Training woes, and 24 hour record boat progress

Progress updates:

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As with everything in life there is always give and take, pros and cons, good with the bad. Very seldom is anything easy and straight forward. The new 24 hour record attempt human powered boat build is going really great - too great in fact. Something needed to offset all this great progress and that something is the Greek sea-god Achilles.

My Achilles tendon on my right leg is swollen and very, very sore and is becoming an issue for me.

My weekly long training rides alternate between an ultra-long, but moderate paced ride which progressively grows longer each 2nd week as I near the record attempt date and a 5-hour, very intense, hard ride. Today's 5 hour ride was supposed to average 200 watts and I made it to 3 hours and had to quit because my Achilles tendon was too sore.

It's been getting worse over the last few weeks and I continue to hope that it will just disappear. Last weeks 10 hour training ride outside with my buddy Greg Bradley was very painful for the last 4 hours of the ride. Today, I didn't make it past 3 hours. I need to get this problem resolved!!!

My buddy Chad who is an Ironman triathlete and also an MD, suggested I purchase this cool portable home ultra sound device called Sonic Relief:

I've been using it aggressively in combination with a topical anti-inflammatory cream and it seems to reduce swelling. I will keep at it.

What I really need to do is to give my foot a break for a couple of weeks to allow the Achilles to heal, but I am afraid that I will lose too much fitness and won't be able to stick to my scheduled 24 hour human powered boat distance record attempt for late June. We have a pretty busy summer, so it will be tough trying to schedule the record attempt for July or August.

Since postponing the Atlantic crossing until December of 2009, I now have time for other athletic pursuits, so I signed up for Ironman Arizona in November. I really have to get this 24 hour record attempt done and finished with by July at the latest so I can recover and switch training focus back to Ironman. My goal for Ironman in November is to make it back to World Championships in Kona! I have a special reason for going back to Kona, Hawaii in October of 2009 - more on that at a later date.

24 hour record boat progress

Above is a computer model of what the new boat will look like. Click to enlarge. My recumbent seat sits on a 10" wide, hollow carbon fiber hull that is 24 feet long. There are two, light weight carbon outriggers for balance that typically sit a few inches ABOVE the water line while underway. My forward momentum should be enough to keep the narrow main hull balanced without the extra drag of the outriggers.

The main hull is 2 layers of 5.8 oz carbon fiber + 1 layer of 6 oz carbon+Kevlar weave. To add stiffness and strength, I inserted six bulkheads which I cut out from a left-over section of the carbon fiber sandwich board frame for Critical Power. I think it is cool to have part of Critical Power in this boat. (Critical Power is the name of my human powered vehicle that I set a 24 hour distance record with in the summer of 2006).

I kept the cut-out sections of this sandwich board frame for Critical Power
and used them for the bulkheads for the new boat

I was very surprised when I weighed the hull with the outriggers because it was one pound LESS than when I pulled it off the mold. Even with the carbon bulkheads bonded in, it is only 13.5 pounds. It will weigh more when the top deck is on, but this is a good start!

You can see the Kevlar (gold) with the carbon weave.
Kevlar will prevent the hull from ripping apart if it is holed.

The top deck will be a 24 foot long piece of closed cell foam core called CoreCell. CoreCell is what we are building the new ocean crossing boat WiTHiN out of.

The CoreCell will be covered with 1 layer of carbon each side, then cut to fit onto the flange of the hull.

The short sections of CoreCell are joined with tabs that are epoxied over the seems. This should also provide a bit more stiffness to the top deck.

The rudder tube is an old carbon tube that I had. It wasn't quite strong enough, so I reinforced it with a wrap of carbon. After the carbon went onto the tube, I wetted it out with epoxy resin, then wound a tight layer of electrical tape around it. I poked holes in the electrical tape to allow excess epoxy to seep out.

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4 Responses to “Training woes, and 24 hour record boat progress”

  1. # Anonymous Tim

    Greg, I'm not sure if you've explored laser treatment but the girl friend is using it at the local Chiropodists Clinic. Friends of mine have used it with, well amazing results. I can get the low down on the type of unit it is if you're interested  

  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Since you've only mentioned how you're treating your symptoms I just have to ask if you're getting enough of the proper nutrition to prevent them in the first place. You've said yourself that prehistoric man used to run the equivalent of a marathon every day. He did it on a native diet of whatever was in season and within reach. My short suggestion is lots of leafy greens to prevent the soreness. I have about 1 quart everyday of some kind of green smoothie. Usually 1 pc of fruit, 1 cup (250ml) water and a bunch of green leaves (spinach, dark lettuce, asian greens, etc.) The darker the better. I think Achilles may be clamoring for chlorophyll ;-)  

  3. # Blogger "the Dude"

    If you've got good access, swimming is a good fitness program without the tendon stress. Maybe walking through chest-high water too, water being much more dense and viscous than air, gives a workout while body buoyancy and coolness of water reduces frictional heat effect.  

  4. # Anonymous Frank Eeckman

    Hi Greg,

    I suffered from Achilles tendonitis last year and it took several months to resolve. I finished IM Arizona while I was recovering.

    Here is what I would recommend, but you should check with your doctor.

    1. Take an anti-inflammatory dose of advil or similar nsaid for one or two weeks. An anti-inflammatory dose for advil is 2,400 mg a day ! That is 12 tablets. You need to be careful and watch your stomach when you do this. If you bleed stop immediately.

    2. Back off from the offending activity (in this case cycling), for a while and substitute something else (like swimming). Warm up properly before you start pushing it (hot tub is great) and stop when the pain returns. I would recommend staying active in one form or another. No hot tubs after activity, use ice instead.

    3. Apply cold packs for at least 20 minutes several times a day. Later on you may find that heat works better. Be sure not to burn or freeze your skin and add more injury. Do at least 15 minutes but not past 25 as you will vasodilate in any case.

    4. Do strength exercises on a staircase. Stand on your forefoot and slowly lift up using your calf muscles and then slowly descend past the horizontal. Start with both legs.

    You can start on the floor (i.e. at the horizontal if it is too painful but some pain is fine). Gradually do more and over time move to the affected side only (i.e. stand on one leg). Always move slowly and descend slowly -it will hurt a bit.

    5. After a quiet period, gradually ramp up your cycling again.

    6. Be patient and stay away from the "snake oil" remedies. This type of injury takes time and will resolve on its own.

    Take care,


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