the course of action that I will pursue.

As you might have guess, there may have been a trigger to ponder such things, well that's exactly was a disgraceful effort at core strength tonight. Again, it's not worth discussing ANY further.
I am challenging myself with 20push ups and 20 crunches each day for the next 20weeks to beat the core strength hoodoo! (Thanks Renee for that challenge)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Sessions Reflections

It is was a typical winters morning in Brisbane, cool and a little breezy. A combination that always will ensure and interesting ride. The ride was a Sandgate loop with a 15min effort along the front at Sandgate. Great effort by all.

Putting my perspective on it, well I woke up a little worse for wear this morning, a combination of lack of sleep (waiting to watch the cricket, then learning play had been abandon, grrr) and the week eventually catching up with me, feeling slightly fluey.

The legs were rather tired after the run yesterday and really fatigued quickly up any major climbs, not that there were many on the ride this morning. It was about 70km in about 2hr 45min (ride time)

When I got back, I decide to rise to the challenge and do a 30min run off the bike.......lets just leave it at that and say no more!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August 1....a new beginning.....again!

Today is August 1, 2009.
The facts:
  • 2 weeks to Yeppoon HIM
  • 9 weeks to Gold Coast HIM
  • 13 weeks to Port HIM/Noosa
  • 19 weeks to Canberra HIM
  • 31 weeks to IM New Zealand
  • 34 weeks to IM Australia
Time to take stock, this is where I'm at...... The foot is very slow at doing anything, it is frustrating and is causing me to have some 'mental' heart arch over it. This injury is can be one that doesn't go away is a breath, and it appears that this is my case. However, with a number of visits to the Podiatrist and having been sized up for some orthotics, this may begin to improve once I begin to wear these....we will just have to see. This sort of thing just has put a 'mental thorn' in my side and deflated my motivation quite considerably. But it hasn't just been the injury that has been preventing me from having a serious approach to my is also been very draining at the moment and after working some big hours over the past 2 weeks sometimes I just didn't have the motivation or will to go to training. (you don't get much benefit if the mind isn't right).
Of course without much training and little discipline with the diet, I am now carrying a small child around my waist. In fact to be brutally honest, this morning I dared to get on the scales and yep...I have hit the 90kg mark exactly. Not happy and very disappointed
with myself. It time to get it back down, I have a lot a work ahead of me.
I find that when I am pre-occupied with a certain parts of your life other things begin to suffer.

The strategy to get myself out of this rut begins like this:
  • Put together a weekly eating plan and stick to it.
  • Try and get organised on weekend and prepare meals which can be frozen for during the week. If any one has some good recipes then please let me know.
  • Have a greater commitment to my training program
  • Go back to having regular massage
  • Become 'one' with my training......hmmmmmmm
This morning was the start of a greater commitment to the training I was was up and going at 5.30am and scaling Mt Cootha with the squad at 6.30am. This morning I had the coaching reins of group 1 and we completed 17km in about 1hr 50m (run time)How did I go? Well it was a real struggle and in my head I knew it would be but I needed to start somewhere.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Outlook is a Positive One

After a number of weeks of putting up with some relative discomfort I finally decided to visit the Podiatrist to get a verdict on the foot, in particular the heel.

Firstly, as previously blogged, it has been confirmed that the injury is Plantar Fasciitis and that the methods of treatment detailed before are to continue with the possibility of having orthotics to assist the processes of recovery.

The bright thing in it all, is that running is now back on the agenda...woooohoooo.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Proposed Ride for Sunday

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday's Reflections

Today was a bit of a 'write off' no swimming this morning and no core this afternoon mainly due to the fact that I had a bit of running around to do for getting my car serviced.

This week hasn't been the best week I have had of training. Mentally it's been a real struggle, I think the whole foot injury thing is really starting to be frustrating. I have done everything possible to assist it in its recovery, but not much is happening....and I know, it probably needs more than just a week but I am just sooo keen to go for a good long's about patience....take the time to get it completely right before getting back into it again will be a lot more beneficial in the long run.

Next week, its back to work....I actually think I train better when I am back at work....I like the routine, and the holidays don't really have that routine.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday's Reflections

Training was non existent this morning, however I did manage to drag my butt out to swimming in the evening. It was the coldest I have been at the pool in a long time, but I pushed on and had a much improved attitude and effort in the swim session. Good session Suz. It was mainly drill and technique work, but I really did enjoy it and actually completed a complete swim session from start to finish, which is a little rare at the moment. I was also very happy with the way I was swimming, the only thing I can really do at the moment, the cycling plays a little havoc with the foot at time, so I have given it a week rest from cycling at the moment.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday's Training Reflections

The training today's was a rest session in the morning and a core session in the afternoon. The core session ended up happening at home as to other commitments.

In the afternoon I went to the physio about my foot injury. It appears that is is a combination of the
Plantar Fasciitis and a inflammation of the fatty pad under the heel. The ideal treatment is rest and keeping off the foot; however, icing it and using a special foot roller.

The foot has got me a little concerned at the moment as it is particularly sore and does not seem to be improving.

One of my next moves is to arrange an appointment with a podiatrist to get a more information about the injury and the best/quickest method of recovery.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Morning Reflections

This morning was a squad swim session. The session was just over an hour and 2.5km. The arms don't get as tired but the overall endurance strength is not there. I really struggle with any 200m sets at this stage. I just don't have the strength to maintain the pace throughout the 200m and really die in the last 50m. But with perseverance I will get through this.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday's Additional Thoughts

Just spent the last 20min strapping my foot. Its the first time I have ever had to use strapping but for the time I've had it on, it seems to be giving me some relief. Apart from feeling a little uncomfortable.

Thursday's Reflections

Last night I was talking to a friend who is a podiatrist in Canberra. Having talked through the symptoms and doing a bit of reading we think it is Plantar Fasciitis.

A good website to read about this type of injury is:
Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain

The treatment strategy is as follows:
  • Reduce the hill running.
  • Focus more on swimming (you got to be kidding!) and cycling
  • Stretch, stretch and stretch
  • Ice (as per the website above)
  • Strapping
  • Massage
  • Physio
The strapping is to look similar to this:

On an up side it might be beneficial for my cycling and swimming having to focus on these two disciplines.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Pool and Me are NOT one!

Tonight was another swim session. This was more of a stroke correction and drill session. Good session but I'm not just finding the swim 'happening' for me.
I not really feeling enthused for the swimming at the moment. The winter cold does not help the situation.

Swam for about 40min and about 2.2km.

A little lost at the moment

North, South, East or West. Its all about finding some direction. At the moment things are not coming back together into a smooth training regime. There are a number of things that I am struggling with at this current point in time:
  • I'm disappointed with my weight at the moment and need to get the diet and the whole thinking behind what I SHOULD be eating. I know what to do and really don't need to go and see some one, its a real mental battle with eating the right things at the moment.
  • I have been concerned of late about a sore heel I have been 'putting up with' since just before IM. Of recent times (the last 2 weeks) which coincides with an increased running mileage (I actually think this is more coincidence) I find that when I get out of bed in the morning it is really stiff and I'm sure I look like an 80 year old hobbling around the room. It is also involves a very sore along the Achilles.
    I have done a little 'self diagnosis' and have found it could be a number of things but it is most likely to be:
  • Bruised Heel: When you step on a hard object such as a rock or stone, you can bruise the fat pad on the underside of your heel. It may or may not look discolored. The pain goes away gradually with rest.
  • Plantar fasciitis (subcalcaneal pain): Doing too much running or jumping can inflame the tissue band (fascia) connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes. The pain is centered under your heel and may be mild at first but flares up when you take your first steps after resting overnight. You may need to do special exercises, or if the problem is Biomechanically caused we may prescribe custom made Orthotics and/or take medication to reduce swelling and wear a heel pad in your shoe.
  • Heel spur: When plantar fasciitis continues for a long time, a heel spur (calcium deposit) may form where the fascia tissue band connects to your heel bone. Your Podiatrist may take an X-ray to see the bony protrusion, which can vary in size. Treatment is usually the same as for plantar fasciitis, do special stretching exercises and we may prescribe custom made orthotics.
  • Pain Behind the heel: If you have pain behind your heel, you may have inflamed the area where the Achilles tendon inserts into the heel bone (retrocalcaneal bursitis). People often get this by running too much or wearing shoes that rub or cut into the back of the heel, or extreme foot posture. Pain behind the heel may build slowly over time, causing the skin to thicken, get red and swell. You might develop a bump on the back of your heel that feels tender and warm to the touch. The pain flares up when you first start an activity after resting. It often hurts too much to wear normal shoes. You may need an X-ray to see if you also have a bone spur.
Some further information:
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
In athletes, a number of factors are associated with development of plantar fasciitis. These factors can lead the athlete to change his or her gait (the way the feet strike the ground), which can cause symptoms and injury. Risk factors for athletes include:
  • Biomechanical factors, such as decreased flexibility in the foot and ankle, imbalances in muscle strength (muscles in one leg or foot are weaker than the other), abnormal foot mechanics (when stepping down), and tightness in the Achilles tendon.
  • The repetitive nature of sports activities and improper training.
  • Rapidly increasing the number of miles run or walked.
  • Running or walking up steep hills.
  • Wearing athletic shoes that are worn out.
  • Wearing athletic shoes that do not have a cushioned sole or enough arch support.
  • Abruptly changing the intensity or duration of the exercise routine.

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

The traditional remedies for plantar fasciitis include stretching the calf, massaging, decreasing one's training, losing weight, purchasing better-fitting shoes (with a raised heel and arch support), icing the sore heel, and taking ibuprofen.

Another treatment option, also known as one of the easiest, is using heel seats in your shoes. Heel seats pick up and re-stretch the plantar fascia, redistribute the heels natural fat pad, provide structural reinforcement to the foot, and apply acupressure to relieve the pain while your feet heal. You can find such heel seats through your podiatrist or online. In any case, when you feel pain, your body is trying to warn you that something is wrong. See a doctor or specialist at the first sign of pain. Treating problems early is key to a healthy lifestyle.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday's Training Reflections

Today there was core strength programed in the evening with a rest in the morning. I didn't quite make it to squad core strength, but did my own run/core session. It worked out like this:

The run:
The core was a combination of stretching and core exercises, in total 30min.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Sessions Reflections

This morning was a squad ride for approx. 2.5hrs. The route took us out to Samford via Ferny Grove and the did a 20min aerobic tempo ride out along the road to Glorious. The return trip was via Eatons Crossing road.

The ride was a aerobic pace and was a good strength ride with plenty of hills throughout the ride. The legs felt good throughout however being able to sustain this for an extended period of time would be a different thing all together.

Time in the saddle: 3hrs
Distance: 75km

I recently purchased a set of new training wheels, however, I failed to check that it had a 9 speed hub on it, which of course now that I have it, it doesn't. I have taken the 10 speed cassette off my old wheel and taken a gear ring off that to make it a 9 speed until I can purchase a new 9 speed cassette. It seem to work but the gears don't really seem to mesh properly at time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tour de Tri

Ah...yes, I know its been 3 weeks.
The race report is COMING SOON

More Training...the easier it will become

Late start this morning, the beauty of being on holidays.

8.00am met Suz and Mark and rode to Redcliffe
approx. 40km in 1hr 28min

The ride out there wasn't too bad, it was at an easy pace and was relatively flat. The legs coped quite well.

Then 45min ocean swim. It was quite chilly...that is an understatement. The feet and hands really felt it.
The swim wasn't too bad but the arms were quite fatigued halfway through the return leg of the swim.

Then it was a ride home. approx. 35km in 1hr 20m
This was a little tougher, a few more hills and did struggle a little up some of the longer inclines.

Once the session was over and I was home, I felt quite fatigued and tired.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday's Reflections

AM Session: Trail Run (70-90min)
This was a good session, a bit of a struggle, but things are getting better slowly. The run involved a very hilly course which include a very challenging trial section. Throughout the run I focused on increasing my running cadence, particularly up the hills/inclines.

Distance: 15.97km
Time: 1hr28m
Average HR: 144 (78%)

Spent 15min after the session stretching.

PM Session: Swim Session
2nd swim session for the week.
Throughout this session the shoulders and arms were aching but pushed on.
The set was about 2.7km

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday...Time Trials....Trauma......travelling backwards

Right straight to the's sessions brought me back to earth with a thump! In fact not just a surface buried me, 4 feet under!!! goes like this........

Maybe I need to be a bit more realistic, it has been a while since IM and not been training

AM session - 3km TT (Run)
This was going to be a good opportunity to establish a benchmark at the beginning of the season and to determine how much 'fitness' has been lost over the past 8 weeks. It is also a good time to see how the 'mental' aspect has fared.
Before I even arrived I was struggling mentally. As I driving there it was drizzling, doesn't help the whole mental think.
Went through the warm up. There were definitely a few niggles there, and very stiff. It will make an interesting TT.
The strategy was to go around the 1st lap relatively easy and bring it home. The first lap completed in 5m46sec and the second was 6m08sec
Presenting me a total time of 11m54sec.
Not the best time around personally but something to start off the season with.

PM session - 800m TT (Swim)
The session started off before it even started with 500m, then into the session.
500m Swim
500m Pull
16 x 50m of something
then...SHOCK...HORROR a 800m TT
By this stage the arms were dead...not much power and the endurance strength just wasn't happening.
Anyway it got done, 1st 400m @ 7m19s and 2nd 400m @ 7m31s.
Giving a total of 14m50s.....not happy at all....have to start the season somewhere I suppose.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Training and Racing Resources

Of late I have been considering putting together a list of resources that I personally utilize to support and assist recovery etc. throughout my training and racing throughout a season:

Coach: Mark Turner (BTS)
Physio: Roger McIntosh (North West Physio)
Massage: Currently investigating a new one (feel free to provide suggestions)
Sports Doctor: Currently investigating a new one (feel free to provide suggestions)
Podiatrist: Performance Podiatry - Kent Sweeting

Sports Drink: Gatorade
Gel: Triberry GU
Bar: Endura Energy Bar
Supplements: Endura Optimizer (Chocolate)
Vitamins: Pharmanex - Life Pak, Optimum Omega

Gear and Gadgets
(of course)
Brooks at the moment
Timex & Garmin Forerunner 305
Heart Rate Monitor:
Timex & Garmin Forerunner 305