Blog: Picking up the pieces

It’s now been a couple of weeks since I pulled out at 30km in the World Champs Marathon. Pulling out sucked! I still cannot believe I had to do that. I have been so critical of athletes who have failed at major championships, and now it appears I have become one of them. My record currently stands at 0 from 2, and it really disappoints me that my stats so far are way less than desirable. I guess the only way is up.

Anyway, a quick rundown on what happened just before I pulled out. About 25km into the race, my calves started to tighten up on me, with the outside of my right soleus bearing the brunt of the tightness, and by 29km it had gotten really tight. I had tried running at the highest and lowest points on the course throughout the race, but it had not helped. Then, around 100-200m before 30km, it became unbearable and I hobbled across the final timing mat I would reach for the day. I turned off the course, took the Australian singlet off, limped away to the athletes area, tried to make sense of the million things running through my head, and then sat down trying to tell myself that didn’t just happen. Unfortunately, it had just happened. I was somewhat comforted by seeing the likes of Gebre Gerbremariam and Abderrahim Goumri back there as well, but it still didn’t ease the pain I was in physically and mentally.

The human pin cushion

Since then, I have been trying to get to the bottom of why I suffered the cramps, and also trying to rehab my leg. From the photo above, you can see one of the things I have been doing is dry-needling. Stephen Esposito of Kingsford Chiropractic Clinic has been the lucky person getting to stick me with needles and I really owe him a great deal of thanks for helping me out. It’s an interesting treatment, and not for those with a fear of needles. I don’t have the fear “consciously”, but sub-consciously my body doesn’t like it, giving me sweaty palms and feet every time the needles are about to go in. It is definitely working, but like many other treatments, just because it works for me, it doesn’t mean it works for everyone.

In addition to the dry-needling, I have also had Heidi massaging my calves and feet pretty deeply. Due to my calves being so problematic, I’ve needed deeper treatment than normal, which means Heidi has had to work very hard. Saying that, as uncomfortable as the needling and massage has been, it has allowed me to be able to build the running back up to an hour a day pain free. I still feel a bit tired and sore, but thats just part and parcel of building back up from a major event and downtime.

I have also had my NSWIS strength and conditioning coach, David Young, do an assessment on me and we have found plenty of weaknesses to work on. He is working with Brent Kirkbride and Merryn Aldridge on a plan of attack to correct EVERYTHING. I know that we are going to go back to basics on a few things; simple things like arch strengthening, wobble boards and calf raises. Daily exercises are going to be the order of the day, but I will do whatever it takes to get my body right and strong enough to continue training and competing for a number of years to come. The next couple of weeks are going to be time-demanding, with lots of extra things to do in addition to working, sleeping, eating, running, spending time with Heidi and our friends and general life. I only get one running career, and I need to get it right.

Keep running, and remember the one-per-centers.


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