THE BACK IN ACTION | VIC AQUATHLON STATE CHAMPS

The past few months have been a general theme about managing chronic back pain. Hence I’ve been quiet in updating anything about training. Ive managed to train through my troubles but any words put down would have been a drama story. I kept my lip up and stayed determined which has led to a couple of decent race results so I will back fill and recap my past couple of weekends racing.


ON THE ROAD - MONDAY 21/1/19 - TWEED VALLEY SPRINT TRI

I write this coming off the back of a PB sprint distance race on our TVT club course. It’s a relieving contrast from the past 4 months where my back pain has hung around as a daily theme. It pushed me to the point of finally getting some xrays done which confirmed

Severe vertebrae disfunction - 1 being compressed by 25%. I guess for me it highlighted an area of weakness and unless I stabilise it then the spasms will continue 

Despite my commitment to all the 1%ers to the point of OCD I could not find a pain free day 

Practically anything would trigger it and most of my life I looked like a cripple and was becoming pretty destitute ... 

I’d still been training and ‘able’ to punch through some racing but instead of feeling good it felt harder than it should be ...every session / race there was stabbing pain and shit mechanics to over come .. At times when running there’s a voice saying ‘This is not fun anymore, just quit.’ I always felt better afterwards though so I never gave up

The doctor said I needed to have a rethink about my training goals and that it would be hard psychologically to accept ... I thought about dropping it all to focus on rehab.. for about 30 minutes where depressing feelings fuelled me to find a solution - An adapted approach to training - Could I rehab and still achieve my goals as one thing ... ? I have been able to prove this. 

Step it up and step it back 

I’d been nudging some ok volume with quality work in as well but it seemed that I was just not holding together ..The back would spasm during the night, whilst at work and ‘d wake up most days stiff as a board and run pain . I’ll spare you the less then ideal contributing factors but that’s life and hence the need for appropriate adjustment

The intensity would need to be done hard short and fresh / back to back before soreness developed- I used feel I can go 2 days in a row hard on the legs when needed but a day between just meant being sore or weaker for another hard session depends individually but 2 days hard 2 days easy then 1 day hard 2 days easy seems to work 

 The strength work needed to glue it back together and also evoke neurological adaption. 

Everything else was not long,so instead of further stimulus it was all just easy ... recovery - shorter aerobic work but  focus on being right for hard days and that meant logging extra hours doing mobility / core over as priority over ticking the weekly volume quotas.

We can get fixated on past fitness and needing things to be a certain way but like anything it’s a fluid process and what works now is not what works in 3 months and what worked 2 years ago is another story again. There’s history in our bodies which means I know how to get fitter faster but we still need to work all the components just not all at once .. change is the key to eliciting adaption.

I can easy see this with athletes I coach yet to see for yourself requires your head to not be up your arse / case of trying to hard.

I can feel my self rising again and I could see this to be continuous with a mindset that has evolved also - perhaps I won’t get a lot faster

But I can easily get better at not slowing down. Pulled my self out of a rut and the closest I’ve been to not wanting to do it anymore but I see things through new eyes now and I’m ready for the future and the adventure it brings 


SAT / SUN 26-27 JAN

VIC AQUATHLON STATE CHAMPS / STATE SERIES RACE SPINT DUATHLON

A home town race has been the biggest driver has been pushing me through my injury. A constant motivator in my day is thinking about visiting home and racing at the Albury Wodonga Triathlon Club.

I had my goal set on the annual sprint distance triathlon but this year there would also be a double header

Saturday - Victorian State Championship Aquathlon - Lake Sambell Beechworth

Sunday - Tri Vic State Series race - AWTC Sprint Tri* at Alans Flat (Duathlon 3/20/5 due to water quality)

I’d punched out a couple of Tri’s in recent Saturdays with Sundays being a short swim run session at effort to simulate the 2 races together.

Upon finding out the Tri was a Duathlon I was disappointed as the swim would have been to my advantage. A sprint Duathlon is brutal enough without having a hard hit out the night before. So it would be about giving it my best knowing I might not be able to extract a monster performance. A war of attrition is always a worthwhile battle.

AQUATHLON - 800/3

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2 lap lake swim, I found myself just holding onto a pack of young guns which had me sitting on the redline.

‘12 mins of swimming on the red / 12 mins of running on the red’ That was my mantra and what I needed to keep it as simple as. These Aquathlons are short and I find the intensity is slightly higher than a Sprint Tri so its constantly bordering on catastrophic.

I exited just behind the leaders in 7th and quickly passed 2. The run was 1.5k up hill to the turn around so it guaranteed no relief from full gas. The lead pack was staying at relative distance 100m up the road possibly stretching a little. I was on my own.

At 1km to go I was caught and a battle begun. I pushed back in front and as I surged a little I could hear his struggle and there was disturbance from me also - This guy was tough and I couldn’t shake him. with about 600 to go I decided to try and drop the hammer, I surged and he was gutsy in responding and kicked hard. I kicked back but felt a wall immediately - there was absolutely no where to go . I was happy I gave it some mongrel but had to be happy hanging on to my position to finish.

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I was lucky enough to be ahead of my other 30-39 competitors and finish 1st place and take the State Championship Title for my Category.


DUATHLON 3/20/5

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My recovery protocol wasn’t able to stop a mid night pain attack in the hip and back. I arrived at the race and had to ignore the discomfort but it was almost getting the better of me, nauseating. Movement was bad but I went with knowing the amount of sessions I had accomplished with the exact same starting symptoms.

When the gun went off I found a nice top pace rhythm and began to find a few surges which I contained - Perhaps I should have taken the energy on hand but in reality I was on my throttle. Maybe I’ve gone soft. onto the bike and I quickly made it towards the front - All bar 1 lad who was miles ahead.

There was some positioning going on and couldn’t get clear road so I surged to drop a few and get away from any drafting issues. 2 hills later I was passed by a train of 6 and they were on for the game. I had know where to go and so watched them sit up the road 100m ahead observing some disgraceful bending of the rules. there were no TO’s out there so I just resigned to the fact today would be about getting my self through the challenge which was great enough as it was.

My bike legs had a definite cap on them from the running that was in them and previous evenings race so instead of high output growl it was a constant grind.


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Off the bike and into tackle my greatest fear being the 5K run with half of it being uphill. I worked on being in a good rhythm and straight away I was pleased knowing I could nut the thing out. My legs were not snappy but they were strong and holding a good form.

I enjoyed the push to the line, thoughts around being solid mentally and physically over the past 2 days.

Maybe all this time I didn’t need to be so hard on myself. I was stronger than I thought. Mentally I am much better trained to stay quiet and find the best I have. I wasn’t sensationally fast but it gives me courage to take through to an Olympic Distance race later this season - ‘Just hold the effort’.

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