Quite a Lot of Nothingness

Posted on November 8, 2014. Filed under: Ironman Austria, Ironman UK, Ironmanflu, virgin london marathon, vlm |

*taps microphone nervously*  Hello, it’s me.  Remember me?


It’s been a while.  Since I last wrote, friends have completed their missions to become Ironmen, run marathons, and swum obscene distances. Meanwhile I have sat my well upholstered arse on the laurels of a second ironman and done quite a lot of nothing.


Not absolutely nothing, obviously.  But as close to nothing as is possible and remain a functional human being.  And this is the update – an ensemble of emptiness, a pot pourri of vacuity. But most importantly, a reset, in readiness for 2015.



Straight after Ironman I ran.  Twice.  For a grand total of 10km.  Not much admittedly, but confirmation that the pains in my foot that I  felt during the Ironman run were not just a figment of a fevered imagination.  I promptly called my GP and promptly began a 26 day wait to be seen by said GP.  You will now wait four paragraphs for the prognosis as a vivid simulation of my frustration.



IMG_20140719_112826In July I had a brand new experience.  With no need to don lycra, I actually got up at the crack of dawn to go to an event.  At 3:30am I was mindlessly dressing ready to travel to the swim start of an Ironman.  JUST TO WATCH. And then I stayed out on the course for most of the day supporting a huge number of friends doing Ironman UK.  The “Bolton weekender” is a fantastic event and the day before the Ironman was the MAIN EVENT – Rory’s first race when he became an Ironkid, a 500m race with me in the bouncing rain.  I’m not sure who was more excited as we warmed up with the other “teams” at the start line – in fact, I do.  It was me, getting to run with my wee boy in his first ever race.  It turns out he loves to run, is uber excited about the banana at the end but isn’t too bothered about the Bling.  He’ll learn.


IMG_20140721_224520As well as supporting “my” Ironman, Andrew, Bolton was also a fantastic opportunity to meet some old twitter buddies like Big Dave, Sid the IronMorph and Zoe and I also took the opportunity to “race” head to head with Ironman literary legend Andy Holgate.  It turned out that Andy was so distraught at being beaten by me in the Ironkids race that he promptly threw himself off the bike in the main event and broke his shoulder.  In fact I turned out to be lucky white heather as Zoe broke ribs in the swim and Dave now has excruciating disk problems that he discovered after the race.



IMG_20140721_094847As much fun as I had, however, this isn’t a blog about Ironman UK.  I won’t go through the details of what was a great fun day (and I wasn’t even drinking) but if you are interested in blow by blow reportage from the course I maintained a live twitter commentary which may have been in my own slightly irreverential style.


The only thing that I wanted to say about finally getting to watch an Ironman is that I LOVE IT.  Watching the elites and age groupers suffer equally I realised that Ironman shows absolutely no respect to the athlete.  Everyone will suffer on the Ironman course at some point, some won’t finish, some will finish in pieces but even those that finish strong know that the distance was their toughest competitor.  If you ever want to see the pure magnificence of the human spirit, go and watch an Ironman race.  Proof, if ever any is needed, that if you can control the mind to overcome the wretchedness of fatigue, vomit, blood, chafing and used portaloos, then you can do absolutely anything.  Chapeau Ironmen.



Anyway, 26 days later I got to see the GP and was promptly carted off to the x-ray department at the local hospital.  To cut an even longer story short my big toe and my little toe were broken.  Now this was a bit weird.  When I was on the beach on Ironman morning my feet seemed intact in the standard manner but by the time I got off my bike (without unclipping during the 180km) I had two broken toes. I have given up thinking about it; I can only assume my foot made significant contact with someone’s head in the swim.  At least I now know why I couldn’t turn right as I ran. It does make for an uncomfortable marathon.  Anyway, hey ho.  Onwards and upwards.


The great thing about the delayed prognosis was that I only had to wait a couple of weeks to run once the problem was identified as everything was healing in the appropriate way.  So the time arrived for Run 1. It was truly the ugliest, sweatiest 5k ever.  The day after I hurt a million hurts, a hobbly pathetic specimen of slovenly human.  Three days later was Run 2 – still fugly but a full 3 minutes quicker.  I smiled smugly, I showered, I sat down to bask in the glory, I sneezed.


There began 7 weeks of the angriest chest infection ever.  After only 10 days I conceded and told the condescending doctor’s receptionist I needed an emergency appointment.  As a doctorophobe that is like me dialling 999 and demanding an air ambulance.  I even took the prescribed antibiotics.  After a week of further deterioration I got a second dose of even stronger antibiotics – cue voms, sleeplessness and random narcolepsy.  After 7 weeks, my lungs had cleared but my head and nose were still bunged full of super viscous phlegm and sputum.  So far so sexy.  With clear lungs, I was cleared to get some exercise for the first time in nearly three months.  As exciting as the prospect of this was, it was unlikely to be glamorous.



IMG_20141005_174401Inspired by Rory’s second running medal at the Wee Nessie race, I was ready to get back on the road.


If Run 1 after Toegate was ugly, then Run 1 after Lung-gate was off the scale.  It was a windy day, there was phlegm, the right shoulder of my black t-shirt looked like I had been carpet bombed by a giant squadron of seagulls.  I was guano Dresden.  The joggle was also a completely new kind of slow.  It hurt.  It hurt in so many awful ways.  I hobbled around and when I was asked what hurt most pointing was futile as my body oscillated like a giant, pink blancmange on my crumbling bones and the epicentre of pain proved elusive as a moving target.  “Everywhere” was the simpler, more energy efficient response.


Again Run 2 was better. As it was a colder day I wore a compression baselayer, ostensibly for warmth, but in reality as a giant sporting girdle.  Whether as a result of loosening the legs or harnessing the moobs it was a minute quicker over the 5k course.  Run 3 was another two minutes quicker.  The runs are still a little gobby but at least I feel like I have the use of two lungs again.


I have sat on the bike a couple of times.  I won’t lie –  it was uncomfortable.  The nether regions of iron have softened during the lung and toe sabbaticals and, once again, I start conditioning my arse to cope with a million indignities.


It’s slow, it’s painful and it’s ugly but I am on my way back.




All runs in 2015 will be on sexy paths

So, assuming I don’t break myself again anytime soon what does 2015 look like?  Well, it’s going to be light until I get on top of my immune system again.


Winter will all be about getting read for the London Marathon.  If I can keep my legs intact and my lungs uncongested I would like to get as close as possible to the elusive 4hours, accepting London might not be the place to PB.  I also want to run the 7 hills of Edinburgh and I even want to run an ultra.  26.3 miles is an ultra, right?


On the bike next year I just want to have fun without any need to train like an iron monkey.  I would love to do coast to coast in a day and just ride places I’ve never ridden before.


IMG_20140823_230102Swim wise, I am going to lay off through the winter, but since the Great Scottish Swim has launched a 5k I should probably use that event to lay the long distance swim demons to rest.  I didn’t mention that I did the Great Scottish Swim in August but now that it is at Loch Lomond I would never miss the opportunity to swim there.


Anyway, that’s it for today.  2015 is just going to be about having fun training again. Nothing more, nothing less.







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