I had not played football for two weeks and could feel my legs tighter than normal.
The night before the match I went down to 3G field to test my left foot. I had a toe nail removed two days earlier, and I did not know if I could play in my boots.
When I put my boots on, the foot felt no pain. I started playing in a friendly match. I had not played for two weeks and it felt good to run around. I played for 60 minutes at a 80% to 90% level. When I got home I could feel the fatigue set in and I was dehydrated. I was concerned what this would mean for the match the next day.
The next day, I turned up to the match feeling tightness in my right quadricep. A result of pushing too hard the night before and not playing for two weeks. I tried to release it but it was too close to match day.
I warmed up carefully and we were playing on a heavy pitch with cut grass on top. The ball moves slowly and it was heavy to run on. Our opposition were aggressive and fast in the forwards. This meant a lot of running and tackling.
At the 70 minute mark my quadricep and calf muscles started to cramp. I lasted another 10 minutes and then had to substitute myself. It was silly choosing to play football the night before the match. I won’t be doing that again.
I continued my normal nutrition post match (SIS recovery drink and three OTE carbohydrate bars). I put on my compression clothing but no time for cold bath.
I noticed a team mate eat eggs and toast after the match, and then he needed to lie down and have a sleep. I was alert and had no feelings of hunger. I am very happy with my post match nutrition.
If I summarise my plan for the next match;
Drink full bottle of rehydration drink during match, have recovery drink and Carbohydrate bars post match, ice bath and wear compression clothing.
To add to this is a stretching programme 2-3 days post match, foam roll to relax leg muscles, and mid week speed session on legs. I would eventually like to shift towards whole food recovery meals.
When I play football matches I do not get to play tennis. When I have training sessions I can play tennis. Cycling has not started yet.
This weekend we had a training session. It was an easy session and my legs felt good. My toe was pain free and the stiffness in my legs had gone.
I am now away for the next two weekends. I must keep my heart rate and fitness up over this time. Plan is to do midweek speed sessions, get rid of muscle stiffness and stiffness in spine (use Gravity device see http://www.physical-edge.com) and try to simulate football conditions in a 45 minute sessions (jog- sprint- change direction- ball control under pressure and passing. I could do this on a Friday night on 3G pitch).
This weekend we had our first football match of the season. The lead up to the weekend was not ideal. I had not eaten enough due to work commitments and I bought ready made food to eat on the run.
I did not get to the bike shop to buy my OTE carbohydrate bars and alkalising water was only done the day before the match.
I played a full 90 minutes. The first half was good, but the second half I could feel myself tiring. My legs did not cramp. I made sure I drank my rehydration electrolyte.
After the match, I drank my recovery drink, but, I could feel my body wanting more food to eat. I had no OTE carbohydrate bars and a 25 minute drive home.
When I got home I was starving and the food available to eat included chips, fish fingers, chickpeas (spiced) and eggs. No vegetables or salad were available to eat. The family sat down to eat and I ate as my body felt it needed food.
After such a heavy meal we all felt tired. My body felt heavy, lethargic, and sore from the football match. To compound the load on my body, I did not get a chance to ice bath, alkalise my water or put my recovery leggings on.
I think my body was not recovering well, with the food I was eating or the lack of alkalising, or acute muscle trauma care. I do not want to feel like this again.
In the match my fitness in the second half has to improve. I will plan what I will do during the week to help. I hope I get fitter the more I play. I have not got the speed of the faster players. I will look at working harder on fitness and the speed I can generate.
This week is important to have optimal nutrition and alkalise my water. It was interesting to compare how I felt, after having 2 weeks of good rehydration and nutrition, and then having a down week.
Preparation is important all week, pre match and post match.
Week 4 was a week of building on our understanding of what AFS is about and enhancing our understanding of 3 Dimensionality. AFS is more than 3D motion of the body. It is a look at the Mind, body, and spirit as 3D and the Physical, Biological and Behavioural sciences as 3D. When one dimension is changed it will change the other two dimensions. This concept is important when considering not only our own lives but the lives of those we treat e.g. If we alter the body of a client it will also influence the mind and spirit of that person.
This week wanted to build on the introduction to Nomenclature and also the biomechanics of bone and joint motion in the extremeties and the spine. A new concept called”Pivot” was explained and how it can be linked with lunge matrices.
The Foot was discussed in detail and how it functioned in gait. A key point is the Subtalar joint and how it operates as a torque converter i.e. converting frontal plane motion of the calcaneus into transverse plane motion up the chain.
A bit of fun was had with Gary doing a surfin joe talus to remind us of the free Talus and how it goes with the flow.
I think a key analysis skill I have learnt from the learning opportunity and learning about real and relative joint motion is, to look at the motion being performed, see the drivers and how they are influencing the bones of the joint, identify the speed and the direction the bones are moving and then describe the joint motion. I think seeing and feeling what is happening in any situation is realistic.
In the Matters that Matter documents GI highlighted the importance of spending time on what was important and not urgent. Also, true hospitality is when the host becomes the servant and the stranger becomes the guest.
Finally the Transcending truths create an umbrella over all other truths and they are the rule of 3D, everything is driven, every person is unique, create a chain reaction, encourage the transformation of others.
Challenge Barceona-Maresme 2013 Iron Distance race report
SWIM:- 02:00:37 Position 1105
BIKE:- 06:06:41 Postion 844
Run:- 04:55:18 Position 883
TOTAL RACE TIME 13:16:25
Where to begin?
Nine months of training and dedication came down to one day of effort. The day started with an early wake up and my mandatory 400g of MOMA Bircher Muesli for brekkie, down stairs in the hotel to meet a couple of fellow competitors and the kilometre walk down to Transition to get the bike set up and ready, tires pumped, nutrition on board spare tubes and gas canisters ready.
A quick walk back up to the hotel to stick the wetsuit on, HUUB really do rock and Deano at HUUB has been a fantastic support for us.
Obligatory Sportstiks body tattoos in place promoting Harrison’s Fund and then an excited nervous walk down to the beach for the start with friends and fellow competitors Gary and Jamie. I felt fine more excited than anything else but not too nervous, I knew what I needed to do, I’d talked with my brother JJ, a team GB elite performance coach about the race and executing each element to plan and felt an overwhelming confidence that I had done the training and could trust that training to get me through.
At 8:30 the pros went off and 12 minutes later the horn sounded for my age group the 35-39 year olds to get going. Into the water and quickly into my stroke feeling strong and going great. The first 800 meters or so was with the tide and I was moving quickly and strongly through the water. At the turn though and into the long 2.3k swim up the coast against the tide things got pretty tough. I had a few goggle malfunctions as they started to fill with water so had to stop and re-adjust a few times. The water got a lot choppier and I was both really struggling to sight and struggling to keep my form whilst fighting the waves. One fellow competitor decided it would be a good idea to grab both my ankles, he received a short sharp forearm and a cross word and I got on with my race again.
I started to feel quite sick about a third of the way down this leg of the swim and ended up throwing up four times in the sea, I can confirm throwing up mid stroke in sea is not much fun at all. A quick look at my watch alerted me to the fact that I was slow today and that I really needed to get a move on or face missing the 2:15 cut off. The last buoy finally arrived and I emerged from the sea having taken 2:00:37 a full 40 mins slower than my average time. I’ve never swum for 2 hours in my life and was pretty tired from the effort. A moment of disappointment, thinking my time goal of 12:30:00 was no longer achievable was quickly replaced by the determination to execute the next two legs, the 180k bike and 42.2k run flawlessly.
T1 went well, quick change and out to get the bike, fantastic to find Gary in T1 about to get on his bike too and we left together on to the bike course. An undulating two 73km laps and a short 30km lap followed by the short burst back into transition. First lap was great, quite tough but I was averaging almost 20mph and making sure I was all over my nutrition strategy. Second lap started brilliantly with high fives for Harrison and William at the turn and I put the power down for the 2nd lap until the heavens opened with the worst thunder storm and lightening I have ever experienced, at one point the cliff let loose with a land slide and I was cycling in water up to my pedals. Thankfully an uneventful steady third lap and I was in to T2 after a bike split of 06:06:41 to rack the bike and change for the marathon leg.
Every run I have had off a long bike to this point had been incredibly tough for the first 7-8km but today the running gods were smiling on me and I felt strong straight away. The support out on the course from family, friends, the HURTS team (Herts University Research Triathlete Study)… there must have been 300-400 of them on the course supporting was truly incredible!
My strategy from the off was to split the run up into sections and get nutrition on board regularly. I ran between every aid station and walked through each to get fluids and food on board. It worked a treat and the dreaded ‘wall’ never appeared and the laps fell away and my continuous smile… I really was loving it, never faltered. Seeing my family every 5km or so was so uplifting, it’s hard to describe how much having then there meant to me, I love them all dearly for making the effort, it was an endurance event in itself being out there in all weathers for over 13 hours!
Every lap ended with running through the Grandstand and past the finish line, with one lap to go I came through at 32k still feeling great and Dr Justin Roberts, our study lead and 4 time Ironman got on the microphone, ‘Come on Alex Smith, getting it done, 1 lap to go …..cooooome OOOOON!!’
I shouted back, I’ll see you in an hour! A bit ballsy given this was the final 10k of a very long day but Justin has always said, if you’re still in it at the 30k point then that is the time to go balls out for a time. In hindsight I could definitely have pushed harder and done sub 1 hr for that final 10k but decided to stick with what was going well in my first Ironman and just get the job done.
40km in and the emotions of it all and the thought of seeing Harrison and William at the finish line got the better of me and I pretty much sobbed for a km but got it together for the run in to the grandstand. Harrison and William were there ready to cross the line with me hand in hand and arms raised high. ‘I’m a fucking Ironman! 13hours 16mins 25seconds… not bad considering the terrible swim.
Justin was there to give me my medal, a truly special moment, he has been such a support even through the heartbreak of getting injured himself in the run up to Barcelona and having to pull out. Can’t thank him enough for everything!
Donna asked me on the finish line, ‘How was it?’ my reply, ‘in all honesty, that was easier than doing the London Marathon’ If you train, if you dedicate yourself to a task and do the work, then you can achieve anything, and make it feel easy. *sort of.
Will I do it again? Definitely! Absolutely loved every minute of it!
The euphoria of the finish was sadly tempered when we found out that one of our HURTS team had lost his life in the swim, I had been chatting with him on the beach before we got in the water and to think that behind me in the water a new friend had gone, is heart breaking. Ironman is a tough, extreme sport and this happens too often in my opinion and almost without fail in the swim leg….surely something can be done to further mitigate the chances of this happening?!
My final thank you’s go to my supporters over the last 9 months, JP ‘The reshape Coach’ on the fitness side, Gary and Chris at ‘Anatomy in Motion’ Deano at HUUB, Jenna at Sportstiks, Dash cycles, Castelli Café, Dry Robe, Rocco, Fernanda for her weekly massages, Gary ‘Head of Sponsorship’ Smith and Justin for unwavering support! The whole HURTS crew for supporting Harrison’s Fund and delivering such epic support on course and finally Donna for letting me find a sport I now love and letting me put the training in… it’s not been easy and I’m looking forward to spending much more time with them and less time on a bike in the Surrey Hills.
That is until of course hopefully Ironman Austria next year and Challenge Roth the year after…. I do still want that six pack
Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, Run 26.2 miles, Brag for the rest of your life – I apologise to you all already