Grant Harding Ironman life: From tight to tights

By GRANT HARDING


AS MANY of you switched off your alarm and pulled up your blankets for ``just five more minutes'' this morning, I headed to Park Island to run for the first time since June 24.

Over the past week, I've trotted a few steps, even knocked out 40 minutes on a cross trainer. And the damaged left leg? Well, it survived. So on Friday I got the go-ahead from Dr Evil (Tony Snell at Plus Rehab) to run again _ ``like an old man''.

In three weeks, I've come from initially struggling to walk without pain, to walking with care, to having niggles move from the original site to the top of the calf, to running again.

It is a scary time, if not as worrying as the thought of an injury in the heavy training phases to come. After all, there are 33 weeks to go before Ironman New Zealand 2013. I have ample time to get into ultra-shape. There is no need to panic.

Tony has drilled it into me that I must get my body ``sliding and gliding'' if I am to survive the rigours ahead. Stretching has to become a way of life, mostly because I don't want his fingers and thumbs prodding me on a regular basis.

Talk about the hot poker effect. That man is cruel.

In fact Friday was an ``excellent'' day all round. I had a big tooth filled at the dentist at 9am, removed a rat at 10am which I'd trapped in the laundry the day previous (only after my 10 year olds flushed it out, then wouldn't allow me to kill it.

The dog got it later!), then had my calf massaged into submission at 11am. No wonder I walked out without paying.

The dentist did provide one highlight when the technician and the receptionist were discussing a policeman who had attended their surgery.

One said to the other: ``He looked like Dan Carter''. Then they both let out a ``mmmmm''.

Full of injection, I chimed in with: ``so he was ugly then''.

They both laughed but the female dentist, of Germanic origin, leant over the top of me and said, ``he's not my type either''.

Hmmm. But I digress.

Having also suffered an injury in the build-up to the 2010 Ironman and this year's aborted race, I could be seen as susceptible to injury. But I think it's just a consequence of pushing one's body, especially a 51-year-old body.

And I have learned much through injury:

1: My mother will tell me it's time to quit.

2: My partner will tell me to get over it, you'll come right (and I've had two partners in the Iron Age).

3: My children will still expect me to do everything for them, including giving them piggy-backs to bed.

4: And I will feel terrible when people say how fit I'm looking, or ask me about my training, which happened everywhere I went last week, including on arrival at Auckland Airport on Saturday morning (an old friend was waiting for his parents who were on the same flight).

This week the weirdness begins again. In anticipation of more cold weather, I have purchased full cycling gloves, and 2XU compression tights (pictured) to help my legs stay sound. Man in tights? Hmmm.

In association with Hawke's Bay Today.

 

Follow Grant Harding on Twitter: @GrantHarding4-->

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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