15 February 2011: Running on 2 legs again

It feels like a long time since I have updated here - then I realised that it was. When you haven't written anything for some time you feel as though you then need a momentous occasion to write about to kick start things again. Or at least something exciting, amusing or new. Sorry to disappoint! Whilst things of earth-changing and significant meaning have occurred throughout the world, things for me personally have been bubbling along at a much more sedate pace. Never boring but just perhaps more mundane - just getting things done. Having said that though, the last week or two has been cause for small celebrations. At Clearwater World Champs 70.3 last year my legs collapsed under me (literally). I knew I was in trouble when I could not navigate the first corner after the bridge with my right leg not working and was all of a sudden down on the pavement. Three or four more leg give-outs (and trips to the pavement) later and I was reduced to a semi- jog just to finish the race. Despite the evidence in training that I was fit and race ready, the plan really did not unfold as expected and I was unable to find an explanation, especially as in every other way I felt fine. It has taken a couple of months but finally the story is unfolding, and what made 2010 so disappointing is heralding good news for 2011. It seems that at some point over the past season or two a small injury created some muscular imbalances leading to compensations in muscle recruitment and inefficient movement patterns. Being strong enough (and stubborn enough) to compensate for the inactive and injured muscles, I was able to continue training and racing by recruiting other muscles. I was initially in no pain and so it was easy to mask the problems, despite the fact that the effect was being felt in my dropping performances. Eventually I did develop pain and towards the end of the season last year was in considerable discomfort. However I think the mind takes over and I was so determined to get through the season, and training was going so well in all other aspects, that I was willing to put up with pain and discomfort and get through the year. However even after the end of the season and a small break from training my symptoms worsened - not only was I getting pain down my entire right leg and butt, but I was also experiencing altered feeling and sensation (or lack of) in various parts of my leg. I could feel the lack of strength in the leg and was uncomfortable walking, sitting and even lying. Running? forget it. Now a few months later, several MRI scans, many doctors and specialists appointments and lots of time at the physio and massage, and I am beginning to see the light as well as get to the bottom of the problem. Thankfully there is nothing dangerous or major going on - it seems as though a couple of small tears, some minor tendinosis and small hematomas were enough in a small area to create neural issues down through my right leg. Meaning pain, but more the issue as an athlete, loss of strength and function. Effectively meaning that I was training and racing on one and half legs for the last season - and that eventually my leg shut down completely at Clearwater. So right now I am working hard on several fronts - reducing inflammation that is effecting neural pathways; breaking up scar tissue in chronically tight muscles that have been overworking and have 'trapped' nerves within them; strengthening other muscles that have been 'switched off'. Lots of physio and massage time as well as lots and lots of mental effort for every movement and quite a bit of patience. However the end result will be that I will be back running on 2 legs again - and I can't help but think that in my profession that has got be be beneficial!!