Sunday, January 30, 2011

Taranaki Cycle Challenge

I'd always planned to do the Taranaki Cycle Challenge. My parents live in Stratford, so I can stay with them and drive there on the morning, plus it's the week of Dad's birthday so I am usually up there anyway. It's also a lovely ride, circling round Mt Taranaki. I did it back in 2009 and had a great time, despite being in pain with a hip injury.

Unfortunately this year it just wasn't to be. From a couple of weeks out meteorologists were predicting that we'd get hit by a cyclone, and as the day grew closer Cyclone Wilma presented an ever growing threat. To add to that, I suddenly developed right piriformis issues. I've been having trouble with my left piriformis off and on, ever since the Rotorua marathon, but up till now I've only had sacroilleac issues on the right side. This was very different from my sacroilleac though. The pain in my glute was deeper and at its worst I was limping.

I honestly don't know what caused this particular issue. I've been dealing with ongoing muscle soreness for the last six months - shin, quads, calf muscles, glutes .... With my exercise load there seemed to be no obvious reason why everything would be getting so stiff. I put it down to more hill running, my Miadidas (particularly as they aged), and perhaps the kettlebells. I certainly pushed it when it came to the running shoes, and on the Saturday before the piriformis really started to play up I ended up with sore ankles of the type which had me straight off to Rebel Sports for a new pair. I bought another pair of Adidas, this time reverting back to a stability shoe, but also downgrading to their slightly cheaper range. I ran on Monday and they felt fine. I then woke up on Tuesday morning very, very sore.

All the squats and lunges in Duck's Tuesday morning workout in Frank Kitts wouldn't have helped. I skipped RPM and then on Wednesday woke up with my right hamstring completely spasmed. It was on Wednesday that I found myself limping around the office. I wanted to run that night and thought I'd try keeping it to the flat, but eventually saw sense and went home.

I met Duck for our usual session on Thursday morning, and in retrospect the kettlebells probably weren't the best idea. I limped my way to a massage and left at the end of the hour able to walk slightly more easily, but still in pain.

On Friday I drove to Taranaki and went for a short walk with Mum, which was limp-free but which killed my left shin (Mum walks extremely quickly). Duck had already let me off the hook with the Taranaki race (not one of my goal races, bad weather, soreness, not enough time on the bike), but I planned to get out there and support some of my friends. I even contemplated riding out to meet Julia and pull her a little way around the course.

In the end I woke Saturday morning to strong gales and early rain. Yeah, I stayed in bed. By 11.00 the rain had stopped so Mum and I drove the short distance up Pembroke Rd to the local school to cheer everyone on. We got out of the car and were nearly blown away. We moved the car so that we were positioned so we could see the riders approaching, then sat there until the first pack came through. Riding into the headwind they certainly weren't setting any speed records.

We stayed out there for two hours, clapping everyone by and cheering the rather gratifyingly large number of people I knew. It was, in all honesty, difficult to stand up, let alone ride. We were blown backwards more than once. I was happy not to be out there but impressed by all of those people who were. They did not look to be enjoying the conditions at all.

After two hours I was cold, hungry, wind-burned and my hands were sore and tingly from clapping. I'd seen all of the people I expected to see, and as much as I wanted to cheer on the stragglers, it was time to go. I went home and spent the afternoon with the family, sheltering from the wind.

The next morning I woke to a perfect day.


30km of cruising around the rural roads of Taranaki (that's the mountain behind the filmy clouds in the background) I ruefully turned back to home (Pembroke Rd is a fun fast downhill that made me realise why my average speed had been so slow on the way up). I would have liked to ride out to Kaponga but Mum was expecting me back and I still had to drive back to Wellington.


My piriformis is slightly sore again but not as bad as it could be. I'm going to keep stretching and will run tomorrow and see how I go. If things don't improve I'll see a physio, but until then I'm going to be spending a lot of time in pigeon pose and rolling round on a tennis ball.

1 comment:

Dusty said...

Pip, this sound eerily familiar. Does it hurt to stand one legged? Not hurt as much if there's no weight on it? I'd go see an ortho and rule out a stress fracture. Stress fractures of the femur cause referred pain...
Hope you're on the mend quickly!!