Friday, August 21, 2009

Thrown a curve ball

It's been quite a season. Quite a year for that matter. I have had many successful races and logged many many miles. I've done 3 Half Ironman races, a handful of sprint and olympic distance triathlons, and now I'm heading into my 2nd Ironman in 12 weeks.
When I look back, I am quite proud of what I've accomplished. It's been a good run.
But, I'm not done yet. I have yet to fully train for that aforementioned 2nd Ironman. Kona is a mere 7 weeks away. Is that right? How can that be? Ok.....I distracted myself for a minute!

Many months ago I noticed my ankle was swollen. I just ignored it. In May, I started to feel it. I saw the doctor and after an ultrasound was diagnosed with a partially torn tendon. Um....that can't be good. I completely tore the rotator cuff tendon in my shoulder a few years ago and that was not pretty at all. I dealt with a tough surgery/rehab period with that and came back 100%. Lucky. So, now I have an ankle on the way out? I ran carefully through the remaining 8 weeks or so of my First Ironman training and was lucky to get through July 26th without Any problems.
I put it out of my mind.
A few weeks ago I was basically a slug. I was on full recovery mode from IMLP and my training schedule was close to nothing. Don't get me wrong...I NEEDED This!!!!!! I was torn up. My legs were fried and refused to move properly.
After two weeks of minimal swim/bike/run, I felt a pain. In my foot. It was strong and sudden. It was the Other foot. Not the one with the bad ankle. I grabbed it, rubbed it, ignored it and went to bed. I told my hubby, "something strange just happened." That was it.
I awoke the next day for my run. And easy 45 min run. I treaded with caution. Wondering.
Fine!!! Ha, a fluke. I knew it.
And then, an hour later, OUCH! the same pain in the ball of my foot. Oh oh. From that moment on I hobbled on my ankle refusing to put pressure on my foot. But, by doing that, all the pressure went back to my foot with the bad ankle.
I'm getting old.
I'm breaking down.
NO! I'm ONLY 39!!!! That is NOT old and it is NOT Middle aged!!! (right Mary? :) )
Ok. I sat down and thought. What is the deal here. Is there a real problem? I have chronically bad feet. I had a neuroma exicision in 2005 and have been plagued wiht ongoing pain in both feet ever since. I rarely have a pain free run. That is just my norm. But this was different.

Stress fracture. I convinced myself I had one. I talked to people. I researched. And I made an appointment. Actually I already had an appointment to follow up on my ankle.

For about 60 seconds I sat in this very chair and had bad thoughts.

It's over. I'm done. No Kona for me. I worked so hard to get here and this is it...done.All that wasted money on plane tickets, and hotel, and entry fee and a speedsuit. This is my one shot at the big game in Hawaii and I'm broken. I can't do it. blah blah blah.......

And then it ended. I banished those thoughts, I quieted my demons, and decided to figure out what I needed to do to fix this. To train without my foot. And then I remembered- Water running!! I can water run!! Yes!

I knew my training would have to change. I would have to be creative. Add new things. I wouldn't be able to haphazardly tread through 20+ hours like I was 22. I am not 22. I am 39. But I am a damn strong 39 y.o. and I can do this. I will do whatever it takes. I will get myself to that starting line on the Kona pier no matter what it takes. I worked so hard all year long to make this happen. I never skipped workouts. I never backed down in a race just because I was tired. I will not back down now. I refocused and made a new plan in my head. It would all be fine.

So for a week or so now I have been water running. It is a good workout if you use proper form. I am feeling super strong on the bike. My fatigue is gone and I am strong again. The water is alwasy nice. Swimming is just fine.

I saw the Doctor yesterday. He doens't believe it's a stress fracture. all works out. That said, I did have foot pain and I do feel some soreness from time to time. I will continue to be smart. My ankle is an issue....short term I should be fine. Again, be careful. I may need to have it reattached this fall. But after October 10th.

I will do whatever it takes. I will not quit.


MaineSport said...

Trsut that "Doctor." He, more than anyone, knows what it's like to compete. He'll tell you what you can and can't do. And don't forget to give him some shit for not facing me this year.

Judi said...

1 word ange: acupuncture.

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

You'll be okay!! I've done my fair share of water running - and A LOT of the So Cal pros do it (kate major and michellie jones) as well. You'll be great - you HAVE the base, the fitness, everything in place for a fantastic race!

I'm really looking forward to meeting you! :)

Mama Simmons said...

If it's any consolation, I haven't run a step since the race last weekend... same thing... foot/ankle issues. After some 'anatomy of the foot' googling, I found that mine must be peroneal tendon (wraps from outside ankle to arch and then little pinky toe). Is that what yours is? I'm hoping this is just gonna last a week or so and then I'll be back out running, but if not, rest assured that you're not the only one water running! :)
We'll be FINE. :)

Marni said...

sounds like my story in 2007 and I was 31 days out from Kona! Hang in there and keep on water running! It absolutely works and keeps your fitness! Also-remind yourself that you DID the work to get to Kona. If you can't race it, well you still get to be apart of the race that so many people have on their "dream" list. Stay positive and just take it day by will be hard but day by day. :)

IronMatron said...

You will make it!!!!
Of course your feet/ankles are rebelling. Did you look at that list of races you did this year? And that isn't even close to all the races you have actually done!! After Kona you will rest and all of these flair-ups--or ripped tendons--yikes--will heal right up.
Andy thinks the ball of the foot thing might be a problem with the fascia. I have pain in my right ball of the foot too. It's like a bruise.

Jennifer Cunnane said...

Wow, inspiring and scary at all the same time. I understand what its like to be thrown a curveball in life but I have absolute confidence you will do what's right!! Yes, water run - from what I understand it can really help and improve your running and fitness! (ps might want to buy a really good waterproof radio first)!

whatwas said...

Getting old is only in our mind.
Age never prevented people from doing things: