I hate being slow AKA lockdown has taken some of my superpowers.
I hate being slow AKA lockdown has taken some of my superpowers.
I hate how I feel at the moment and this lockdown crap needs to do one so I can train like I did before it.
Ill be honest I have no intention to be the fastest but I’d like to be a little more resilient with what I am doing. Before lockdown I was doing 5-6 training sessions a week and yoga / body balance and was pretty happy at how things were but with everything restricted many things were taken away. For a start I didn’t get to do oxygen therapy for 3 months which to start off with was ok but I could feel myself getting weaker and more fatigued more easily. Its started back up now but it’s a slow process getting back to how it made me feel and the extra energy it give me.
The thing I have noticed mainly is my legs, it gets to a point where they just don’t work, ill go for a jog / walk and im ok for the first 1 ½ km then it just gets bad and I cant jog because of my legs feeling tingly and not being able to hold my balance, by about 4k I look like I have gone 10 rounds with Tyson Fury.
I’m trying to not let this beat me and for every week of lockdown I have done a duathlon 2.5km run , 20km bike, 5 km run. However you would think this would make me better but its slowly got worse each week. Eventually I had to stop as the forks were not enough to make the transaction to get more forks.
Thankfully with the start of the summer oxygen therapy had started back and the batteries had started to recharge a little stronger. Lake swimming was happening YAY despite being slow and I did my biggest swim ever getting round the whole of bray lake. I was riding a lot on Zwift which was great as it eliminated the paranoia of something happening with the bike in the middle of nowhere and all me being able to do is stare at it looking helpless. Towards the end of the summer there was a chance to enter a real triathlon too which was disappointing as had we not had all this covid crap I would have done 3 proper triathlons including the 30th anniversary Windsor triathlon and the great south run in 2020. Surprise surprise though it all got cancelled.
One thing I really didn’t realise about doing the real triathlon in a covid safe environment was because we had all been in lockdown with a lot of people unable to compete due to events being cancelled places were limited and it was full of tri hungry superhumans who given the limited places available were entering any distance they could get a place in the wave. This meant limited time setting up your transition area, arrive on site wearin your wetsuit, one way systems everywhere which was confusing and when you crawl out the water even more confusing and disorienting oh and staggered starts which I thought might be an advantage if I got at the front of the queue. That was a mistake…
From being first in my wave gave me a 30 second head start on the people behind me, what this resulted in however was an entire wave of medal hungry zombie superhumans each take their turns to overtake me on the swim. My sighting isn’t great but it’s a lot better than it was and by the time I had got to the last buoy I was near the back of the pack. It was a straight line so just get your head down and swim like your in the pool. I could hear this siren every now and again and thought nothing of it but when I stuck my head up it was a marshall in a canoe telling me I was off course and the swim exit was about 50m from where I had swum to. Doh!
OK get out the water, unzip wetsuit, stagger to the bike rack which felt like escaping a maze due to the confusion in my head and new covid safe one way system. OK its cool I’m there. Wetsuit off, towel to dry off feet, socks, bike shoes, glasses, helmet, gloves, bike, jog to bike exit. That really surprised me, loads quicker than last year. I know because last year at Dorney I had a marshal standing over me asking questions because they thought something was wrong, this resulted in a lot of faffing while I also had to make excuses for my MS. Anyway, I’m on the bike head down, pedal and catch a bit of time.
I did hold my own on the bike against the zombie superhumans, thankyou zwift. Coming into transition 2 though despite a lot of brick training through the summer thanks heather. I got back to the bike rack through the maze of one-way systems got my bike racked and got my trainers on. Basically I think I had hit the bike a bit too hard and developed a new feeling you get after the bike called SUPERjellyMSdizzinessDROPFOOTfatigueyJELLYLEG. Its like the normal jelly leg you get for about 500m after the bike but with all the MS symptoms and other crap rolled into one. All I could do for the run was walk quickly, that’s ok it will wear off in a bit and I can jog. Nope it’s still there and I was getting stressed. The thing that really helped in all of this was the other EVO’s that were taking part, I remember Jordan passing me and as she was coming up behind all I heard was “come on Steve be strong you got this” my brain heard it but my legs hadn’t but that really helped. Then I heard Cenk “Come on keep going” I knew he was doing the olympic distance so actually managed to shout back how many laps you got left, I got a reply and shouted back see you when you lap me again then. OK the brain is working a bit more, come on legs give me something. I had a quarter of the run course left that I had walked and looked like an idiot to the zombie superhuman triathletes. Wow the engine had started again and despite it coughing and sputtering petrol the legs were turning and I managed to get to the finish line without stopping, so much so that I ran past the finish line not realising I had passed it, I say run it was more like walking quicker with my feet a bit higher to stop the dropfoot.
Regardless I had another medal and another finish line although it was not much of a finish line I was used too as in a covid safe environment its just a few arrows saying run this way.
Afterwards I was exhausted but that will get better, a little bit pissed off, a little with my legs but mainly with my brain as that was what had beaten me and got the better of me throughout the whole race. I will give it credit it got me through the transitions a lot better which really is the 4th discipline of triathlon but on the other 3 it had made stupid mistakes. Put the gas on when I should have been hitting the brakes (swim start line, then getting overtaken). Overheated the engine so it can’t continue (bike section). Disconnected the wires connecting brain to legs (run section).
This end result was a massive defeat for my confidence. Because I had been doing so many zwift rides and not actually getting out from the fear of being stranded when I did go out for a short ride I was a bag of nerves being unable to clip in at the start of climbs before a stop. Panicking because of oncoming traffic at traffic lights then finally just falling off at the end of the ride making a big scratch on the side of my car.
We then had lockdown 2 then Christmas this reduced the training again as no gyms and quite frankly a lot of it went to shit. I got very stressed and very unmotivated and oxygen had stopped again. Then NYE I got shingles which I can wish upon nobody as it sucks and totally stopped me training even at home as it was just painful. Then lockdown 3 which personally I think has been the worst one.
Why, well no oxygen again = fatigue, no swimming or gyms, Cant train because of shingles and getting quite depressed about it. When the shingles had passed about a month later I could start training again and the commitment was back, I had work to do. To start I was going to run a bit every day before work, just a short distance but it’s a start. In my case it was a massive stop though as the brain got the better of me again, I went in too hard and now I have tendonitis back in my right leg so no running for a while, physio, minimal cycling and yoga.
You have probably got to this point and are thinking I’m a fucking idiot for continuing to break myself but if I’m honest that’s what drives me. The plan I had to do a sprint distance in 2020 went to shit, mainly because of all the superhuman zombie triathletes with their £8000 bikes, £700 wetsuits and carbon fibre super lightweight shoes and expensive personal coaches who tailor their individual training program like they are ivan drago from the rocky films. I don’t want that again and especially in 2021 as it will be even worse than 2020 and undoubtably my brain will win the battle against me and rinse and repeat all over again.
Sooooooo in 2019 I helped out at the superheros triathlon and it was a very stress-free zombie free environment full of the finish lines not finish times crew and not the crush everyone in my way crew. I’m entering the sprint which Is the biggest one which ticks off my goal. My brain will be unable to win this battle of making it shit for me. Mainly though it gives me a chance to try and sort out the weaknesses, get rid of the tendonitis, the ghosts, and the fears that have built up in 2020 ready to then enter some proper events in 2022 and catch up with those fucking medals chrisi has more of at the moment.