It’s been two weeks since Challenge Roth, and I’m struggling with jetlag and antibiotics, as well as residual muscle tightness from doing such a tough event. Combined, these factors are making me feel pretty ordinary, tired, and at times struggling for motivation. There is only weeks until my next race, and I really want to be in good shape for it.

Challenge Roth was, and is, an amazing race. The event is huge and the organisers have built it up so it is the greatest experience for triathletes and spectators. It was even better this year than last, and the changes and improvements were for both spectator and competitor. This is a race you must come and see for yourself. I’m lost for words.

Something thing that I have been struggling with for years is fatigue. I have never been able to train anywhere near the volume of my peers for more than a week before I need a few days rest. When I broke my collarbone I took the opportunity to spend some time looking for an answer again (I have seen several doctors and witch doctors and spent thousands of dollars over 10 years to no avail). I went to a new practitioner, and I was told to get a stool test ($450) which would show up all parasites and any other problems. I thought this sounded good, I have never been told to get this before and my gut instinct (bad pun) told me something was not right in my stomach.

The result was that in my stomach I had a large amount of yeast, fungus, parasites, and one particularly nasty parasite called blastocystis hominus, which I could have had for years. So just as my arm healed, I started a low stress diet (no sugar, yeast, wheat, dairy, or lots of other specific things) as well as a course of strong antibiotics.

So just as I started running and feeling good, the antibiotics took my strength away, and I could barely run for a month. My guts also got a lot more sensitive, and it was stressful at times to find food to eat which wouldn’t undo all the other good work I was doing. And there were times when it was too much, and my diet slipped, and once I started training hard for Roth I had no choice but to eat a lot of sugar and processed food on long rides and runs. I needed to get tested again, but delayed because of the effect the antibiotics had had the first time. I still had a gut feeling I hadn’t got rid of the parasites. I was right. I did another test just before Roth, and the numbers for blastocystis were still high. I got more antibiotics and took them to Germany, ready to start them the day after the race.

So despite being in Germany where beer flows like water, tastes even better and is being offered endlessly before, during, and after the race, I didn’t have even a sip. Not even in post race celebrations. With my eyes on the prize of Kona, I have to do everything I can to try and get rid of this parasite and get as healthy as I can.

Apparently there is no easy fix for this parasite. It’s all about hitting it, get it’s numbers down, then hit it again, and again, while avoiding sugar and all the other yummy food.

My jetlag since getting back from Germany has been terrible, worse than ever before. Maybe it’s the antibiotics, maybe it’s the hard race, maybe it’s all of the above, but I have been so tired. I am waking up early, which is great for training, but by 10am I am buggered again. I have had a sleep most afternoons, and yesterday I didn’t sleep during the day, but was asleep by 7:30pm!

It’s hard to come home from being away, only to be constantly tired and stressed around those you love (Jaimie my fiancé).

Philippines 70.3 is my next race on August 22nd, just over 3 weeks away. I did this race last year and don’t remember it being so soon after Roth. Last year I even fitted in the City to Surf fun run between the races. (I just checked and Roth was a week earlier last year). But I am motivated to be in good shape for this race. My reasons are both to have a good result for my confidence, sponsors and income, and to be strong enough that the recovery is extremely quick and the race doesn’t knock me down for a week after.

My legs always are tight after an Ironman. I always struggle to walk about and get up and down stairs, it always hurts and this race was as bad as any before it. At least this time I have some good reasons why. Firstly, I hadn’t run much in training. Secondly, in the marathon I didn’t eat much salt. Both these things I can improve on.

It’s tough doing an Ironman when you know you haven’t prepared 100%. It’s even tougher to recover. With a 70.3 only 21 days away, and Hawaii only 10 weeks away, there is a slight pressure for me to get back into training after Roth, but as they say ‘no pressure, no diamonds’.

The benefit of not going to Roth “to win” is that I am mentally fresh to focus on the next 10 weeks – I haven’t been in single minded training mode for long – and am ready to lock myself into giving it everything in training and lifestyle 24 hrs a day till Hawaii.

I have had a great first week back training after doing nothing for 5 days after the race. It’s nice to feel some fitness is there already, and I have a clearer plan than ever for my training, both weekly and over 10 weeks.

I am feeling good about Hawaii, and with 9 weeks at home, then 1 week in Hawaii, with only a few days travel for Philippines 70.3, and then maybe one other local race in September, I’ve never had such a clear run into Hawaii, or any race for that matter. I am going to Kona to have the race of my life.

Good luck to all those training for the World Champs.

look after yourselves