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Operation Abba - The Reunion (Just #believe)
"Are you limited by your Challenges" or "are you challenging your limits"

I Live with a Neuromuscular / Spinal Condition and plan to 'Challenging My Limits' by undertaken a Swim, Bike and Run (well jog, well shuffle) at Ironman Kalmar in 2016.

In doing so trying to raise a few pounds for the Brain & Spine Foundation.

I have a Dream!

DragonRunnerby DragonRunnerJun 20th 2013
With just a little over 8 weeks to go until the big day, it must be time for me to start getting into some habits for race day. So a simple question to start off with, with an answer that is going to be different for everyone.

So what are the pre-race routines of other competitors, for not only race day but the days before, the week before? Food & drink wise there are the text book answers of so many grams of carbohydrates per kg of body weight, but what is this in plain english i.e a gel or a slice of malt loaf per hour. I am also interested to know what are some of the other rituals that you simply must do, or you will have a bad day, this maybe a particular piece of music.

I think my theme for the last few weeks must be "Another Town, Another Train"(ing) race. This has seen me travel from Llanelli to Eton, Nottingham to Port Talbot to take part in three endurance events in 13 days, some would say "burning my bridges" but it was something I needed to do.

The first of the three was at Eton Dorney, this was for the Human Race Open Water Swim Series, for the 10k swim. Looking back I was so glad that my open water training had started 2 months ago in North Dock, as even I would admit on the day it was cold. One of my aims of the day was something that I started this blog off with, what would be my energy intake for the swim?. During the last 10k swim at Eton 12 months ago I took on a sports drink and gel at the end of the second loop.

At the time I did not feel that it had any effect on me, so my plan was this time was to try without taking anything on. The first 5k was completed in a little over an hour and half, however the 3rd loop was different, the effects of the cold water had got to my left hand. I can only describe it as freezing in the position I was holding it. This lasted for the best part of the 3rd loop. So with a finishing time of 3 hours 23 minutes, this was a little slower than my previous attempts at this distance. So the gel etc the year before did work even if at the time it felt like the opposite. It was also a pleasure to see other Celtic Tri members making the trip to Eton and have a go at the other distance swims which where going on during the day (5k - Victoria Liddiard-Rees, Sian Roberts, Terry Jones and 1.6k Karyss Hockin and Elfed Joseph). All being well with mind and body I will be back at this event next year.

So a 6 day turn around and it was off to Nottingham for the inaugural Outlaw Half, a Middle Distance Tri based in and around the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont. There were a few areas of my preparations that I wished to try out ready for Kalmar. So time was not a goal for the day, completion yes.

The swim which was a simple loop which went without a hitch, and the plan was not to push the speed anyway, so happy with that segment and the same for T1 where I only forgot some simple items.

The bike leg went as expected and again the plan was to pace myself and not get carried away with speed / time if I was feeling good. The course was good, not flat with but with only one part that could be classed as a hill. Still need to improve my feed / drink intake, as this is really a bad habit. I have however managed in to increase my cadence, so one bad habit down (nearly). As earlier in the day T2 went without a problem, and a bonus my overall time on target. So onto the half marathon, well what can I say it started off well. However after about 4 miles the problems with pain in my feet returned so it was into the familiar survival mode to ensure completion, which has been the normal now for a few events. This continuous stopping was (is) causing problems with me getting into any sort of rhythm. The positive is that I now know something about the medical condition that is causing this problem, so all I need to work out is a plan of action for future events.

One consideration is to change the way in which I tie up my laces, at present the use of elastic laces with my Pes Cavus feels that I am wearing on elastic band around my feet so not getting any relief. It was due to the number of times I was taking my shoes off to rub my feet that this style of laces where introduced, so going to replace with normal laces using a non traditional method to lace up. Also what I am now considering is instead of pushing on until the foot pain becomes a problem is to build into my run plan stops to self massage my feet before it gets to the unbearable pain level, this may mean a short stop at regular intervals no matter how I am feeling.

I will have a chance over the next few weeks to try this out when I completing my long runs. At present playing with the idea of 30 minutes as a target. What I am really hoping for is an improved mind games as it is now a planned stop and not a forced stop.

Anyway the Outlaw Half was a good event overall, my target achieved. The support from all as I was going around was overwhelming and from Andrea Griffiths who had finished well in front of me. I will look to return, if my body holds up or even consider it's big brother the full Outlaw. So onto the last part of the three events, the Wiggle Dragon Ride (Medio Route). This is a sportive that is on my doorstep and also on my Bucket List of events. The ride has 1875m of climbing and it should be these roads I use to train on, however for some reasons I have a mental block on them. The are two big climbs of the Rhigos and the Bwlch, as well as many others. I was really happy with how it went and was on my target time to get to the bottom of the two big climbs. The positives for the day were the 80 miles and 1800+ of climbing was completed fairly comfortable. The bonus for me is that there were a good number of demons put to bed.

At present I am still confused over the results of the medical tests over the last few months, as all I am getting is the observations from these test. What is confusing me is there is no definitive condition been diagnosis other than a "Neuromuscular Condition" which is longstanding, this term is so general it seems someone is afraid to put a tag on the condition. So the saga of a "Atrophy of the Thoracic Spinal Cord" along with "Upper Motor Neurone" signs goes "on and on and on". The wait for further appointments continues and it feels at present as a race against time for me to plan for the future, but as the mantra goes "you're never a loser until you quit trying", and guess what my plan is. Well it is at this point I start wondering what / where the months will take me - I have a dream.
 
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