#67: Tri Training for Dummies? Watch out for speed bumps

That’d be me folks

The week started out with a few obstacles that I knew were coming down the path….and a few that were unexpected.  The first (expected) was that my swim training was going to be thrown off a bit with my normal “Y” doing some pool maintenance for the week.  Although this was a little bit of an inconvenience, with some planning, not a huge deal, something I could overcome by dropping-in somewhere nearby.  The next was that my weekend “long” sessions were going to be tough to get b/c this weekend was to be one of the peaks of winter-season kid-activity craziness, which meant my sessions during the week would have to be nearly perfect.  It was supposed to end there……but as you might suspect, it didn’t.

Monday = planned day off, but it was gorgeous outside and I had to drop my car off for service…..why not ride home from the service station right?  Save a little gas and someone from having to follow me there….win-win.  So I got about an hour of rolling hills in and felt GREAT to be outside…..an unplanned (extra) hour making it even better.

And then there was Tuesday

Was able to swim early in the day (sometimes things just workout) and felt like it was a productive session working on form and technique.  The best part about it is this would leave me the time to do a run-strength-run session while the sun was still shinning, a luxury that I don’t take lightly this time of year.  So, trying to cash in on the luxury I figured I’d run 3-ish to BaseCamp31, get a 20-30 min strength session in and then run back.  A nice +/-6 miles of running and some strength.  The first 3 went well…..legs felt good, fitness was fine to run a solid pace even keeping it “easy”.  Got to BaseCamp31 and got in 20 minutes of strength work……turned the Garmin back on and headed out the door for the last three.  I got to a stoplight where I had to cross the highway and when the lights were in my favor started the watch and made my way.  For some reason crossing the highway is always a little tenuous for me, there’s the safety issue of course (pedestrians only have the right of way per the law…..real world rules often have a different interpretation), but also, I hate the feeling that a bunch of impatient people in their cars are cursing me as I scamper across the intersection……I probably shouldn’t care, but I know how frustrated I get as the driver, so I try to get across quickly.  As I made my way across I jumped a curb in stride to get onto the shoulder of the roadway.  All was well except that in the next step I landed on a rut of soft soil and felt a bit of a snap as my L heel torqued.  Tenderness but nothing major so I kept moving.  By the time I finished, the heel was stiff….never a great sign, so I iced and popped some ibuprofen and figured I’d have a sore day or so……sort of.

When Wednesday morning rolled around I was looking a little less like an Ironman and a little more like the tin-man as I put my stiff and achey feet down on the floor and gingerly made my way to the shower.  This should have been the obvious sign for me to pay attention, but (right on cue), I muttered to myself those fateful words that every athlete says right before making a mistake “nah, I’m good”. I’ll just continue to RICE it and move on I figured…..or something.  By Wed midday I was feeling 75% so I figured a swim would be the right choice and it went fine.

Thursday was more of the same, except by the end of the day I was feeling about 90%, without any notable issue….cool.  So I figured what better way to test the heel than to run for an hour.  This probably would have been OK, except I made 3 critical mistakes in my planning:

1. I decided I’d jump in for 8-ish miles with a guy who is a solid runner, who would undoubtedly push me, which on most occasions is a real benefit to my training

2. That run was to be on a very soft trail at night, which a bit counterintuitively actually makes the foot and leg “stiffen” more during impact

3. I couldn’t resist a couple of slices of veggie-pizza somewhere around 30 minutes before going out.

So we set out and I was doing OK…..but by mile 3-ish, I could feel that veggie pizza in the pit of my stomach, never a fun sensation.  By mile 4 at the turn, the heel was also starting to talk-back some……and by mile 5, I was fighting.  The next three miles were not pleasant; I was having a hard time deciding what was worse the discomfort on each step or the small alien that I was convinced was attempting to bore through my abdomen.

By mile 6, I’m guessing it was getting pretty obvious that I was battling (even though it was dark outside) as Bill said “You OK?” and I offered back “I’m second guessing my choice of pre-run fuel….veggie pizza” to which he simply responded “oooh”.  And taking pity on me (probably b/c every runner has experienced the misery I was going through) he said “we can slow it down if you want”, which I wanted to badly, but wouldn’t allow myself b/c I didn’t want to drag down his session…..I decided to keep after it and see if I could finish the now 2 miles remaining.

Today’s Training Objective: RUN IN PAIN

OK, this is just weird
As I was running along, I found myself thinking that maybe this pain was a good thing since it was so similar to what I experienced last year on the marathon portion and such a big barrier for most ultra-distance athletes…..so why not accept it and get better at battling through.  And thus, onward.  At this point my heel was really barking, but the stomach pain was the worse of the two so it kept my mind off the heel at least.  By mile 7.5 I was HURTING.  Bill must’ve thought I was going to die b/c my breathing sounded loud even to me and I was undoubtedly struggling to keep the pace.  By the time we got to the parking area I thanked him for pulling me through and apologized for the need take off quickly.  He understood and we parted ways.

A lesson in Hurt vs. Harm

Hurt vs. Harm is a concept I often discuss w/people who are seeking out my professional opinion for a variety of aches and ailments……but I guess I needed a personal refresher course.  By Friday AM, I was PAYING for my stupidity.  I stepped out of bed and WOW, pain shot up my L heel and I hobbled to the shower…..’harm’.  I decided right then and there that Friday would be the “off day” I didn’t get on Monday….or at least that’s how I justified my now forced recovery day, knowing this is not the time to push the pain too far.  

Saturday I got an hour in on the bike of aerobic work and felt no worse for the wear, a good thing, but still pretty achey all day.

This morning (Sunday), I woke up with continued stiffness and discomfort and without much relief in the heel during the day, I decided it would be prudent to sit here and type my blog with ice on my heel instead of trying to squeeze in some training time.  

Do Over?

This clearly was NOT my intended start to the formal training portion of my year and I was only able to amass a whopping 5.25 hours of training time this week…..not great and actually 3 hours LESS than transition week which is somewhere around a 8 hour net loss of what I was expecting; but it’s the wise choice if I want this to heel to, well, heal.  

And so I’m calling a mulligan and hoping to not lose much ground on the grand scheme.…..but I should be able to swim and ride without much issue…..so maybe it’s just back to the pool and bike trainer.

No grades to report……just going to get some rest and come back ready to work.

Beware the uneven ground,

Mike E.


  • Anonymous

    I really like that image with the groaning feet 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Interesting, Very interesting…..