It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about my mildly athletic exploits down in New Zealand. That’s because, for a while, there haven’t really been any, with my year being consisting of a couple of painful shoulder issues.
After a relaxing Christmas break, 2017 got off to a bang for me. Over the handlebars of my bike, into the floor, left shoulder first. As collarbones are want to do, there was a certain amount of crunching and cracking. After a brief interaction with the Kiwi healthcare system, it was confirmed to be broken. And with the help of the road-rash on my back, I’d gained full marks from the Russian judge in the ‘classic Tour de France injury competition’.
Plans for the first few months of the year were thrown off. Triathlons were withdrawn from. The New Plymouth marathon was downgraded to a gentle half fitness test/tourism visit. The only course of treatment was complete rest, and a bucket load of codeine.
I still had the Breca Wanaka race in March, which formed the centrepiece of my three-week island visit. But I was only able to get in the pool once before I left – a depressing 10 lengths of granny-style breaststroke after I realised on my first length I could still feel something grinding in my left clavicle. I managed I knock out a couple of shortish runs while travelling round, including a canter up to the base of Mount Cook, but in reality I was going into a race consisting of 8km swimming and 42km running with zero training. Zero.
We got round in one piece, and were solidly in the middle of the pack up until the 3km swim leg which was roughly the half way mark. Following a brief hypothermic scare after 90 minutes in glacial water, we stumbled across the line for a respectable second-to-last place finish at the inaugural event. But to be honest I was happy to just get to the finish line.
Back up in Auckland in April, I was looking to kickstart the year again with the King of the Bays swim (incidentally, on my birthday). But the left shoulder started to hurt again, meaning came out the water having done further damage to myself. (Pretty sure it happened on the swim, not the drunken karaoke later that night…) I couldn’t lift my arm over my head. Carrying a rucksack hurt. Running was damn uncomfortable. So I was back to doing bugger all for a few weeks. Fortunately those few weeks would be spent in Koh Tao and the Cook Islands – sometimes a plan just comes together.
So that’s my story – I can hear the tiny violins playing. Now what? I’m into my last 2 months in New Zealand, and we’re moving into winter down here. I haven’t got any races planned, here or in the UK. But the general idea is to rehab the shoulder, get the technique back in the pool, and prepare for some late season UK triathlons in September. I’ll be based down in that London when I get back, so any recommendations of events or running/tri clubs would also be appreciated muchly!