Sunday, 1 March 2009


I am looking down the very, very long line of orange buoys that mark the Ironman New Zealand swim course on Lake Taupo (you can’t quite see them in this picture but they are orange, spherical and numerous…you can imagine that). Jenny Richard and I swam on a mirror –smooth lake this morning, perfectly clear freshwater and a nice temperature. Feeling pretty tired after a Scott’s ‘solid’ schedule this week (30+ hours is rather more than I’d have set for myself 2 weeks prior to a race but we have included some good quality pace sessions, swimming each day and the gym work) and a very eventful 48 hours (more on that in a while) I swam like a brick. A disorientated brick, at that. Turns out that keeping course in an anticlockwise swim direction is particularly challenging with my natural tendency to veer left as I swim, and overcompensation resulted in a 90 degree direction change, and complete disorientation on a couple of occasions! It’s a good thing I have nearly a week to get it sussed out!!

We arrived last night in pouring rain after a very long and ‘interesting’ day. Make that 48 hours - which is roughly the elapsed time between my returning from a run in the Port Hills and finding a distraught Steven with the news that he couldn’t do the race…needed surgery on his foot which could not wait until our return to the UK, may not make our scheduled flight to Taupo or even be safe to fly back to the UK, would be ‘out of action’ for months…. to touching down in a small aircraft with 1 wobbly cripple, 2 large bags, 2 bikes in boxes and a very large sigh of relief. Full Steven’s injury are detailed on his own blog at - in short, he snapped a tendon in his foot, which seemed fairly minor initially but expert intervention pointed out that you just cant leave a loose tendon end hanging around inside there and it had to be reattached before it strayed too far away from it’s designated point of attachment. The health service unbelievable here – within hours of that appointment we had the news that one of the country’s best orthopedic surgeons would be able to operate the following day. There was a chance that we’d make our flight on Saturday – provided that there were no delays or complications. So, poor Steven spends the following day at the hospital, and I spend it between the hospital ward in search of information, packing our bags, looking for alternate flights, and squeezing in a bike session. We do not know whether we will make our flight until the lat minute. Then it’s a whistle stop race through town, via the hospital to collect him, his BIG plaster foot, undersized crutches, unfilled prescription for medication that we’d have to get in Taupo on the way to the plane. The foot was so fresh out of surgery that it was incredibly sore and rendered him pretty helpless and of course tired from the stressful procedure. It was a shock to both of us how utterly dependant it made him – the very sudden transition from strong and fighting fit, mentally prepared to nail this race to being virtually immobile hits pretty hard.

But, we are here at last – have procured the drugs we need and I am currently on the trail of a wheelchair loan so that he can get out and about. The weather is improving and I have been able to get out and swim and ride on the course with friends from the UK, Jenny and Richard. I am feeling drained, but must remain confident that it’s just a matter of resting, de-stressing and coming to terms with the situation and disappointment that I wont be sharing this race experience with Steven. But, as he says – if you gotta be out of action, there are worse places to be - its a beautiful location, nice hotel with SKy TV ;o) - and I will have 1 more supporter out there on the day.


runtilyoudrop said...

Jo relax and let it all happen. Get into the groove and take the time to get ready for a great race.


John Levison said...

Hi Jo, I read Steven's blog yesterday... we're so gutted for both of you, it's been amazing reading just how dedicated you've both been. I had a chuckle at Steven't 'recovery' week from Epic, topping out at 500+ miles!!

Rest well, and try and foucs on the race. He may not be there in race shape, but I'm sure (wheelchair or not), you'll have the best supporter and cheerleader you could wish for.

Have a great race, you deserve it. John, and the team. (Hope to have some good news for you any day now...).

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