Monday, April 26, 2010

Coming Along

Well, it's been a few weeks since I a) smelled the coffee and b) got told by my physio. Things are coming along slowly. I had my little cry and pity session about how my race season was all screwed up but I am really OK with all of this now.

I have officially informed the race director of Great White North that I will not be racing this year so this makes my spring and summer very different than it might have been. What I'm hoping now is that I will be able to do a lot of biking this year, as things improve, and maybe a few sprints.

I have plans to go to Penticton in May with a couple of friends to do some riding on the Ironman bike course. I'm not sure that will happen now but I'm holding out hope! I'm also clinging to my plan to do the Vulcan tri in June. My swim times are faster than ever right now and I think I'd do OK on the bike. The run would be nasty since I'm not allowed to run at all right now but I could get through it. We'll see how things go and how smart it is for me to think about racing there.

In August, I am going to ride my bike from Jasper to Banff with a few members of my family. I sure hope I'm all better by then. I'm pretty sure I will be. That will be something new and fun. Then there's the new Banff triathlon in September. I know I'll be ready and raring to go by then!

The early part of the season is still iffy because my hip continues to be very unhappy. But I'm being a good girl - taking it easy, doing my exercises - and I know this will turn around soon.

I think I'll be able to salvage the year and still have a lot of fun. I'm going to do all that I can but not go crazy. I have to get back to injury free status so I can tackle the 1/2 iron next year and then start preparing for my first Ironman in 2012 - or maybe the fall of 2011. My husband said he'd be quite willing to go to Cozumel and cheer for me. :)

I'm getting ahead of myself again. One step at a time - but things are coming along.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Stern Talkin' To

I went to see a sports physiotherapist today about my hip flexors. She listened while I recounted my 2009 race season. I was mostly injury free last year, except in the fall, when my right hip flexor tore. I took a lot of time off when that happened, although I did run a marathon at the end of November. Things seemed OK after the marathon, though, and I rested well before ramping up my training in January again. That's when the issues re-surfaced. As I said in my last post, I tried to work my way through the injuries and keep up with the training and the 100 day challenge until it became clear that that wasn't working.

Well, apparently waking up and smelling the coffee was far too mild a response to my injury situation. She told me that, while she admires my perseverance, I have to stop everything right now or I am heading down a pathway toward total annihilation. She actually used the word "annihilation." She said she wanted to put the fear of god into me so I would stop what I'm doing and let this heal. I almost cried right then and there. It's really my entire hip joints that are inflamed - I just feel it where my hip flexors are. I am overwhelmed by what I've done to myself. I have been so set on my goals that I ignored the signs that things were changing - even as far back as last fall.

There is absolutely no way I will be able to do Great White North. She told me not even to think about it. There is to be nothing else in my mind except recovery. Only when I'm better may I permit myself to think about training and racing again. It's the right thing, I know it, but I am really sad.

Hopefully, I will see good progress in my recovery and the season won't all be shot. But here I go thinking about racing again. I am supposed to be lying on the couch.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Waking up and Smelling the Coffee

If you look back over my last few posts, it might seem like I have a personality disorder! I am alternately planning for another race, committing to being determined, or skipping my workouts and feeling pathetic. Overall, although it might not seem like it, I have been really pumped about the upcoming season and so excited about where my training might lead this year. I have good friends and good support and lots of reasons why this should be a great season.

Sadly, though, I have had some injuries that have been nagging at me from the background and affecting how I've been feeling about my training. I have tried to ignore them to some extent and I have also tried to do what I could to relieve them. In February, I had a lot of trouble with general leg stiffness and soreness, which I was able to get under control by stretching, having massages, and pacing myself as far as training goes. But my hip flexors are now a growing threat to my triathlon success this year. They have been bothering me off and on for a few months but I've pushed through it and held off any major issues - until now. About two weeks ago, I went for a swim and was very surprised to have hip flexor pain afterward, from something as seemingly innocuous as flutter kicking. Then, last Monday, I went for a 10K bike ride around my neighbourhood and found that I truly could not walk that evening. My hip flexors had totally given up, even though the bike ride was so short. I had to hold onto something just to take a step. I took a couple days off and now, for the last three days, I have been swimming with a pull buoy so I don't have to use my legs. Still, I am having trouble walking normally.

It has slowly started to dawn on me that I can't continue this way - the proverbial waking up and smelling the coffee. I am nearing the end of the 100 day triathlon training challenge, which I don't want to give up on. And, it's finally spring here and I'm dying to get outside on my bike. But I can't deny the situation anymore.

Today I spoke to an accomplished and experienced triathlete who has a lot of knowledge and wisdom about training. She is concerned for me and, although she gave me a lot of very good ideas about how I can deal with this, she suggested that I re-think my race plans for this year. She said out loud what I have been trying not to think about for a while: A half iron may not be in the cards for me this year.

This saddens me terribly. I very much want to do Great White North again. Still, there is no way that I can deal with my injuries and ramp up my training at the same time. I have come to the realization that I will have to rollover my entry to next year.

I am learning that triathlon depends very much on strength and flexibility and that it is supported by good nutrition and a healthy weight. I think I have to address these things, which have been neglected aspects of my training until now, before I will be healthy and ready for success. I am going to take a break from biking and running for a couple of weeks and focus on swimming with the pull buoy. I will finish the last three weeks of the 100 day challenge this way. I'll gradually add biking and running back into my training but I am going to focus especially on strength training and stretching so I build the foundation I need for harder and longer training in the future.

This is the way it has to be and I am coming to terms with it.