10/4/07

Racing through an Injury????


As I sat on my couch contemplating what to do with my Kona dream I thought it would be easier to express myself through writing (something I love more than talking!). As you can tell, this last month has been just devestating. All that training and in one weekend I saw my dream disappear. More frustrated about the money I spent for the trip (not fun spending money for nothing), but just bummed that I have been forced to make a decision if I would go to Kona. I thought I made that decision on November 5th, 2006 when I won my age group at IMFL. Was I ever happy when I saw my name above that red line...I couldn't tell you how excited I was to give my $470 check to Heather Fuhr in that black Kona-qualifier tent after the race. And now, almost a year later I can't even read a forum about Kona without being bummed. With the hope that my injury would go away after a couple weeks, it has now been 1 month since I was able to run without pain. Although I can ride and swim without pain, I am still walking around on egg shells with the right leg. Always careful not to put too much pressure on the leg since I have been in-and-out of pain for the past week. I tried not to take my pain killers (Ultram/Tramadol) since I was experiencing awful side effects and it is no fun just masking the pain. After a clean MRI and x-ray (I am proud that I have nice and healthy vertabrae and bones!), my wonderful Doctor (Dr.Gruber at Florida Spine Institute) has diagnosed me with bursitis. He palpated towards my groin area and once he localized the spot, I couldn't believe how much pain I felt in that one area. After many PT, massage, Doc visits and meds, I am now forced to decide (by tomorrow!) if I am going to go to kona. After everything I've been through I am just tired of everything. I am not giving up on my Kona dream or ambitions to race professionally, but my drive for training has dwindled and all I want to do is get better. I have no idea how people race through injuries or pain and although we all seem to "pull through" a race now and then, I couldn't imagine standing on the starting line injured. I can admit that I have finished a running or tri race w/ ITband pain or plantar fascitis but everything I experience after a race occurs during the race. Thank goodness for endorphins. I am blessed that I have finished most of my races with hardly any pain (well-being tired is usually what I feel) and I can usually bounce right back after a hard training session or hard race. For those who strap, brance and wrap an injured part before a race and "hope for the best" I just don't know how you do it. And for those who train consistently through pain and keep their goals high with a pride of finishing their A-race, I just don't see the fun of training through pain. I'm not bashing those who train through pain but I've always felt that I want to train..not just get through the training session. I truely find joy in training and feel accomplished after I put in a good X-hour bike ride or X-hour long run. Through months of training, I love seeing myself grow as an athlete and develop into a stronger person. And now as I question if I could really go to Kona and just swim and bike, I wonder if I have the mental strength to do that. I can honestly say that I don't. I have no desire to just swim and bike. I want to experience it all. The nerves, anticipation, excitment of Kona. The 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run seem so daughting to most people and to do it in Kona is an accomplishment of the best. For others, it is a dream to aspire for, just to get to the starting line in kona. And to stand on the Kona floor wondering if I could stand in T2 after a strong swim and run would just make me so angry that I couldn't experience it all. I'd rather sit at my computer all day and watch everyone race in Kona. Of course I would be sad and I know the next week will be tough (and weeks after when I hear of race reports from Kona), but I rather be in Kona on the prepared list, not on the injured list. Although I do have Clearwater 70.3 in a month, I question if I should stop my season now and just rest my body to the extreme. Of course I wouldn't be able to "rest" very long, but without the mindset of training, swimming and biking are very enjoyable activities. Plus, with Karel's season coming to an end, I look forward to staying active with karel by strength training, swimming and road biking. I am not 100% that I am not going but my parents have decided that they will go and enjoy Kona as a vacation. Perhaps I will come back next year as a stronger, wiser and healthier athlete but this experience has showed me that no sport is fun when you are injured. I guess even when you aren't racing as a Pro and still find it devestating to be on the injured list you really do have a passion for what it is you train for. I have today to decide if I will go to Kona but from what I have been dealing with for the past week, I feel I am ready for a break from all this stress. Funny-I was so stress-free when I was training for the Ironman!!!

I do want to add that I am trying to get through this with a smile on my face. Although it is hard and I've been keeping quite with those in the tri-community, I do appreciate everyone for their support, help, encouragement, wisdom and individual training stories. I love hearing about others training, even if it is a proud 1 hour run for the first time, a continuous 1 mile swim for the first time or a first ever 4-hour ride in the saddle with an incredibly sore bum. I am really thankful to have such wonderful friends who care so much about my success in the sport. I love sharing my passion for triathlons and I know I will get through this injury with a better understanding of why I love to call myself a triathlete.