Matt Poole reckons he has the kind of legs girls get jealous of. But thanks to a knee reconstruction about four weeks back the only one jealous of his emaciated pins is Waylon Smithers.
“Yep, I’ve lost that much muscle and tone I pretty much look like Mr Burns,” the ironman says with a laugh as he checks for liver spots.
“And I didn’t have that much muscle to start off with! I’ve got the tiniest pins. If I lose any more weight I’m gonna have to hold the togs up with duct tape or something.
“I look down and it’s gross. That leg looks like my forearm. Haha."
It wasn’t until Pooley hobbled into Red Bull HQ on crutches this week that we first learned of his act of, well, stupidity, that’s seen him spend more time on his arse than Chris Brown after his night club battle with Drake. But at least this time, he was no match for even the smallest Wings girl on the half basketball court. Yep, we got one of those.
“I actually did it just mucking around on the footy field with a mate like two days before I was due to start training again,” he says.
“I tore my meniscus in my knee cap and had to get surgery on it. I literally just jumped up and when I landed my knee inverted in a little bit and I ripped off the meniscus and it locked up immediately. It was pretty painful. I was straight off to hospital and went into surgery on the Wednesday. And I’ve been on these bloody crutches ever since.”
And by the looks of it, the man best known for his mobility and agility doesn’t take too kindly to kicking around on crutches.
“Being such an active person, it’s been so difficult being couch-bound and now crutches,” says Pooley, forced to give up a trip to Hawaii to contest the stand-up paddle board championships.
“Getting around on crutches is doing my head in. It doesn’t matter where I go. Whether it’s 10 metres or down the road for a coffee, it’s become such a hassle. I’m all edgy.
“I've started feeling like a woman, getting all emotional and moody. Haha. That’s not meant to be offensive.”
Tell that to your girlfriend, Candace.
“I’m pretty stubborn Candace keeps telling me, and I’m never willing to ask for help or anything like that,” he continues. “I keep things to myself but it’s good to be back in Sydney and getting some home-cooked food at Mum’s. I need some meat back on these legs.”
The good news is, Pooley’s found a positive in the pain and is looking at the injury as a blessing in disguise. After finishing runner-up in the 2010-11 Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman Series, he fell well short of his own lofty standards last season and was barely sighted on the podium.
“I’ve found this challenge has sort of given me a new motivation to train harder and work harder again,” he says. “And that’s good because last year I guess I became complacent in my training and racing and wasn’t willing to go that extra yard as other people were. And that’s what has changed in my attitude.
“Now, I’m looking at everyone else getting back into running and training and doing all those things that I can’t do and it’s motivating me.
“All I can do is swimming and gym work and I’m working really hard at that to get myself in as good a shape as possible for when I finish rehab.”
Righto then. Get to it - five months and counting until the start of the 2012-13 series.
We can’t hear hobbling…