The good news is I’m back in training having taken a complete break of 6 weeks from the end of September. I found I was just aggravating pains in the ankle, back and chest. And this, coupled with a lack of adequate sleep and rushed training sessions, didn’t do much for my motivation and well-being. During the break I had time to consider better time management, and get a plan together that enabled me to train, help look after the baby, and get a little more rest.
From a physical perspective I’m in a much better position now to start getting my fitness back. The ankle (Op site) has had time to strengthen a little more and I’m now gradually building the running mileage up again. I still get the odd twinge and stiffness in the morning. But if that’s all I’m getting on a cold morning after a long run the previous day, then I’ll take that. Atrophy in the right leg compared to the left leg is not as obvious now. I’ve slightly emphasised resistance on the right leg, and I’m finding they are almost completely equal in terms of strength. I still can’t believe it has taken 8 months to recover from what seemed like a small operation, when I consider how quickly I came back from an inguinal hernia. I do need to get a pair of new trainers though as the ankle (Haglund’s) bump has destroyed the previous pairs.
The lower back pain may or may not have been as a result of imbalances and biomechanical deficiencies as a result of the ankle Op. We bought a new (decent) mattress which may have helped alleviate some of the pain. The back is still a little stiff, particularly in the morning, but at least I’m not grasping it in pain during swim sessions any more. I’ll have to find a local yoga class, once I’m happy it’s ready to be twisted and strained.
The chest is an issue I’ve not mentioned before. I’ve had some heart flutterings and palpitations in the past, as a lot of endurance athletes have, and been told (from comprehensive tests following an Ironman DNF in 2011) that I had a thickened heart wall and a leaking ventricle. All likely as a result of the heavy endurance training/racing I’d been doing. But in 2015 I started to experience different symptoms – a tight (vice-like) sensation around the chest and ribs for 10 days following a couple of races. Tests showed nothing. In 2016 I had this sensation after tempo running sessions, and this year I started to even wake up with the tight chest, which sometimes lingered throughout the day. I’ve had x-rays and angiograms and in the end was told they couldn’t find anything significant. Lung tests showed no asthma or COPD. My ankle physio spent a whole session manipulating the rib cage and since then I have been carrying out various exercises to exaggerate opening-up the ribs and diaphragm when breathing. It’s made a big difference. I have a few other minor issues but hopefully they be resolved in time.
So it’s full steam ahead with regards to training. At first, I found my fitness was shocking, particularly endurance. I was even out of breath running just one mile. But I’ve persevered with some good programing and something has certainly clicked this month. My running and swimming are both coming along really well. I’ll be doing more Parkruns in the coming weeks to check my progression.
In mid-December we fly to East Germany for 2 weeks, where I will have the snowy mountains of the Thüringen Wald and the Rennsteig to run on, which I love. This may be followed in February with a more intensive training week in Lanzarote. By THAT time and all being well I may be ready to race some triathlons or Ultras again. I don’t think I will do both, but will see how my running progresses. My ankle may not appreciate hilly Ultras. It feels exciting to be developing my training again without being hampered by health.
And I’m looking forward to the odd run down the finish shoot with my daughter, poor thing. Here’s another photo from a recent Parkrun, with Annabelle clutching her Parrot Ghetto blaster :)