What’s the difference between a set of false teeth and a weak arse? One makes you laugh, the other makes you cry. Let me explain…
The marathon training has hit a bit of a wall. Four weeks ago – about nine weeks from the big day – I got a bug and missed a week of training. The following week I went back to training and, whilst on a long run, had to pull out at ten miles as my grumbling knee problem really went up a gear. It could have been a lack of stretching, the early start, the new trainers, or just miles on the clock, but it was a watershed for sure.
The week after, I got another bug! This time a vomiting virus that presented itself to me as I was presenting to my whole company at the Octopus Group Kick Off event. Oh the humiliation of public-toilet-based retching.
That adds up to three weeks out of the game. More importantly, it’s a critical three weeks as there’s no time for recovery and rest before the big day. I am faced with a balancing act of pain management, lighter runs, strengthening exercises and prayer. I went for a run yesterday with my marathon training buddies and again bailed at 10 miles. So, with four weekends to go, it’s all looking iffy.
The source of the knee problem is, according to a very nice physio chap, that I have a weak left ‘glute’…aka arse. This causes my knee to twist each time a strike the pavement and, over time, causes pain.
I’ve always sensed that my literal and figurative arse have been a bit on the light side, but to have it confirmed by a professional….well. Let’s just say it was enlightening and humiliating in equal measure.
What to do?
It’s a question of getting the muscle stronger. If I had three months (if only i’d gone to the guy sooner) no problem. But, with time against me, the intensive repair routine started in earnest on Saturday when I asked my mate Pete to accompany me on a bike ride. Bike means good – a bum workout + minimal knee distress. Off we went!
Pete, who has a tendency to enjoy the suffering of others, did a great job of motivating me up Box Hill a couple of times with his ‘left leg, left leg’ mantra. I was depressingly slow. At one point I was passed by roadkill.
Speed aside, it felt good to be out and, on the way home, I decided to attack a couple of lesser hills in a higher gear.
On the final hill of the day, my batteries were running out and I grimaced and cursed on the busy A25. My last outburst combined the F word with a desperate exhale and….thwpah….
…my false teeth went flying into the air and onto the tarmac behind us!
I have false teeth as I am in the middle of having some ‘screw-in’ teeth fitted at the front of my mouth. That’s a long story for another time.
I pulled on the brakes and pivoted to track the trajectory of my temporary teeth, praying to God that they weren’t crushed by a car. The thought of having no teeth for a week whilst the dentist made some more? I tell you, I am not a vain guy, but hillbilly smiles and a constant consonant whistle? Not good!
Luckily the teeth had pinged onto the verge. I clambered after them. A lycra-clad tooth fairy doing the funny bike shoe shuffle. I bent down and, following a quick rinse with the water bottle, popped them back in my gob. Back to normal. Phew!
However, I turned to Pete and he seemed to be in trouble. He was doubled over his bike, dribbling and very, very red. He appeared to be crying? He was having a schadenfreude seizure!
See text below.
Despite the toothless episode, the knee felt pretty good after the ride. Okay, it came unstuck the next day running and hurts like stink today, but at least I can keep my fitness going in the saddle.
The moral of the story?
Well there are lots. Friends find funny things even funnier at your expense. You have to get up and get on with stuff. Innate slowness is not something you shake off with machinery. And, training is a game of highs and lows.
So, the road to recovery continues. My sub 4hrs 30mins goal is going to require a rethink, but I have a very special oil at my disposal to help me through. It’s an oil that cures all doubt, transcends pain and makes you feel like you walk on clouds.