Saturday, 13 April 2013

Time to man-up and hit the reset button

This blog was about my quest to become an ironman. Well the votes are in and the results are out: I made it. Wimbleball, Bolton, Galway, Tenby - all finished, and I've got the incredibly rare Ironman Ultimate Finisher glassware to show for it.

My second full distance Ironman finishing chute, Ironman Wales 2012

At some point after Tenby I got a bit too wrapped up in entering more events, and wanting to go faster and further. I went balls-out on the Royal Parks Half Marathon and got myself a bout of ITBS to show for it. That wasn't fun, and it still isn't. I haven't run since November. I thought cycling was fine, so I got excited about cycling and put my efforts into completing a turbo-trainer mega-set over Christmas. Turns out cycling brought on ITBS too, so no more cycling either.

Rolling into 2013 the races I wanted to do and in some cases had already entered are ticking past without me in them. The first Hell of The Ashdown (last year's report) I've missed in 4 years, The London Ultra (Mrs ran it, she had an amazing day, and so did parkrun extraodinaire abradypus - I cheered them on), Thames Turbo Race 1 (Mrs raced it she had a good day - I marshalled and cheered, good fun). Next up is Thames Turbo Race 2, I won't be in that either.

I was signed up for Coach Joe Beer's tri-camp at Club La Santa in Lanzarote. I went there at the end of January with a month of pain-free knee. Lanzarote was great - incredible place, if a bit windy. I had already paid to take my bike out, so I took it. I cycled a bit too much, and on the morning of the last day the pain came back.

The leisure pool at CLub La Santa (the only Sports/Holiday camp with its own theme song)

I did absolutely nothing for 2 weeks afterwards, then got back onto my exercises (as scheduled by Mountain Man Rob Turner). I've been sticking vaguely to my rehab exercises since then - probably not as well as I should though.

I went Low Carb High Fat from mid-November, I saw great results up until Christmas with everything positive - the weight fell off and I got lower than I've ever been before. As I got more unhappy and rolled into 2013 I totally broke it. I made a string of very poor nutrition decisions, including stopping logging my intake entirely since the start of February. I thought I had everything in check and could freewheel. I couldn't. Recently I've put on weight at an astonishing weight due to continuing poor meal decisions. I've broken my adaptation to being a fat-burning athlete, I've eaten cake, pizza, toast - all of which now leave me with a horrible bloated stomach and a real toxic stomach ache as I'm just not used to processing carbs in such volumes lately. I've totally over-consumed alcohol, and I commented when I started this journey over a year ago that I have a problem with that.

I have stopped working with my coach (thanks Joe, you were great), and I'm not going to South Africa for Unogwaja or Comrades (I got accepted, I got excited, then ultimately declined - though not because of this injury).

Terrible clip-art, shamelessly stolen. I'm not proud.

The only person that can turn this around is me. So I am. It's time to man-up, take control, and hit the reset button. There it is, above. You can hit it too if you feel you could use a symbolic action.

The positives are that I am getting stronger. I can now cycle-commute twice per week as long as it's not on consecutive days, and I don't get any pain. If I carry on improving I could start running slowly and minimal duration as early as the end of April. I have an aim to run Wimbledon Common parkrun on my birthday - that would be a significant moment. I really miss parkrun.

I'm going to remove those races from the countdown on the front page (apart form the couple I'm still signed up for). I'm going to freshen up the colour scheme a bit. I did consider just not blogging any more (I achieved the point of the blog after all), but I think there are more races and adventures to come. I'm going to celebrate the success of last year - without feeling the need to go bigger and bolder this year.

I'm logging my nutrition in the wonderful Weight Loss Resources again to get a grip. I know the weight falls off when I'm well balanced - recently I haven't been, but I can be again. It'll all be good again, and I'll return stronger than I ever was before, ready for my next challenge, whatever that turns out to be...


  1. This is an interesting and honest post, but tone down the self-criticism. You're trying to live like a professional athlete while being an athletic professional.

    You have, and can, achieve far more than most of us - and I think if you can find a balance and revel in your successes that'll propel you even further.

    1. Hi, and thanks for your comment.

      I wasn't intending to be too tough on myself. People get injured, that's life - how you deal with it is what helps you bounce back. I haven't dealt with this particularly well lately (though I did to start with), but that's fine. I've recognised that I can be doing some things better, so I'm going to try. I don't think that's trying to be a professional athlete, it's about trying to be a better (healthier) me.

      Doing that doesn't diminish previous achievements - in fact I realise my Ultimate glassware is still in the box, I shall get it out, get a photo to put in it, and be inspired :)

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  2. Dont stop blogging! I for one enjoy reading it.

    1. Thanks - and I will! I've been looking at what happened when I stopped logging my food - it's pretty interesting, and it's incredibly obvious why I got heavier (which at least means it should be straight-forward to reverse :)