I have decided that getting old is quite simply slightly (no very) rubbish. How have I come to this conclusion? Well I have nothing fitness wise to compare to apart from my age group training and racing in my 30’s, which was cut abruptly by this knee injury.
I am back on the training roller coaster and I simply cannot knock out what I used to knock out ten years ago. This does not sit well with me! While I was stressing about this whole ‘old before my time knee replacement crappiness’, ten years of age snuck past me without noticing and now I am trying to drag this much older ass into the same training schedule I used to have before. It is not working!
When I first started training and racing in multisport, I was in my mid 30’s. I would knock out 2 x daily training sessions (morning and evening) with a full days work in the middle. I did this day after day, 4 – 6 days a week for 5 years. How on earth did I do that, I wonder now!
My last race for GB was in 2012. It will be near on 8 years by the time I get back to a multisport start line again. I didn’t give that incredible gap too much thought, till this week. 8 years. That is almost a decade. I will have gone up TWO age groups since the last time I raced. 8 years of NOT doing any regular structured training. That pretty much equates to starting again from scratch. I also did not give that much thought either when I entered the Challenge Wanaka Aquabike race in Feb 2020.
mid to late 30’s is quite quite differed to mid to late 40’s, with a metal knee replacement to boot. Have a set a goal that is just a tiny bit too high?
Reality check on racing
So what if I have. I have given this some thought. Ok, it would be pretty damn cool to be able to construct a race day that got me a qualifying time for team NZ. I cannot pretend that that would be pretty freaking awesome. But, lets reality check for a moment.
Even if I do not get a fast enough time for that… getting from the start line to the finish line of a multisport middle distance race again, almost a decade after my last one will be a pretty amazing achievement on its own! Most people only take a couple of years off for an injury, just to get some perspective.
Not only that, the race distance is a 3km swim and a 120km bike ride. At threshold race pace. That distance would be a great achievement for anyone, much less for someone who had a knee replacement just a year before the race.
Special goals mean special training
I think that this is something that I will not be able to do on a wing and a prayer. the training for this race is of a size that I cannot squeeze it in in multiple sessions a day like I used to when I was sprint training. This is quite a different beast.
On the lead up to the knee replacement this was something I started struggling with. I have been working on building up the swim fitness again. What I am struggling to do is fit in long swims (60 mins+). I do not struggle with the distance, just the time management of the thing! I have covered 3lm (120 lengths) in the pool, so I know that I can do this. What I now need is consistent swimming on a weekly basis to maintain the fitness, even if it is not the entire 120 lengths each and every week.
This is where things are proving to be quite challenging. My cycling was always short and fast. That type of training was really easy to fit in around work and other stuff. Long and steady is a lot harder to fit in. That plus the winter restrictions on daylight hours means that I am finding it all really quite challenging.
I think this calls for something quite different. So I am going to try the virtual world. I only have to buy one small digital upgrade to my trainer and I am going to try Zwift: virtual riding with others around the world, on courses all around the world.
The digital world has not been something I would consider when cycling, I never saw the point staying indoors when travelling in a forwards direction with scenery passing by was always more preferable. That was always whey I hated running on a treadmill. However, the race is in the mountains and I live on the Southland plains. Not a godforsaken hill for miles and miles. So I think I need to adopt a different approach to give myself even half a chance.
The rest of life!
In knee replacement land, things are going ok all things considered. I can now do these three things, which I believe is rare. Specially the kneeling part. My balance on the right leg has been off for a lot of years. I am not only trying to restore this but also fix all the lost years BEFORE the knee replacement. So the fact that I managed a balancing superman on the TKR leg at last really did please me!
The kneeling thing, I have just kept on doing it, right from the first time I tried it 9 weeks post op. At first I had to use a soft surface. As I got used to the weirdness that is kneeling on a prosthetic joint, I just kept on doing it over and over until the weird was no longer feeling quite as weird. Now lets not pretend here, i have not managed to get up from kneeling, leaving the TKR knee on the floor (but I have managed it the other way round). Time will tell, I will keep practicing!
Only recently was sitting cross legged actually pain free. YAAS!
This is a freeze frame from this month’s vlog update on knee progress. This shows the difference between max flexion left and right leg. An orthopaedic surgeon from the UK spotted this photo on my Instagram profile and said the following:
‘That is the result of a shed load of hard work. I am seriously impressed! And I have been putting knee replacements in for 25 years so I have seen a fair few!’
Thank you Mr Walczak!
Here is the 9 month video blog update:
And the final news this week….. our wedding anniversary! My dear husband has put up with 16 years of my madness, injuries, race obsessions and much more. There are no words sufficient to thank him for his constant support throughout everything!
We went out for a lovely meal, which involved me wearing proper clothes and proper shoes, even makeup! All quite rare in the life of a self employed personal trainer!