In the lead up to the Night of Flanders in Belgium last year I completed 24 hours of long runs in an 8 week phase averaging 7.20mm. This year in prep for Doha I have done a total of 32hours of long runs with an average pace of 6.28mm. Ive also done 3 times as much hill training and speed sessions.
This is all down to the expert guidance of my new coach Howard Nippert who has not just given more structure to my training but has always been there to offer wise word when things havent been going so well. His experience at both competing and coaching at this level has been invaluable to me and I have learned so much since we began working together earlier this year.
So technically on paper I am in better shape now than I was when I set the national 100k record last year.
So you might be asking yourself,what am I so worried about ???
Up until last week training was going great but after one of my Sunday long runs I felt a little sorer than usual. I thought nothing of it and continued as normal with my next few days training on Monday and Tuesday but by Wednesday I knew something wasnt right.
I made my way to A&E in Galway clinic and was sent for an MRI with pain in the hip flexor and groin/adductor on the right side. My worst fear was I had torn something.
Results of MRI showed a grade 1 strain to the right adductor which would explain the pain I was feeling. The doctor said intensive physio 'could' have me right in time for the worlds but unfortunately the MRI also showed that I suffered a stress fracture to my right iliac bone(back of the pelvis)!!
I was told that I may be able to resolve the adductor strain in time but he could not recommend me racing 100km on a stress fracture. I left hospital feeling totally distraught and gutted. All the months of trying to overcome osteoporosis and finally getting back to running. Then 12 weeks of intense training only for my dreams to be crushed once again.
I'd worked too hard to just give up and take the doctors advice. The stress fracture was there alright but it wasn't causing me pain. My pain was coming from a strained adductor muscle. Obviously because of the stress fracture the surrounding muscles were working overtime to stabilise the joints.
I decided to meet with my physio Leon Raath and weigh up my options.
We agreed to do daily physio sessions to improve the hip flexor and adductor strain and also apply ultra sound to the site of the stress fracture. I've been able to continue with my training and I'm lucky that I am in taper mode so the training mileage has dropped significantly.
The last 10 days Leon has been doing dry needling,ultra sound,elecro-therapy and deep tissue massage.
So far no problem with the bones and the muscle strains seem to be improving also.
I fly out to Doha on Sunday and that is all because of the tireless work and expert hands of Leon Raath. Leon has got me back on the road again and I am now running relatively pain free again.
Whether or not my iliac bone stands up to the demands of racing 100k next Friday is another story,but I have the training done and I feel good.
A few months back my coach Howard said to me that "we were gonna get fit and ready for the World champs or get hurt trying".
I've been selected to represent my country at the highest level and opportunities like that don't come along everyday.
I have every confidence in my training and when I stand on that start line I will be ready to give 110% for the green vest.
Of course along the way I have received massive support from my sponsors.
Ozone Health and Fitness allow me the use of their top class facilities which have been very beneficial for heat training. Kinetica fuel all my workouts and aid recovery with their excellent range of sports nutrition. UVU my kit sponsors and Skechers both keep me kitted out in the best of gear and footwear. Leon Raath from Physiozone is the reason I get to run in a World Championships next week. Without the continued support of these guys and of course my family and close friends things would have been alot more difficult for me so I am greatly appreciative for they're support and genorosity.
Seven months ago I remember lying in bed for 3 days,unable to walk,crippled by the pain of osteoporosis.In the weeks and months after I doubted I would ever run again.If you want something bad enough you will move heaven and earth to make your dreams become reality.
Next Friday I get to represent my country in the sport I love and race against the the greatest ultra runners in the world.
It's an opportunity I intend to grasp with both hands and do Ireland proud !