I have recently (in the last week) made the disappointing decision to stop racing. Not an insignificant one considering I have been training for between 2 and 6 hours most days of the week for the last 25 years. Committing to the decision was in the form of a text message I sent to my wife, Raija, stating that “today marks the beginning of the rest of my life”, and I must admit that I shed a tear after I hit send (and am tearing up now as write this post). Far from bawling my eyes out, but with some similarities to the sense of loss I felt after my dad passed away recently.
Even though I know I will deeply regret not maintaining a certain level of fitness, my desire to exercise (aside from walks with Raija) is currently quite low. Not helping the situation is the status of my ankle injury together with the uncertainty of what the future holds, as, unfortunately, my options are limited.
I have no doubt the general feeling would have been different if I was able to bow out on my own terms, but it wasn’t to be. My persistent ankle injury, which has prevented me from taking pain free steps in the morning for at least the past 12 months and needs surgical intervention to rectify, made the decision for me.
The injury first materialised after a bike accident I had at the beginning of 2019.
Along with breaking the fifth metatarsal of my right hand, an Os Trigonum, an accessory bone I have at the back of my right ankle, was disrupted when my ankle impacted the road, and has been a problem ever since.
A cortisone shot settled it initially and I was able to prepare adequately to race Challenge Anhui in 2019 and then Ironman Western Australia in 2020, but since then, every preparation has been significantly hampered and then terminated.
From the beginning of 2019 onwards, I committed to educate myself about the endurance training process and learn how to train for long term performance development.
Wading through the contradictions and confusion of the exercise physiology world has been quite an ordeal, but by the end of 2022, after spending almost every night for the previous 3 – 4 years reading scientific papers, watching webinars and consulting appropriate online resources, I can say that I finally had a sound understanding of the fundamentals of the endurance training process.
“No regrets” is a term that does not apply here – I have many – but one of my greatest regrets is not teaching myself how to train for long term performance development sooner. Adding to the lament is that when I finally had the knowledge to guide my own effective training regime for one final preparation, my body wouldn’t allow me to do it. ☹
Of course, it isn’t all doom and gloom, as I now have the knowledge to effectively train others and help them to achieve their goals. 😊