Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oh Dear!

I am in S Africa now after a very long hard trip. It took a horrible turn for the worse after we spent the day in Hong Kong with friends Dad. We had fun seeing Hong Kong (Lauren Kyle and I) but i got really tired by the end and then started to feel an upset stomach coming on. Once we got to the airport to check in, S African Airlines wouldn't let Kyle fly as he didn't have a whole page available in his passport for SA customs. So we took his box and the 3hrs early that we got there completely evaporated and we had to race to our gate, no lounge time other then some Asian food I felt disgusted eating. Closer to our flight at midnight things got even worse as I couldn't eat a thing and my stomach was killing me. Then shortly after taking off it was clear I had food poisoning likely from the Korean food we at at the airport the night before. I then spent the next 7hrs of the 13.5hr flight in the bathroom for stints up to 15mins. Everyone was asleep so at least there weren't people banging on the door. I basically threw up everything I had eaten during that day the first couple of times to the bathroom. I was then just getting dehyrated out the other end in between being curled up in agony in my seat. The frequency settled about 7hrs in to the flight to where it was once an hour or a little less so I caught a little bit of sleep after taking lots of Pepto.

I struggled through the rest of the very long journey here to Richards Bay which was a 1hr flight from Johburg to Durban and then a 2hr bus ride. I am now contending with a fever and I am beyond the point of tiredness.

Hopefully I will feel a little better tomorrow.

PS. A bit more on Korea but I am too tired to write more:
Korea was cold and a boring pack ride where no one worked and then I just didn't have the speed for the start of the run. I came good about 4-5km in and flet strong the rest of the way. I am hoping the shock of the run start is now settled into my legs and I am better prepared for this weekend.

Things will hopefully turn around in the next day or two.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Back at it!

Well, after consulting and being treated by the Medical team at home: Doctor, Steve Keeler; Orthopedic Surgeon, Charles Nelson (who consulted a plastic surgeon); Chiro, Rob Hasegawa; Massage Kim Ward and Gibson Brown and having a CT Scan two days after arriving it was still clear I had a fractured scaphoid and torn intercostals in my chest. However, Charles and plastic surgeon both said I was at low risk of doing more damage to my wrist ie displacing bone fragment by training and racing. They had me go get a custom removeable cast to wear while I wasn't training and then I would just tape my wrist for swimming and cycling.

With this good news in hand, I then had the difficult task of booking new flights to the next two world cups in South Korea and South Africa.

.........more to this story once I arrive in Hong Kong.......................

PS I already raced S Korea, had a solid race but still not at my level but came 16th.

More on that later.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Not so bad considering...

The second attempt at my first world cup of the season went a little better then the first...I made it to the finish:-)  However, after a week of trying to get my wounds and such healed, I wasn't sure how the race fitness was going to be.  With not being able to train properly and having already taken a week recovery for Mooloolaba more rest may make me less sharp.  I just had to got out and see what would happen.

With my ribs still quite sore and my wrist possibly fractured I decided to have a go at getting my top 8 that I need as a part of my Olympic qualifying anyways.  I figured,I might have a fracture and may not be able to race after so I might as well suck up the pain and have a go.  

Thankfully I only got kicked twice in then hand while swimming (only small tears filling up my goggles, so I could still mostly see) and I exited the water in the thick of the main group just behind the lead group of 7-9 athletes.  After struggling to pull off my wetsuit (a few more tears) I leaped onto my bike (one more tear) and proceeded to work with a small group of guys in a bunch of 30 or so to reel in the leaders within a couple of laps.  A few attacks were launched but it wasn't until a group of 8 got a away that I thought "this one might stick and I should be a part of it."  So myself, Paul Tichelaar, Andrew Johns, Maik Petzold and a couple others worked for just over a lap to seperate from the main group and bridge across to the breakaway.  I could have sat in the main group and rested for the run but with all that I had gone through with my crash I was unsure of how my legs would perform on the run and decided the break was a good option.  

After building or lead to about a minute heading into transition I wanted to hit the run hard and at the front and hope the body was there to finish strong.  I worked hard to get there but within a km of so it became apparent that the crash had taken its toll on me.  I had struggled through the swim but put everything out there to position myself as best I could.  Once on the bike my legs were heavy and I felt like I never got comfortable and with my back seizing and quad going numb it was very apparent the body was struggling.  In the run this tightness in my back and quad lingered and I couldn't feel the run that I had been experiencing in training prior to my crash.  I stayed positive and encouraged myself to keep my head up and the legs turning over.  With our third country slot for Olympics resting on my personal ranking every position was important regardless of how I was feeling.  I had moments of fluid running throughout the 10k but not enough to put a whole solid run together.  I finished with all the strength I had and was happy to have gotten through the race.  I still managed an 18th place and actually moved our country ranking up to 5th out of 8 with three spots.

With the race completed and my muscles sore, wrist and ribs throbbing, I had to look forward to my xrays Monday morning that would possibly dictate the rest of my trip.  

After sneezing Sunday evening and feeling something pop or tear in my upper chest and my wrist more sore then ever my optimism had been deflated.  After a restless night and a painful roll out of bed I walked down to the clinic early Monday morning.  After the lady's at the clinic rushed me through the xray process it was immediately evident I had just raced on a fractured scaphoid and a badly bruised or torn muscle in my chest as there was no fracture of a rib.

With my xray's in hand I then consulted the emergency doctor as well as the Kiwi National team doc John Hellemon.  Both were clear that the best thing was not to Race Again on it next weekend in Ishigaki, Japan and have it plastered and head home.

So with half cast on and a complicated process of changing and canceling of plane tickets I am headed back to Victoria.  Current prognosis is 4-6 weeks in a cast and then rehab after.  I will consult with the medical team back home to look as expedited options and where to go from here.

I will still be running, riding the trainer and being creative in the pool with a waterproof cast.  So all is not lost but only changed.  I am frustrated but not disheartened.  This is just another hurdle in my career as an athlete and an opportunity to meet the challenge and rise to the occasion.  It will make me a stronger athlete and person.

Thanks to all those that continue to support me and I will be back at it in now time!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Race number one! Lets try Again!

I have arrived at another night before the race and again I am feeling “good” and “ready to race.” I put these in quotes because my fitness and preparedness is good and ready to race however my body is still recovering from a fairly traumatic crash.

Three days after crashing at the Mooloolaba world cup I was still finding new bruises, sore spots and road rash. I found that I had a bruised rib after trying to do tumble turns in the pool once arriving into New Plymouth, New Zealand. I found a little more road rash on the back of my knee and hip as well as a deep bruise on the top of my hipbone and shoulder blade.

With this all tallied up and accounted for my road rash has significantly improved, some even completely healed. A thanks goes to my friend Rodeena at the Noosa Hospital for checking my wounds and supplying what is now the best thing ever for road rash. It is self-adhesive breathable protecting gauze that you leave on up to 7 days and the skin repairs itself underneath. It rocks!

My bruises and tightness have settled after a massage on Friday morning with some Arnica to help the tissues repair. Having not done a 40km bike and 10km hard run last week I don’t have the damage from racing to recover from…just crashing at 45km/hr.

I have been receiving mixed reviews on my sprained/fractured wrist and have seen the Kiwi National team doctor for a third review. He believes it could be a fracture of a scaphoid as my sore wrist and swelling has improved but the small area at the base of the thumb (some thing some thing snuff box, can’t remember) is still very tender and hasn’t improved. The Kiwi doc seems to think I can race as long as I don’t do anything more traumatic to it…please don’t kick me in the hand fellas! So I will be going for an X-ray on Monday morning before I leave to Ishigaki, Japan on Wednesday morning. If it is fractured, I may have to give the next two races a miss in order to get my wrist plastered and fixed for World Champs.

Other then these small details, I can swim hard with only some achy ness in my wrist and riding is fine as long as I don’t sprint out of the saddle…No Problem…there’s only a few hills on the course so I can suck it up for those. And running of course I feel great and look forward to finally putting down a good run off the bike to start the season.

Here’s to a second attempt and race number one!