Final push.

My Achilles tendonitis in my left leg cleared up after a few weeks of nursing it, but then my right tendon started hurting. I think, it’s a combination of things, “too fast too soon” on the run was just the final straw.

I think it’s bike set up as well. I bought a pair of, supposedly, wide fit cycling shoes in the exact size for my foot. The online tutorial on cycling shoes said they should be the snuggest pair of shoes you own. Any movement is losing power and causing friction and pain.

To be honest, they totally suck. I went for another long ride to test them, (I think it was about 100 or so miles) by about 70 miles my right foot was feeling numb so I tried wriggling it around. Big mistake. The pain was so bad I really thought I was going to have to get off and push my bike for 20 odd miles. It was enough to make me shout out. Happily it happened just as I was about to start a steep hill ascent, so I found out that applying pressure to it returned it to just uncomfortably numb. I managed to ride home, but every time I hit bumps or lost direct pressure to my right pedal the pain came back.

I’ve tried adjusting the cleats backward and forward and to the sides, I can ease the pain, but it still hurts. And the punchline is the knee pain I had, that I bought these shoes to cure, is still there. On the other hand it’s kind of swamped by the intensity of the pain in my right foot, so, small victories. I’ve bought a shoe stretcher off eBay to see if I can sort it out. I remembered, afterwards, that was the pain I used to get at work, before the doctor told me my boots were too tight, causing the bones in my foot to grind.  The left shoe is fine. The race is in two weeks so I expect I’ll be using my old shoes. 

While I was trying to eliminate the knee pain I came across another tutorial, by a genuine expert, on the perfect bike set up. Instead of “foot in position X, flat foot, knee bent to Y degrees” etc, she said the seat height is your inside leg times .857 (or something). That’s the distance from the pedal to the top of your saddle. No ifs, no buts.

Fair do’s.

She had her test subject to demonstrate. She said his set up was out by quite a bit (½”) by this formula, then proved it with angle measurements. I applied the science. My set up was out by 3”. Oh.

So all the time I was riding my foot was stretched and the pressure was going on to my tendon. Hence, I assume, the injury. Balls.

I tried adjusting it to the science but ended up moving it back by an inch. It felt like my knees were in my chest. After the race I might do as Wendy said, pay more money and get professionally fitted shoes, and a professional bike fit. I’m throwing money away buying cheaper kit online when it just doesn’t work.

Another last minute glitch is my watch. I bought a Timex Ironman GPS watch in January. It’s the entry level model, ‘only’ £80, but it has multi discipline and transition features and, most importantly, a battery that should last me the whole race. You can’t use the GPS feature on the swim, but after T1 when you switch the GPS on you’ve got 12 hours of battery. That should see me to the end of the race. I think it was my last Outlaw when I just had a timer type watch and I was in saddle sore misery, having to ask people how far I had left. That’s why I need the GPS one. Wouldn’t you know it? After 6 months of faultless service, suddenly the watch refused to connect to the satellites with three weeks left to my race. I’ve been in an email conversation with a very nice foreign person in customer services for over a week, trying all the different fixes they suggested. Finally, yesterday, they called me and said I was to return the watch and they’d replace it. Phew. The watch is in the post, hopefully that’s that drama over with. Assuming the new one works.

I’m going to try to do a big tri tomorrow as my final big effort before the race. I went out today for a 10 mile, fast run. I thought if I was only doing 10 miles I might as well try and make them count. I did it in 1.17:38. Not fantastic, but I kept every mile under 8m/m pace and I’ve not done any speed work for over a month as I’ve been nursing injuries. And it’s been hotter than Maggie’s spot in hell. Just looking, my last 10 miles was in April and that was 1.29:36.

Talking of the weather, I was really worried this unprecedented heatwave was going to full-on kill me on the race, but today we’ve finally had rain. My garden has cracks in it, the grass verges are all brown. The weather people are predicting 21C/ 22C/ 22C for the Mon/ Tues/ Weds before my race on the Sunday. I hope it stays in that range. I’ve been trying to do heat conditioning runs in 27C and it has been wasting me. I did 15 miles the other day and had to have a shower and go to bed for an hour.

I’m getting this race out of the way then starting on the proper swim lessons. On the bike I’m getting my shoes and set up sorted and working out some regime for the turbo trainer. But my immediate concern is going to be working on my run speed in a structured and not damaging fashion.

I want to go sub 3 on the marathon. And I’m not getting any younger.

Ok, that’s it. Apart from finishing my first term of Russian, and Wendy passing her car test first time (!) GO WENDY!  There’s not much else to say. The 7 months I gave myself to go from nothing to Iron distance tri are almost up. 17 days and it will all be over. I want to get a PB but I’m at the stage of wondering if I’m going to finish at all. Fingers crossed.

Buck.

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