Earlier this year I decided to finish my ski season doing a few jumps at Dagmar, my local ski hill. On the last jump of my final run, I came in a bit to fast, overshot the landing, hit hard, and broke my heel. The best part, it was all recorded in glorious high definition. Although the fall looked terrible, the faceplant didn’t hurt. Instead, it was the impact point of my left heel that took all the damage.
Although it hurt, there were no outward signs of injury. With plans in place to go to Mont Tremblant a week later, I wanted to believe everything was fine, even taking our Goldendoodle for a few long walks. Then COVID hit, our plans were cancelled, and off to the doctors, I went.
The good news was the break was barely noticeable on x-ray. The bad news was it was going to be a long recovery. Apparently, the heel is hard to break and very slow to heal. With that, I wasn’t able to put any pressure on it for eight weeks, followed by a slow ramp-up in cycling, and finally the return to light running this past week.
I tell this story because we rented a cottage last week, where it was a week of firsts, including my first swim of 2020, and my first run since early March. All I have to say is I may not have my speed, but it’s great to be back.
Here is what my training looked like the past couple of weeks:
What can I say it’s great to be back, but it’s also amazing how slow my running is despite doing well on the bike.
Now the plan will be to start a slow a systematic return to running.
If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s to take the return from injury very slowly. Although you will feel that you can run faster and longer, you can’t, your muscles may be ready, but your knees, joints, and tendons are not. If you do, you will quickly be back on the injured list.
The plan for these next four weeks will be to build out my base. I will be targeting three runs a week at forty minutes each. The pace for these runs won’t matter, but the hope is that I am back to my easy run pace of five minutes a kilometre by the end of the four weeks.
The first run back felt fantastic, it was 30 minutes, straight uphill, at a 5:22 pace, covering 67m of elevation gain over the 5.6km, and I felt fantastic the entire time. Unfortunately, it didn’t get easier.
My second run was not fun, nothing hurt, but it was a struggle the entire time. After the first run, I thought I could try running forty minutes but instead quickly dialled back to thirty minutes, running a 5:57 pace, continuing to slow despite the downhill grade on the back half.
The final run of the week was a bit more where I expected all the runs to be, 40 minutes, at 5:36, not feeling bad, but not feeling great.
All in all, I’m thrilled with how they went, I’m slower then I would like, but being able to run again feels fantastic.
I decided to take the winter off swimming this year since indoor pools always seem to leave more susceptible to seasonal colds. My plan was to wait until March, after which I would start the return to swimming. For obvious reasons, this plan did not work out.
Like running, it felt great to be swimming again. Unfortunately, the return will be long, slow, and not nearly as accessible.
The big lesson learned is that my Garmin 935 does not work well in open water. I tried playing with the satellite setup, firmware updates, adjusting my stroke to keep it out of the water longer, ensuring a strong satellite signal before I start, and nothing works. For comparison purposes, my last watch was a Garmin 910xt, and it was spot on, even on routes with lots of directional changes.
My first swim of the year went well, I kept the distance short, the pace slow, the watch seemed accurate, and I felt good. I was also excited to see that the watch did a decent job of GPS tracking, and the distance seemed right.
My second swim felt good as well with a quick return to last year’s pace. I finished feeling great thinking that Garmin fixed their GPS issues and that all my strength training made up for any stroke problems that may have cropped up.
Then my third swim happened. It was effortless and fast. According to Garmin, I set a PR for the 1km, and with that, I decided that I might as well PR on the 1,500, pushed myself even further. Then the world came crashing in when I checked the Garmin Connect and discovered that the GPS tracking was a mess looking like a child scribbled my route on a map.
The next day I took out a paddleboard, retraced my steps, and realized that the 1,700m swim Garmin measured was much closer to 1,150, and the 1,100m from the day before was closer 900m. Do the distances and times ultimately matter, no, not for now, but it is disappointing that this much newer watch isn’t nearly as good as its predecessor.
I managed to get in one more short swim of about 500m, but then the boat traffic picked up, and it no longer felt safe to be out swimming.
That looks like all the swimming I’ll be getting in for a while. I don’t know if I will be ready to return to the public pools when they open. I have no interest in Lake Wilcox, and all the open water swimming groups seem to be operating at capacity.
The other good thing that happened is that I did manage to get the cover shot for my site taken here.
Although most of my thoughts for the week centred around bikepacking and finding a way to make the Cannonball 300 work, I didn’t spend much time riding, other than a couple of short, hilly, one hour routes on cottage country roads.
I was highly tempted to head over to the Haliburton Wolf Sanctuary, where I completed my first adventure race Logs Rocks and Steel, to ride their single track. However, the thought of being deep in the woods, with countless wildlife, didn’t seem like a smart decision, so I chose to brave drivers instead.
Thanks for reading, stay safe and happy.