Last week was the Rotorua Half Ironman. It was a bit weird because I turned my entry into a team and had Phil C running for the team. I had it in the back of my mind that if the calf felt good coming off the bike I would do the run at a slow speed just to see what it was like (new run course this year). Ridiculous plan but ...
It was a gorgeously still morning with just the slightest hint of a breeze. The Blue lake was as calm as I've ever seen it. Perfect for the swim.
Because I had changed to a team we started the swim 5 minutes after the men along with all the women. The start was frantic and I think those women are more aggressive than the men. I took a square on clock to the nose at one point that made me say a few 'fucks!' under the water. I had my normal swim. Couldn't seem to draft anyone for more than about 10 strokes, meandered all over the place and found it hard to sight the buoys. I used my normal goggles with out the correction lenses. I'll go back to my home made ones with prescription lenses in them for Tauranga. I came out of the water just under 40 minutes. Wasn't that happy but few years back I would have bitten your hand off for a Sub40 swim. Perspective changes. My biggest problem in the swim was cramp in my right foot. It was agony and again there were a few 'fucks!' I need to work on my foot flexibility to stop those cramps. Bit more kicking in the pool me thinks and less pushing off the wall ... or even more open water swimming! ;)
T1 went OK although I had to concentrate on my legs not cramping. Got out quick enough and onto my bike. Legs felt great and I was off. The bike course had changed due to slips on the original course and it was definitely harder. It seemed to swap some nice flat/rolling hills around the lakes for some hilly stuff around Rotorua Lake. It was actually more enjoyable but harder to keep the average speed up. I was 30 seconds slower this year than last (3:04 this year). Not too bad. I definitely felt stronger and looking at the Strava segments for the hills I was definitely faster on these. I'll take that. I also hit my fastest downhill speed ever with 79.6km/hr on the other side of Hell's Gate. Bit slower going back up 10 minutes later!
I got off the bike and felt great. Saw Phil in transition and we had a lazy swap of the transponder and fixed the race number to his race belt. No need to rush. Phil was off and I was left with an hour and a bit to kill. Calf felt great. My running shoes were sitting there looking at me. What could possibly go wrong. I changed my shoes and set off on the run course. Felt great. 4:40/k pace. Felt easy. This could be good. Might even get my Sub6. Got halfway around the first side of the Blue lake and then the calf went ping. Oh! ... Not a bad pain so I don't think the tear got any worse. I hobbled he 0.87km back and packed my stuff up.
Phil had a great run. 1:28 for the Half Marathon which gave us a top 10 place (10th!) with a 5:16. Oh to be able to run like that. He said the course was much harder than previous years. This seemed to be the general consensus! Bang goes my idea of Sub6 I think.
It's been a week since the race and I've done a few bikes and swims but obviously no running. Calf is different on different days. Two days ago I could hardly walk with how tight and painful it was but then yesterday it was fine. Today it feels fine and I had a great bike on the Tauranga Course. My calf doesn't hurt on the bike (generally) so I wasn't worried about going for it today. I managed to knock a few minutes off my previous best 90k with a 2:46:33 (Average 32.4 km/hr) ... although it took about 30 minutes before I felt I was actually able to push the pace. Pleased with that time though, especially a week after a hard bike at Rotorua (plus my 0.87k run!).
I got new glasses this week and I think the 'weird' first 30 mins were my brain getting used to the view I was getting of the road. I have also got a 'prism' element added to my lenses because, unbeknownst to me, I was compensating for non level eyes by tilting my head to ward off double vision ... all subconsciously. Why did no-one tell me my head was slightly tilted all the time? When I told Jo she said 'oh yeah I suppose you do' ... not sure why the optometrist hadn't seen this before. I was getting double vision at night driving when I was tired and it was all because of the imbalance in the muscles holding my eyes level and when I got tired they sort of gave up and my brain couldn't compensate. Weird!
The new glasses are great and MIGHT even be another piece of the jigsaw to solve my calf issues. When I was riding today, my head position was straight. I now realise that I used to ride with a head tilt to my right. I'm wondering whether I also ran with a head tilt to the right which puts more weight on the right leg and calf maybe. It would explain why it's always the outside soleus muscle that goes. It's another straw that I'm clinging to.
Calf feels good after the ride with no direct pain. Two weeks to go till Tauranga. Not sure when I'm going to test the calf. Definitely after Christmas though.