Friday, September 6, 2013

Lazy bum

Injury can be a pain in the butt.

Returning to the cold Canberran winter following WOC, I was looking forward to a bit of downtime from training and orienteering. Perhaps even focusing a bit more on that PhD thing I've been working on in the background. Be careful what you wish for aye!

What's eventuated is a lot more downtime from training than I was planning, or really wanted. Back in the long qual at WOC I aggravated something in my left hip area. Although I didn't notice it in that race, by the evening it was painful as anything, and the rest of competition week was a matter of gritting my teeth and racing through the pain. (Not that I can blame any of my WOC performances on it, the problem in those races was in my head, not my bum!).
Post-WOC I decided to give it a relative rest, limiting exercise primarily to football training and matches, through which it was niggley, but manageable. However  3 football matches, 3 runs and a bike ride later, there had been no real improvement and it was time to bite the bullet and admit things weren't getting better.
Eventually I got in for an ultrasound with the local specialist, which identified numerous trouble spots in my gluteals, hammy attachments, and tendons. So many infact, that they were unsure just what was causing the pain and what wasn’t! A new ranking technique, involving sticking a big needle into painful spots and ranking pain on a scale of 1-10, didn’t help identify the ultimate cause of the pain either… probably because everything was 7-10 on the scale! Um. At least the session was character building? I guess?

In other news. I got a year older, and got to eat delicious cake.
(Cake credit: Laure)
What’s ensued has been a month and a half of no running, biking or soccer, and a long string of physio appointments (I should just set up direct deposit of my salary into the physio’s account, would save the extra step!). Injury for an athlete has been compared to going through a grieving process, or a bad break up. And I’ve certainly been through the associated stages of denial, anger, depression and, (eventually) acceptance.

The past few weeks I've worked on building up my bum muscles. I've listened to a lot of bum-based humour made at my expense. I've made life hell for those around me, who've had to listen to me constantly moaning. And I've got a fair bit of work done!

Fortunately, this hiatus from training has coincided with my PhD midterm review. Effectively the review involves writing up all of the work you've accomplished since the start of your PhD studies and defending it in front of a panel of knowledgeable people. If you do a decent job, you’re allowed to continue through to finish your PhD. If not…well! So, on the bright side, not being able to run removed my main procrastination tool, and I was able to shut myself in my office for 2 weeks and churn out my report. After 2.5 years, I can finally say that on Tuesday I presented, and passed, my midterm review! Woo! Now I have one year to finish all that work and write a thesis. Easy! Right?
Done! For now.
Debatably even more exciting, on Tuesday, I was also given the go ahead to start running again! The gluteals are feeling a lot more settled, if not quite 100% yet. Wednesday’s 8 x 2min running, 2min walking certainly felt good. Today's 2x10min running almost felt like a proper session even! Though it was worrying just how hard it was cardio wise to run for 10mins! I've got just over 3 weeks now until Aus champs, so we’ll see how things go. If things don’t come right in time they don't come right in time, but hell, I hope they do!
Field work. A big reason I chose geophysics.
Managed to find an excuse to get a few
 compass pics in the report too. Geek.

So yeah, it’s been a bit of a bummer of a couple of months since WOC, but things are on the improve! A huge thanks to Laure, Pierre-do and Malte for keeping me fed and relatively sane while I was writing up my midterm. You guys are amazing and I owe you a fair few dinners! And apologies to those around me, for my complaining and moping while injured. But let’s face it, my constant moaning has probably been balanced out by the potential I've offered you for bad jokes and puns about my injured, holey, behind! (of which there have been more than enough. Thanks.)

In any case, running or not running, I look forward to seeing and catching up with the orienteering crew at Aus Champs in 3 weeks. Can't wait!

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