Tuesday after the long-weekend. One of the things I’m learning is that you have to give yourself a break every couple of days. I’m routinely getting up at 530am, six days a week, in pitch darkness, going for swim then, most days, going off to work. After the long swim on Monday I decided not to put the alarm clock on. I stayed up late last night and finished reading an English translation of the Koran. That has been a slog. I started reading it just after I came out of hospital, so I could understand better what happened when I got caught up in the Lindt cafe siege last year. Scary book, some parts of which I didn’t understand because they were contradictory to other parts of the book. I didn’t wake up until 730am but felt pretty good. All the residual pain in my shoulders has gone and each the day the stiffness and soreness in my knee, previously present when I woke up, is abating. It’s hardly sore at all when I wake up now. I decided that I’d better do something for the day and went up to the Virgin gym at lunchtime. Confronted with all the possibilities I did half an hour on the bike. Haven’t done much bike lately and I was a bit off the pace. On levels of 6 and 7, I averaged probably 65rpm but got up to 102rpm at one stage on level 7. Pretty pleased with that.
Archives for June 2015
Dawn. Monday of the June long weekend. A blood red sunrise. I stopped to stare several times on the way to Manly. The Pacific Ocean a somnolent pond burnished gold and red in the pre-dawn stillness. Ripples ruffled the surface. We left Manly at 7.05am just behind the colourful mass of Bold and Beautiful swimmers. At least 250 of them heading for Shelly. We headed north. I’d talked Barry Feyder into a swim over to Freshwater Point and back. He never needs much convincing. We were joined by Duncan Adams, Denise Elder, Jan Davies, Roz Skinner, Gail Kennedy and Alison Maunder. I loafed down to Queenscliff where we had agreed to regroup. I marvelled at the clarity of the water and the lateness of the season for such a long swim. Water at least 18°c. A breathtaking day, with the rippling sand bottom shining all the way along the beach. I arrived last at Queenscliff Point after an almost mystical gig with the Pacific Ocean and all the creatures that, like me, enjoy floating around in it. A flotilla of multi- coloured swimming caps led me to the others who bobbed in the water. Barry, Duncan, Alison and I kept going around the point. The others headed back with a wave and were gone.
I was really into the mystic going around Queenscliff Point. Seagrass beds, coral, fish of every shape and hue. Everywhere the sand bottom rippled like a live thing. The ocean breathed on a gently heaving swell. A minute’s rest before the long journey back to Majnly. Barry and Duncan were soon a long way in front but Alison and I paced along. Four months ago I sat in a wheelchair on the esplanade and watched other swimmers doing this. I yearned to be in the water. I couldn’t even walk, now I’m doing Manly to Freshwater. I’m so lucky that my injuries weren’t worse. Elation at standing up at Manly –a 4 kilometre swim in 75 minutes. Not cold. Hot shower, hearty breakfast with good company at Manly Winebar. I suppose it doesn’t get any better than this during rehab. Don’t know if its doing my leg any good but it’s sure helping my head.
The first day of the Australian ski season opened rainy at Manly. Zoomed over to Balmoral for the 7am Saturday swim. Water cloudy and a lot colder then Manly but shock, horror and trepidation, the gas heating is broken and showers are cold. 1km swim and then cold rinse off in the shower outside the club. Did not linger. Didn’t whinge though, no point, everyone was too busy shivering too listen. A big pot of porridge with keffir on top fixed me up when I got home. Just as I walked in, a text from Phil Thomas with attached photo arrived from Perisher Valley. Couldn’t stop looking at it. I do so want to go for a ski and felt just for a split second that I could jump in the car and go down for the weekend. I know that’s fanciful. I’ll miss this season – won’t even see snow for the first time in decades. Slack day. Walked to Shelly and back. No other exercise.
Another wake up to the alarm at 530am. Friday, the end of another week. The Australian ski season opens tomorrow. Good cover. Pitch dark and I lay there for awhile and stretched. Leg is always sore for the first couple of minutes when I wake up. The eczema and blood all over the sheets is long gone thank God. First thing I hear every morning is the surf crashing on the beach. It’s a beautiful noise. Like listening to a fine soprano at the opera. Put sports bag in the car as I felt I should do gym today although I didn’t want to. Drove down to Manly as I have to take car for service. Standard 6.30am Bold an Beautiful group. Most are wearing wetsuits but I stood and shivered in the darkness in 8°c air. Waiting is harder then getting in. No one from the BBC there this morning and didn’t recognise any of the people I know from B + B so did it on my own which is a bit unnerving. Water flat and gin clear – I have had a great run, not putting my leg at any risk from big surf getting in or out. Could see the bottom all the way to the Bower and back. After lunch headed to the gym. Tried to do all the exercises Belinda showed me on Wednesday. Started with balancing on the Bosu ball and then did 20 of the rotten over and back exercises on the thing. That is the hardest exercise so far in the tibial plateau rehab program. It’s a painful son of a bitch, but it’s probably good for healing. Onto lunges holding the 5kg barbell with both hands under my chin. Thee sets of five on each leg. Moved to squats, 3 sets of 5 straight up and down using both legs. Moved to bench press 3 sets of 10 at 10kg, on my injured leg. Leg curls did 2 sets of 10 using 5kg and 1 set using 10kg, although the 10kg is a bit much at this stage. Surprised myself on the leg extension machine – 6 sets of 10 reps using 10kgs, lifting the bar with my left leg and holding then lowering with the right leg. I was pretty pleased when I realised I’d done 60 leg extension/lifts. Hard work and I was stuffed afterwards but felt a bit satisfied. I don’t know if I’ll ever ski again but it’s difficult to believe that my leg is not getting stronger
Its the 4th June – the first Thursday in winter. That means the Fortitude Plate starts today. Down to Balmoral Beach in the dark. On the verandah the group assembled, catching a red sunrise and checking the conditions. Jimbles had been the talking point during the week with lots of stings. There were …gasp…even suggestions that the race be called off. I reminded everyone that this years series is named after Bernard Freyberg, a New Zealand army officer who swam ashore at Gallipoli the night before the attack to place flares to fool the Turks. He also had four goes at the English channel without whingeing. We had 32 starters which was excellent. Water really cold compared to Manly – probably 16°c compared to 18°c. Doesn’t sound like much until you are in it. Cloudy too. Guess that’s the harbour. I hate to say it but Balmoral can’t compete with Manly as a swimming venue. There is something animate about the open ocean. It’s alive the same way the mountains are or the deserts at dawn. But the community and laughter at the Balmoral Beach club is unsurpassed anywhere. It’s a tonic for a broken leg. I was cold by the time I got back to Deadmans and walking back to the club wet, into a cold southerly off the snow down south was chilling. No other exercise today. Meant to but my achilles is too sore to do any walking.
Bitingly cold morning. Walked down to Manly in the dark. Roaring southerly wind that went straight through me as I walked into it. Air temp 6ºc on the clubhouse clock at the surf club. Water still dead flat. How lucky. Water was about 18ºc – three times the air temp. I was a bit lazy. Didn’t race Denise and Jan on the way back. Gym today was a killer . Belinda started me doing unsupported lunges and squats – three sets of each on both legs with 8 reps holding a 5kg dumbell, in both hands and positioned under my chin. I found this incredibly difficult. She wanted me to keep my back as straight as possible – hence the dumbell – with weight on both front and back legs. It made the muscles in both legs ache. We then moved to doing squats and dead-lifts with a 14kg weight called a Kettlebell. We did three sets of this with 8 reps.
Interspersed with this she had me balancing on my bad leg on the blue hemispherical gym ball. I found out these are called BOSU balls. They are an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a flat, rigid base. I had been calling it a “blue half-ball”, but its proper name is a BOSU ball. Belinda said we will be using it a lot in coming months. I can balance on it fine with my left leg and I’m getting better balancing on my right leg. My left hamstirng is still pretty sore so we did no leg presses or extensions on the machines today. I’m really stuffed, but felt much better after one of the protein shakes and a couple of protein balls from the Virgin cafe.