Saturday, 24 October 2009

Back on track

I really didn't pull up well following the Melbourne Half. Because my quads were so stuffed, I was walking around on the outside of my foot and by Monday night, I was getting some serious pain halfway down my right foot. Barely made it through a day of uni on Tuesday and after the foot started to go red and swell up, I started to get seriously worried. It hurt unbelievably to put any weight on it at all and seemed to be getting worse. I woke up in pain halfway through the night, and beset by a paranoia that it might be a career ending injury, I called 'Nurse on call', and was told to get to a medical clinic immediately.

Mum kindly drove me to the Monash Medical centre Emergency Department (not my choice! I had thought we'd just go to a 24 hr GP clinic style thing) where the triage nurse chew chunks out of me and told me I should've just taken pain killers and gone to the doctor in the morning (probably sick of time wasters blowing out their waiting times I guess). I was very prepared to do this, not feeling like I belonged there at all, especially when a girl sitting at the other end of the waiting room started having an epileptic fit... Mum wouldn't hear of it though, and so we sat for about two hours until things quieted down enough for a doc to see me. I didn't mind at all. Unlike the Eastern European elderly couple who constantly berated the paramedical check in clerk for keeping them waiting on their meds, despite being told they could skip the wait completely by going to the private hospital down the road, I didn't want to be seen unless I (or rather the triage nurse) was sure that no-one else in the waiting room looked in worse shape than me. It was quite relaxing really and I got stuck into 'Lore of running' by Prof Tim Noakes (great book and really changed my mind on a lot of things such as carbo loading).

When we were ushered into the consulting room, I could already feel that my foot was a bit better, and after the doc poked and prodded my foot without sparking any serious pain, it was clear that I didn't have the broken foot I ignorantly feared. Another two hour wait for an X-ray confirmed it, and I was told it was probably just a pinched nerve.

Well it was a relief to find out it wasn't that serious (and I'm glad I know that's all it is, because I've had it happen to me before a couple of times, but never that bad, and it's always quite scary) but it seems pulling an all nighter in the ED wasn't the best thing for my health, because I picked up a sore throat that metastasised into a fairly debilitating cold. Basically felt like utter crap for the next six days with a constant headache and a hacking cough. Exercise was put on the back burner out of respect for my lungs. There's probably a good chance that the virus was lurking in my system on the morning of the Melbourne half and that's part of what explained the dreadful first half.

Anyway, I'm healthy again now and after 12 days of the foot still giving me a lot of pain, I was able to do 3k on the treadmill yesterday. I think the enforced rest has actually been quite beneficial because I've been smashing my PBs for the 20k ride into work this week. Back in May when I used to ride in on my road bike, going all out and feeling destroyed at the end, the best I ever managed was 52 minutes. Well that mark has been well and truly eclipsed now. On my 15kg mountain bike, loaded up with 6kg of food and clothing in the panniers, I rode home from work in 50 minutes on Thursday and then yesterday, with a tail wind behind me, managed to do it in 44 minutes! Gave it everything I had and felt fantastic when I got there. The adrenaline kept me going at about 250% productivity for the next few hours:P

I've been doing a lot of weight training in the gym including some leg presses and quad lifts, and I reckon that's helping. I find I can climb hills in my highest gear now, whereas I used to just spin up in my lowest gear. Aerobically I feel like I'm a lot fitter too:) I might give the 1500 m a crack at the aths vic meet on Thursday. Will be interesting to see how I go.

The training plan for the next month or so involves very low volume. I'm working a lot (58 hours this week!) and need to cram for my exams in 3 weeks, so long rides are out of the question. I'll just be doing the ride in to work, a strength session at lunchtime and a 30 minute run after work. The run will basically be a warmup plus a VO2 max workout every day. Should be fun and hopefully I'll see some big results out of the increased intensity.

Other news: I've been accepted into a Summer research scholarship program at Australian national university in Canberra, so in a month's time I'll be catching the train up (was thinking about riding up, but decided not to due to the financial opportunity cost of four days of lost work) to do some work on Photobioenergetics. I'm really, really looking forward to this, and my supervisor (Dr Warwick Hillier) is into 24 hr mtb races, so it should be a fun summer!

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